Being asexual makes him feel flawed

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Amy Dickinson answers a reader whose family thinks her tone of voice is nasty and off-putting.

Dear Amy: Do you believe a person can be asexual? I am a 40-year-old male who has never dated or had a girlfriend. I just don't have the desire or feel the need to be sexual.

Being this way has ruined my life. I have very little self-esteem/self-confidence. I am so jealous of everyone else. I have accomplished very little in 40 years.

I have tried therapy over the years and it really doesn't help. I want to know if you think I would be a good candidate for testosterone therapy. My testosterone has always been on the low end of normal.

The therapist I am currently seeing said it is odd that my testosterone has never fluctuated.

Do you have any advice?

— Asexual

Dear Asexual: Your physician is the best person to give you informed advice, medical therapy or refer you to a specialist. Your therapist should offer you support and strategies to deal with your feelings concerning your asexuality.

According to one study published by the National Institutes of Health, approximately 1 percent of the population studied identified as "asexual," or not experiencing sexual attraction. This is an emerging identification as people become more comfortable describing their sexuality along a broader spectrum. You can peruse the website asexuality.org for information.

I personally know more than one person who identifies as asexual. Being asexual does not mean that you cannot have healthy and happy, intimate emotional relationships and friendships. If you have underlying depression, it will interfere with your ability to live an integrated, happy life more than asexuality would. This is something to pursue in therapy.

Our job as human beings is to live our best possible life. I hope that you will find ways to balance your particular challenges with your gifts and talents, and realize that there is a special kind of perfection in you — just as you are. Accepting your authentic self, without feeling you are deeply flawed or need to be changed, will give you a new, more affirmative perspective. This is the very essence of self esteem.

However, if you continue to feel inadequate or incomplete, if you desire to be a sexual person and medical intervention can help you get there, then it is definitely worth pursuing.

Dear Amy: A relative recently asked to stay with us. She arrived two hours late and didn't call. I skipped a meeting to be home when she arrived, as that seemed like the appropriate thing to do.

After she arrived, she immediately sat down and started texting shortly after she put her bags down. After 20 minutes of watching her do this, I said I was going to bed because it was so late.

We had to wake her up the next morning at 10:30 for breakfast. She left to visit friends and came back two days later — same thing. No thank-you when she left — nothing.

Should I have said something or just tell her the guest room is booked next time?

— Furious

Dear Furious: Great houseguests realize that behaving well (being on time, attentive, low-impact and grateful) is the best way to ensure they'll be welcomed back. Your relative had her chance and she blew it. Now that her visit has (thankfully) ended, I don't think there is any reason for you to educate her after the fact. If she asks to stay with you again, you should respond, "We don't feel your visit went well last time, so we're going to take a pass."

Dear Amy: Responding to the letter from "Grandma," whose grandson blamed the umpire when he struck out, when my son was young he couldn't hit a baseball no matter how hard he tried.

A wise coach on his Little League team took him aside and taught him to bunt, which is somewhat easier to do than swinging away. He never hit a home run, but he didn't embarrass himself anymore either. Baseball actually wasn't his "game" — but soccer was.

— Proud Dad

Dear Proud: If this boy's coach had been as thoughtful as your son's, he wouldn't be blaming the umpire for his strikeouts.

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