Since the Sexual Revolution, the number of celibate men as a percentage of the population (particularly in the West), is lower than ever. Most young men didn’t have sexual partners because most young women weren’t sexually active, so it wasn’t something to obsess about—they all shared the same fate—so they got on with having fun and living their lives.
Today though, it’s reversed. Where once it was probably 80% of unmarried men being celibate and 20% being sexually active, we now have 80% being sexually active and 20% being celibate. It’s probably the same for women. Again, this is in the West. I’ve friends in Muslim countries and in India for whom sex was/is still culturally forbidden outside (often arranged) marriage.
It is more difficult ignore the sex you’re not having when everyone else seems to be going at it, and when the marketing adage “sex sells” bombards you with messaging that tells you that if only you could buy that car or truck you, too, could get girls like the blonde on the hood to go home with you. And you buy the car, or the cologne, or the beverage, and you still don’t get the girl. There’s a lot of mixed messaging going on — from the objectification of women, to the messaging that women are materialistic, to the notion that women want to be dominated by alpha males who can have any girl they want. A lot of men and women both buy into it.
The big problem isn’t lack of sex, it is lack of intimacy and connection. When it comes to access to intimacy and connection, men have few options. Boys have the same tender emotions that girls have, but we teach them that they should be ashamed of tears and to fear vulnerability. We’ve made some strides in the opposite direction the past couple of decades, as we’ve come to recognize the psychological damage this does, but for the most part, males are still socialized to be stoic, to deny their emotions, to push everything away but aggression. And sex. Even when what they really want is to cuddle up with someone, to listen to another’s heartbeat, to feel safe and loved.
In most societies, men are socialized to see women as the only sanctioned sources of intimacy and connection. They can’t cuddle with their guy friends without worrying they’ll be accused of being homosexual, and they can’t cuddle with kids for fear of being called pedophiles. They can only satisfy their hunger for connection with females. Female relatives for a while, until it’s no longer “socially appropriate” in their adolescence, and then there is this desolate wasteland with little physical contact or connection. This slow withdrawal of intimacy and connection is damaging. The confusion and hurt and other emotions are transformed into more manly anger and aggression. And resentment. Resentment toward the gatekeepers of all those warm, fuzzy feelings: women.
Yes, in adolescence things get confusing and complicated, because if you want to cuddle up with a female, there’s always that “sex thing” that gets in the way. Boys and girls get excited/aroused, but don’t necessarily want to have sex. Yet the expectation is there. His assumption is that if a girl gets close it’s because she wants to have sex, and if she says that’s not what she wants, she’s being coy, or a tease. Boys are taught that you don’t get what you don’t ask for, so keep asking, keep pushing. It’s coercive, but they don’t realize it, and when it occasionally produces the desired result, they repeat the tactic, again and again. It makes girls wary. They stick together, drawing comfort and connection from each other. It makes boys pushy, or unwilling to push, they withdraw. They may commiserate with each other, but rarely do they give each other the physical and emotional connection they crave. Kids grow up, patterns are set.
Girls become women who resent that men expect them to meet their emotional and sexual needs. Boys become men who resent that women are the source of intimacy and connection. Through trial and error, through vulnerability and lived experience, most men and women learn how to be adults, to communicate about wants and needs and expectations. They learn the distinctions between sex and intimacy. Some are late bloomers, and that’s ok.
And some, unfortunately, can’t see that we are all victims of the toxic gender roles we’ve been socialized to accept. Angry and resentful, they cling to victimhood and blame rather than own their responsibilities for changing the circumstances of their lives. Those who hurt us, who crippled us emotionally, who harmed us physically — cannot fix us. Only we can. But that requires a willingness to grow, an openness to change.
There are a lot of people who are involuntarily celibate. Many have disabilities. The more visibly disabled a person is, the more likely they are to be deprived of simple physical intimacy and emotional connection. Few, if any, are part of the InCel Movement though.
The InCel Movement is the red-headed step-brother of the Men’s Rights Movement. Men upset that their privilege isn’t gaining them equal access to the objects they desire: beautiful women. They blame the women of course. Mock them for the shallowness of wanting “handsome alpha men” instead of specimens such as themselves. They fail to see the shallowness of their own desires to “have” beautiful women, and their failures to see women as people instead of objects.
The InCel males are stuck in perpetual, self-pitying emotional adolescence. I have compassion for them, I do. I recognize in them the same primal need we all have to reclaim the encompassing intimacy and connection of the womb. We all want our mommies on some deep, usually unacknowledged level, but that tether was cut before we left childhood. We are all lonely and afraid, we all want love and affection, intimacy and connection. Those things cannot be acquired and hoarded like objects. We must be willing to admit that we are afraid of being hurt and yet be open and vulnerable. We’ve got to be willing to see ourselves in others, bear witness to their fears and desires for love and acceptance, too. We’ve got to be willing to walk off the edge of our internal landscape and embrace the possibility that someone else will met us there.
Its not about sex or lack of sex. Fcking a beautiful woman won’t fix an InCel male any more than fcking a virgin will cure a man of AIDS. Orgasm may be the ultimate superfeeling they seek, but you only leave your body for a few seconds, and then you’ve landed back in your lonely existence, feeling more alone than ever. No — they think it’s about sex — It’s the human connection they need but can’t make because they are too afraid. But men aren’t allowed to be afraid so fear is channel into anger, and the anger is misdirected toward women. Because misogyny is easy. So much easier than being emotionally adult and questioning the crap you’ve come to believe about yourself and others.
There have always been “involuntarily celibate” males who don’t understand why they can’t get the girl they want — and there always will be.