Where does asl come from?
The acronym asl is used in messaging services, texts, chats, and other online discussions when someone is unfamiliar with another person. The person asking asl is requesting that the other person divulge their age, sex, and what town, state, or country where they live in order to determine if they want to make a romantic or sexual advance on the person, especially for cybersex in internet chatrooms.
Evidence of asl or a/s/l being used in online dating goes back to at least 1998, possibly originating in earlier chatrooms in the 1980–90s.
In 2015, the term inspired the title of the romance novel Age Sex Location by Melissa Pimentel.
Since at least 2011, asl has been used as an internet abbreviation of “as hell,” with asl meant to sound like the pronunciation of this expression. For example, “Billy is hot asl” means “Billy is hot as hell.” This is used in similar contexts to the intensifier af, which stands for “as fuck.” The earlier asl is sometimes written as a/s/l to differentiate it from the newer meaning.
Who uses asl?
In online chats, the letter P is sometimes added to the end of an asl query (aslp), requesting a picture, to go along with the other information.
In many online communities, abruptly and anonymously asking someone asl is seen as a rude, creepy, and immature introduction, not to mention unsafe, given the risks of sharing one’s location with a stranger. Some chat rooms even explicitly discourage the use of asl in their rules.
Asl is not to be confused with ASL, the abbreviation for American Sign Language.
“You're goofy asl if you take advantage of somebody's loyalty to you.”
@_balloutjeff Twitter (May 23, 2017)
“I'm finding it increasingly more difficult to not message guys on dating sites JUST saying 'A/S/L?'”
Krissy @Rzbrylimekrissy Twitter (March 29, 2017)
“You won’t hear the notifications go off when a student receives an anonymous inbox message from a stranger they met online asking them what’s their “ASL”, which stands for age, sex, and location.”
Keisha Howard, “5 Ways to Prevent the 50 Shades of Middle School,” Huffington Post (January 27, 2017)