Posts Tagged involuntary celibacy

The other side of the sexual spectrum

Saturday, January 12th, 2013 | Permalink

A few months ago, the topic of involuntary celibacy was brought up to me and a blog was requested. I really do appreciate requests, especially of this nature! I haven’t come across much research, or even definitions, of involuntary celibacy, so needless to say, I’ve been doing some research and reading up on the topic for a much needed blog on the little known topic of “Incel”.

I initially thought involuntary celibacy was like asexuality, so I decided to brush up on the basics of asexuality before dividing into the Incel world.

As asexuality.org explains, asexuality describes a person or people who do not experience sexual attraction. They experience emotion and can have typical intimate relationships but sexual attraction to others is not there. Where sexual abstinence and celibacy (differing from “involuntary” celibacy) are choices, involuntary celibacy – much like the name suggests-  as well as asexuality, are not choices.  Asexuality is more of an identity thing.

After summing up my research on the two topics, and in my opinion, it seems like asexuality is more a physical thing whereas involuntary celibacy is a psychosocial concern. More often than not, research suggests that those suffering from involuntary celibacy have symptoms or causes bigger than the Incel: depression, anxiety, stress, and so on.

Put simply, involuntary celibacy is the state of a person who hasn’t had intimate relationships, sex or sexual intercourse for reasons other than voluntary celibacy or sexual abstinence. These individuals want to have sex but for varying reasons cannot. These reasons seem to be social in nature.

Now it is necessary to be aware of this definition in the context of individuals at an appropriate age for sex. For example, I don’t think it is valid to consider a 14 year old involuntarily celibate. Insert Sarahism: “Bitch please! What 14 year old is having sex?! Girl, you know what sex is?! When I was 14, boys had cooties!” 

Also, a “dry spell” and involuntary celibacy are not the same. If you ain’t got mojo for a week or a month, it’s entirely normal. Maybe you are super stressed at work. Maybe your boyfriend has a moustache that he refuses to shave even after you’ve reminded him that Movember ended 5 months ago… *pause* … Just sayin’.

In all seriousness though, involuntary celibacy implies a lack of intimate physical connection for a long period of time – years, sometimes decades.

It is hard to decipher why one is involuntarily celibate, but as I stated above, it is more often than not due to a deeper psychological or social reason. Some researchers state that individuals may be fearful of sex while others suggest a strong link between lack of sex and depression. In a psychological session, it is imperative to look beyond the physical act of sex to pinpoint what the symptoms could be or if sex itself is only a symptom to a bigger cause…? It’s possible.

 

It is difficult for individuals with involuntary celibacy because there is such a strong cultural expectation surrounding sex! Hell, these days with media overpowering the universe, it is expected that one will have sex in their 20’s let alone 30’s and 40’s! With shows such as Jersey Shore and Gossip Girl (guilty pleasures for the win) skyrocketing in popularity, especially in the Western world, people may feel the need to label sex as the norm and virginity, celibacy, abstinence or involuntary celibacy as abnormal. Really… who’s to say what’s normal? Fun fact: I watch both of these shows. Embarrassed? Bitch please, I love a terrible reality show and a delicious teen soap! I’ll own it. 

There is a common misconception that Incels (this, I believe, stands for involuntary celibates, describing individuals who define themselves as having involuntary celibacy) want to be without intimate relationships and sex. They want nothing to do with intimate relationships and physical connection with others. Not the case! Some Incels feel like they are behind in the dating game. At an advanced age when typically the normal picture of a dating scene has adults from teens to late 20’s, people with involuntary celibacy may feel like they don’t know how to “court” if you will, or don’t know how to “lose one’s virginity” at a later age. Girl, who cares about your age! There’s no rule that states one must lose their virginity at a certain age!

 

I still don’t know too much about involuntary celibacy. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of research out there. I did find a couple of websites and resources which I will post at the end of this article for anyone who is interested in learning more about these interesting topics.

I think the answer is awareness, comprehensive information, and an openness to either sex therapy or general therapy. Talking about issues helps them become and feel more “normal”. Again, I have no authority on stating what is “normal”, but I think you readers catch my drift. Reflection on one’s sex life and values may help the sufferer to explore why he or she might be feeling a certain way towards sex. Also, taking in different viewpoints on sex could help with a comprehensive overview of different sexualities and different sexual dysfunctions, making the sufferer feel at ease to know there are others out there who are dealing with sexual issues.
I’m currently dealing with a sexual issue: Joseph Gordon-Levitt or Emile Hirsch topless as my desktop photo?? 

 

Here are some sites that are a lot more helpful than I am. I just wanted to raise the issue and bring some light to a very important sexual issue. I hope you enjoyed the read.

Asexuality: http://www.asexuality.org/en/forum/5-asexual-qa/
Involuntary celibacy: http://www.involuntarycelibacy.com/
Incel forums (I always think people with firsthand experiences are the best resource!): http://incel.myonlineplace.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?s=1f21a8c983a40463b8e12e58fa3213bf&f=6
Sex isn’t everything… true, An interesting read: http://men.webmd.com/features/sexless-in-the-city?page=3

Stay safe, sexually speaking.

The Sarah