As tragic as the Toronto van attack was, I can’t help but feel that the perpetrator was not the sole conduit for this violence. I’m usually one to lay responsibility at the perpetrators feet, but I think this incident and the motive behind it was a little different from your usual hit and run murder sprees. The perpetrator, 25 year old Alek Minassian, was a self-described incel: an involuntary celibate for those unfamiliar with Reddit lingo. His frustration, his rage stemmed from the simple fact that he had not had sex yet. Whatever else he had going on in his life he threw away over a lack of sex. Now maybe he didn’t have much. Maybe he had other issues that caused him to crack, but you have to ask yourself what would cause him to place so much value on this one thing that he thought he was a failure without it. I’m not just talking about Alek Minassian, but all self-described ‘incels’ who’d be willing to throw their whole lives away for temporary pleasure. I don’t think they arrived at this conclusion by themselves. I don’t think Alek Minassian and other incels came to value sex over every other pleasure imaginable. Some people will say it’s just evolution, but I don’t think that’s quite accurate. Sex might be the only metric of success for lower animals like dogs and rodents, but humans are a lot more complex. Our needs extend beyond basic physiological functions and with fertility rates declining below replacement level, reproduction isn’t really that relevant anymore. I thinks it’s a socio-cultural problem. Society has put this thing on a pedestal and attached more significance than what it’s really worth. It has created a stigma for those who go without it and attached all kinds of unwarranted assumptions about their character. If society didn’t stigmatize ‘virginity’, a construct it made up whole cloth,would these men feel the same frustration and anxiety that they do now? If society tolerated ‘virgins’ or was at least indifferent to them, would they feel the same pain? Or would they feel more free to be open about who they truly are? Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think a lack of sexual intimacy is the only problem that incels have. I do think these people have serious character flaws and it’s reflected in the way they handle their problems. Maybe some of them also have personality disorders, although as a non-physiatrist I can’t confirm this. But they wouldn’t hyperfocus on this one thing if it weren’t for the prodding of society to ‘get laid’ and your a weirdo if you don’t.
For everyone with hangups over being a ‘virgin’ just know that:
- There’s no such thing as male virginity. It is a social construct with no medical or scientific validity
- Your self-worth does not depend on female validation. Celibacy is nothing to be ashamed of; find what makes you happy instead of always trying to fit in.
- Your sex drive has other outlets for expression besides the physical one. Our ideas and intuitions come from the same creative energy.