“Incel” has open fired and crashed its way into the English lexicon, evoking fear and disgust as a pejorative for alienated young men and the type of media that alienated young men consume. Despite all this, the word has an innocuous definition. “Incel” is a portmanteau of “involuntarily celibate,” denoting a person who is a virgin, but, unlike those who abstain from fucking for religious or medical purposes, is not one by choice. The word should therefore trigger our sympathies. Instead, it just triggers, since “incel” has been adopted as an identity by thousands of the angriest virgins. On message boards and in rare public meetups they lament their shared fate, posit conspiracy theories that explain this fate, and make ironic calls to violence against non-virgins that have been unironically carried out by people like Elliot Rodger and Alek Minassian.
But these are the most extreme examples. Incels are simply involuntarily celibate, so they can be of any temperament, gender, age, or ethnicity. Most are at the very least frustrated by their celibacy, which is to be expected from members of a society that puts high value on early sexual exploration, but their situation is far from hopeless. In fact, there are five reasons to believe that incels are better off than they realize.
Being a Virgin is Becoming More Acceptable
Although being an ideological incel is – and should be – stigmatized, remaining a virgin later in life is not the relationship obstacle that it’s made out to be. Researchers from the Kinsey Institute questioned 4,934 single heterosexual adults on whether they would consider a virgin as a romantic partner and found that the mean was slightly below the midpoint on a 1 to 5 unlikely to likely scale. So according to this study “meh” is the contemporary cultural consensus to dating a virgin, which is much better than the “no way in hell” response that has monopolized incels’ thoughts. Better yet, the results show that women are truly the fairer sex when it comes to incel tolerance. Females crossed the coveted midpoint to give virgin partners a passing grade of societal acceptability (women: 2.6 out of 5; men: 2.2). Another unique discovery is that older people are way more likely than younger people to consider a virgin partner, since they combined for a 2.92 approval rating compared to 1.95 from younger participants. We can interpret these findings thusly: that the cure for inceldom is cougar night at a bar.
People are Losing their Virginity Later and Having Less Sex
At what age is a person considered a later in life virgin? The number seems to be increasing. The latest calculation of the average age for virginity loss in America and Canada is 18. Compare this to a CDC survey conducted between 2006 and 2010 that found the average age to be 17.1, which had been more or less stable for decades. So whether you were born in 1975 or 2001, losing your virginity after 18 can be considered late. However, because the standard deviation in these results is significant, remaining a virgin at this age or older is not anomalous. For instance, although 17-18 is the average age for virginity loss, one study found that approximately 20 percent of people are still virgins by the end of college. That’s college, not high school. Other studies have similarly normalized older virgins. A subsequent report from the CDC showed that the percentage of virgin high school students increased from 52.2 in 2007 to 60.5 in 2017. Sexually active people also seem to be having less sex than in previous generations. According to The Atlantic, the average American adult went from having sex 62 times a year in the late 90s to 54 times in 2014.
The Chad and Stacy Archetypes are Not Representative of Reality
At the core of incel ideology are two “people” named Chad and Stacy. Chad is the stereotypical square-jawed, dopey, muscular man who gets all the women, while Stacy is the blonde-haired, equally dopey bombshell whom Chad attracts. According to incels, the sexual marketplace is dominated by Chads and Stacies. Stacies are too selective, choosing only Chads as sexual partners, while Chads aren’t selective enough, fucking not only Stacies but much less desirable women. This leave a large percentage of men, those who aren’t as classically handsome as Chad but consider themselves superior in intellect and personality, without any romantic options. An oft-quoted statistic by incels is that 20 percent of men are having 80 percent of sex. This is not true. It is true, however, that 20 percent of men are having 50-60 percent of sex. The same goes for women. What one can glean from these statistics is that people who have sex tend to have lots of it. What one can’t glean is that these people are exclusively Chads and Stacies. Ugly and normal people have tons of sex, and they have it often enough with good looking and neurodivergent people that anyone who has lived on Earth for a few years can think of dozens of relationships that make no aesthetic or social sense. Again, women seem to be more charitable than men regarding how they choose a partner. Certain studies have determined that men care more about attractiveness in women than the reverse. Humor, social status, wealth, intelligence, and friendliness are just some of the characteristics that women may value over attractiveness in prospective partners. Either Chad and Stacy are imaginary or all women are lying.
Involuntary Celibacy Can End in an Instant
Inceldom is a tenuous ideology because all the ideas that were believed with such certainty and verve evaporate once its adherents start having sex. It’s like if there was a cult of people who railed loudly and violently against ice cream, only to leave a parlor one day wondering what in God’s name they were on about. Op-eds abound by people who once identified as incel, got laid, and then regretted everything about their pre-sex personality. Every incel will get to write their own op-ed because virtually every one of them will, at some point, have sex. They can either wait for it to happen or quicken the process by realizing that they’re not the misunderstood genius or unsung altruist they think they are and sink a little lower into the dating pool. A common incel grievance is not that people won’t have sex with them, but that hot people won’t. Even though the average incel is presumably a 5 on the attractiveness scale (and likely a 3 in personality) he or she wants a 10, the Chad or Stacy. This mismanagement of expectations can be attributed both to overcompensation and the inflated self-perception that nearly everyone possesses. In 2018, 2,000 Americans participated in a SleepZoo survey that asked them to rate their own physical attractiveness on a 1 to 10 scale. Sixty-nine percent of men and 67 percent of women gave themselves a 6 or higher: a statistical impossibility. Dating app users are equally guilty of inaccurate self-assessment; both male and female users pursue mates who are on average 25 percent more attractive than they are. Incel or not, people’s standards are too high. While swiping out of one’s league can work under the right circumstances, incels may owe their identity to this method. Of course social anxiety and insecurity also contribute to inceldom, but these can be fixed with therapy, exercise, or a new haircut. It’s a tough red pill to swallow that most cases of involuntary celibacy are actually voluntary.
Pussy Isn’t That Great
While involuntary celibacy is not gender-specific, the community is comprised mostly of males. After all, males are under greater societal pressure than females to get laid. (Fifty-seven percent of men in a 2002 study considered their virginity a stigma, whereas 47 percent of women considered their virginity a gift.) And yes, despite the content of this article, I know that inceldom isn’t really about sex. If it were, incels would just hire a prostitute. It’s about being wanted by someone so much that they give you sex – establishing a loving relationship for which sex is validation. But relationships of similar value can come in other forms. Sexual intimacy has diminishing returns. Pussy becomes the same after a while – apathy is the cause and Viagra the treatment. Are people in 30-year marriages any happier than the average incel? What about lifelong bachelors who eschewed commitment for pleasure? Some are and some aren’t. You can be certain, though, that the dissatisfaction that an incel feels is the same as that of the husband and the bachelor. Everyone wants what they don’t have. Incels, enjoy your independence – freedom of lifestyle and mind cannot coexist with forced date nights and retirement planning – and appreciate low stakes relationships before you’re an old man with a broken heart and broken dick whose only comfort comes from memories of now. Your situation may seem unbearable, but that’s only because you’re in it. Wait until you’re not.