Asexual Manifesto 2022: Radical Asexual Politics, 50 Years On

"So when I talk about asexuality I don't mean some sort of sanitized model of identity politics invested in being recognized and affirmed (by capitalism)." — Alok Vaid-Menon
"Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them." — Assata Shakur

Asexuality is an inherently radical concept, but being asexual doesn't make a person radical in practice. This manifesto is a call to action for asexual community as much as it a provocation to queer and cisgender heterosexual society at large. A person does not need to "be" asexual in order to practice a radical asexual politics. If we as a collective seek to establish a just society, we must engage in radical asexual politics as necessary (but not sufficient) for achieving collective liberation.

Radical asexual politics is the practice of intellectually deconstructing and socially dismantling the sexually normative aspects of society, including race, color, ethnicity, class, caste, creed, ability, age, size, gender, sex, sexuality, religion, nationality, reproduction, and other categories of social organization and segmentation. Radical asexual politics harnesses the negativity associated with asexuality, the so-called "absence" or "lack" of sexuality, to clean the slate of sexual normativity and rewrite society as a place of liberation, including but not limited to sexual liberation.

Radical asexual politics is anti-capitalist, anti-racist, and anti-colonial. It rejects the organization of society around production and reproduction and reclaims all forms of pleasure (sexual and non-sexual) from their conscription into serving capital and hierarchies of power. It rejects the use of asexual identity to uphold racist ideologies and systems and reclaims sexual self-determination for all peoples. It rejects the social prioritization of monogamous couples and nuclear families and reclaims the kinship ties and familial networks that empire decimated.

To manifest a radical asexuality, we must act from a place of collectivism. We must practice solidarity within and across categories of difference. We must practice humble consciousness-raising and self-correction for the good of the group. We practice the following principles up until they no longer serve the collective, as determined by the wisdom of future workers laboring for liberation.

We reject bioessentialism and reclaim our power of self-determination.

"Born this way" and "made this way" narratives alike are unimportant to the work of asexual liberation, and in fact distract from it. Policing the reality of asexuality — whether it comes from nature, nurture, or a person's free choice to affiliate with asexuality — concedes to the state and its institutions the power to categorize, regulate, and oppress the body. We take back our power to choose and use our bodies in ways that we decide, we enjoy, and we thrive.

We reject the concentration of power in individuals and organizations and reclaim the power of the collective.

Cooperation with governments and concession to authorities, directly through cops and legislation and indirectly through nonprofit regulations, impede the work of asexual liberation. Putting icons on pedestals distracts from the work of asexual liberation. Our power is distributed throughout our people. We take back our power to organize our own queer families, relationships, communities, and societies, on terms that privilege not sexual bonds but whatever affective affiliations are important to the collective, independent of regulatory systems. We invest in our collective not through appeals to the authorities who seek our annihilation — not through waiting for legalization and protection — but through self-sustaining mutual aid.

We reject top-down regulation and reclaim community and egalitarian accountability.

Cop mentality destroys community. Labels are useful because words are powerful. But they can also be a powerful way for those with power to sow division among those deprived of power, in order to prevent our organizing to reclaim our power. We beware those bad actors by investing in robust community accountability, oriented towards repair rather than punishment. We reject the cop mentality of ideological purity in favor of the "constant change of heart" of consciousness-raising (bell hooks). We commit to humble and generous self-reflection on the ways that we perpetuate sexual normativity at every level of society, turning away from hierarchy and leaning on each other as we collectively learn and grow towards thriving, free of oppression.

We reject mere visibility and reclaim the power of direct action.

Visibility without self-defense exposes our people to violence. Raising awareness concedes our power of self-determination to our oppressors, whereas raising our own consciousness of the operations of sexual normativity equips us to liberate ourselves. We exercise our right to opacity (Édouard Glissant) as we forge our own present and future where we will enjoy our sexual freedom (the freedom to engage as much or as little as we want with sex). We take our own actions against sexual normativity, spiting the systems that perpetuate it and making real our asexual dreams for freedom.

We reject capitalist competition and reclaim erotic excellence.

Capitalist society is a society of scarcity. In our pursuit of physical and spiritual nourishment, capitalism demands that we compete against each other and ultimately against our own interests, expending our energies on the fight to meet our mere needs. We eschew the deprivation inherent to lateral oppression and embrace collective abundance. We pursue erotic excellence (Audre Lorde), that fundamental drive for pleasure and joy and fulfillment in all our labors, not just sex, as we work together in community towards our mutual liberation.