Sex, sex, sex – has the whole world gone bonking? Adrian Gillan meets the silent, simmering gays who, for various reasons, couldn’t give a f**k.

Some are born not wanting it, some end up not getting it, and some just have a lack of sex thrust upon them! Some chose it, some don’t. Some wank, some won’t. Some shagged first, some never did. Some are happy, some are not.

But they are all ‘celibate’, united in not having regular sex. Many are gay, and they’ve had enough! They’re sick of a sniggering global gay community subtext that those not conforming to a rampant sexual stereotype are weird, sad and lonely perverts. Recent surveys show as many as 10-15% of all adults admit they’ve been celibate for at least a year – probably an underestimate since people invariably claim to have more sex than they actually do.
From the Pope to Cliff, through Isaac Newton and Simone Weil – they’re all not at it. Why, even Morrissey was openly celibate for many years! And as for the real gays!

So what’s so great about not having sex? Precisely what is the Joy of No Sex?

According to gay abstainers, you save years of time and mountains of dosh not hunting down men. You put megatons of physical and emotional energy saved into other more creative interests and wider, deeper friendships. And no sex sure beats bad sex – no more faking for you! Plus no more agony down the clinic. Oh, and more sleep. Basically, many claim you’re more independent and free without sex.

Ed is a ‘natural’ or ‘biological’ celibate – an asexual, he is neither gay nor straight, though has always had an affinity with the gay community who are generally more sympathetic to sexual minorities. “I never had all the hormonal stuff,” he says, “and have wondered all my life what all the fuss was about."

“My sexuality doesn’t connect well with the social parts of my personality,” confesses David, still a frustrated virgin because he’s desperately shy, a completely different kind of ‘involuntary celibate’ to Ed, and not such a happy chappy. “If you’re not cut out for solitude, it can be hell.” He’s not so shy in front of a mirror though...

David and Ed are both ‘involuntary’ celibates. Like those in crumbling relationships, banged up in jail, unhappily repressed or suffering health problems they did not choose not to have sex.

But what of the ‘voluntaries’? What of those that choose to abstain?

Simon is currently celibate, or rather choosing to keep himself to himself. He says it is the sex addicts amongst us who are the repressed ones, running away from things: “Many sexually active people use sex as a drug, to avoid dealing with the real pains in their life.”

“Sex is just a thing that most people sometimes do,” says virgin Luke. “Sex is rather low on my to-do list. I’m annoyed masturbation is still considered shameful, and celibates are still stereotyped as social inferiors. Normal people certainly don’t have sex as much as the characters in Friends.”

“An abstinence from sex in all forms – thought, word and deed,” mystic devotee Fred defines his chosen path somewhat ambitiously. “For many, social pressure means they pretend they’re active. I used to myself, so I know.”

“Sex is everywhere!” born again celibate Andrew rightly concludes. “Advertising, movies, TV, books, on the street and in our schools. In our mind-medicated culture, the Almighty Orgasm rules. I once discovered the art of the one night stand, but now I’m just a regular guy who doesn’t have sex.”

And if you still think celibates are a faceless minority of losers and sex the route to all happiness, just consider the number of miserable gay guys you know who do nothing else.


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