Involuntary celibacy

Involuntary celibacy (or incel) is the state of a person who has not established an intimate relationship or engaged in sexual intercourse for reasons other than voluntary celibacy or sexual abstinence. The term is used especially for adults who, despite general expectations, have had little to no sexual or romantic experience.


An involuntarily celibate person is someone who fails to initiate or sustain a sexual or romantic relationship, despite his/her desire to experience such a relationship. Afflicted people may suffer from loneliness, frustration, and may be mistaken for homosexuals who are hiding their sexuality.

There is debate concerning the duration of the celibacy needed to qualify for the label of involuntary celibacy. Some people class themselves as involuntarily celibate because they are not in a relationship at the moment, though they have been in the recent past and are likely to be again. Critics to this view suggest that the proper label for this is simply being "single", which, unlike "involuntarily celibate," is in common usage and does not carry potential social stigma. Donnelly and Burgess used a floor figure of six months of involuntary celibacy in their study design. Others apply the term only to those who have never been involved in a sexual and/or romantic relationship, or to those who never had a date, or even kissed somebody.Involuntary Celibacy


A study was initiated in 1998 by researchers from Georgia State University when a member of an online discussion group for involuntary celibates inquired about current research on the subject. The study, Involuntary celibacy: A life course analysis, was published in 2001 in the Journal of Sex Research, produced by the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. A news article reporting on the study indicated that involuntary celibacy can lead to anger and depression. Involuntary celibacy: A life course analysis has also been included in an anthology of scholarly literature.

In a March 6, 2004 letter by Brian G. Gilmartin, who performed extensive studies on involuntarily celibate males (whom he termed "love-shy"), he noted that "as many as 40 percent of the cases of severely love-shy men would qualify for a diagnosis of 'Asperger's Syndrome'", a proportion supported in his 1987 book.


Very little research has been published on involuntary celibacy, and few statistics are available, although it is finding its way onto university syllabi. It does not appear to be a concept taken seriously by those who do not experience it. However, conditions associated with involuntary celibacy may include severe depression, self-harm, mental illness, substance abuse, and even suicide. Also, involuntary celibacy could lead to self-absorption and an unhealthy preoccupation with human sexuality . Involuntarily celibate men (especially, heterosexual men) may also resort to telephone scatalogia, voyeurism, Voyeurism - Definition, Description, Causes and symptoms, Demographics, Diagnosis, Treatments, Prognosis, Prevention frotteurism, Sexual Disorders and Mental Health stalkingDefinitions and rape.

Why Men Rape

Contributing factors

Lack of social skills, charisma or sex-appeal, disability, socio-economic factors, such as homelessness, poverty, a lack of education and revolution without a man to love::By Suzanne Fields may play a role in preventing courtship. Additionally a lack of suitable partners, or discomfort with the idea of sex outside of an established relationship may also be contributing factors.

In many societies (especially Western), heterosexual men are traditionally almost always required to assume the assertive role in pursuing the opposite sex and courtship is considered a competitive sport amongst single, eligible men, who typically employ verbal strategies and tactics to seduce women. Proficiency at these tactics, is called having "game" in American slang, and this is frequently equated with confidence, a trait that is popularly valued in men by women. Because confidence and "game" exist independently of socio-economic status, a man of lower education and status can frequently win a woman's attention away from a man of higher education and status. This attitude is taken by the seduction community, a group that believes that "seducing" women can be scientifically studied and improved.

Although involuntary celibacy is often associated with love shyness, love shy individuals do not necessarily experience a lack of people who would consider them attractive. Love shy individuals may simply fail to reciprocate another's attraction toward them or fail to be proactive in pursuing potential romantic interests, even when success is in their favor.

Involuntary celibacy may also be perpetuated by cognitive biases and/or negative explanatory styles such as learned helplessness or fundamental attribution error. Learned helplessness occurs when, after experiencing repeated rejection, an individual is conditioned to assume all other potential prospects will also reject them. Every "signal" of interest may be dismissed, even when the object of one's attraction is genuinely interested. "Actual helplessness" occurs when there are no signals of interest to be misinterpreted. The Fundamental Attribution Error can cause individuals to see people as being mean or shallow towards them when they have experienced a rejection of some form, instead of explaining the behaviour through situational or environmental factors. Unmarried individuals living in rural or suburban areas are often unable to find a suitable partner due to social and marriage patterns.

See also

External links

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