“Incel” is one of those terms that should be pretty much self-defining: involuntary celibacy. Well, since people don’t want to make it that easy, let’s let logic define it.
I’ve said the same thing about MGTOW, because it has the same problem: people are always trying to hijack the label, over-complicate it and use it form some kind of tribal delineation.
First of all, this is kind of hard to do in the post-modern gender chaos era, where no one can agree on what “sex” is, so per good old fashioned common sense, here’s my definition of sex: penile-vaginal intercourse. Anal sex, oral sex, sexting, teledildonics…forget it. I’m keeping the definition narrow, because that’s the only way you can set any standards. If you don’t agree with that definition, at least for the purpose of this discussion, I don’t care – you’re not my problem.
Now then, I have come up with three categories that I believe you could put just about any sexually inactive person into:
- Sexually Incapable – those who truly have no capability or options to have sex, under any circumstances, regardless of their own will. These include:
- Invalids, totally incapable of initiating sex, consensual or otherwise, and with whom no one else is initiating sex, consensual or otherwise
- people with missing genitalia, or non-functional genitalia with a non-treatable underlying cause
- females with vaginismus
- males with erectile dysfunction
- Those who are phobic of sex in a clinical, debilitating and incurable sense (which can lead to genital malfunction listed above)
- imprisoned or displaced people with no access to sexual partners, consensual or otherwise
- dead bodies that willing necrophiliacs have no access to
- Sexually unwilling – those who refuse to have sex, on account of the act of sex per se, are not subject to any other reason for their celibacy, and have a genuine preference to stay that way. The reasons may include:
- Those who hate sex
- Those who fear sex
- Those who are disgusted by sex
- Those who are averse to sex for some other reason not listed here
- Everyone else – this is everyone who would have sex, but they don’t because none of their own options for doing so are acceptable. Examples of unacceptable options include, but are not limited, to:
- males who don’t want to have sex with unattractive-but-willing females
- people serving or aspiring to serve in ecclesiastic vocations that require celibacy
- females who haven’t had sex because they haven’t found a male who meets all of their personal criteria
- males who are unwilling to commit forcible rape, e.g. blitz rape of a jogger using a weapon
- people who are strictly too lazy (probably not many of these)
- males who are not budgeted for legal prostitution, and/or are unwilling to travel for it
- people who believe that all of their options for having sex would lead to eternal damnation, e.g. sex outside of marriage
- people who have one or more of the various forms of shame surrounding sex
- people who are phobic of sex, and could overcome it, but choose not to
- people who do not want to risk rejection – this includes people for whom the chances of rejection are low, high or unknown
- people who are holding out for a particular person who is not available for sex, e.g. a male with oneitis (unreciprocated limerance)
- males who are married to unwilling wives, and either risk consequences for infidelity, or are uninterested in sex with any other females.
So, from that breakdown, who is incel?
People in category #1 are definitely incel, and people in category #2 are not – they are volcel. People in category #3 are technically incel, and that may bother a lot of people, because some of those reasons seem (or are in fact) really stupid. What I’ve seen a lot of incels do is deem some other self-identified incel as volcel, because whatever barrier lies between that person and sex would not stop the person doing the judging; but if this were valid, then only those in category #1 would be incel. I think that when you see incels try to re-categorize other incels in this way, they’re trying to hog the label of incel for themselves, as if they are the only ones who have any room to gripe. Well I grant you, the griping is going to sound really pathetic to anyone else who doesn’t have or wouldn’t be stopped by that same barrier, or knows a way around the barrier (which is the same as not having it)… So yes, some barriers are going to be more respected by one’s incel peers than others, but all and all, regardless of how insurmountable or measly that barrier is, it only has to be enough to stop the person, and you technically have an incel – a person who’s celibacy, per se, is not of their own choosing.
I think what confuses people about this the most is the pop-positivity mantra of how all challenges in life can be overcome with willpower, and thus, any and all failure to do so is a choice. Maybe that has motivated a few people here and there, but it has also caused a lot of misplaced blame, and ironically, resignation to learned helplessness – ironic because that mantra is meant to combat learned helplessness, yet it becomes counter-productive when it reinforces the idea a person has that not only will they never overcome a problem, but that no one else is ever going to understand.
So, what is celibacy? Obviously, virginity past a certain age is, but what age is that? And for non-virgins, how long do you have to go without sex to be considered celibate? How do you draw any hard-and-fast delineations on that? That’s another discussion for another day.