DEAR ABBY: I am a very feminine 23-year-old woman who lives at home with my father. I am completely uninterested in getting married or having children now or in the future. I don't believe it's the end of the world to be a woman and not want children, but my dad and my grandmother act as though I'm abnormal. Dad says he blames himself for "failing to raise me right."
He also blames himself for the fact that I'm not interested in guys. The thought of being intimate with a guy is disgusting to me. I identify as mostly asexual, although I have had passing infatuations with women. Dad takes this personally like he is responsible for my desires, or lack thereof. Grandma is worse. She constantly makes excuses to my male friends about how I'm just "not ready yet" and that they should be "patient."
Abby, I know nothing I say will change their minds, but is there something I can do to make them understand they didn't fail? This is who I am. How can I end the guilt trip and keep the peace? -- BORN THIS WAY IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR BORN THIS WAY: People who have no sexual feelings are asexual. People who are attracted to members of the same sex are gay, and they, too, are born that way. It has nothing to do with the way they are raised.
You cannot live your life trying to please your father and grandmother, and you have nothing to apologize for. If you need help explaining why you are the way you are, contact PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), an organization that can provide you with literature that will explain it to them. You can find more information at www.pflag.org.