The so-called “Incel” movement – men who have never been with a woman and apparently believe they never will – needs a motto, a rallying cry. I suggest this one: “Girls are scary and mean!” Haven’t any of these guys ever heard of Vegas, where sex on demand has been commoditized?
You may detect in my opening paragraph a certain lack of enthusiasm for the Incels. And while that is true, I am not minimizing their distress, which is real, or the fact that they are grappling with an important and difficult problem, which they are. Toward the end of this article, I actually have some constructive advice for them. But killing people, as one of them did last week when he ran down pedestrians in Toronto, is no solution.
The Toronto van attack is attributed to a 25-year-old man whose name my fingers refuse to type. As explained below, most of the Incels are likely to be men ranging in age from their late teens to their late thirties. Age 25 is just about the peak time for male distress over celibacy.
The late psychologist, Erik Erikson, is known for identifying eight stages of psychosocial development that a person experiences during his or her lifetime. Each stage presents a unique challenge or life crisis to be confronted. For example, during the first 18 months of life an infant must face the crisis of “trust versus mistrust.” Whether the child has a supportive or neglectful caregiver will be a factor, as will the baby’s own genetic makeup.
From the ages of 13 to 21, young people grapple with the issue of “identity versus role confusion.” It’s normal and necessary for them to experiment with various interests, styles, pursuits, and activities. Rebelliousness is their unsteady way of negotiating the transition from the dependence of childhood to the independence of adulthood. During this transition, as we all know, their behavior can test the patience of a saint. In worst-case scenarios, they can run away, get involved with drugs, commit crimes, conceive babies, and generally make a mess of their lives. But this stage begins the quest for sexual exploration and acceptance by others as a sexual partner.
The next challenge to be confronted is “intimacy versus isolation” and occurs between the ages of 21 and 39. By their early twenties, the Incels are starting to fear that their relationship problems may be permanent, that they face a life of marginalization, rejection, loneliness and, of course, celibacy. And so the Incel movement exists because of this unavoidable life crisis and the lack of success some men are having in meeting it. But this problem has been around as long as there have been men and women on this planet.
Here is some constructive advice for Incels
- Stop whining. And get off Reddit, 4Chan, etc. if it will help you do that.
- Avoid like the plague any of your peers who consider themselves “players” and women as “conquests.” This is mental poison. It will fuel bitterness and despair.
- Read my article, Emotional Strength in Uncertain Times
- Understand the six different kinds of love. Figure out what kind of love you want in your life (beyond recreational sex), what kind of person is likely to want the same thing, and develop a plan for meeting that kind of person.
- Work on yourself – you’re half of any sexual encounter or relationship. To be desired, be desirable.
- And above all, don’t kill anyone. Eternal celibacy is infinitely preferable to prison sex.