Publication Date

Summer 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies


Matthew Spangler


asexuality, heteronormativity, liminality, narrative paradigm, performativity, social drama

Subject Areas

Communication; Gender studies; Social research


This thesis explores the social construction of asexual identities through everyday narrative performances and critically examines the marginalizing effects of heteronormative discourses. This thesis posits narrative performance as a framework for understanding asexual identities within a heteronormative society. Drawing upon oral history and ethnographic methodologies, this thesis examines the narrative performances of three self-identified asexuals and explores four themes within each narrative: 1) the breach of heteronormative expectations, 2) the creation of commonality among individuals within the asexual community, 3) the negotiation of heteronormative discourses within the family, and 4) the construction of future-oriented liminoid narratives of asexuality. This thesis advances the claim that asexuality is a social identity by which asexuals narrate their past within a heteronormative society and envision a queer future.