Involuntary celibacy

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Involuntary celibacy or inceldom[1] means being unable to get sex or a romantic partner. An incel or incelibate[2][3] is a person who is in this situation. Female incels are sometimes called femcels.[4] Homosexual incels are sometimes called gaycels.[5] Transgender people going through inceldom are called transcels.[6]

Discussions on the incelosphere (incel websites) are mostly by heterosexual males. But female incels and gay incels also exist.[7] Incels, especially male incels, are often misogynistic and seem to feel a sense of entitlement to sex, with some supporting arranged marriage.[8] Some incels even support violence against women, such as rape, and violence against romantically successful men (some of which are often refered to as "Chads"), who are resented[8].The Southern Poverty Law Center has described the subculture as "part of the online male supremacist ecosystem",[9] and says self-described incels have committed several mass murders in North America.

The word "incel" was invented in 1993 by a college student 'Alana' from Toronto, Ontario. She made a website to discuss her sexual inactivity with others.[10][11] The website, titled "Alana's Involuntary Celibacy Project",[12] was used by people of all genders to share posts about the topic. During her college career and after, she realized she was queer, and became more comfortable with her identity. She later gave the site to a stranger. After reading about the 2014 Isla Vista killings, she wrote, "Like a scientist who invented something that ended up being a weapon of war, I can't uninvent this word, nor restrict it to the nicer people who need it".[13] Another notable incel was Christine Chubbuck. She committed suicide on live tv in 1974.[14] /r/incels on Reddit was one of the biggest Incel forums. On November 7, 2017, Reddit decided to get rid of it because of their new site rules.

There are many subgroups of incels. For example lesbocels are a subgroup of gaycels meaning lesbian involuntary celibates. Some femcelish lesbians call themselves incelbians. Or for example disabledcels and mentalcels are subsets of inceldom whose involuntary celibacy is caused by them being disabled.[15][16] Femcels who believe that their inceldom condition is permanent call themselves trufemcel or truefemcel.[17] They call the state of being unable to get romance or a partner as femceldom.[18] The largest inceldom-related forum at the turn of the 2020s decade was the subreddit trufemcels, a platform for femcels.[19]

Words used by incels

Chad: A sexually successful man.

Stacy: A sexually active woman who is considered attractive.

Roastie: A woman who had sex with many men.

Black pill: The real or perceived socially unspoken realizations that come from being a longtime incel.


  1. Mezzofiore, Gianluca (April 25, 2018). "The Toronto suspect apparently posted about an 'incel rebellion.' Here's what that means". CNN. Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  2. "Incel: la comunidad misógina que mata por falta de sexo".
  3. Futrelle, David (27 April 2018). "When a Mass Murderer Has a Cult Following". The Cut.
  4. "Forget 'incels', 'femcels' are the new online terror to haunt your dreams". 27 June 2018.
  5. Ehman, Anandi C., and Alan M. Gross. "Sexual cyberbullying: Review, critique, & future directions." Aggression and Violent Behavior (2018).
  8. 8.0 8.1 Wilson, Jason (25 April 2018). "Toronto van attack: Facebook post may link suspect to misogynist 'incel' subculture". the Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. Janik, Rachel. "How incels are celebrating the Toronto mass killing". Hatewatch. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 26 April 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. Schallhorn, Kaitlyn (2018-04-24). "'Incel' sexual frustration 'rebellion' at center of Toronto attack". Fox News. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  11. Ling, Justin; Mahoney, Jill; McGuire, Patrick; Freeze, Colin (April 24, 2018). "The 'incel' community and the dark side of the internet". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  12. Ling, Justin; Mahoney, Jill; McGuire, Patrick; Freeze, Colin (2018-04-24). "The 'incel' community and the dark side of the internet". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  13. Baker, Peter (March 1, 2016). "The Woman Who Accidentally Started the Incel Movement". Elle. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  14. Kansan article [1]
  15. Gothard, Kelly, Peter S. Dodds, and Christopher M. Danforth. "Exploring Incel Language and Subreddit Activity on Reddit."
  16. Moreno Azqueta, Carlos. "Semióticas de la virginidad masculina. Una introducción al análisis de discurso de la comunidad INCEL (Involuntarily Celibate)." (2019).
  18. Ryding, Maja. "Sexuellt marginaliserade män: En tematisk analys av forumet incels. co." (2020).
  19. Farrell, Tracie, et al. "On the use of Jargon and Word Embeddings to Explore Subculture within the Reddit’s Manosphere." WebSci'20 (2020).