Monday, 7 May 2018

?ncels

For a few weeks now, I've been resisting wading into the "incels" debate, because I've felt like I have nothing to say about it. I'd leave commenting to the more woke people and try not to make an arse about of myself reflecting on something I know very little about. But then, I tweeted about this earlier today, and it's something that could be explored further using a blog post.

So here we go.

It's no secret that I was - if you want to put it this way - "involuntarily celibate" for years. I'd been sexually active for a year and a half with my first girlfriend, and as far as I was aware, she was the only person I was ever going to have sex with. This ended, predictably, at the start of my first year at university, when it turned out that I wasn't the only person she was having sex with; I worked this out weeks before she told me, and didn't do anything (other than crying) about it. She ended the relationship and I had a miserable Christmas that ended up with me in the A&E of a mental health ward.

I suddenly found myself single, cast adrift at a university where everyone knew me as having a girlfriend, and not attractive enough to even consider sleeping with. Fate and Money got me, briefly, to Africa to visit my millionaire friend who was feeling sorry for me. I did have sex with her, actually, but I'll still maintain it was Rebecca telling me to that was the catalyst (also, Louise didn't tend to wear many clothes, which helped). For the next three years, though, there was nothing - I couldn't get a girlfriend, had no idea how to initiate casual sex, and dating sites and hookup apps were still unheard of back then. There's only so much soliciting to be done with a green-LCD Nokia.

It wasn't until the late December after I'd finished my first degree - seven months out and in temporary employment that I disliked - that I had sex again (this time with Alicia, also a friend who I met online), and was relieved to find that I still knew how to do it, and according to her, to do it well. A year later, I realised that in order to have a healthier, more fulfilling sex life I would have to be more open about my sexuality, which led to me to starting up this blog. And that's why you're reading this now.

As of this moment, I'm lucky enough to be grateful for all eight people I've had sex with - nine if you count gratification without intercourse. Twelve if you count kisses, which I don't. But, while I still consider myself fortunate insofar as having had... any sex at all, really... I don't think I've ever, ever, ever thought of myself as being entitled to any sex. And most definitely not because of my gender.

And that's why I haven't been talking about incels. The whole concept confuses me.

I didn't particularly enjoy being single and I didn't really enjoy not having sex. But - specifically while away from home at university first time around - I used the time to explore myself sexually. I masturbated a lot like a dirty scamp, but I also got used to my body, developing an understanding of what I did and didn't like. I listened to what my brain was telling me and attuned myself to what stimuli I appreciated, and what I didn't. I started buying stuff off Amazon and eBay which I knew I'd like, and discovered more along the way. By the time I had sex with Alicia, I was comfortable enough with my sexual identity.

Don't know about you, but I count that as a valuable way to spend three years of involuntary celibacy.

Then there's the idea of sex being a commodity to be shared equally between the populace. This is also an idea that confuses me, as I've always seen sex as an act between one, two or more people. For some people, though, sex is also their livelihood, and that also confuses me, because if you are so desperate for sex, why not visit a sex worker? I appreciate the rates can be expensive, and it's not always obvious to know where to find one, but with the internet at your disposal, it's really not hard.

And then there's the fact that this whole thing is incredibly gender binary, and entirely heteronormative. Where do LGBTQIA+ people come into this, or do they just not exist? I understand that some people are homophobic, but complete erasure? Is that even a thing?

And then there's the idea that, if I have it right, some people have suggested - actually demanding some sort of government-supported scheme to have women (it's only women; there's no provision here for single straight girls who are also looking for sex) 'share' the sex that apparently they have the secret codes to across the incel male community. That sounds like a dystopia, or maybe one of those parody Twitter accounts. Surely... surely... it's not a real idea? Surely?

And this is why I haven't been talking about incels. I've been in that situation myself and I still don't understand it. The way I see it is that, if you are a single person who is not having sex, you have several options:

(i) come to terms with your sexual identity, and enjoy yourself
(ii) visit a sex worker
(iii) join a dating site, adult dating site, or hookup app
(iv) leave an ad on Craigslist; I know their personals section has gone, but there are still plenty of ways to get a connection there if you want
(v) don't be a dick

or

(vi) just wait; something will happen eventually

And, put like that, it just seems so mind-bogglingly simple. That's what sex is itself - it doesn't need to be complicated. Sure, if you're a very angry, horny, rich white cisgender heterosexual male, then you may have been told that sex is a commodity to which you have a right. But anyone with more than a single brain cell should know otherwise, almost instinctively! Why is this so hard to grasp?

But then I suppose I have answered my own question. I've just written approximately 1,100 words about this topic and it's incredibly unlikely to change anything.

I still don't understand, and I suppose I never will.

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