I plugged my iphone up to itunes and it synced on its own and now my contacts are gone, I don't have any backups and I don't use icloud.
You should ALWAYS keep a back up.
You can try resetting your iPhone by simultaneously pressing and holding the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons until you see the Apple Logo. This can take up to 15 seconds so be patient and don't release the buttons until the logo appears.
Try again to see if the problem persists.
Retrieving data ...