Involuntary celibacy
Involuntary celibacy is the absence in human sexuality
Human sexuality
Human sexuality is the awareness of gender differences, and the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses. Human sexuality can also be described as the way someone is sexually attracted to another person whether it is to opposite sexes , to the same sex , to either sexes , or not being...

 of intimate relationship
Intimate relationship
An intimate relationship is a particularly close interpersonal relationship that involves physical or emotional intimacy. Physical intimacy is characterized by romantic or passionate love and attachment, or sexual activity. The term is also sometimes used euphemistically for a sexual...

s or sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction. The entities may be of opposite sexes, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails...

 for reasons other than voluntary celibacy
Celibacy is a personal commitment to avoiding sexual relations, in particular a vow from marriage. Typically celibacy involves avoiding all romantic relationships of any kind. An individual may choose celibacy for religious reasons, such as is the case for priests in some religions, for reasons of...

, asexuality
Asexuality , in its broadest sense, is the lack of sexual attraction and, in some cases, the lack of interest in sex. Sometimes, it is considered a lack of a sexual orientation...

, antisexualism
Antisexualism is opposition or hostility towards sexual behavior and sexuality. In pre-modern times, antisexual social movements were usually expressed in religious terms, but they now often have a secular social reform agenda...

, or sexual abstinence
Sexual abstinence
Sexual abstinence is the practice of refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity for medical, psychological, legal, social, philosophical or religious reasons.Common reasons for practicing sexual abstinence include:*poor health - medical celibacy...

. The term (which is sometimes shortened to incel) describes those who, despite being open to sexual intimacy and potential romance with someone and also making active, repeated efforts towards such an end, cannot cause any such end(s) to occur with any significant degree of regularity—or even at all.

As a concept, involuntary celibacy distinguishes itself from other various celibacy
Celibacy is a personal commitment to avoiding sexual relations, in particular a vow from marriage. Typically celibacy involves avoiding all romantic relationships of any kind. An individual may choose celibacy for religious reasons, such as is the case for priests in some religions, for reasons of...

 types by two major overall characteristics: First, it is a pattern-like, semi-perpetual condition that cannot seem to improve despite concentrated effort of the affected individual towards improving sex appeal and social skills
Social skills
A social skill is any skill facilitating interaction and communication with others. Social rules and relations are created, communicated, and changed in verbal and nonverbal ways. The process of learning such skills is called socialization...

 to try to attract sexual partner
Sexual partner
Sexual partners are people who engage in sexual activity together. The sexual partners can be of any gender or sexual orientation. The sexual partners may be in a committed relationship, either on an exclusive basis or not, or engage in the sexual activity on a casual basis...

s. Second, involuntarily celibate individuals are at a complete or near-complete lack for intimate physical connection for very long spans of time—years and even sometimes decades, not merely weeks or months—and are also at a complete or near-complete lack of opportunities for sexual advancement in the first place, thereby making betterment of their own sexuality through accumulation of "sexual experience" impossible.

What makes involuntary celibacy an especially difficult condition for its sufferers to deal with is the fact that most of the time the circumstance cannot be explained through external personal factors—most incels, based on inquests by researchers into the population, are not especially physically unattractive, and most resemble in an interpersonal sense their peers who are not involuntarily celibate. Although a few of the involuntarily celibate population may have discernible personality disorders that preclude current and future sexual opportunities, the small amount of research done on this subject indicates that the incel population are on the whole socially normal, healthy individuals whose frustration is merely a product of their lack of sex, and not vice versa. This makes an individual's involuntarily celibate situation extremely difficult to resolve through the standard psychological methods of pinpointing and "fixing" internal and external life circumstances.

Internet support groups for the involuntarily celibate population do exist, but because the causes of involuntary celibacy are so diverse and difficult to identify (as well as the fact that there may not be any particular individual "reason" at all), there are no universally accepted personal behavior or circumstantial alterations for overcoming the condition, like there usually are for other types of sexual dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction or sexual malfunction refers to a difficulty experienced by an individual or a couple during any stage of a normal sexual activity, including desire, arousal or orgasm....

. Also, because involuntary celibacy tends to be perpetual, even the act of actively seeking out a prostitute solely for the purpose of "breaking" the condition and gaining a sexual experience, cannot be considered on its own to be enough to ensure that the individual will not continue to be incel for the long-term.

Definition and psychological consequences

Involuntarily celibate people may suffer from unusually intense loneliness
Loneliness is an unpleasant feeling in which a person feels a strong sense of emptiness and solitude resulting from inadequate levels of social relationships. However, it is a subjective experience...

, frustration
This article concerns the field of psychology. The term frustration does, however, also concern physics. In this context, the term is treated in a different article, geometric frustration....

, and depression
Depression (mood)
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behaviour, feelings and physical well-being. Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, or restless...

 that often arises as a result of this condition lasting for the lengths of time it typically tends towards. Also, in most Westernized societies there is the additional social pressure for people in 20s or 30s age ranges to have experienced sexual interaction in some form; thus, if the person has no such experience while all of his or her peers do, serious psychological consequences can result.

Not all involuntary celibates are sexual virgins
Virginity refers to the state of a person who has never engaged in sexual intercourse. There are cultural and religious traditions which place special value and significance on this state, especially in the case of unmarried females, associated with notions of personal purity, honor and worth...

, nor can incels be presumed to not have had at least a few—sometimes even moderately extensive—sexual experiences, including ones in the realms of outercourse, at various stages of life. It therefore cannot be assumed that involuntary celibates are by their nature sexual novice
A novice is a person or creature who is new to a field or activity. The term is most commonly applied in religion and sports.-Buddhism:In many Buddhist orders, a man or woman who intends to take ordination must first become a novice, adopting part of the monastic code indicated in the vinaya and...

s. But what separates the incel experience from people with the more typically inconsistent, but still occasional, intimacy opportunities is the fact that chances for sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction. The entities may be of opposite sexes, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails...

 and "full-on sexual relations" (including intimacy, cuddling, kissing, and connection) are perpetually rare-to-nil. As an example, even a person who has successfully had sexual intercourse one or two times over the course of 50 or 60 years of life may still be assessed as being involuntarily celibate. Repeated tries and repeated failures of a person securing physical intimacy to any consistent degree means that incel people subsequently have very few if any opportunities over the course of their sexually-mature lives to "learn" themselves and others sexually; what they are good at or not in the realm of sexual skills; and by extension, also even to "learn" their own responses to and patterns in romantic relationships, given they may not be having any.

While it may at first appear that incel is a purely individual and personal issue, there are those who point out that it does have effects on a given society at-large and constitutes a quality of life
Quality of life
The term quality of life is used to evaluate the general well-being of individuals and societies. The term is used in a wide range of contexts, including the fields of international development, healthcare, and politics. Quality of life should not be confused with the concept of standard of...

 issue for a community
The term community has two distinct meanings:*a group of interacting people, possibly living in close proximity, and often refers to a group that shares some common values, and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household...

 and is also a public health
Public health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

 concern. Involuntary celibates have higher mortality rates compared to the general population. Incels who do not consider suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

 may instead binge drink or turn to psychoactive drug
Psychoactive drug
A psychoactive drug, psychopharmaceutical, or psychotropic is a chemical substance that crosses the blood–brain barrier and acts primarily upon the central nervous system where it affects brain function, resulting in changes in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, and behavior...

s, whether as a substitute for sexual relations, or to anesthetize themselves sexually. Finally, while sexual abstinence
Sexual abstinence
Sexual abstinence is the practice of refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity for medical, psychological, legal, social, philosophical or religious reasons.Common reasons for practicing sexual abstinence include:*poor health - medical celibacy...

 diminishes the risk of contracting sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease , also known as a sexually transmitted infection or venereal disease , is an illness that has a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of human sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex...

s (STD) it may necessitate relinquishment of potential health benefits of sex. Somewhat relatedly, in any culture lacking liberal attitudes towards sexual expression and fulfillment, usually based upon religious principles (for example strict Sharia law societies, fundamentalist Christianity
Fundamentalist Christianity
Christian fundamentalism, also known as Fundamentalist Christianity, or Fundamentalism, arose out of British and American Protestantism in the late 19th century and early 20th century among evangelical Christians...

, hasidic Judaism
Hasidic Judaism
Hasidic Judaism or Hasidism, from the Hebrew —Ḥasidut in Sephardi, Chasidus in Ashkenazi, meaning "piety" , is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith...

 and others), the effects of "enforced" lack of sex can have even worse general societal consequences. Numerous studies have indicated that excessive repression of the sexual instinct tends to increase the overall level of aggression, meaning when applied to whole populations, forbidding non-marital sex (while also not being married) tends to lead to higher rates of crime
Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority can ultimately prescribe a conviction...

 and violence
Violence is the use of physical force to apply a state to others contrary to their wishes. violence, while often a stand-alone issue, is often the culmination of other kinds of conflict, e.g...

. There may also be a link between sexual repression and random aggression, anger at and purposeful insensitivity towards others, and even criminal behavior and a greater likelihood of killing and torturing enemies.

Personality consequences

Limitations and disappointment, the indefinite postponement of sexual and romantic gratification, delay even of dating (much less marriage), and in particular the total lack of sexual experiences at key transition points during adolescence and young adulthood (things like one's first kiss
French kiss
A French kiss is a kiss in which one participant's tongue touches the partner's lips or tongue and usually enters his or her mouth. A French kiss is a slow passionate kiss which is usually considered intimate, romantic, erotic or sexual...

, making out
Making out
In human sexuality, making out is a sexual euphemism of American origin dating back to at least 1949, and is used synonymously with the terms necking, heavy petting, and hooking up to refer to non-penetrative sex, though "hooking up" is also used in some cultures to imply casual sex.-History:The...

, petting, "first base"
Baseball metaphors for sex
In the culture of American adolescents, the game of baseball is often used as a euphemistic metaphor for the degree of sexual intimacy achieved in intimate encounters or relationships...

 and one's "first time"), which are all the types of lacks that seem to be the psychological cornerstones of the involuntarily celibate condition, are often ennobled on situation comedies, in movies, and in related media
Media (communication)
In communications, media are the storage and transmission channels or tools used to store and deliver information or data...

; for example, a sympathetic view of an incel male was made clear in The 40-Year-Old Virgin
The 40-Year-Old Virgin
The 40-Year-Old Virgin is a 2005 American buddy comedy film about a middle-aged man's journey to finally have sex. The film was written and directed by Judd Apatow and co-written by its lead star, Steve Carell, though the film itself features a great deal of improvised dialogue...

. But this does not tell the complete story of involuntary celibacy, which in everyday life can in fact be actively destructive to a person's emotional and interpersonal well-being, rather than just a periodic nuisance or inconvenience, as is usually the case with relatively short-term "dry spells".

Behaviors associated with involuntary celibacy can include self-absorption and an unhealthy preoccupation with sexual activities
Human sexual behavior
Human sexual activities or human sexual practices or human sexual behavior refers to the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality. People engage in a variety of sexual acts from time to time, and for a wide variety of reasons...

 that can have an adverse effect on social interactions—including examples like the incel person mistaking every bit of social attention from the attracted-to gender as a sexual advance; tendencies towards being "obsessed with sex" or having "creepy" behaviors; seeing sexual metaphors where no such metaphors are even remotely intended; and similar phenomena. Consequences of this type are usually due to a "backlog" of sexual arousal
Sexual arousal
Sexual arousal, or sexual excitement, is the arousal of sexual desire, during or in anticipation of sexual activity. Things that precipitate human sexual arousal are called erotic stimuli, or colloquially known as turn-ons. There are many potential stimuli, both physical or mental, which can cause...

 that is psychologically analogous to the "backlog" of anger and/or frustration that many people with clinical depression
Clinical depression
Major depressive disorder is a mental disorder characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and by loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities...

 and similar issues often feel towards themselves and others, wherein frustrations in a specific circumstance that would be seen as insignificant by a non-depressed person are interpreted as monumentally important by the affected individual. Simultaneously, internal consequences that can have external manifestations in an incel person usually follow the standard sexual frustration
Sexual frustration
Sexual frustration describes the condition in which a human or animal is in a state of agitation, depression, stress, loneliness or anxiety due to prolonged virginity, sexual inactivity and/or sexual dissatisfaction that leads him or her to want more sex or better sex, or a state in which he or she...

 pattern of being or becoming tense, overly-easily sexually aroused, irritable
Irritability is an excessive response to stimuli. The term is used for both the physiological reaction to stimuli and for the pathological, abnormal or excessive sensitivity to stimuli; It is usually used to refer to anger or frustration....

, and belligerent, to have trouble sleeping
Sleep disorder
A sleep disorder, or somnipathy, is a medical disorder of the sleep patterns of a person or animal. Some sleep disorders are serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental and emotional functioning...

 and mood swings
Mood Swings
Mood Swings is an album by Koby Israelite released in 2005 on Tzadik.- Track listing :# "Dror Ikra" - 3:03# "Return of the Idiots" - 2:19# "It Is Not a War Here" - 7:05# "Ethnometalogy" - 5:08# "Europa?" - 2:49# "Hiriya On My Mind" - 4:53...


Depth and prevalence

There is some controversy, both academic and amongst involuntary celibates themselves, concerning the duration of the celibacy needed to qualify for the label of involuntary celibacy. Someone who is "single" and without sex for several relatively short stretches at a time is usually not looked upon as being involuntarily celibate. Researchers Donnelly and Burgess (see below) used a floor figure of six months of involuntary celibacy in their study design, but others apply the term only to those who have never been involved in a sexual and/or romantic relationship even once, while other opinions extend the definition to include those who get sexual opportunities extremely rarely (such as once or twice within a five-year bloc, or once or twice within a decade). A few researchers, although not many, also include in their analysis medical celibates who are physically unable to engage in sexual activities due to disabilities, serious injuries and other health problems along with the side effects
Adverse effect
In medicine, an adverse effect is a harmful and undesired effect resulting from a medication or other intervention such as surgery.An adverse effect may be termed a "side effect", when judged to be secondary to a main or therapeutic effect. If it results from an unsuitable or incorrect dosage or...

 of chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with an antineoplastic drug or with a combination of such drugs into a standardized treatment regimen....

 and prescription drugs
Medical prescription
A prescription is a health-care program implemented by a physician or other medical practitioner in the form of instructions that govern the plan of care for an individual patient. Prescriptions may include orders to be performed by a patient, caretaker, nurse, pharmacist or other therapist....

; Donnelly and Burgess did not include such a population in their examination of incel.

There is very little sexological study regarding involuntary celibacy. Prior to a self-directed study on modern involuntary celibacy initiated in 1998 by researchers from Georgia State University
Georgia State University
Georgia State University is a research university in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Founded in 1913, it serves about 30,000 students and is one of the University System of Georgia's four research universities...

, there were quite literally zero publicly-searchable research-based sources on the phenomenon. Even the 1998 study was only started once 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
Journal of Sex Research
The Journal of Sex Research is a scientific journal published by the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality . In 1963, the society had published a one-issue journal entitled Advances in Sex Research...

, produced by the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality
Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality
The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality , formed in 1957, is a non-profit, professional membership organization that says it is "the oldest professional society dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about sexuality." It reports to have more than 1,000 members and has a quarterly...

. 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.

Overall, it is still the case that very little research has been published on involuntary celibacy, and few statistics are available, although it is finding its way onto university syllabi. There has not been a more widespread study undertaken by sexologists or other sexuality scientists that could give rise to empirical data. Most of what is published scientifically and academically on the subject of celibacy focuses on voluntary and medical celibacy. Given this shortfall, incel does not appear to be a concept or a phenomenon taken seriously by those who do not experience it. It remains to be seen whether the lack of concentrated academic and scientific research into this subject will be corrected, and it also remains unclear why so few researchers in the fields of professional study of sexuality have directly addressed the condition thus far.

Possible contributing factors

Despite there being many theoretically plausible sources of involuntary celibacy, none can be demonstrably proven across any given sample of involuntary celibates, especially given the fact that many if not all of these possible reasons are controversial among vocally involuntary celibate themselves (see below).
  • An objective lack of suitable social circumstances conducive to sex, i.e., "hanging with the wrong crowd" for this end; if this is the case, widening one's scope from the physical world to the online world, pursuing social activities in new areas of the physical world, or some combination of these, is the usual solution.
  • Physical unattractiveness (although part of the point of the term involuntary celibacy is supposedly that it is used to explain a situation where a reasonably or even noticeably sexually-attractive person mysteriously fails to secure any, or much of any, sex; therefore this factor may not be applicable)
  • An objective lack of suitable partners in the environment(s) in which the attempts to attract partners is/are being made.
  • Inability to perform sexual intercourse
    Sexual intercourse
    Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction. The entities may be of opposite sexes, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails...

     due to sexual dysfunction
    Sexual dysfunction
    Sexual dysfunction or sexual malfunction refers to a difficulty experienced by an individual or a couple during any stage of a normal sexual activity, including desire, arousal or orgasm....

    , like erectile dysfunction
    Erectile dysfunction
    Erectile dysfunction is sexual dysfunction characterized by the inability to develop or maintain an erection of the penis during sexual performance....

     (E.D.) — most incels lay claim to no such issues.
  • Cognitive bias
    Cognitive bias
    A cognitive bias is a pattern of deviation in judgment that occurs in particular situations. Implicit in the concept of a "pattern of deviation" is a standard of comparison; this may be the judgment of people outside those particular situations, or may be a set of independently verifiable...

    es and/or negative explanatory style
    Explanatory style
    Explanatory style is a psychological attribute that indicates how people explain to themselves why they experience a particular event, either positive or negative. Psychologists have identified three components in explanatory style:...

    s such as learned helplessness
    Learned helplessness
    Learned helplessness, as a technical term in animal psychology and related human psychology, means a condition of a human person or an animal in which it has learned to behave helplessly, even when the opportunity is restored for it to help itself by avoiding an unpleasant or harmful circumstance...

     or fundamental attribution error
    Fundamental attribution error
    In social psychology, the fundamental attribution error describes the tendency to over-value dispositional or personality-based explanations for the observed behaviors of others while under-valuing situational explanations for those behaviors...

    . This may be one of the more likely explanations, but still is not necessarily a definite or universally-applicable one.
  • Self-sabotaging passive-aggressive patterns: it is unclear where the line can be drawn between passive-aggressive behavior being a cause and being a result of involuntary celibacy. This is also one of the more often-proposed explanations.
  • Self esteem issues affecting one's feeling of 'normal' entitlement, such as a possibly sub-conscious feeling that one does not 'deserve' sexual satisfaction even though others do.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders such as Asperger's Syndrome, which are associated with impairment of social skills and nonverbal awareness, thereby impeding the ability to establish rapport with a potential sexual partner.
  • Codependency issues that undermine one's ability to focus on the obtaining of a sexual encounter; for instance, a heterosexual woman can be codependent on another woman albeit non-sexual thereby undermining her ability to enjoy the desired heterosexual relationship with a man (this reason may be too subjectively-obtained, however, to be able to be proven to any palpable degree).
  • The presence of proven psychological disabilities such as social phobias
    Specific social phobia
    Mental health professionals often distinguish between generalized social phobia and specific social phobia. People with generalized social phobia have great distress in a wide range of social situations. Those with specific social phobia may experience anxiety only in a few situations...

    , social anxiety
    Social anxiety
    Social anxiety is anxiety about social situations, interactions with others, and being evaluated or scrutinized by other people...

    , and similar may play a role in preventing courtship.
  • The presence of physical disabilities. Self-confident involuntary celibates with physical disabilities may counter that their social experiences teach them that they are seen by others as sexually attractive (such as being verbally informed by others that they are "hot"), but that nevertheless, sex does not result.
  • Living conditions that make privacy
    Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively...

    , and thus sex, impossible, such as living in a house with no individualised sleeping quarters, or living with people who disapprove of sex and do not allow it to occur — potentially leading to a feedback loop of conscious or unconscious assumption on the part of the incel that because his or her living conditions make privacy impossible, there is no point in either initiating or accepting sexual advances because no place realistically exists where sex could happen.
  • Living in rural
    Rural areas or the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described, country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically much of the land is devoted to agriculture...

     or suburban areas with constrained sexual, romantic, and marriage patterns.
  • Hypergamy
    Hypergamy is the act or practice of seeking a spouse of higher socioeconomic status, or caste status than oneself....

    , a phenomenon in which men with the lowest socio-economic positions have the fewest sexual opportunities, or none at all, over the course of their natural lives.
  • Heterosexual men who disqualify appealing women as "relationship material" based on the stereotype
    A stereotype is a popular belief about specific social groups or types of individuals. The concepts of "stereotype" and "prejudice" are often confused with many other different meanings...

     that beautiful women are less likely to be faithful as girlfriend
    Girlfriend is a term that can refer to either a female partner in a non-marital romantic relationship or a female non-romantic friend that is closer than other friends....

    s or wives, or to become good mothers, and would be the most likely to seek divorce
    Divorce is the final termination of a marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties...

    . A man may not even pursue an exceptionally beautiful woman to begin with due to insecurity, his fear of rejection, and an assumption that she is already in a monogamous, long-term relationship. When such patterns become fixed and perpetual in a person's consciousness, involuntary celibacy is the usual result.
  • Very attractive men and women who may not even be noticed and be ignored completely by members of the opposite sex who are in monogamous relationships. A Florida State University
    Florida State University
    The Florida State University is a space-grant and sea-grant public university located in Tallahassee, Florida, United States. It is a comprehensive doctoral research university with medical programs and significant research activity as determined by the Carnegie Foundation...

     study concludes that an unconscious attentional bias serves to help men and women remain faithful to their spouses and significant others.

Early mentions of involuntary celibacy

Historian Elizabeth Abbott, in her book The History of Celibacy, devotes one chapter to involuntary celibates. She includes in this category a wide variety of people:
  • Those in social circumstances that deny them access to potential partners (for example, being imprisoned, or living in a society with skewed sex ratios caused by the death of many men in a war, or preferential abandonment or abortion of females
    Sex-selective abortion
    Sex-selective abortion is the practice of terminating a pregnancy based upon the predicted sex of the baby. The selective abortion of female fetuses is most common in areas where cultural norms value male children over female children, especially in parts of People's Republic of China, India,...

    —the latter is particularly severe in China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

     and India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

  • Those without access to the monetary resources to deal with a child.
  • Those denied the right to marry by social norms (for example, widows in certain Hindu communities, or younger sisters in societies that call for the oldest to be married first).
  • Women whose families lack money for the dowries required by their society.
  • People who would lose their jobs if they were known to be sexually active (for example, apprentices and journeymen in certain trades in Medieval Europe, certain Western domestic servant or educator positions prior to the previous centuries).
  • Men castrated against their will.

However, in general, no aspect of this particular listing bears much relation to how those in current discourse tend to use the term.

Commentators' perspectives

It has been argued on some blogs and by the members of some internet forums that in a promiscuous culture, sex with women is monopolized by a small number of good looking, high-status men, citing the lack of economic and social pressure to marry young as a contributing factor. Therefore, these critics may be in favor of a return to pre-sexual revolution
Sexual revolution
The sexual revolution was a social movement that challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationships throughout the Western world from the 1960s into the 1980s...

 standards of sexual morality, not to reduce women's rights
Women's rights
Women's rights are entitlements and freedoms claimed for women and girls of all ages in many societies.In some places these rights are institutionalized or supported by law, local custom, and behaviour, whereas in others they may be ignored or suppressed...

, personal freedom or to narrow the scope of personal choice but, they claim, in order to reduce monopolies in heterosexual competition, and to possibly "level the playing field" in the contest for desirable women.

Other critics such as Henry Makow
Henry Makow
Henry Makow is a Canadian author, conspiracy theorist and the inventor of the boardgame Scruples.-Biography:Makow was born in Zürich, Switzerland and moved with his family to Canada as an infant, settling in Ottawa. At the age of 11, in 1960, he began to write the syndicated advice-to-parents...

 and psychologist Gary R. Brooks also believe that the sexual revolution has socially conditioned men into believing that they need both the approval from and companionship of beautiful women for validation
Compliance (psychology)
Compliance refers to a response — specifically, a submission — made in reaction to a request. The request may be explicit or implicit . The target may or may not recognize that he or she is being urged to act in a particular way.Social psychology is centered on the idea of social influence...

. Meanwhile, some social conservatives such as Dr. Judith Reisman claim that pornography
Pornography or porn is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual arousal and erotic satisfaction.Pornography may use any of a variety of media, ranging from books, magazines, postcards, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video,...

 has increased internal anxiety amongst both sexes and has made men and women feel generic and possibly worthless, leading them to become heterophobes and inevitably incel.

What tends to be overlooked in these types of commentaries is that some of the most desired men and women are, inexplicably, also among the involuntarily celibate, which makes it unlikely that pressuring women to date and/or marry less desirable men or vice versa through a sense of "duty" or obligation, as used to be done before the sexual revolution, would actually in itself put a stop to the incel phenomenon, whether for men in particular or either gender generally.,

See also

  • Asexuality
    Asexuality , in its broadest sense, is the lack of sexual attraction and, in some cases, the lack of interest in sex. Sometimes, it is considered a lack of a sexual orientation...

  • Attachment theory
    Attachment theory
    Attachment theory describes the dynamics of long-term relationships between humans. Its most important tenet is that an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for social and emotional development to occur normally. Attachment theory is an interdisciplinary study...

  • Average Frustrated Chump
  • Love-shyness
    - The Definition Of Love-shyness:Love-shyness is a specific type of severe chronic shyness that impairs or prevents intimate relationships. It implies a degree of inhibition and reticence with potential partners that is sufficiently severe to preclude participation in courtship, marriage and family...

  • Nice guy
    Nice guy
    Nice guy is a term in the general public discourse and in popular culture describing an adult or teenage male with friendly yet unassertive personality traits in the context of a relationship with a woman. A typical nice guy is perceived to put the needs of others before his own, avoids...

  • Sexual frustration
    Sexual frustration
    Sexual frustration describes the condition in which a human or animal is in a state of agitation, depression, stress, loneliness or anxiety due to prolonged virginity, sexual inactivity and/or sexual dissatisfaction that leads him or her to want more sex or better sex, or a state in which he or she...

  • Unrequited love
    Unrequited love
    Unrequited love is love that is not openly reciprocated or understood as such, even though reciprocation is usually deeply desired. The beloved may or may not be aware of the admirer's deep affections...

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