Jay, David (Founder). Asexual Visibility & Education Network (AVEN). Founded 2001. https://www.asexuality.org
The Asexual Visibility & Education Network (AVEN) is an online informational and social resource for asexual and questioning people and their significant others, friends, families, and allies. AVEN was founded in 2001 by David Jay with the mission of “creating public acceptance and discussion of asexuality and facilitating the growth of an asexual community” (About AVEN).
The website is well structured and easy to navigate, with an uncluttered horizontal navigation bar at the top with drop-down menus that also appear to the left when the main heading is selected. The major tabs are Home, About Asexuality, About AVEN, Media & Press, and Contact. A special purple-highlighted Forums button stands out at the top right.
AVEN’s informational resources are simply excellent. The comprehensive overview defines asexuality and explains forms of attraction and types of relationships. The matter-of-fact tone does a great deal to destigmatize this relatively unknown orientation: “Because we don’t have an intrinsic need for sex, asexual people generally do not see a lack of sexual arousal as a problem to be corrected, and if they do have a libido or experience arousal, they do not feel needs are unmet by a lack of sexual activity” (Overview).
The FAQ sections are equally comprehensive and offer very kind and nuanced answers to common (and not-so-common) questions. And I especially enjoyed the Asexual Perspectives section, which includes personal experience narratives from a variety of asexual folks. Peppered throughout are links to the wiki, which is frequently edited and updated to reflect new research, definitions, and FAQs.
Besides purely web content, AVEN also publishes a quarterly magazine called AVENues, which is currently on issue #41 and includes articles, prose, poetry, and visual art. There is also a links page which includes blogs, research, community sites, and personals sites.
The heart of the AVEN website is the forums, which are enormous, prolific, and very active. As of this review, there are over 113,000 members with millions of posts in 24 forums. Topics include visibility and education projects, romantic and aromantic orientations, gender, intersectionality, and games (and loads more). It’s a safe space with moderators and a mostly very friendly and welcoming membership.
I highly recommend AVEN to asexual people and anybody wishing to know more about asexuality.