What is the correct way to refer to people who are NOT asexual? I’ve seen several terms:
sexual, allosexual and non-asexual.
Which one is correct (or preferred) and why?
There is no single “right” answer, but here’s a quick summary of the pros and cons of each:
"Non-Asexual" is generally the safest option - it’s easily understood, and not really offensive in anyway; a few people however object to "negative" language and prefer an independent term (though this seems to usually be a mild preference, not a strong objection.
"Allosexual" is a term that was developed in tumblr as an alternative to "sexual" or "non-asexual", and intended to function like "cisgender" as a positive definition. However, it’s almost never used outside of tumblr, and it’s meaning can’t be intuited without the definition being given, which limits it’s utility outside of tumblr asexual spaces. It’s also uncomfortably close to "allosexuel", the quebecoise term for "queer," and the original origins of the term in sexology have awkward implications (allosexual was used to refer to people who had sex with others, as opposed to autosexuals who prefer solo masturbation).
"Sexual" is the more common term on AVEN and many older asexual communities (where it developed long before the tumblr community ever existed), and is the preferred term by some non-asexual people; however some aces have raised concerns that it could have unpleasant connotations for some PoC and sexual assault survivors.
Generally, I’d say “allosexual” is fine for tumblr spaces and in-community conversations (though I’m personally not a fan), but should be avoided when doing general outreach because it’s too confusing; “sexual” should be avoided on tumblr and in formal materials, but it’s fine in AVEN and many offline spaces (just check if there’s anyone who objects); but for most purposes “non-asexual” is the best option as a term that is both the most understandable and carries the least potential for offense.
I used “non-asexual” in my book throughout except for the one section where I discuss the controversy in naming the majority and the overall pros and cons for each term. I believe one of the problems with “non-asexual” is also that it leaves out demi- and gray-asexual people if you want to talk about them, so I tried to be consistent in saying “non-asexual-spectrum” if I did mean them. The “negative” language kinda bothers me too, but as mentioned above, I thought it was safest. (Also, sometimes “allosexual” is misinterpreted as “attracted to ALL.”)