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 couldn't care less.
I figured it would eventually change, but it never did.
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.
Editor's note: Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.