Angry losers who can’t get laid.

What do Islamic extremists, alt-Right adherents and the Incel movement have in common? Many people might say “nothing,” but the truth is that for all their differences when it comes to socio-economic, cultural and ethnic identity, these almost exclusively all-male groups all share at their core the same misfortune: they cannot get laid. The inability to find sexual relief in turn fuels their regressive views of the social order and penchant for authoritarian governance because rather than fault themselves they blame others for their predicament, whether the others be infidels, “libtards” or women.

Of course, not every single jihadist or white supremacist is involuntarily celibate. Socio-economic and cultural conditions clearly factor into the extremist equation. But underlying all of that is sexual frustration expressed as sociopathic rage and, in many cases, violent to the point of homicidal tendencies. In some cultures, religiously-codified sexual repression produce a seething mass of angry young men unable to make basic connection with the opposite sex and/or drive them, at considerable peril, into closeted relations with other men. In other instances it is the inability to fit into the sexual mainstream (i.e. get a date) that drives individuals to extremism.

In previous years these social losers would by and large retreat into mastubatory isolation. Now, easy access to porn and the networking reach of social media allow them to feed off of each other’s misery and accelerate their descent into darkness. It allows them to mutually sharpen their objectification and contempt for those who would not have them. That makes them susceptible to manipulative explanations that their plight is the fault of others rather than themselves.

I say this because I have seen a fair bit of pop psychologising about terrorists but relatively little about other angry male sub-strata. When news broke of a Canadian incel running down people with a van in Toronto, it dawned on me that a common thread amongst virtually all male extremists is sexual frustration and rage. Again, this is not to claim that the trait is universal or that it is exclusive to Right wing militants, but there is enough evidence of it to suggest a pattern. So here is my pop psychology theory (which I shall call the “Psychosexual Theory of Extremism” in order to make it sound serious and give the impression that it is based on years of in-depth research): most Rightwing extremism has at its core a deeply rooted sexual origin, specifically manifest as sexual frustration translated into manipulable rage.

I am not sure which is worse, culture where sexual oppression is religiously condoned and institutionalised, or culture where sexual expression is by and large free but vacuous materialism and impossible to achieve post-modern notions of physical and social appeal combine in practice to limit carnal choices by the socially maladjusted or inept. And, whereas women tend to respond to feelings of social alienation by turning on themselves, men are more prone to act out their anger and frustration on others (I realise that I am generalising here so am happy to stand corrected).

Nothing I have said is new. The role of suppressed sexual desire in fostering rage that can be politically exploited is bound to be a constant in psychological studies of individual and collective violence. In fact, back in my days of working with unconventional warfare and counter-insurgency types, the joke was that many on the Left side of the extremist continuum joined in order to get laid (by other impressionable young militants) while those on the Right did so because they could not get laid even if their lives depended on it. That could well still be true.

Even so, it was my introduction to the incel crowd thanks to coverage of the Toronto murders and a conversation with an academic who thinks about such matters about the degree of misogyny and murderous anger expressed in incel circles that made me twig on the fact that they may well overlap with Alt-Right freaks and jihadi wanna-be’s much more than has been commonly acknowledged. Perhaps readers can illuminate me as to who has written in depth on the subject if that indeed is the case.

I cannot offer a remedy to the problem of sexual frustration leading towards violent extremism because the causal mechanisms are not simple and the remedies are not just a matter of finding girlfriends, boyfriends, prostitutes, spouses or partners. I do not know how to properly “channel”  the sexual rage of politically and socially reactionary angry males. So if anyone has ideas in this regard, feel free to share them because anything short of electroshock or forced conversion therapy that reduces the chances of such types going off the rails is worth trying.

In the meantime, beware the wrath of the blue-balled monsters.

10 thoughts on “Angry losers who can’t get laid.

  1. Interesting..
    I think it runs a lot deeper than sexual drive on its own.
    Masturbation obviously is not enough to quell the killer imperative.
    Not attracting enough favourable (adulatory) attention seems to be the weak link. “Look at ME!” is the driver.
    Who dominates our media, a melange of “stars”. We are nothing but screaming primates. Its what we are.

  2. I’m not sure this is true about Islamic extremists. Many of them seem to be married, and presumably that brings with it access to sex.

  3. Almost all violence can be traced to males aged 15 to 35. I think you could pick many other groups that gather men of these ages and find similar levels of violence; I would not be so quick to jump to sexual frustration as a primary cause. I would look more generally to gaining and maintaining status as a more general primary driver.

  4. Erewhon: I could be wrong, but the number of jihadists who are married is a small percentage of the total, and many if not most of them are not in combat or terrorist roles. I shall refrain from speculating of the quality of marital sex in jihadist households.

    James: It is true that most violence is undertaken by males for all of the well-known reasons, but since not all males are violent (one can argue that most are not), then the point of my (pseudo) theory remains valid: it is those males who are sexually frustrated who are more prone to violence.

    It gets a little trickier to distinguish between criminal violence and ideologically motivated violence, but since both are in a sense extremist forms of violent expression, one can argue that the root of both is psychosexual. Heck, when one looks at the ritualised violence involved in such sports as rugby, League, Ozzie rules, US football and assorted other contact sports, one can find psychosexual aspects to them as well!

    I should note two other things. First, is not military boot camp and operational deployments a form of involuntary celibacy upon which is superimposed the training in and employment of organised violence? Could it be that the forced imposition of celibacy makes for better soldiers? If so, then is it not possible that violent extremists share the same trait?

    Secondly, in the military dictatorships in Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s there was a significant degree of sexual sadism utilised by the torturers and murderers of the (Right wing) regimes. This was particularly the case in Argentina (where it was considered a dark art form by the military) and Central America. The grotesque displays of and pleasure taken in engaging in such behaviour could only have come from a shared psychological disposition amongst the perpetrators, something that went beyond military training and pre-military socialisation. I would argue that this also was a manifestation of deeply ingrained sexual rage. But since I am not a psychologist I shall leave this as my uninformed speculation rather than a definitive diagnosis of the syndrome.

  5. Frank Herbert agrees with you:

    “You could drag humankind almost anywhere by manipulating the enormous energies of procreation. You could goad humans into actions they would never have believed possible. …This energy must have an outlet. Bottle it up and it becomes monstrously dangerous. Redirect it and it will sweep over anything in its path. This is an ultimate secret of all religions.”

    Heretics of Dune (1984)

  6. Actually hunger/thirst are more powerful drivers than sex. We will definitely kill for food and water.

  7. Peter:

    True, but my focus was on those who join violent extremist groups. The Incel reference is pretty explicit in that regard. You may have noted that the kid who killed ten in Texas the other day was precipitated by rejection by a girl he had a crush on carried out against a backdrop of his identifying with rightwing gun freaks.

  8. Zeesh! That appears to bring me back to the “look at me” screaming primate I started with.
    A recent screaming primate connecting holiness with homophobia in Australian rugby league comes to mind, as do
    Jihadists screaming “death to the infidel”.
    Both use religion to boost their status and thus hide their own sense of inadequacy, also ensuring any survivors are not going to question them.
    Right wing gun freaks appear to hide their phallic insecurity behind some vague constitutional edict.
    Rejected teenage hopeful lovers with a morbid interest in (I think) the Columbine massacre are capable of anything. I understand he was something of a loner and a victim of some bullying, chuck rampant hormones into the mix and explosions are very likely.

    The incel people literally have their relief in their own hands, or at least the local brothel.

    In all cases we have insecure isolated (in some cases self isolated) people using external belief systems to excuse and justify their murderous behaviour.

  9. Postscript rethink. (I’ve just had a reflective wine.)
    There is nothing incompatible with your musings and mine.
    Voila! We are both right.

    That is a conclusion that no jihadist, NRA fetishist, incelist or tormented teenager could come to.

    I think I might have another wine.
    Cheers, hope the hip recovers quickly.

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