Victor LaValle's account of his two years of (almost) celibacy — alleviated occasionally by phone sex — makes the case that not getting any will drive you crazy. But actual lack of sex may matter less than just plain loneliness.
Writing in the Guardian, LaValle chalks up his early-twenties dry spell to his obesity, but he seems to have had emotional issues as well ("I aspired to lethargy. In the second year of university, I missed half my classes just because I couldn't pull myself out of bed"). Whatever the case, his main relationship during those years was with a 50-year-old mom named Margie, whom he met on a phone sex line — and never laid eyes on in person. Though they only had phone sex, he credited her at the time with keeping at bay what he describes as the affliction of the totally alone. He writes,
[H]ave you ever known men or women who don't get any kind of loving for years? They get weird. The women become either monstrously drab or they costume themselves in ways that make them seem unreal; they externalise their inner fantasies and come to believe that – on some level – they really are elves or princesses or, most disturbing of all, children again. And the men? They're even worse. Men who are denied affection for too long devolve into some kind of rage-filled hominoid. Their anger becomes palpable. You can almost feel the wrath emanating from their pores. Lonely women destroy themselves; lonely men threaten the world.
LaValle is, of course, trading in stereotypes here — celibate women become crazy cat ladies, while celibate men become, essentially, gym gunman George Sodini. Others have made the argument that a few visits to a sex worker would have prevented Sodini's deadly anti-woman rampage, but a close reading of LaValle's piece reveals it's not that simple. He writes, "fat people are perverts. By which I mean to say, loneliness perverts you." Again with the stereotypes: being fat doesn't make you lonely. But his observation refers to the fact that by the end of his "celibate" period, he was actually having physical sex — no-strings assignations with women he met through an agency, most of whom were also obese. Most of his emotional sustenance, however, was clearly coming from Margie. He writes,