This page outlines questions that are common regarding inceldom.
Are all involuntary celibates male?[edit | edit source]
The term incel is an abbreviation of "involuntary celibate," a life condition with an academic sociological foundation. 'Incel' is not a unified subculture where there are members and members decide 'membership.' The incelosphere is mostly, but not entirely, male-dominated.
Under the broad definition of inceldom, that is, celibate against choice,' self-described incel women likely have medical conditions such as vaginismus, are in sexless relationships due to the actions of their partner, are extremely shy to the point of being complete shut-ins like the poetess Emily Dickinson who purportedly was sexless all her life, are possibly considered extremely weird or standoffish to the point of being deemed unapproachable by the majority of men they interact with, or, most likely, just have very high standards for their prospective male romantic partners.
Many incel forum users believe that high-standardcels should not count as incels, claiming that online dating offers plentiful dating options for women, even in terms of men seeking long-term relationships instead of 'hookups.' Many incel forum members also believe in not acknowledging fringe medical or mental conditions that would cause female involuntary celibacy, as they distract from the predominately male distribution of inceldom.
Under the narrow definition of incel, 'against will', there are virtually no female incels, but many male incels.
Owing to men's generally higher sex drive and (perhaps) their reliance on intersexual as opposed to intrasexual relationships for emotional intimacy and affection, it is also commonly claimed that maintained as a life circumstance affects men more adversely than it does for women, assuming they can be truly involuntarily celibate. Research does indicate that among singletons, women are more likely to report they 'prefer to remain single' than men do.
Are incels a group, ideology, subculture, organization, community, or movement?[edit | edit source]
Incel is an abbreviation of involuntarily celibate, which is self-descriptive. Up to 28% of American young men are Incel, according to the Washington Post, depending on how strict one wants to be when defining this term. "Incel," isn't a single community any more than, for example, trans people are a single community.
As far as self-identified incels or incel forums, these communities are fractured and generally do not advocate radical beliefs unless you want to call determinism and in some cases misogyny radical ideologies. Individual philosophies like the original blackpill definition or subcultures like 4chan culture emerge on some, but not all, forums dedicated to involuntary celibates and go in and out of fashion, and there is broad disagreement on the causes and consequences in these communities.
Calling involuntary celibates a movement is like calling poor people a movement or ideology. To elaborate, 'pauperdom' is the state of being poor. This term is to poor people, what inceldom is to incels. Both are life situations, the terms' incel' and 'pauper' denote a person affected by these things. Most people would widely agree that poor people aren't a movement, nor is there a specific ideology that which they adhere. Likewise, incels and inceldom are the same in that respect.
Is inceldom composed of whitecels only?[edit | edit source]
Although self-identified incels are often stereotyped as mostly white, modern polls and surveys (and general forum usage) suggest otherwise. This poll from braincels shows that whites constitute only 28% of that forums population, with the largest racial demographic being currycel. The largest poll by the whitest forum: incels.co showed that only 50% of its members were whitecels, the rest being ethnicel, being not far off from the racial demographics of the United States.
Statistics show that the whitest English-speaking incelosphere forum is 22% more ethnically diverse at a mean rate and 19% more ethnically diverse at a median rate than the general population of the Anglosphere, making them more ethnically diverse than popular primarily English language forum form social media sites, such as Reddit, as a whole.
In terms of the racial breakdown of the prevalence of inceldom as a life circumstance, it is likely ubiquitous in polygynous societies such as Senegal and Qatar, which have the highest operational sex ratios in the world (the ratio to women to men effectively on the dating market).
In certain Western countries (and elsewhere, as Japan and China have some of the highest incel rates in the world), it appears that East Asian males are particularly prone to experiencing inceldom, compared to men of other races.
Are involuntary celibates angry or frustrated?[edit | edit source]
Involuntary celibates are human. As such, they feel emotions (negative as well as positive) just like everyone else. It's normal to feel gloomy when lacking a basic human need. Many involuntary celibates become used to their situation and, as such, are content being involuntarily celibate, which may even turn them into volcel. Involuntary celibates who take the whitepill try out stoicism and asceticism and become content with their situation. The subset of incels most likely to feel upset or depressed are probably those with a high sex drive.
Are incels misogynistic?[edit | edit source]
Evidence against[edit | edit source]
To clarify this question, it is important to note if one is talking about incels as a life circumstance (as this Wiki defines it) or incels as a particular online subculture. Regarding sexually inactive men who do not explicitly identify as incels, a 2023 study (Selmner et al.) asserted that misogyny is driven by the “psychology of status-seeking and dominance-orientation, which correlates with having many, not few, sexual partners”. This study found that men who reported high promiscuous intentions were generally the least misogynistic. It was also found that a mismatch between these promiscuous intentions (desire) and actually attaining sexual success did not predict misogynistic attitudes. Interestingly, the metric for “misogynistic attitudes” in this study was derived from a list of Elliot Rodger’s observations on the nature of women. It also focused on other questions that seem unrelated to misogyny per se, questions that seem to measure a certain pedestalization of women, reflecting Rodger’s belief that men's value is socially determined by their degree of success with women. The most misogynistic men were those who did not seem to really like or enjoy sex with women but reported being highly sexually active regardless, hinting that they see sexual interactions mainly as a way to display dominance in various forms.
Men with high sexual success but low sexual desire were likely psychopathic, as psychopathy strongly predicted misogynistic attitudes, with a correlation coefficient of r = 0.712. This finding aligns with prior research showing that Dark Triad traits are generally linked to misogynistic and pro-rape attitudes, likely without adversely affecting these men's mating success. The least misogynistic group comprised men who reported both high desire for and levels of promiscuity. Additional evidence indicates that women frequently exaggerate men's levels of hostile sexism, especially in long-term relationships. Thus, it is unlikely that women can reliably detect such attitudes, as feminists and other women often argue. Most likely, many women are either indifferent to these misogynistic attitudes or, in some cases, actually attracted to them. It is also possible that women prefer men with benevolent sexist attitudes (chivalry), but accept hostile sexist attitudes anyway as they see the two attitudes as being inextricably linked, or believe they can “tame” such men's attitudes.
Regardless, these findings collectively suggest that a man's expressed level of misogyny is unlikely to influence his status as involuntarily celibate. These collective findings challenge the notion that incel status reliably promotes misogynistic attitudes. Rather, the evidence suggests that misogyny may be more strongly correlated with, and predicted by, deep-rooted personality traits such as psychopathy and antagonistic personality traits in general.
Evidence for[edit | edit source]
However, there is some evidence that when a man has extended periods of low sexual success, and potentially when they perceive this lack of sexual success as being caused by rejection by women, there may be some association with misogynistic attitudes. The blogger “Date Psychology” conducted an attempted refutation of Selmer et al. He created a “Chad Scale”, which measured self-assessed attractiveness and desirability to women. He then rated people based on self-ID'ed versus “operationalized” incel status depending on whether one explicitly identified as an incel or endorsed not having sex within two years despite effort. Reporting high attractiveness is associated with narcissistic traits, so it is not surprising that there was no relationship with this “Chad Scale” and misogyny, as this was also found in Selmer et al. This does, however, cast further doubt on the claim that sexual success is linearly associated with higher misogynistic (or “hostile sexist”) attitudes, as his “Chad Scale” did also have a behavioral component. This finding suggests that some Dark Triad traits are not reliably predictive of hostile sexist attitudes, with such attitudes being mainly associated with antagonistic personality traits such as psychopathy and low agreeableness, as has been found in prior research. However, Datepsych did find a moderate (d = 0.47) effect for his “operationalized incels” and the measure of hostile sexism used. Self-identified incels were also higher on the extreme misogyny scale (d = 1.27), which aligns with the finding of Granau et al. (2022). These results may suggest that extended and lifelong romantic rejection can eventually spark resentment of women in men, which is certainly a plausible hypothesis. However, as men generally have a tendency to be overconfident in their ability to attract women, sampling men who admit that they fail at this categorically may select for psychologically atypical men, which may also select for other non-normative attitudes, as pronounced hostile sexism is.
Interestingly, Granau et al. attempted to prove that romantic rejection did promote hostile sexist attitudes even when antagonistic personality traits were controlled for. A multi-step regression showed that “unwanted celibacy” (which measures perceptions of social exclusion and romantic rejection) did significantly predict “hostility towards women” (hostile sexism) even when controlling for the personality traits of neuroticism and (dis)agreeableness, which were fairly large predictors of such attitudes. “Unwanted celibacy”, however, did not promote endorsement of willingness to commit rape, which was measured simply by the question of whether one would rape if one could get away with it. The regression, however, included self-identified incels. As the self-identified incels were elevated on hostile sexism to begin with, with a large effect size, it is unclear how much of this claimed effect of “unwanted celibacy” on hostile attitudes toward women was a simple tautological finding driven by the incels being self-identified incels and having the associated attitudes, as nearly half of the sample was comprised of self-identified incels. As such, this analysis does not conclusively demonstrate that romantic rejection reliably causes misogynistic attitudes in the general population.
In terms of self-identified incels, as noted above, many do express misogynistic attitudes, either to vent, because they are resentful at being rejected by women, or just to troll. Denigration of women may also be a way to cement bonds between men in all-male environments, which incel forums generally are. Furthermore, a large amount of incel forum content seems to be posted by a few extremely active users, indicating that this type of discourse may be driven by a minority of users, as has been found in other controversial online forums.
Nevertheless, evidence suggests that participating actively in incel forums does not predict increased adherence to misogynistic attitudes, as the frequency of users utilizing misogynistic terms does not increase with greater post count, a finding that counteracts narratives that blame such forums for “radicalizing” users.
Summary[edit | edit source]
The evidence suggests that self-identified incels do tend to have some misogynistic attitudes, though it is not clear how much this is really driven by romantic rejection among those who espouse these beliefs. It is plausible that long-lasting inceldom can alienate men from women, though this state may also be associated with traits that predict the adoption of non-normative attitudes. Overall, misogyny is likely primarily predicted by antagonistic personality traits such as the Dark Triad and an instrumental and zero-sum view of sexual relationships, traits that are not exclusive to incels. Many romantically successful men express misogynistic attitudes, and it is unlikely that possessing misogynistic attitudes causes inceldom in most cases, contrary to mainstream perceptions. While incel forums are often criticized for promoting misogynistic views, data shows that active participation in these spaces does not necessarily radicalize users into adopting more extreme misogynistic attitudes. Users who espouse misogynistic attitudes likely had such attitudes to begin with. It is also unlikely that unwanted celibacy drives men to endorse rape, in general.
Are incels violent?[edit | edit source]
In short, no. That is a stereotype nurtured by pigeonholing and broadbrushing media portrayals. Unassertiveness, being obsequious and high inhibition is quite common in involuntary celibate populations according to Henry Flynt and the researcher Brian Gilmartin, who described a subset of incels known as 'love shies'. They were generally quite sensitive and sociable men who, according to Gilmartin, had a strong aversion to violence and, indeed, conflict of all forms, which ironically may have played some role in mediating their sexual predicament.
Furthermore, the stoic and ascetic viewpoints espoused in many incel circles (especially when supplemented with the whitepill) also tend to repudiate violent viewpoints in favor of pacifism.
As discussed in the rape article and the Scientific Blackpill, murderers and violent men typically have more (not less) sexual access to women. Research shows that it is a myth that sexual frustration and longing for sexual intimacy is the main driver behind rape. Instead, rape is predominantly driven by anger and power, which are character attributes that losers, loners, shy guys and creeps lack typically. Rapists do tend to have negative views of women, endorse rape myths, and identify with a hypermasculine role, which does overlap with views in the incel subculture. However, in rapists, these views are likely rather caused by genetic factors and behavioral factors, perhaps being indicative of a general fast-life history orientation in terms of evolutionary biology, whilst internet incels are often jaded due to indifference or hostility displayed to them by women.
It is also important to note that even if many self-identified incels express misogynist sentiments, this is likely not causative of their inceldom in any way. Some research, on the contrary, indicates that highly sexually successful men, taken as a group, generally exhibit more hostile beliefs, cognitions, and views of women as compared to the male norm in this regard.
Research also shows that it is a widespread myth that exposure to "radical" ideas would increase violence (if misogyny can be considered radical at all given the very high prevalence of means to constrain female sexuality in human history). John Horgan, director of the International Center for the Study of Terrorism at Pennsylvania State University said:
The idea that radicalization causes terrorism is perhaps the greatest myth alive today in terrorism research. [...] [First,] the overwhelming majority of people who hold radical beliefs do not engage in violence. And second, "'there is increasing evidence that people who engage in terrorism don't necessarily hold radical beliefs.'"
There is some evidence that an increased rate of demotivated, sexless males causes trouble, however. As an example, in certain African polygynous groups, it was found unmarried men felt they were being treated more unequally, and thus they were readier to use violence than men belonging to monogamous groups. Strong pair-bonding between males and females is thought to be accompanied by a dramatic reduction in the male-to-male conflict over mating and increased investment in offspring.
Taken together, the overall evidence suggests the link between inceldom and violence, to the extent it exists, is rather caused by motivation and incentives set up by society rather than radicalization.
Do incels only want sex?[edit | edit source]
It is true that the only unifying trait of incels is being involuntarily deprived of sex. (However, some incels argue the word Incel has more to do with romance than sex). Regardless, being involuntarily deprived of sex does not mean that you want sex or that it is the only thing you want. Some incels only want a romantic companion; others want marriage, some want offspring, others want validation and others want the social status associated with having a partner. Some want to get a SO due to parental pressure or because they want to quell rumors that they're gay. Others want independence from their parents, i.e., "leaving the nest" that is sometimes associated with romantic relationships. Some involuntary celibates seek tax breaks and other social benefits associated with being in a partnership.
However, given all of this, it does not follow that purely non-sexual avenue of trying to help incels will help incels. Many (but not all) incels do just want sexual intimacy, period.
Why don't incels visit prostitutes?[edit | edit source]
Again, not all incels want sex (see above). For some of those who would like to, it is a common fear that they will be rejected even by prostitutes, due to ugliness, extreme social awkwardness, or the prostitute's unwillingness to sexually inititate a virgin male (which has happened on occasion to several incels) and this rejection would obviously be a large blow to their self-esteem.
Frequenting prostitutes or being a sugar daddy/mommy does not count as a sexual, romantic, or even social relationship, but rather a financial relationship. The relationship remains without sex/romance/sociability, but not without money. Even if it did count as a sexual or romantic relationship, most self-identified incels could not afford it regularly for it to improve their situation reliably. In America, at least, the cost of sex is prohibitively expensive and runs up to a $600/hour average in the major cities.
Some non-materialist incels go further to say that financial, social relationships cannot be fully sexual.
Are truecels Marxists?[edit | edit source]
Is inceldom new?[edit | edit source]
The term "incel" is an abbreviated version and sniglonym of the term "involuntary celibacy," whose usage reaches back at least to the 18th century. Inceldom has existed throughout human history. The phenomenon even exists in the extended animal kingdom (see animalcel).
What's the biggest misconception about inceldom?[edit | edit source]
The most common misconception is that inceldom constitutes a belief system, label, or ideology. Inceldom is simply a social phenomenon akin to homelessness and a social demographic such as the unemployed.
Are incels mentally ill?[edit | edit source]
While there is evidence that certain mental disorders (in particular schizophrenia and autism) are strongly associated with inceldom, as people with these disorders are in the minority of the general population, and men who have, or who are experiencing involuntary celibacy are quite a large group, one cannot conclude from this that the majority of incels are mentally ill. The issue of causation is also essential here, as inceldom can lead to mental despair, severe depression, a general decline in cognitive function, and substance abuse.
What is the black pill?[edit | edit source]
A black pill is a red pill with a fatalistic, defeatist, catastrophizing connotation, seeking to disclose systemic and potentially irreparable issues. Within the incelosphere and lookism community, this mostly refers to the meme that female mate choice is primarily about factors that are argued to be innate and difficult to alter, primarily looks, money, and status rather than personality. Not all self-identified incels subscribe to the blackpill or even any pill at all.
Is inceldom synonymous with the blackpill?[edit | edit source]
No. Some don't believe in the blackpill. Some don't agree with parts of it. Some don't subscribe to any 'pills.' Some involuntary celibates are purple pilled, others are bluepilled; others are red pilled or whitepilled. Most involuntary celibates are likely unaware of "pill" jargon altogether. There are also noncel blackpillers such as Catherine Hakim. However, the blackpill tends to be popular among self-identified incels.
[edit | edit source]
In terms of the (scant) evidence examining this topic directly, a 2022 study by William Costello found that "[i]n contrast to stereotypes, incels are not more right-wing than the control group." This study measured the professed political attitudes of a sample of incels from varied (but unnamed) incel forums and online chatrooms as compared to an unspecified 'control group' of men.
In terms of forum user demographics, Whites seem somewhat underrepresented in the English incelosphere, that is, among the communities of self-identified incels people typically think of when they use the word 'incel'. (see the demography article).
More broadly, when considering inceldom as a life condition that exists all over the world, it is also a truism that most incels are not White because Whites only make up around 11% of the world population.
The reason for broadbrushing incel communities as being alt-right likely stems from several causes. First, the alt-right and incel communities, being composed largely of young, terminally online people, often partake in a common 'meme culture' that developed on internal communities such as 4chan. This includes the use of memes, tropes and phrases also commonly used by the alt-right. Some commentators, such as Angela Nagle, have argued that a recent increase in male sexual frustration is a source of recruitment for the alt-right and pointed to incel cultures similar roots in a kind of irreverent online right wing-adjacent 'counterculture'.
Secondly, modern online 'incel culture' was heavily influenced by the manosphere. The manosphere is a term for a loose collection of male bloggers, pick-up artists, vloggers and authors who discuss(ed) men's issues from a generally anti-feminist perspective. Their ideas gained prominence around the early 2010s, though most have faded to relative obscurity by now. The manosphere, despite originally being somewhat apolitical (with their roots in the pick-up artist subculture), eventually drifted over time to become more explicitly right-wing (in terms of the views of its more influential figures) and influential on the alt-right, particularly in terms of its arguments regarding female hypergamy. So there was indirect cross-pollination of ideas between the manosphere and the alt-right which indirectly influenced the subculture of online incels, which likely further contributes to outsider's impressions that incels are directly related to the alt-right.
Thus, many self-identified online incels share the general anti-feminist views of the alt-right, and both are responding to the same broad social issues being raised by secular increases in celibacy in some Western countries in their own way, albeit often influenced (consciously or not) by strains of thought that have influenced both, such as Manospherian writings. Despite this, these incel communities and the alt-right are clearly distinct groups. When specific incels in these communities do identify explicitly as alt-right, this has naturally lead to tensions, largely owing to the evident ethnic heterogeneity of incel forums.
Another reason that people conflate incels and the alt-right may be that alt-right commentators have generally proven to be among the few politically active people willing to openly defend incels. These figures include Roger Devlin (who popularized the concept of hypergamy), the prominent neo-nazi Andrew Anglin, and the person credited with coining the phrase 'alt-right' himself, Andy Nowicki (who calls himself a 'low-status man'). These people may defend incels for several reasons: either to attract disaffected men to their cause, because they profess anti-feminist and pro-natalist views they perceive incels also hold, because they are sexually frustrated men themselves (if this predicts political extremism), or because they have a similar personality type to some of the more prominent and vocal online incels, and thus feel an affinity with them in that way.
Not all alt-rightists or right-wingers are sympathetic to incels, however. Their criticisms of incels seem to converge on similar themes. Certain alt-right adjacent commentators, such as Edward Dutton,  appear to disapprove of incels primarily because they see them as mentally ill young men that are ultimately hostile towards (or unable to fulfill) traditional conservative gender roles, such as protecting and providing for women. Other alt-right types perceive incels as being weak men motivated primarily by resentment, and thus engage in masculinist counter-signalling against them (or shaming of them as inadequate men if they are women). Finally, some alt-right or conservative women often criticize manosphere or incel content via an essentially conservative feminist lens.
Defenders of incels outside the alt-right also exist, e.g. Angela Nagle, various MRAs, and the rest of the people in this list. Though, these defenders seem scant among the modern 'woke' left, apart from certain sex-positive feminists who promote legal prostitution in areas where this is illegal (if one sees this as a palliative to inceldom) or the provision of subsidized prostitutes to disabled men (who are probably disproportionately incel). Thus, as political liberals or leftists seem broadly more hostile to incels than the modern right in general, it is also possible they conflate incels with the alt-right to attack them, via identifying with their political enemies. This line of criticism would further serve to conflate incels and the alt-right in the eyes of many.
Are incels narcissists?[edit | edit source]
This stereotype probably comes from Elliot Rodger's vlogs, who appeared extremely narcissistic. However, another spree killer who attributed his killings to not getting laid, George Sodini, was hyper-modest. Obviously, trying to broadbrush people who cannot get laid in this way is not even internally consistent.
The degree of genuine narcissism (albeit likely 'fragile') shown by Elliot Rodger is rare in the incel forums, and it is often born from isolation and part of a broader inability to integrate socially. Most of the United States ranks high in narcissism, but there is no evidence that incels are much more narcissistic than the average person in the USA. Those who are particularly narcissistic may use it as a coping mechanism for having no one else to love.
Are incels homophobic or transphobic?[edit | edit source]
Incels aren't a monolith. But there is some anecdotal evidence suggesting that an unspecified proportion of homosexuality is actually caused by inceldom (see homocel hypothesis). Similarly, the trans-vestigiality hypothesis also suggests that a significant proportion of transgenderism is caused by inceldom. Jailhouse gay, essentially. Except the jail is (usually female) sexual selective pressures instead of a literal jail.
Are incels misanthropic?[edit | edit source]
Prejudice can be found among both incelospherians and offline incels, including eurotophobia (misogyny), phallophobia (misandry) or misanthropy (against everyone). Online platforms designed for venting (like incels.co) are the most likely to have prejudicial tendencies, while those whose primary focus is ascending (like Looksmax.me) or as a support group (like Incelistan) are the least likely to have such tendencies.
Is a singleton the same as an incel?[edit | edit source]
Being single is a symptom of inceldom as opposed to a cause. Being single does not necessarily mean one is incel. The main separation between being single and Incel is that being single can be a choice, whereas inceldom cannot. Single people also may have many sexual/romantic encounters while being single. Something incels don't experience. As such, the terms are not synonymous, in the same way that a hungry Ethiopian in famine and a person in Mallorca who is on a diet are not interchangeable.
I think I may be involuntarily celibate. What should I do?[edit | edit source]
That depends on whether inceldom is affecting your day-to-day life negatively or not. If it isn't, then great, keep doing what you're doing.
If it affects you psychologically, then consider trying to boost your self-esteem in some way, or try out stoicism (see whitepill). If it affects you physiologically, such as via sexual frustration, then consider taking antaphrodisiacs (a medicinal substance that quells the libido) or anaphrodisiacs (food supplement that suppresses the libido).
If you are male and don't live in a country with arranged partnerships, you can also try adjusting your behavior more dramatically to meet your sexual desires through hiring a personal trainer to build muscle, hiring a fashion consultant, taking pro-social photos, taking photos with pets, and/or consulting those who study lookism more broadly, and generally increasing your level of mating effort. If one does not want to try anymore, one can also advocate for incels politically, go MGTOW, or commit themselves to a life of sloth.
References[edit | edit source]
- https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09546553.2019.1638256 p.5
- Groth AN, Birnbaum HJ. 1979. Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender.
- Robertiello, G., & Terry, K. J. (2007). Can we profile sex offenders? A review of sex offender typologies. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 12(5), 508–518. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2007.02.010