Dear Annie: I am a 42-year-old single man who has never been married or even been in a relationship. I'm perfectly content with this, but apparently, the people in my life are not. The truth is, I am not nor have I ever been attracted to either sex. I don't know whether there is something seriously wrong with me, or whether there is even a name for what I am.
I realized I was different in middle school when all my friends became interested in dating, but I could care less. I figured it would eventually change, but it didn't. In my senior year in high school, I confessed this to my best friend, who told me I was a freak. I never mentioned it again to anyone.
There is no underlying factor for why I am like I am. I was not abused as a child, and I had a great relationship with my parents and siblings. I can be affectionate, and I enjoy giving hugs to the people I love. I can recognize that someone is attractive, but the idea of being intimate doesn't appeal to me. I accepted this a long time ago and feel comfortable in my skin.
Over the years when someone tried to fix me up with someone, I always declined or came up with an excuse. Now everyone thinks I'm gay and in the closet.
Let me be clear, I firmly believe your sexual orientation is determined when you're born. I also believe my lack of an orientation was also determined at birth. It has nothing to do with being straight or gay.
I seriously have no idea how to deal with this. Should I just stay silent and let them think what they want, or should I try to explain how I feel? Please don't recommend counseling. I don't feel abnormal. Not being physically attracted seems normal. - Conflicted in Kentucky
Dear Conflicted: There is a name for this. You are asexual, not interested in physical intimacy with either sex. More importantly, there is a support group for you at AVEN at asexuality.org.
Dear Annie: My heart broke after reading the letter from "Lonely in Love," whose husband doesn't pay any attention to her after three years of marriage.
As someone who has been in the same situation, I thought you gave her good advice. I'd like to add that she should give herself a timeline for change. Otherwise, she will just be older and lonelier with less self-esteem. - Been There, Suffered That in Ventura, Calif.