The Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) was founded in 2001 with two distinct goals: creating public acceptance and discussion of asexuality and facilitating the growth of an asexual community. Since that time we have grown to host the world’s largest asexual community, serving as an informational resource for people who are asexual and questioning, their friends and families, academic researchers and the press. AVEN members throughout the world regularly engage in visibility projects, included but not limited to distributing informative pamphlets, leading workshops, arranging local meetups and speaking to interested press. The AVEN community centers around the web forum, which provides a safe space for asexual and questioning people as well as their partners, friends and families to discuss their experiences.
Asexuality.org is comprised of 5 main sections these are:
- Static content accessible via the index page
- The community forums
- A chat room accessible through the forum
- The Asexual Visibility Store (featuring T-shirt designs and other products created by AVENites)
- This wiki
The static content and wiki carry general information about asexuality, including asexual perspectives and several FAQs. The community forums are places for asexuals and their sexual friends, partners and allies to congregate, discuss issues, socialize, and find ways of spreading asexual awareness.
AVEN is run by two teams, both elected by the general membership. The site's founder David Jay retains several responsibilities that have not yet been adopted by these two teams.
The AVEN forums are patrolled by a large number of administrators and moderators. It is their job to keep the forums civil and to ensure that topics are in their proper forums, as well as to lock threads that are duplicates or that have degenerated into personal insults. Some moderators take care of a specific area of the forums, while administrators take on more general and sweeping duties such as deleting spam accounts. The term 'admod' is occasionally used on the forums to refer to the administration and moderation teams as one group.
New moderators are elected by the whole of AVEN on a case-by-case basis when a new position becomes available or an old moderator resigns. They are initially elected to a single section of the forum, but are often moved around to different ones as the need arises. New admins are chosen by the admod team.
See Full List: Admod Teams
Full Article: AVEN Project Team
In addition to administrators of the forums, AVEN also has a Project Team - a group of members dedicated to overseeing AVEN's many efforts to bring education and visibility to the outside world. Including this wiki.
See also: Asexual history
Asexuals have always existed, but until the invention of the Internet, they seldom had ways to connect with each other and share their experiences. In the early and mid 90s, asexuals would occasionally post on sexuality-related newsgroups expressing their identification with asexuality, but search functions weren't good enough and it was hard to locate like-minded people.
AVEN was created by David Jay in 2001. At first, it was simply a front page giving a definition of asexuality and asking for e-mail from those who understood. One e-mail directed Jay to the Haven for the Human Amoeba, a Yahoo group on asexuality that had existed since 2000, but was only just starting to take off in terms of posts.
Due to the structure of a Yahoo group, every comment someone made was emailed to everybody else, and as membership and activity in the Haven for the Human Amoeba grew, this became an awkward way to do things. There was demand for a website on asexuality with a better community structure, and several websites emerged with competing ideologies. Some websites catered to antisexual views. Others held that the only real definition of asexuality was nonlibidoism. AVEN was reconstructed in the hopes of becoming a more inclusive option, based in sex-neutrality ("sex is great if you're interested, but if you're not interested, you don't have to worry about it") and the belief that anyone who identifies as asexual is validly asexual, regardless of sex drive or other factors. (See Collective identity model.)
The first AVEN admin who wasn't David Jay was chosen when Jay took a trip to Ghana. The forum at this point had about 100 members. The first moderator elections were held a few months later.
Timeline of notable dates in AVEN history
- October 12, 2000 - "Haven for the Human Amoeba" founded.
- March 10, 2001 - AVEN Created
- May 29, 2002 - AVEN forum started, first member (AVENguy) joins
- May 30, 2002 - official switch to asexuality.org domain, first post made on the AVEN forum
- Mar 21, 2004 - opening of the first AVEN store
- October 14, 2004 - New Scientist article
- May 26, 2005 - "Asexual and proud!" Salon feature 
- March 24, 2006 - 20/20 asexuality feature broadcast
- June 6, 2006 AVEN Project Team proposed by AVENguy
- September 3, 2006 - AVENwiki set up (in its current form)
- September 27, 2006 - The first issue of the AVENues newsletter was published
- January 4, 2007 - Montel Williams Show asexuality feature broadcast
Check out the original AVEN timeline.
AVEN has over 30,000 registered members on the English site alone. Of these members, more than half have posted at least once, and a tenth of these have posted more than 125 times. Among more experienced AVENites, especially in the Just For Fun section of the forum, traditions have sprung up such as offering cake to new members. Some of these traditions can be difficult to understand for an outsider, or even an experienced AVENite who does not spend a lot of time in Just For Fun.
There is also a subsection of AVEN culture known as chat culture. There are many dimensions to chat culture that include but are not limited to: the main chat, tinychat rooms, chatzies, games that have chat functions, MSN, and Skype.
- Controversy is fine, getting frustrated and even angry is fine. At their discretion moderators will communicate with users not because those users are in trouble but because they want to keep a situation from getting out of hand.
- Personally insulting other users is unacceptable.
- Because many users find sexually explicit material offensive we request that posts which contain sexually explicit material contain a warning in the subject line. Please refrain from using sexually explicit subject lines.
- Posting personal information about another user without their express permission is a serious offense. Such posts are subject to deletion at the request of the exposed party. This extends to posting PMs and IM conversations.
- Making judgments about other users, especially about the validity of their asexuality, is strongly discouraged. We are here to figure ourselves out, not to put each other in boxes.
- Mambo (for the front page)
- Invision Power Board (for the English language forum)
- phpbb (for other languages)
- MediaWiki (for the wiki)
- Wordpress (for the digest)
- IP.Chat (for the chat room)
AVEN is hosted by the company Bocacom on a dedicated server for US$129/month.
- Dell PentiumD 2.8GHz
- CentOS 4 Enterprise Linux
- 1 GB Ram
- 80 GB SATA Drive
- 800 GB Transfer/Month
- AVEN online store open for business - on AVEN Forums
- Glad to be asexual - on New Scientist
- Asexual and proud! - on Salon
- Proposal for General Review: AVEN Project Team - on AVEN Forums