Free From Desire: Asexual in the City of Love

Paradiso Media

FREE FROM DESIRE: ASEXUAL IN THE CITY OF LOVE is the story of Aline, 34, who has never been attracted to anyone - neither sexually nor romantically. They retrace their steps through the trials and tribulations of an adolescence steeped in supercharged pop culture messaging and explores how difficult it was to realize and accept their asexuality and aromantism in a society that only talks about exactly that: love and sex. This acceptance eventually leads them to the next chapter of their adult life: having a child on their own via IVF, and redefining what family means to them. In the words of the Tribeca Audio Storytelling Competition jury, who awarded the show its top prize, “this compelling personal story has lessons and insights for anyone with a body.”

  • 17 minutes 39 seconds
    Behold, Unto Us a Child Is Born

    Free From Desire is a finalist for a Signal Award. If you liked our podcast please vote HERE.

    Aline always knew they wanted a child. As a teenager, they imagined adopting, having a child with friends, and being a single parent — as if their subconscious already knew that married life was not for them. But, getting a sperm donation in France as a single parent was illegal at the time. Aline had to get “creative” and find the right doctor. While pregnant, they contemplate the idea of raising a kid in a hyper-sexualized and hyper-gendered world.

    19 July 2023, 11:00 am
  • 20 minutes 52 seconds
    Single, Asexual, Parent?

    Free From Desire is a finalist for a Signal Award. If you like our podcast please vote HERE.

    In this episode, Aline realizes they are a-romantic, which brings another big revelation — they don’t want to wait for a romantic partner to start a family. Aline explores different kinds of families and co-parenting options, only to realize that romance plays a role in almost all of them. With this in mind, Aline decides they’ll become a parent on their own.

    This episode features excerpts from Brut’s story “What is a platonic life partnership?” and from the podcast Call Your Girlfriend.

    12 July 2023, 11:00 am
  • 18 minutes 48 seconds
    The Sex Life of Asexuals

    In this episode, Aline talks to us about the sex life of asexual people (including their own!). Since accepting their asexuality, they have had to rethink their relationship with intimacy and sexual attraction. They’ve also wrestled with and reconfigured their interpretations of relationships and desire. Aline questions the way coupled relationships are normally perceived by talking to other asexual people and listening to their stories.

    Special thanks to Fiona Conneely, Seth Rosner, and Sydney Klinghoffer whose voices you'd heard throughout the episode. 

    This episode features excerpts from the website OMG Yes!

    5 July 2023, 11:00 am
  • 20 minutes 46 seconds
    a·sex·u·al·i·ty — noun

    When Aline discovers the concept of asexuality, they are relieved...and scared. They experience  phases of doubt and denial before they can truly understand this term and make it their own. In this episode, they look back on the birth of the concept and of the asexual community, thanks to the AVEN website created by David Jay. Aline explains why words are important tools and how they have helped them.

    This episode features excerpts from the TV show Sex Education produced by Eleven Film and Netflix.

    28 June 2023, 11:00 am
  • 16 minutes 41 seconds
    Can I Be Cured?

    Aline is afraid of failing in a relationship, so they go to a therapist to make sure they’re not repressing any trauma that “blocks” their sexuality. Aline explores the misconstruction of asexuality by medical and therapeutic communities and how it affect the mental and physical health of asexual people. Angela Chen, Kate Wood, and David Jay, a legendary asexual activist, all explain that asexuality is still widely perceived, not as a sexual orientation, but as a disorder to be cured.

    21 June 2023, 11:00 am
  • 23 minutes 33 seconds
    Practice Doesn't Always Make Perfect

    Aline loses their virginity, in an effort to be like everyone else and because they want to be “liberated." In this episode, Aline looks back on that first time, and all the subsequent times. They try to understand why they forced themself into sexual encounters when they didn’t desire sex. With the help of Kate Wood, Australian asexual activist and Megan Carroll, Aline tries to dissect the mechanisms behind this self-inflicted violence. 

    This episode features excerpts from the movies Cruel Intentions produced by Columbia Pictures and Newmarket Films and Those Happy Days produced by Quad Productions. It also features an excerpt from the website OMGYes.

    14 June 2023, 11:00 am
  • 28 minutes 47 seconds
    What Is Wrong With Me?

    Aline thinks back to their childhood and teenage years and remembers how their lack of interest in boys and sex made them an outcast. By the time they were in business school, their absence of sexual desire was astonishing to others, with coworkers giving them unwarranted advice on how to lose their virginity. With the help of Megan Carroll, a sociology professor who realized she was asexual at the age of 30, and Angela Chen, author of "Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex,” Aline reflects on this “compulsory sexuality" and why it’s so prevalent in society.

    This episode features excerpts from the movies: American Pie produced by Universal Pictures, Casablanca produced by Warner Brothers, and Moulin Rouge produced by Bazmark Productions and 20th Century Fox. From TV shows: Conan produced by Conanco and Warner Brothers Television, Dawson’s Creek produced by Columbia Tristar Television, Netflix’s Emily in Paris produced by Darren Star Productions, Jacks Media, and MTV entertainment studios, The Ellen Show produced by A Very Good Production, Telepictures Productions, and Warner Brothers Television. And from the Netflix is a Joke YouTube channel produced by Netflix, as well as from the French radio show, Loving Fun, produced by Fun Radio.

    7 June 2023, 11:00 am
  • 1 minute 46 seconds
    For years, Aline thought “it will eventually come.” They'd even put themselves in uncomfortable situations to try and force it to happen. It never did. They felt isolated, excluded, and ashamed. What is life without experiencing sexual or romantic desire — from a one-night stand to a coupled relationship? At 20, they finally started to find answers.
    25 April 2023, 7:16 pm
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