If someone were to ask you if you're asexual, how would you reply? If your answer is: "Oh no, I'm normal," then you may want to get a new sexuality term on your radar. Like, ASAP. Meet: allosexual.
WHAT DOES ‘ALLOSEXUAL’ MEAN?
Allosexual (n.): A word used to describe someone who isn't asexual.
“Allosexual is a word emerging from the asexual community to describe someone who isn't asexual,” says Rena McDaniel, who has a master's degree in counselling with a specialty in gender and sexual identity.
In short, using the word “allosexual” undercuts the assumption that sexual attraction comes standard in every human, and people who identify as asexual are abnormal.
FIRST...YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND "ASEXUALITY"
To get a better understanding of what “allosexual” means, you really need to get the term “asexual."
In broad strokes, asexuality means not feeling sexual attraction toward others, but it's just as fluid as other orientations.
Asexual (n.): A term used to describe someone who does not feel sexual attraction toward others.
“There is a lot of diversity in how asexual folks want to relate to others in a romantic or sexual capacity,” says McDaniel. Maybe you feel sexual attraction very occasionally; maybe that experience demands a sincere emotional connection first.
“Some asexual people have sex regularly, some asexual people are in relationships, and some asexual people engage in self-pleasure,” explains x rance, an asexual, trans, AFAB (assigned female at birth) GLAAD campus ambassador. “These facts do not invalidate someone’s asexual identity.”
WHY IS THIS TERM IMPORTANT?
It's worth repeating: The term "allosexual" helps eliminate the idea that being "asexual" is abnormal—which, on top of feeling shitty for someone who identifies that way, can lead to "harassment, persecution, and oppression,” McDaniel says.
As x rance explained during GLAAD's Asexual Awareness Week last year: Using the word allosexual helps ditch the notion that "any identity is more ‘normal’ than other."
Bottom line: If you experience sexual attraction toward other people as your own personal norm, consider incorporating “allosexual” into your vocabulary.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US