I was connected to Aden Ardennes while looking for people to talk to about sexuality and I got to know him while I interviewed him for my November vlog, How did you learn about sex? Aden was not only able to draw on his personal experiences, but also on the conversations he has on the radio show he co-hosts with Heather Heights Naughty Bits.
Veralyn Media: Why “Naughty Bits”? How did the premise of the show come about?
Aden Ardennes: When Heather first approached me for the show she had the name already picked out and I thought that since we are both a bit naughty and the topics follow suit, why not. Every time Heather and I got together, we would already talk about sex, in all its glorious forms, so it was a pretty organic process.
VM: What do you and Heather each bring to the show?
Aden: Heather has a natural rapport with people and is curious about how people experience or articulate sexuality; she is also funny. I’m obsessed with sexuality as a behavior and a social mechanism, I really enjoy breaking this aspect of life down and “pulling at the wires” to see what it is. I think if you break it down, Heather is the human aspect of sexuality while I’m the more clinical and scientific. We’re a good match that way.
Aden: In my opinion, if you assert something or discuss a topic in a public forum you should have information on the subject; otherwise you end up making a fool out of yourself. An example of that would be when I hadn’t done my job to par. We had an episode where we interviewed the owner/publisher of a magazine that we both enjoy. Since I am an avid reader of the magazine, I thought I didn’t have to do much research; well, I’ve never made an ass out of myself so many times in an hour and a half… except for drunken sex probably. I was so appalled after the show that I had probably offended a man I respect, had shamed myself, and didn’t do the job two good friends entrusted me with. Knowing what you’re talking about is never a bad thing.
VM: How did you become interested in talking about sex from an academic point of view?
Aden: In high school I thought it was ridiculous that everyone automatically thought they knew how to screw, so I began reading sex manuals and became interested in the subject separate from pragmatic use. Maybe that is an oversimplification; I became interested in sex from an academic and scientific point of view because sex is one of our most primal instincts and seems to be a heavily interpreted behavior. Sex is like religion, thousands of different denominations all to express the same desire; I’m interested in why and how those “denominations” differ.
VM: Who are your mentors?
Aden: My mentors were mostly poets and philosophers who claimed the only way to know something was to rationalize something and experience it; a balance of rationalism and empiricism. I guess Arthur Rimbaud, John Wilmot, Marquis De Sade, William Blake, Epicurus, and Oscar Wilde to name a few. These men dedicated their life to experiencing a desire and thinking about it critically to satisfy a curiosity fully. Reading their works inspired me to follow my inclinations and know them fully. Perhaps that way of thinking was always attractive to me because almost everything I’m interested in is “forbidden”.
VM: When I first heard the show I immediately thought Dan Savage (Savage Love, Sex Advice Columnist). Do you get that a lot? How do you feel about the comparison?
Aden: We’ve heard that before, also a “Howard Stern meets Dan Savage”. I feel great that people put us on par with both of those men. I do adore Dan Savage; he helped me to rethink studying sex as a career.
VM: What are some of the topics you’ve covered on “Naughty Bits”? What’s been your favorite show?
Aden: We’ve covered Transgenderism, pornography, Penthouse, the pro-anorexia movement, tickle fetishes, female orgasms, bi-sexuality, plus-sized models, professional call-girls or escorting, sex addiction, and S&M. I tend to like the shows that spark debate and demand a more scientific study of the subject, so my favorite shows were Sex Addiction, Bi-sexuality, and female orgasms.
Aden’s personal favorite show:
VM: What’s one topic you have yet to cover, but want to desperately?
Aden: I have been dying to cover polyamory, male circumcision, masculinity, AIDS denialism, and the rape fetish. All of those topics are personal study favorites because they’re so dynamic and full of information with various results; it’s all so theoretical and yet common. We always have a calendar full of guests and we pair a topic to a guest so we can all discuss it; so we’re waiting for the right show and guest you could say.
VM: What role do you feel your show and other sex-positive shows and blogs play in the lives of listeners and readers?
Aden: I think a lot of people are embarrassed to ask or talk about sex outside of how great they are or a dirty joke. I think shows and blogs in this sphere offer people a sigh of relief or helpful information on their personal proclivities. Sex can be dangerous and so can one’s personal fetishes if they don’t know what they’re doing. I put it on par with driving, if you don’t know what to do then how can you do it safely and enjoyably?
VM: What is the biggest challenge of working on a show like yours?
Aden: Personally, I think the greatest challenge in a sex-talk show is separating the wheat from the chaff as it applies to information. There is a lot of bull-shit out there when it comes to sex and there is only two ways to verify information: do it yourself or think about it logically, though both would be the best. Sex and sexual behavior are primarily instinctual and emotional, thus defy rational thought. When I was doing research for the show on female orgasms, there was a lot of hack research and pop-science I read; the scary part was is that if someone didn’t know how to judge methodology or to think in a manner that this field demands, then it would have been convincing to a layman.
VM: What advice would you have for someone trying to do what they love and get paid for it?
Aden: Get good at it, it’s difficult to deny someone who isn’t only driven but knows what they’re doing. Anyone can have a passion for something, and you may have a gift for it as well; but talent is like a dull blade, useless without sharpening it.