Could 'American Idol' Star Clay Aiken Be Asexual?

Clay Aiken recently said he has no desire to have a romantic relationship.

Jan. 29, 2008 — -- Former "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken apparently has less of a social life than one might think, given his time in the spotlight and his large teenie-bopper fan base.

In a recent interview with New York magazine, Aiken said that he has never had a romantic relationship and has no interest in finding one, either.

"I have got too much on my plate," Aiken told the magazine. "I'd father focus on one thing and do that when I can devote time to it, and right now, I just don't have any desire."

And when asked whether he ever has sexual "urges" or "needs," Aiken responded, "I mean, not really. I've just kind of shut it off, maybe. Is that bad?"

Whether Aiken was hinting that he is asexual, or if he's just too busy or too exhausted to engage in a sexual relationship, is an important distinction when considering asexuality, sex experts told

"Asexuality is defined as a lack of sexual attraction as a whole," said New York-based sexologist Logan Levkoff. "Things get tricky sometimes to define because lack of desire is a different issue."

"[Aiken] said that he had too much on his plate to focus, and that's a little different," explained Levkoff. "You can choose not to get caught up in a sexual relationship or experience, but that's not technically being asexual."

Is Asexuality Just an Excuse to Avoid Sex?

"Being too busy isn't a sexual orientation," said Levkoff. "Society puts so much pressure on people like Aiken that we have to hope his statement isn't a public excuse to get people to lay off him."

There are also many other reasons someone could be feeling asexual, or experiencing a sort of dormant sex drive, said Levkoff. Depression, lack of exercise and exhaustion can all have a tremendous impact on a person's sex life.

Using asexuality as an excuse, according to Ian Kerner, sex therapist and author of "Sex Detox," is also common for people who have had negative sexual experiences earlier in life or are trying to hide their true sexuality.

"There are many people who are confused about their sexuality or their sexuality is in stark contrast to their social and cultural values," said Kerner. "So they think it's easier to be asexual than to acknowledge their unique sexuality and identity."

"My experience is that people who are leading non-sexual lives are often sad, depressed and confused about it," said Kerner. "Many of the people I've worked with who are asexual often have some kind of trauma, fear of intimacy or have had negative experiences."

Asexuality Can Be Healthy, Experts Say

While sex experts said the term "asexual" is sometimes used as a cover-up, they told that bona fide asexuals certainly do exist.

"There are people who identify as being asexual and they can't really seem to identify any reasons they are suppressing their sex drive," said Dr. Eli Coleman, the director of the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota's medical school. "This is a new group who is saying they're asexual and there's nothing wrong with me ? rather than those people who come in and want their 'asexuality' fixed."

"Asexuality definitely exists. It's just the average person has a hard time understanding it because so much of who we are is driven by sex," said sexologist Levkoff. "People start to wonder 'what do you mean you're not attracted to anyone?' People find it hard to intellectually manage."

As for the health aspects of asexuality, the medical experts told that overall, there's nothing dangerous about being asexual.

"There's certainly not broad evidence that it's unhealthy to not have sex throughout life," said Coleman. "There are only some cases where people try to suppress their sexual drives and sometimes then it will come out in inappropriate ways, but overall, people who are not sexual are still healthy."

For sex expert Levkoff, isolating oneself from physical attachment is an aspect of asexuality that she does consider to be a bit unhealthy.

"We are human and by nature humans need physical touch and attachment and connection," said Levkoff.

"But it would be far worse to engage in sexual behavior because you don't want to and you just want to fit in," she added. "That would be worse than never doing it at all."