Incels And Male Virginity: Why Are We Pathologizing Social Awkwardness?
We should be encouraging young men, not labeling them.
In past Evie writings, I’ve touched on female incels, the extremities of incel murderers, and society’s view on sexual abstinence. But with this, I’m often left to ask why such concerns exist? Is being an “incel” really a matter of concern? And is it not wrong for us to place such labels on young men simply because they can’t acquire sex?
Virgin Shaming Among Men
It’s absolutely no secret that you will face scrutiny as a male if you’re a virgin, even in your mid-to-late teens. Virginity shaming among men is unnecessarily common, and it lies within a cold double standard that we rarely talk about. Though virginity shaming in women is common, it’s a hundred times more frequent in male groups. Women can spend much of their lives “saving their virginity for the right man” and be viewed as sweet and wholesome beings, whereas when a guy does it, he’s far more likely to be labeled a “loser” by his peers.
When a guy saves his virginity for the right woman, he’s far more likely to be labeled a loser.
Strangely enough, this culture of virginity shaming in males is rife in conservative circles too (as many lonely peers have confided to me), only further representative of how expansive the issue is. Unfortunately, this is to be expected. For centuries before now, much of the time women were expected to stay “pure” while men were encouraged to “spread their seed,” so some would contend that these ideals and expectations are to be expected. Regardless, this is something society should have grown past a long time ago. It’s not “sad” to be a male virgin – it’s healthy and perfectly normal.
As I’ve said before, men can never really win. To make matters worse, we now have men in their late teens thinking they’re “incels” purely because they have yet to experience sexual intimacy, when really, they’re just late bloomers. We all develop at different stages, so this should not be the “shock horror” situation it is now seen as. And, even if the virginity debacle was about development, engaging in sexual activity isn’t necessarily a positive influence on how “mature” or “manly” you are as a person. Rather, wouldn’t maturity be displayed more in someone who is careful with sex rather than careless with it?
Wouldn’t maturity be displayed more in someone who is careful with sex rather than careless with it?
To pathologize the lack of sexual activity only increases the pressure on men to engage in such behaviors and, while I’d be silly to assume young men have no sex drive and feel naturally inclined to stray away from sex, why would we add on pressure and guilt-discussion to something already so personal and private? It would be wrong to shame women for their sexual activity; the same standard and expectations of respect should be held towards males too.
Social Awkwardness Isn't the Worst Thing in the World
Social awkwardness isn’t an entirely bad thing, in fact, psychologists have argued that it can be quite handy. Well… that’s just one example, but social awkwardness is generally nothing to be too distressed over, especially in your youth. Plus, those who are shyer in their adolescence tend to grow out of it further into their adulthood.
Most people in their teens and early twenties can be a little “geeky” or “nerdy” – there’s nothing abnormal about it. We don’t want to isolate men from society based on them having these traits – that’s how “incel” culture starts. By allowing men to face a little bit of scrutiny or societal rejection, we’re now in a sticky situation in which they turn to subcultures to bury and manifest these feelings of sorrow, oftentimes causing them to reach out to echo chambers of people in the same hole and believe there's no way out.
We don’t want men to feel like their love lives are “failures” when their actual lives have barely begun.
We don’t want men to feel like their love lives are “failures” when their actual lives have barely begun. Giving negative labels to issues that are perfectly normal creates a further culture of self-pity and anti-socialness. Too many of us pick up and diagnose ourselves with the extremities, not spending enough time in the real world or discussing these issues with regular people who can guide us or offer deeper wisdom.
Men should not be led to believe they have “failed at life” before it has even begun. These concerns over virginity and relationships in youth should not lead to an “end-all” mindset – this way of thinking is only self-destructive and debilitating.
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