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It Came From the Comments: Dude is mad that I suggested “involuntary celibates” are … celibate

Wait, what?

By David Futrelle

It’s time for another peek into The Comments I Don’t Let Through. This time, the comments in question come from the self-described “slightly web famous” blogger Robert Lindsay, who considers himself a leftist of some sort despite hating feminism and “the PC Left” and being sort of a huge racist.

Lindsay took issue with a recent post of mine in which I suggested that the fact that incels were seriously discussing the question “does female sexual pleasure matter” and mostly concluding that it doesn’t might give some hint as to why these guys are incels. Because if you’re this much of a hateful, selfish freak, women are generally going to be able to sense this, and will probably turn down your sexual advances.

This might seem like a relatively uncontroversial opinion. But Lindsay was evidently quite irritated by my assumption that guys who call themselves “involuntarily celibate” and who spend a good portion of their lives on a message board catering to “involuntarily celibates” complaining about being “involuntarily celibate” … might actually be celibate.

“Um, this crap about incels never having had sex or not having any sex has got to stop,” he wrote.

Er, the entire premise of the incel movement is that the guys in are 1) celibate and 2) believe that their celibacy is “involuntary.”

“I got some news for you people,” Lindsay continued.

A lot of the guys on incel sites have definitely had a good fair amount of sex, especially for men in this era. I wonder why a lot of them are even on the incel sites.

What incel sites are you reading? On the biggest incel forums, like Incels.co and the Braincels subreddit, the regulars constantly complain about not having sex, and quite a few of them claim to be virgins. Which makes sense, because, you know, THEY CLAIM TO BE INCELS.

And it’s pretty clear from what they write that most of them do indeed have little or no experience with sex; they write about women and their body parts like befuddled space aliens encountering a new species for the first time.

You really need to stop with this incels can’t get laid crap. It’s not even true. Also a lot of them are out and out volcels. They could definitely have sex if they tried, but they won’t even try for some reason.

I actually don’t think that incels, generally, “can’t get laid” in that it is impossible for them to ever have sex due to some immutable characteristic about themselves — because they are too ugly, or short, or autistic, or whatever bogus explanation they themselves give for why they believe their celibacy is truly “involuntary.”

I think they can’t get laid right now because they hate themselves and hate women, and there really not a lot of women who are attracted to this particular combo. Some of them, particularly younger guys who have sort of fallen into the incel movement, may be able to work through their bitterness and misogyny and actually turn out to be decent enough guys to be dateable. Others seem too far gone to fix.

And quite a fair number of them are either gay or gay-leaning bisexuals. Quite common on incel sites. And there are also gay incels on there. Please explain to me how these gay men’s sexism and misogyny is keeping them from getting laid.

In all the time I’ve spent reading incel forums I’ve run across only a tiny handful of gay incels — maybe two? There are, to be sure, a larger number of incels who talk about being attracted to crossdressers and trans women — though this does not mean they’re gay or even bi. But even these incels are transphobic as hell. They generally refer to both crossdressers and trans women with the ugly term “traps,” and if anything their ideas about them are even more fucked up than their ideas about cis women.

As I mentioned earlier, I do agree with Lindsay on one point: I don’t think the guys who call themselves “involuntarily celibate” really are celibate involuntarily. They’re not celibate because of how they look; they’re celibate because of all the poisonous ideas bouncing around in their brains.

Not all of these poisonous ideas are their fault. While I hesitate to diagnose anyone over the internet, it seems pretty clear that a lot of them are clinically depressed. As someone who’s been dealing with depression for decades, I know how insidious it is, and all the subtle and not-so-subtle ways it can distort your thinking.

Unfortunately, incels tend to belligerently reject the idea of seeking out help for their depression, to assume that the only real way they can be fixed is for some woman to swoop in out of nowhere and have sex with them. When this doesn’t happen, they blame allegedly too-picky women for keeping them locked forever in their their own personal hell.

One of the more pernicious aspects of the incel mindset is the assumption that everyone else in the world besides them and their incel brothers has it easy when it comes to dating and relationships and sex. As incels see it, handsome Chads with perfect bone structure bounce from one woman to the next, and no woman has any trouble finding a Chad partner for herself, even if sometimes she has to share her Chad with several other women.

This is of course ridiculous. While most people in the world eventually do find a partner for themselves, dating and relationships are difficult — some of the time or even much of the time — for pretty much everyone, even those who are generally considered attractive and charming and really very decent people all around. Everyone feels lonely sometimes, even those with partners. And even so-called Chads and Stacies have romantic and/or sexual dry spells, sometimes lasting for years. Being celibate — or a virgin — is not a moral failing, even if it’s not your choice or your preference.

The problem comes when you define yourself and your life by your allegedly involuntary celibacy, and take up the entire set of deeply poisonous beliefs that permeate the incel subculture, thus ensuring both continued celibacy and a lot of misery, both for yourself and for those you blame for all your problems.

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Fujimoto
Fujimoto
1 year ago

Wow, what a shithead. A glance at his blog reminds me of this one loser on RationalWiki who whines about identity politics and thinks feminists criticizing sexual objectification is the same as running conversion camps for cishet men.

Meteor
1 year ago

Years ago, my brother’s college newspaper – which, no kidding, was called ‘The Load’ – printed on its back page the message, “Involuntary celibates unite!” It appeared to be a fun dig at people who have trouble dating. No one took it too seriously, and no one shot anyone.

Nowadays, the term has much changed in meaning. These people sound like they need years and years of therapy. What went wrong, that they believe such idiocy about half the people on the planet?

Mogwitch
Mogwitch
1 year ago

While the Lindsay guy sounds unpleasant and unnecessarily aggressive, I actually do think incels are not having that much less sex than the average person their own age. A significant amount of people are still virgins at 21 without identifying as incels, and even though Americans do have a low average age for losing their virginity, most people don’t have that many sexual partners by their mid-20s. It’s just that incels don’t learn anything from the sexual experiences they do have, compare their virginity or low numbers of sexual partners with those of a mythical Chad, or don’t count sex with a normal woman as a meaningful experience because they are holding out for a mythical one.
I’d like to think that incels were getting much less sex, because I’m sure that the sex they do have is unpleasant for their partners. But sex, just like love, is often a matter of luck and women don’t always have the ability to judge someone well, for various reasons.

Betrayer
Betrayer
1 year ago

“stop presuming incels are celibate” has to be one of the top bad-faith arguments I’ve seen a faux leftist peddle.

Hippodameia
Hippodameia
1 year ago

Shall we next stop assuming that water is wet?

Michael Suttkus, II
Michael Suttkus, II
1 year ago

To be fair, there’s some water in my freezer that’s quite dry. : – )

Nequam
Nequam
1 year ago

“Presuming”? More like “devoutly wishing”.

bekabot
bekabot
1 year ago

the comments in question come from…blogger Robert Lindsay, who considers himself a leftist…despite hating feminism and ‘the PC Left’ and being sort of a huge racist.

Robert Lindsay is a leftist the way Roy Cohn used to be a Democrat.

And there are also gay incels on there. Please explain to me how these gay men’s sexism and misogyny is keeping them from getting laid.

I don’t think the gay men’s sexism and misogyny are keeping them from getting laid (any more than I think the straight men’s sexism and misogyny are keeping them from getting laid altogether, even though they say they do) but I do think that sexism and misogyny, when taken up by gay men, can be an excellent source of camouflage, as well as an opportunity to take part in a form of male bonding which is usually denied them (to some extent at least). By entering into the misogyny sweepstakes gay men can dish about women right along with the straight guys. This form of byplay is preferable to talk about cars and sports insofar as so long as it’s going on the gay men who are participating in it can know for a fact that it’s women who are being put down this time and not gay men. I don’t think most gay men would make a habit out of doing this — but I don’t see why they’d all be immune. And, while I’m on the subject — isn’t there a vein of manosphere talk which insists that some guys who’d otherwise be straight are forced to adopt homosexuality because women turn them down? Now that I think about it, seems to me that I’ve read a few screeds of that kind.

All this is speculation, 100%. Please do not read in a state of extreme earnestness.

bekabot
bekabot
1 year ago

Added: sorry about HTML booboos. Bane of my existence.

Further added: But, I got a chance to fix them and I did it!! Yay me!!

Phaos
1 year ago

I really wonder what he supposes they’re whining about if they’re in fact getting laid heaps.

Share-y for a second, virgin at 34 because having gender dysphoria and not really realizing it for 33 of those years isn’t conducive to having a positive body image and feeling confident with people. But I mean that’s nobody’s fault but maybe mine.

Leum
Leum
1 year ago

Most of the incel writings I’ve read have very strongly denied the existence of gay male incels on the grounds that men have no standards which is… ahahahaHAHA so not true.

Bina
1 year ago

Well, technically, if you consider that celibacy has a voluntary element to it (usually in the form of vows), he may have a point there. But then again, what’s a nice catchy way of saying “unlikable douchecanoe by choice”?

(Also, speaking on behalf of the Left — WE DON’T FUCKING WANT YOU, ROBERT. Go bite the bullet and join those Nazis you’re actually dying to be one of. You have so many things in common with them.)

Sophist
Sophist
1 year ago

When someone says they are an incel, this is not a factual claim about their ability to have sex if they really tried, it is a statement of philosophical belief.

Saying someone isn’t *really* an incel because they could totally get laid if they put their mind to it makes about sense as saying someone isn’t *really* a communist because they’d be a great hedge fund manager if they gave it a shot.

Incels are incels because of what they believe about the world and themselves.

E
E
1 year ago

As for the ‘Many incels are gay!’ thing… well aside from the fact very few identify that way, it’s weird he thinks that blatant sexism wouldn’t be a turn off for many gay men. While sexism turns up in all communities (including the gay community) most gay men I know are pretty anti-sexism. Also incel culture is permeated by homophobia and transphobia, so again, that’s not going to be a good look for any incel looking to date gay men…

Sean
Sean
1 year ago

@bekabot My experience in the gay community has suggested a kind of complex view on this?

1) A lot of gay men are gender-nonconforming in ways other than just being attracted to men, and that has a pretty big effect on gay culture. I’m thinking of drag, camp, and all the words that many gay men use to describe themselves or each other with varying degrees of irony (“queen”, “bitch”, “sister”, “slut”, etc.). On average, straight women have also been more accepting of gay men than straight men. While this doesn’t make gay culture immune to misogyny, it does have a protective effect that reduces the chance of gay men going full “red pill”. You can’t be openly disdainful of femininity without ostracizing yourself from that culture.

2) Nonetheless, there is some level of misogyny among some gay men, but I don’t think for the reason you suggest. I guess that a closeted gay guy could try to use misogyny as a form of “camouflage”, but most closeted guys actually would rather talk about sports or cars or something when it comes to male bonding. After all, a lot of gay guys do care about stereotypically male interests (and a lot of straight guys don’t).

I think that a more likely explanation for why some gay men become misogynistic is that they are simply able to socially segregate themselves from women. It’s sort of like an (admittedly much more serious) adult version of “cooties”. They just see women as this gross thing that they are lucky enough to not have to deal with. Misogynistic gay men also tend to look down upon other gay men that they see as feminine (either avoiding them entirely or viewing them as disposable sex objects, in the same way as straight misogynists view women).

3) It’s hard to imagine a gay incel community of any significant size forming, because at some point the question has to be asked: Why not just sleep with each other?

The current thinking among most straight incels seems to be that being an incel is mostly or solely for men, because most women are either naturally attractive, or capable of easily becoming attractive in some way (hence the weird complaints about women wearing makeup), and that they have standards that are both too high and too shallow. But incels believe that they, as men, are often unattractive due to being short, having the wrong bone structure, or some other fault that they believe simply cannot be fixed. They think that sex is marketplace, and that many men just have a very low market value.

A group of gay incels would not be able to think this way. Either they would have to be willing to have sex with each other (in which case, any two who lived near one another could theoretically pair up and not be celibate any more), or they would have to put themselves in the position of being the person who rejects someone else. Which completely violates the whole incel mindset, of always being a reject, always the pursuer and never pursued.

So I think that gay incels would have to be few enough in number that this question never comes up (e.g. there are only three gay incels on a forum, and they live in San Diego, Toronto, and Dublin).

(Obviously there are a lot of gay people with “dry spells”, and they can have a lot of the same negative emotions as straight people who have trouble finding partners, e.g. feeling like they will never find someone they can connect with, that there might be something wrong with them, that they will be alone forever. I’ve felt all of these things! But that’s not the same as being an incel, because that’s a community that has developed a specific worldview and subculture that goes way beyond just being lonely and dejected.)

4) While there are not a lot of gay incels, I think that there is (sadly) a gay equivalent of MGTOW, which basically relies on internalized homophobia rather than misogyny. Some gay people, either for religious reasons, or because they just view gay culture as shallow or perverse, just remove themselves from other gay people as much as possible. So then you get the ex-gays, or all the religious and political figures that acted homophobic in public, but got caught with male escorts, or tapping a foot in a public restroom, or whatever. Some of those people are just cynical hypocrites, or deluded, but some of them are sincerely homophobic, and view their own homosexuality as a character flaw to be overcome.

5) There is indeed a vein of manosphere talk that says that a lot of “gay” men actually just have sex with men because they can’t get women to sleep with them, i.e. they are inherently straight, but they talk themselves into a gay identity in order to try to get a more satisfying sex life.

So, on one level, this is pretty ridiculous, but on another, it’s not completely divorced from reality?

So first, there’s the question of sexual identity. On that front, it’s basically unheard of for a straight man to pretend to be gay just to get sex. For one, it’s unnecessary. Tons of gay men are more than willing to sleep with straight men. (There are whole genres of gay porn about seducing straight guys!) For another, coming out is still somewhere between awkward and terrifying for most people; why do it if you aren’t even gay? I have seen cases of bi and asexual men trying on a gay identity while trying to figure out where they belong, but even those are a distinct minority.

The other question is sexual behavior, and on that front, the idea that some straight men have sex with other men, without a change in identity, is basically right. The obvious example would be homosocial environments (classic examples are all-male ships, prisons, schools). Even outside of that context, quite a few straight men have sex with other men either as a form of experimentation, or because they feel like they can get something out of it that they can’t get from women (e.g. a casual, “playful”, or other low-stakes sexual encounter with no concern about romantic entanglements). But it’s a mistake to think that having had same-sex sexual experiences is the same as actually living as a gay person.

Anyway, I’ve gone onto long here, but I did have a lot of thoughts. Looking in on this from a gay-ish perspective (I’m actually bi) feels very different.

Gender Superposition
Gender Superposition
1 year ago

They generally refer to both crossdressers and trans women with the ugly term “traps,” and if anything their ideas about them are even more fucked up than their ideas about cis women.

You activated my trap card! A wild trans appears!

It’s a ridiculous slur but it’s fun to try to reclaim.

But I mean that’s nobody’s fault but maybe mine.

I think it would be fair to acknowledge the role of our cisnormative society in general.

Anyway, this whole “maybe the people who aggressively police their own membership for virginity are actually having a fair bit of sex” bit … It’s a little silly. Hard to take seriously, even today. Clearly not a take made in good faith.

Allandrel
Allandrel
1 year ago

Lindsay’s claim to be a leftists reminds me of some internet comments I saw the other day by people claiming to be liberals who were “driven” to support Trump because the Democrats are so awful, look what you’ve done… except that these comments were loaded with right-wing lingo like “Democrat party.”

It was like a comedy where an alien disguises themselves as a human but their antennae keep popping out.

Amy E
Amy E
1 year ago

I find this bewildering. I mean, the clue is in the name…? And if they’re not actually celibate (or not getting enough sex), why do they spend so much time whining about other people having more sex than they do? I thought that was the entire purpose of their existence.

Yet it showcases their arrogance, disguised as self-loathing – they want to have sex, but only with the youngest, most virginal, most “attractive” (by their standards) women. They talk of the particular traits that supposedly prevent them from getting laid, and yet they feel entitled to said women. They don’t think they’re unattractive at all. They think they’re special.

Ellesar
Ellesar
1 year ago

If the incels ARE having sex then:

WHY do they call themselves incel?

WHY do they keep moaning on about not having sex?! 😂

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 year ago

Well, they *do* see women as mysterious aliens and not as human beings. So do most 15-year-old boys, but most of us grow out of it. And most 15-year-old boys might be puzzled by girls, but not *hate* them.

>>>>>they want to have sex, but only with the youngest, most virginal, most “attractive” (by their standards) women

Not quite. It’s more that they figured out that, since no woman will date then anyway, they might as well NOT date a submissive supermodel than NOT date any “regular” woman.

Catalpa
Catalpa
1 year ago

I mean, David has written about incels who claim to have a girlfriend or a sexual partner or have visited sex workers, and those folks still claim to be incel because the sex didn’t “count”; the women they slept with aren’t attractive enough or subservient enough or they needed to be paid, etc. So it’s not incorrect to assert there are some incels who are not by any definition celibate.

Of course, celibacy isn’t a defining trait of an incel– that would be their entitlement, misogyny, hostility, and stubbornness to remain as miserable and hateful as possible.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
1 year ago

@E : my experience with homosexual man is that they are more or less on level with other men in term of sexism, so I find it interesting you feel it another way.

That being said, I have seen homosexuals people who were homophobic, similar to how there are a lot of misogynistic women and quite a bit of black people who are racist against black. There’s also the fact that some alt right personality actually were jewish or were married to jewish people.

So, I don’t think that the deep homophobia in the incel movement mean there isn’t many gay men it it, doubly so since in my experience self loathing in homosexual people is quite common. (thank heteronormative society !)

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
1 year ago

(… and I probably used a wrong phrasing on the first sentence. The intended meaning is “it’s interesting to see how different community or their perception can change”, and not “I don’t believe you”)

Phaos
1 year ago

I think it would be fair to acknowledge the role of our cisnormative society in general.

For sure.

It’s funny because I’m sure incels would come up with a laundry list of horrible physical deformities that render me obviously unfuckable (I’m pretty plain as whatever gender you would see me presenting as, objectively) while missing the actual things that would have done it, which were all behavioral.

Katamount
Katamount
1 year ago

@Catalpa

I think you’ve hit upon the crux of it: their little community of misogynists matters more than the actual traits that make up the identity. So even if they were to actually “get laid” as they claim they desire, odds are they won’t actually abandon the community, as the reinforcement is more critical to their sense of self.

Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
1 year ago

@David

a note calling me a “cucked … soyboy.”

Y’know, it occurs to me that if someone really liked sex, the easiest way to get laid by lots and lots of people at every hour of the day would be to just marry you.

I mean, seriously, if you’re cucked as often as they say you are, then your partner(s) have to be getting a TON of action.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
1 year ago

@David:

I’m reminded of the spat as part of the whole ‘Sad Puppies’ campaign where someone called John Scalzi gay, and Scalzi’s response was basically ‘The fact that you consider that a horrible insult says more about you than it does about me.’ And when he got an ‘apology’ (more an indication that the original person thought he had gone too far) Scalzi’s response was along the lines of ‘I wasn’t insulted. You don’t need to apologize to me. You need to apologize to every gay person out there for considering that to be inherently insulting.’

Moggie
Moggie
1 year ago

with a note calling me a “cucked … soyboy.”

Oh no! Destroyed!

Sophist
Sophist
1 year ago

I guess Robert Lindsay didn’t like me pointing out that he’s a racist, so he’s reposted the racist post of his I linked to with a note calling me a “cucked … soyboy.”

Yes, that’s definitely the sort of thing a leftist would say. Seems legit.

bekabot
bekabot
1 year ago

Thanks for the input, Sean. Fascinating.

Anonymous
Anonymous
1 year ago

Sean –

I would add that during most of history it was assumed *anybody* can be tempted to have gay sex. So the idea that one is sinning by having gay sex but is not “really” gay is, as you say, not necessarily hypocritical, but rather self-delusion.

Wetherby
Wetherby
1 year ago

I’m reminded of the spat as part of the whole ‘Sad Puppies’ campaign where someone called John Scalzi gay, and Scalzi’s response was basically ‘The fact that you consider that a horrible insult says more about you than it does about me.’ And when he got an ‘apology’ (more an indication that the original person thought he had gone too far) Scalzi’s response was along the lines of ‘I wasn’t insulted. You don’t need to apologize to me. You need to apologize to every gay person out there for considering that to be inherently insulting.’

The other day I was told by some online random that I was only defending a female MP because I wanted to fuck her – the kind of comment that says infinitely more about the person making it than it does about the intended target.

Come to think of it, someone I used to occasionally commission stuff from once said something very similar about my decision to hire a considerably more talented woman rather than him. As a direct result, I never hired him again and I’m never going to. And, unfortunately for him, the woman he insulted now has commissioning powers too, and she has no plans to hire him either.

M K
M K
1 year ago

(Disclaimer: I know talking about gender socialization can be dicey because it’s often used to invalidate trans people, especially women, by implying they received “opposite” gender socialization due to their birth assignment, but I think you internalize socialization based on what you feel your own gender to be and it’s just generally more complicated than that.)

So re: gay incels, isn’t it also possible that they’re still men, so they’re more likely to have internalized messages about sexual and romantic entitlement to potential partners? Even though those partners aren’t women. (In addition to what everyone else has already said about this.)

Gender Superposition
Gender Superposition
1 year ago

@Phaos:

Yeah, for sure. That’s their MO up and down. If I posted a pic and claimed to be an incel I’m sure I’d get the same reaction (even though I’m actually pretty cute if you ask me or my mother).

@David

How will you ever recover? Have you considered counselling, or will we just bury you after you succumb to this most original and wicked of burns.

@Jenora

Classy response from Scalzi, A+.

@M K

Agree. Gay men are still, well, men. Considering that women internalize societal misogyny, it’s no surprise that men do.

And, well, as a trans AMAB person, though I can’t speak for all of us, I’d say you’re not off the mark with the socialization discussion. After the all the idea – or rather, the fact – that many people have an internal sense of their own gender identity, even on a subconscious level and independent of exterior forces, is really at the heart of transgender rights discourse.

jenninsb
jenninsb
1 year ago

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
1 year ago

Soyboy?

Isn’t that the 100 percent organic, high in protein, delicious soy drink I see in my local food co-op?

Yes. It’s fair trade too.

Choose from original, vanilla, chocolate, and cucked. I like it on my multigrain hot cereal.

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
1 year ago

Um, this crap about incels never having had sex or not having any sex has got to stop.

Only someone desperate for attention from David F. would write something so transparently, obviously false.

Get in line. Many, many Mammotheers are flinging money and sexual come-ons at David. It’s all part of his being a white night.

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
1 year ago

A lot of the guys on incel sites have definitely had a good fair amount of sex, especially for men in this era. I wonder why a lot of them are even on the incel sites.

It’s a mystery.

You really need to stop with this incels can’t get laid crap. It’s not even true. Also a lot of them are out and out volcels. They could definitely have sex if they tried, but they won’t even try for some reason.

Maybe . . . maybe they won’t try because then they couldn’t complain about how UNFAIR WOMEN ARE TO THEM. Just spitballin’ here.

And quite a fair number of them are either gay or gay-leaning bisexuals. Quite common on incel sites. And there are also gay incels on there. Please explain to me how these gay men’s sexism and misogyny is keeping them from getting laid.

Is it because the sexism and misogyny of (both of) these gay guys is part of a larger package of bigotry, hatred, and general nastiness? More spitballin’.

ColeYote
ColeYote
1 year ago

Please explain to me how these gay men’s sexism and misogyny is keeping them from getting laid.

Because ultra-misogyny is a pretty big turnoff even if it’s not directed at me.
–A gay man