Sexual revolution caused incels hypothesis

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This is, of course, a favorite argument of the manosphere. That the evil sexual revolution [...] has left low status men without vaginas

The idea that the sexual revolution caused involuntary celibates is a discredited sociological hypothesis, initially promoted by Michel Houellebecq and Roger Devlin, and then later by Jordan Peterson, Angela Nagle, Edward Dutton, Ross Douthat, and various other traditional conservatives.

The theory states that there were initially almost none, or at least considerably fewer incels before feminism and the sexual revolution than there are today, due to stricter marriage/divorce laws, contraceptive use not being legal in some places, and less female promiscuity. Secondly, it further maintains that the sexual revolution specifically caused an increase in incels by expanding women's rights.[2][3][4] This would imply that men faced increased celibacy before the various conservative backlashes to the sexual revolution.

Concepts such as a "Flower Power Tax"[5] and "enforced monogamy"[6][7] have been proposed by the people who have formulated this absurd line of thinking.

Why this logic fails[edit]

Not a single one of the theory's proponents bring up any statistics to substantiate their claim. Angela Nagle, for instance, refuses to provide statistics when asked, instead just insisting that it's "logic". (Which is convenient for those who subscribe to this theory, as statistics on marriage, celibacy, as well as premarital sex customs, suggest that it is incorrect.)

Marriage stats from before the sexual revolution show more inceldom[edit]

During the 1850s for example, when only around three out of every 1000 couples were divorced, 77% of men below age 25 were unmarried in the Southern United States, which then dropped to about 68% in 1870.[8] So there were probably a lot of incels back when monogamy was allegedly “enforced”, given premarital sex was highly discouraged in those days.

So right off the bat, there were tons of incels before the sexual revolution, completely taking the bottom out of this theory. Most people got married in their 30s back then, just as they do today.

Marriage mostly started declining during the conservative Reagan era and not the hippie or sexual revolution decades,[9] now with 79% of men never married by age 25.[10] (And that one probably never shows up in antifeminist rants.) However, pre-marital sex is also more common today. So while the sexual revolution probably increased the number of young unmarried men, those who advocate this theory must also prove it also translated to increased celibacy before conservative sexual mores were put into place in the 1980s, such as abstinence education and fearmongering of sex, due to the burden of proof.

Ok, but did the sexual revolution worsen inceldom?[edit]

According to statistics, probably not for the demographic that complains about inceldom the most at least. Again one would have to look at celibacy statistics prior to 2008, as the only statistics showing an increase in celibacy are correlated to the 2008 financial crisis specifically.

Only around 10%-13% of men between 18-30 reported celibacy in individual years in the mid 2010s,[11] and given around 77% of that same demographic was unmarried prior to the sexual revolution and were forbidden from pre-marital sex, it stands to reason there were fewer young incels in the mid 2010s than than before the sexual revolution. And the vast majority of self-described incels today, who complain about it, are young.

It was only after the 2008 financial crisis that we know young male celibacy started rising, and tripled to 28% during 2008-2019.[11] You would think therefore that most self-described incels would be socialist or at least redistributivist, but they don't look at statistics or narratives outside of their echo chamber and are obsessed with traditional conservatism to a point it clouds their ability to see the real world as it is.

Class and hypergamy[edit]

Proponents of this theory also often maintain that the sexual revolution has caused women to marry above their social class more than before the sexual revolution. This is demonstratably false; studies by the Bonn Institute for the Study of Labor point to the contrary, showing that people have generally married more- not less- within their class since the 1960s.[12] Again, incels never cite statistics like this in their reactionary rants about how "feminism bad, feminism misandristic!!1!!!11!"

Background ideological falsehoods[edit]

The sexual revolution caused incels hypothesis is a central tenant of the modern "blackpill" internet philosophy and traditional conservatism in general.

Followers of these schools of thought believe in a delusional "good ol' days". In their ideal, "trad society", Western women are second class citizens and low status men, "win sexual capital", through patriarchy and forced marriages. This is a mostly false conception of the past, as (mostly male) paupers were over 20% of the population in traditional societies due to the male patriarchs themselves, and were also forbidden from marriage due to the male patriarchs themselves.[13] The traditionalist conservative obsession with forced marriages is partly informed by debunked evolutionary psychology theories. One such debunked evopsych theory is, "strategic pluralism", which states that sexually liberated women naturally will only consider average men for their resources, and also very late in their lives.


Here are some quotes of people asserting this false theory. They are all traditional conservatives or far-right-wing, which is not at all a coincidence.

The French author Michel Houellebecq:

Just like unrestrained economic liberalism, and for similar reasons, sexual liberalism produces phenomena of absolute pauperization. Some men make love every day; others five or six times in their life, or never. Some make love with dozens of women; others with none. It's what's known as `the law of the market'. In an economic system where unfair dismissal is prohibited, every person more or less manages to find their place. In a sexual system where adultery is prohibited, every person more or less manages to find their bed mate. In a totally liberal sexual system certain people have a varied and exciting erotic life; others are reduced to masturbation and solitude. Economic liberalism is an extension of the domain of the struggle, its extension to all ages and all classes of society. Sexual liberalism is likewise an extension of the domain of the struggle, its extension to all ages and all classes of society. […] Certain people win on both levels; others lose on both.

The columnist Ross Douthat:

The sexual revolution created new winners and losers, new hierarchies to replace the old ones, privileging the beautiful and rich and socially adept in new ways and relegating others to new forms of loneliness and frustration.

The conservative Marxist Angela Nagle:

Sexual patterns that have emerged as a result of the decline of monogamy have seen a greater level of sexual choice for an elite of men and growing celibacy among a large male population at the bottom of the pecking order.

The white supremacist Roger Devlin:

The sexual revolution in America was an attempt by women to realize their own utopia, not that of men. […] I suggest that today’s bachelors are hardly different from men who, before the sexual revolution, married young and raised families.

The anthropologist and alt-righter Edward Dutton:[14]

In an ecology like this where you have reliable contraception, people don't want to invest in nurture, they don't want children, they are r selected, they just want sex. So you get these kinds of women, they are r selected, and they want lots of sex, and they want sex to a great extent with high status men, and then they have sex with high status men. These men will have sex with lots of women, and then you're going to get these men that no one wants to have sex with, and so she doesn't. And so you end up in a situation where you get lots and lots of men no women want to have sex with, and a small number of men that lots of women want to have sex with, and they do. And the reason they get away with that is the culture which made it totally socially acceptable, so that's where I think incels come from, that's why we have a rise in incels, because we have a lack of regulation of female sexuality, with the breakdown of patriarchy and the breakdown of monogamy

See also[edit]


  8. David Hacker, Libra Hilde, and James Holland Jones (Dec 15, 2010). The Effect of the Civil War on Southern Marriage Patterns. Journal of Southern History. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  9. Randy Olson. 144 years of marriage and divorce in the U.S. CDC NCHS. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  10. Nathan Yau. Percentage of People Who Married, Given Your Age FlowingData. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Christopher Inghram (March 29, 2019). The Share of Americans not Having Sex Has Reached a Record High Washington Post. Retrieved September 25th, 2020.
  12. Jeremy Greenwood, Nezih Guner, Georgi Kocharkov, Cezar Santos (January 2014). [ Marry Your Like: Assortative Mating and Income Inequality] Bonn Institute for the Study of Labor. Retrieved September 29th 2020
  14. Edward Dutton (September 10th 2020) Robert Stark interviews Ed Dutton: The Jolly Heretic. 33:30. The Stark Truth With Robert Stark. Retreived September, 25th 2020