Involuntary Celibacy (Incel)

by TheCommuter Asst. Admin

4,081 Views | 19 Comments

Involuntary celibacy can be defined as the total lack of intimate sexual intercourse for reasons other than asexuality, purposeful abstinence, or voluntary celibacy. The purpose of this article is to discuss involuntary celibacy.

  1. 6
    Involuntary celibacy first came into my awareness when I was a student in an LPN-to-RN program back in August 2009.

    During the evening of August 4th, I watched a news broadcast about a middle-aged man clad in black clothing who walked into a Pittsburgh area LA Fitness health club with a bag full of loaded guns, deliberately entered a busy salsa dance class full of women, and started shooting indiscriminately. The bullets struck 12 women. The man then proceeded to use one of his loaded guns to take his own life by shooting himself and blowing out his brain. Three of the women eventually died as a result of their injuries.

    Various media outlets began to leak some curious information about the shooter over the following 24 hour period. He turned out to be George Sodini, a 48-year-old software developer. Other than social clumsiness, he seemed to be a stable guy. He was a long-time homeowner who had been employed at the same law firm for many years. He had no previous criminal record and was college-educated, having earned a degree in computer science many moons ago. Pictures revealed an average-looking, neatly-dressed middle-aged guy. Although he was not drop dead gorgeous, he was not ugly either.

    Then his blog postings were made public on the world wide web. George Sodini had started a blog in 2008, mere months prior to the shooting. He posted that he’d not had a girlfriend since 1984. He’d not had any sex since 1990. He desperately wanted female companionship and sex but was unable to obtain these things for many years. So he took his frustration out on innocent women in the most deadly manner possible. For Sodini, women represented the deep-seated resentment of all the wasted years of his once-promising youth, so he misguidedly selected them as his final target before taking his own life.

    George Sodini was an involuntary celibate.

    Involuntary celibacy is defined as the total lack of intimate sexual intercourse for reasons other than asexuality, purposeful abstinence, or voluntary celibacy. The typical involuntary celibate is a male who has not had any sexual intimacy for years at a time. This situation tends to be vastly underreported since no one readily admits to involuntary celibacy in the break room at work or in the waiting area at the barber shop. But I suspect involuntary celibacy is more common than any of us will ever imagine, especially among socially awkward young and middle-aged men.

    Over time, prolonged involuntary celibacy incites feelings of rejection, frustration, depression and anger at one’s inability to attain the things his peers seem to readily achieve: romance and sexual intimacy. Although the vast majority of involuntarily celibate men will never take lethal action against innocent people through spree shootings like George Sodini did, it would be in society’s best interest to teach good social skills to teenagers to prevent them from becoming socially inept men. After all, the socially inept individual is the one who will typically have the most trouble attracting romantic partners.
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  4. About TheCommuter

    TheCommuter is a moderator of allnurses.com and has varied workplace experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for four years prior to becoming a registered nurse.

    TheCommuter joined Feb '05 - from 'Fort Worth, Texas, USA'. Age: 33 TheCommuter has '8' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'acute rehab, long term care, and psych'. Posts: 26,416 Likes: 36,401; Learn more about TheCommuter by visiting their allnursesPage Website


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    19 Comments so far...

  5. 7
    Do we know anything else about the past medical history of George Sodini? Anything else that might have been a contributing factor? Such as a mental illness, personality disorder, or a developmental disability?

    I'm sure that involuntary celibacy must be frustrating, and I'm sure teaching social skills to those who have a serious lack can be helpful. But like Commuter I don't think that the vast majority of people who are involuntarily celibate will commit violence. Which suggests to me it might be more important to focus on what the triggering mechanism is those rare cases that do involve violence.

    My concern is that by suggesting that involuntary celibacy is a cause for violence, we may be in danger of stereotyping those who are not presently sexually active as potentially violent. And that we may be giving an exaggerated importance to the need for sexual activity, something I believe is already over-promoted in today's society
    NutmeggeRN, vintagemother, OCNRN63, and 4 others like this.
  6. 3
    Quote from Joe NightingMale
    Do we know anything else about the past medical history of George Sodini? Anything else that might have been a contributing factor? Such as a mental illness, personality disorder, or a developmental disability?
    There was no evidence that George Sodini was mentally ill or had a personality disorder. However, several prominent people in the psychology field have dissected his blog posts and noted hints and clues of narcissistic tendencies, but that's about it.

    Once psychiatrist put it this way: "He had all of the pieces for a successful relationship, but those pieces were not arranged properly."

    In addition, he was a 48-year-old man who was focused on attracting very pretty women in their 20s. He had no awareness that these young women might be out of his league and wondered why they kept rejecting him. He definitely would have found a girlfriend if he had focused on average-looking women in his own age range, mid-to-late 40s. However, to him, the only desirable women were young, thin and hot.
  7. 6
    They guy's problem was that the particular women he wanted wouldn't have sex with him. Poor baby. Ryan Gosling hasn't knocked on my bedroom door, but that's not a disorder/syndrome/whatever this "incel" is claiming to be.
    fetch, GrnTea, imintrouble, and 3 others like this.
  8. 6
    While I don't condone prostitution, there is a reason why is it called the world's oldest profession.
  9. 3
    Quote from Joe NightingMale
    Do we know anything else about the past medical history of George Sodini? Anything else that might have been a contributing factor? Such as a mental illness, personality disorder, or a developmental disability?

    I'm sure that involuntary celibacy must be frustrating, and I'm sure teaching social skills to those who have a serious lack can be helpful. But like Commuter I don't think that the vast majority of people who are involuntarily celibate will commit violence. Which suggests to me it might be more important to focus on what the triggering mechanism is those rare cases that do involve violence.

    My concern is that by suggesting that involuntary celibacy is a cause for violence, we may be in danger of stereotyping those who are not presently sexually active as potentially violent. And that we may be giving an exaggerated importance to the need for sexual activity, something I believe is already over-promoted in today's society
    The mentally ill are tarred with that same brush all the time. Indeed, your first comment was to wonder if the man had psychiatric problems. May I suggest that we try to avoid stereotypes of all kinds, please?
    sharpeimom, imintrouble, and OCNRN63 like this.
  10. 2
    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    The mentally ill are tarred with that same brush all the time. Indeed, your first comment was to wonder if the man had psychiatric problems. May I suggest that we try to avoid stereotypes of all kinds, please?
    Ah, you're right! While he very well may have had mental health problems, why did the fact he was violent make me leap to that conclusion?

    It's so easy to jump to conclusions.
    imintrouble and VivaLasViejas like this.
  11. 2
    Quote from tntrn
    While I don't condone prostitution, there is a reason why is it called the world's oldest profession.
    Very, very true.

    However, I don't think a prostitute would have been able to fulfill his long-term needs for a real relationship and true companionship. In his heart and mind, he would have known that the prostitute was only hanging around him just to get paid.

    Many men in his situation resort to marrying mail-order brides from poor countries.
    Spangle Brown and 11RN like this.
  12. 5
    Quote from tntrn
    While I don't condone prostitution, there is a reason why is it called the world's oldest profession.
    Quote from TheCommuter
    Many men in his situation resort to marrying mail-order brides from poor countries.
    Because it would be crazy for these men to look at themselves and work to make themselves a more attractive partner.
  13. 3
    Oh dear, what an awful story.

    I do think the murderer in this case had a sense of entitlement and obviously some very unrealistic expectations in who he thought his mate should be. Surely that should be coupled with the involuntary celibacy as a factor? There seems to be some consensus that this man had narcissistic tendencies.

    I read this after, gosh I don't know which mass shooting now;

    Why Most Mass Murderers Are Privileged White Men

    Perhaps the greatest asset that unearned privilege conveys is the sense that public spaces “belong” to you. If you are—like James Holmes last week, or Charles Whitman, who killed 16 people on the University of Texas, Austin campus in 1966—an American-born, college-educated white man from a prosperous family, you don’t have a sense that any place worth being is off-limits to the likes of you. White men from upper middle-class backgrounds expect to be both welcomed and heard wherever they go. When that sense of entitlement gets frustrated, as it can for a host of complex psychological reasons, it is those same hyper-privileged men who are the most likely to react with violent, rage-filled indignation. For white male murderers from “nice” families, the fact that they chose public spaces like schools, university campuses, or movie theaters as their targets suggests that they saw these places as legitimately theirs.

    He did seem to think he was entitled to go into salsa dance class and shoot women that he'd never even met.

    Unfortunately there are lot of people who can never find the right man/woman. If they're people you know then often you can see why they haven't been able to find the right partner.

    Anyhow, in this case though I can see that the celibacy could well have been a factor, it certainly wasn't the only one.
    fetch, SoldierNurse22, and TheCommuter like this.


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