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In my forties I set up a head-hunting firm in the City and gave up sex to focus on the business.

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Then, in 1999, I went to Los Angeles to be maid of honour for my best friend.

The best man was very attractive and, after a lot to drink, I went to bed with him. I married him the next week, gave up my business, sold my house, put all my money into stocks and moved to LA.

Recent research suggests that one in 20 couples is celibate, though not necessarily by mutual choice; while about one per cent of the population is asexual – that is, not sexually attracted to anyone.

Why, then, is not wanting sex still seen as the oddball option?

I can hear my best friend now, “You’re not realistic, Nadia! Abstinence is not “cool.” And, if I’m being honest, most days I feel kind of like I’m going against nature.

There are an awful lot of people very quietly not having sex in our loudly sexualised society.

Its founder, David Jay, says that being asexual can be isolating. 'A lot of asexual people feel disempowered or broken, wondering where they fit into society, especially since it can seem as though sex is necessary for happiness.' 'Socially, we've made sex an imperative,' says Paula Hall, a sexual psychotherapist for Relate.

'Having a healthy sex life isn't seen as an optional extra, it's seen as essential, like a healthy diet, which is nonsense – we need to eat food in order to survive and function, but we don't need to have sex. Sexuality is very fluid; some people have low or no sex drive, but if it doesn't cause them distress then it's not a dysfunction.

Someone like me who's a-romantic will generally have no desire for a romantic relationship (or a physical relationship, at least).

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