Incel Therapy, Bonobo-Style

Come with me down a rabbit hole of hate. It’s a hellish, harrowing, blood-stained journey, but it just might lead to a bonoboësque way of life that is peaceful, egalitarian and sexy.

Last Monday, a single white 25-year-old male drove a van down a busy street in Toronto, veering into a crowd of people, killing 10 and injuring at least 15 more.

At first, no one could fathom the motive. Then the lightning swift clarivoyance of the Internet revealed that minutes before he committed mass murder, “shy techie” Alek Minassian had posted on Facebook:

“Private (Recruit) Minassian Infantry 00010, wishing to speak to Sgt 4chan please. C23249161. The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys! All hail the Supreme Gentleman Elliot Rodger!”

Hunger Games, Killing Fields

Scanning the stilted message, I recognized the name Elliot Rodger, having written a bit about the young, self-promotion-savvy, misogynistic mass murderer shortly after his bloody so-called “day of retribution” on the halcyon streets of Santa Barbara almost four years ago in “Hunger Games, Killing Fields.”

“…another lonely child of Tinseltown… the eldest son of award-winning British-American filmmaker, Peter Rodger, best-known for his work as assistant director of The Hunger Games… The younger Rodger’s internationally broadcast spectacle includes a series of videos, writings and, of course, murders, that reveal him to have been a deeply disturbed, narcissistic, misogynistic, racist, sexually frustrated, creepily-metrosexual, utterly alienated, self-confessed 22-year-old virgin …

‘It’s obviously the work of a madman,’ said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown…

Of course, killing seven people, including yourself, would seem to be the quintessential definition of ‘madness’… And yet, in his chilling, now viral ‘Retribution’ video, he does not act like a wild-eyed, drooling ‘madman,’ but more like a well-spoken actor delivering his soliloquy, detailing his self-obsessed misery as if to future journalists, screenwriters and bloggers whom he imagines will write his story, pouting, preening and adjusting his designer sunglasses as he announces he will soon ‘take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you.’

His pronouncements might seem ridiculous, and certainly pathetic, if they weren’t followed by a real-life rampage that took the lives of six innocent people and wounded several others: ‘Tomorrow is the day of retribution, the day in which I will have my revenge… You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it.’

The terrible truth is that he really did ‘punish (us) all’ by doing something so heinous he got his smug little mug in front of almost as many eyeballs as his dad got with The Hunger Games, maybe more.”

Since I wrote those words in 2014, as mass murders have multiplied, I haven’t thought much more about Rodger. Unfortunately, others have.  A mushrooming movement of “incels” have not only been thinking about this obnoxious young killer with a small penis complex, poring over his videos and manifestos over these four years, they have been avidly worshiping him as a saint or “supreme gentleman” (Rodger’s term for himself as in “why do hot girls always go for big oafs, instead of me, the supreme gentleman?”). To be sure, much of the worship is tinged with deadpan irony. But some, like Minassian, are taking Rodger’s Incel Insurrection to the streets.

The Agony of Involuntary Celibacy

2014 was when I learned that eerie new word “incels”… “involuntary celibates” whom I identified as

“…reluctant virgins (though some may have had sex a few times)… Many of them are profoundly angry with the women inside and outside their lives who haven’t ‘given them a chance,’ from those goddess-like ‘popular girls’ to their eroticized mothers and step-mothers.”

Four years post-Rodger, though most incels remain nonviolent or, at least passive, more and more are militant and a few are willing to take up arms, or drive a van into a crowd of pedestrians, for the “cause,” or just because they feel sorry for themselves. Indeed, they are making their mark as a terrorizing, if not technically “terrorist” group. I call them “frustratos,” especially when their raging and whining about women reaches operatic levels, as it certainly is right about now.

Rodger’s father Peter was appalled to hear that these unsettling incels worship his dead son like a god, and that this latest mass murder was committed in his name. Many share the elder Rodger’s disdain and confusion over such hateful misogynist males. Why are these young men of relative “privilege” (even if they live in their mom’s basement, at least they have moms with basements) lashing out like this—at women and just about anyone—and can we as a society ever reverse this terrorizing trend?

Rodger and Minassian may have been “socially awkward,” but they’ve got plenty of company. Whether or not they know the term, in a way, most modern mass murderers are “incels,” or at least, have serious problems with women. The Marjorie Stoneman High School shooter, the guy who shot up his ex-wife’s mother’s church in Texas, the Orlando nightclub shooter, the Waffle House killer and many more are angry, lonely, often racist young men, all with severe sexual problems. Either they can’t get women, or they beat the ones they get.

Panty Bomber Frustratos

We can say these mass murderers are awful, ignorant, selfish, misogynistic, sick with “toxic masculinity” and unworthy of life, let alone sex, and we wouldn’t be wrong.

But our society, our much-vaunted modern human civilization, has created and propagated these murderous, lonely, angry and horny young men swimming like poisonous sperm in our pond. Here in America, they’re mostly white, but all races, religions and creeds are spawning them these days. Incel or ISIS, mass murderers or suicide bombers (remember the would-be Panty Bomber?), tend to be sexual frustratos, as Osama bin Laden’s semi-secret “Masturbation Fatwa” attests.

If we take their guns away (and we certainly should try to do that), they’ll still have knives and rental vans. They could benefit from a full course of sex therapy, and some of them actually do. Again, looking back to 2014:

“As a sex therapist, I can’t help but wonder, if Elliot Rodger had been my client, could I have helped him? Could I have stopped him? That’s one reason he’s gotten under my skin, because his grievances remind me of some of my clients’ complaints. The Rodger family lawyer says Elliot was seeing ‘multiple therapists,’ but were any of them specifically addressing his sexual problems? Of course, Rodger was an extremely tough case, but sex therapy has helped countless sexual frustratos grapple with their perceived inadequacies, their overblown sense of entitlement and their disturbingly high levels of misogyny.”

But sex therapy and other kinds of sex work are expensive, socially denigrated and often illegal. So much is privatized, corporatized, stigmatized or criminalized these days. Therefore, many of these young frustratos look for guidance from extremist religion, 4chan or their AR-15.

We can denigrate and humiliate the incels of our world for hating hot women (“Stacys” in Incel-speak), sexy guys (“Chads”) and pretty much everyone who isn’t incel (“normies”). We can call them selfish, stupid, boorish, rude, ridiculous, grossly entitled, poorly endowed and just plain horrible and, again, we wouldn’t be wrong.

And with that rather popular approach, we can look forward to more mass murderers penetrating our news cycles with gunfire and ramming their monster trucks into our lives.

No Incels in Bonoboville

We can also consider alternative approaches. One is the Bonobo Way. Bonobos, our closest living great ape relatives, show us how we humans might have been twenty-or-so thousand years ago, before we became so so-called “civilized,” turning land into somebody’s “private property” and sex into a very limited commodity.

Bonobos are the only great apes that have never been seen killing each other in the wild or captivity. They also have a lot of sex.  There are no Incels in Bonoboville.

But this is no Patriarchal Paradise. It’s actually rather matriarchal, with a heavy dose of bisexuality (helping to ensure that everybody “gets some,” one way or another) and female empowerment (that could teach the #MeToo movement a thing or two), and not just among young, fertile females. Milfs rule Bonoboville.

Why do the boys put up with this “femocracy” of the wild? They don’t have AR-15s, but they do have fangs and greater upper body strength. Most single adult male bonobos could easily beat up or kill most single adult females.

There are many reasons why bonobo boys “let” the ladies run the show, but two in particular: 1) The females stick together, and 2) the males get laid. Turns out that good, female-empowered (not female-enslaved) sex does a lot to calm male rage and promote male well-being among great apes like us.

Back to Humanville where, despite using SEXXX to sell everything from toothpaste to cars to guns, we don’t provide for or even help our fellow humans handle their most basic sexual needs. True, we don’t provide for folks’ even more basic need for food (and we should), but at least, we don’t say that hungry people are bad, nor do we criminalize grocery shopping. We do say that horny people are bad, and we criminalize the very solutions that could help.

Most governments around the world hinder our access to good consensual adult sex, including right here at home. The Trumpus might feel comfortable paying women for sex, as Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal can attest, but he also happily signed SESTA/FOSTA, the awful, bipartisan law that purports to stop “sex trafficking” of minors, but really doesn’t help in that worthy pursuit at all. Rather it’s a “racket” that satisfies the religious right and sanctimonious left, while greatly endangering consensual adult sex workers and curtailing free speech on the Internet for all of us.

Oh, that Internet! Many of us thought it would make things better, and at first, it seemed to, but now it looks like the World Wide Web pushes humanity in directions as destructive of life on Earth as most human technological “progress” has ultimately been (with a few significant exceptions, like vaccines and vibrators).

Of course, the incels are utterly, disgustingly wrong when they say that women “owe” men sex. But we as a society do owe our fellow humans the right to engage in consensual adult sexual expression in whatever ways we can.

Peace through Pleasure, Not War for Profit

Back to our kissing cousins, the bonobos. If we really want a more peaceful society like so many say we do, we need to make like bonobos, not baboons. The incel insurrection, noxious and toxic as it is, can only be quelled with love.

That doesn’t mean giving a “mercy fuck” to your neighborhood dweeb (which is generally not a great idea, unless you’re really in the mood). It means honoring the Bonobo Way of peace through pleasure, and not the American way of war for profit.

No wonder so many young men—and some young women—believe with all their hearts that violence is the solution to their problems when they see so many old men (and more and more old women) sending missiles, drones and assassination teams into foreign lands, when they see blockbuster movies glorifying mass murder for a specious “good cause,” when they see military officers honored for killing and torture, when they see so-called defense budgets expanded, and when they see American police shooting first and asking questions later, if at all.

Speaking of police brutality, the Minassian incident shows us clearly how a decent police officer can arrest a suspect without killing or even harming him or anyone else. I would say that this cop knows the Bonobo Way, but I think that the fact that both the suspect and the cop happened to be white may have had something to do with it. As Azeesah Kanji points out, Toronto’s finest “…is the same police force that has repeatedly brutalized people of colour, particularly those struggling with mental illness, including Sudanese refugee Andrew Loku, who was shot dead while holding a hammer in 2015; Syrian immigrant teenager Sammy Yatim, who was barraged with bullets for brandishing a pocket knife in 2013; and Michael Eligon, who was gunned down while carrying two pairs of scissors and wearing nothing but a hospital gown in 2012.”

Honoring Sex Work

We also need to honor sex and sex work. Because clearly—whether it’s a good masseuse, a friendly hooker, a strict dominatrix, a serious sex therapist (not an antidepressant-pushing psychiatrist), a sapiosexual phone sex operator, a surrogate mom or a fucking nurse (literally or figuratively)—these incels need sex work.

Since sex workers must be paid, just like any workers, and since most incels are broke (wealthy, designer-shaded Elliot Rodger was an exception to the rule, which is perhaps, one of the reasons for his sainthood in our Mammon-worshiping land), we as a caring society—that is, our government—should pay these sex workers. Yes, sex work should be socialized and subsidized, for the good of all.

What, you say, we can’t afford it? If we have funding to increase the military budget every year until it blows us to kingdom come, we have funding for a few blow-jobs to let our people cum.

Oddly enough, in Canada, it’s legal to sell sexual services, but not to buy them, which makes the legality of sex work almost useless, but hey, they’re half-way there. In America, we’re going in the opposite direction with SESTA/FOSTA. So we can expect more sex worker murders, and more incel murderers… unless we make a change in the direction of peace through pleasure, female empowerment, male well-being and sharing resources. Call it what you want, but since the bonobos embody it, I call it the Bonobo Way.

Speaking of the bonoboësque practice of sharing resources, we also need to acknowledge that our “system” of sex distribution is almost as unfair as our system of wealth distribution. The crumbling old patriarchal structure often forced women at all levels of society into marriages with men they loathed, in part so that most men would have access to at least one sex partner. That evil system of female slavery is collapsing, and good riddance. Women have a right to choose their partners for sex, love and life, and the bonobos show us just how natural female sexual choice is. But what about the men who, for whatever reason, don’t get chosen? Are they supposed to just go without sex and erotic love? Why shouldn’t these guys be able to legally engage consensual adult sex workers?

Though it’s a great first step, legalizing sex work is only part of the solution. We also need to destigmatize it, so incels and others aren’t considered “losers” because they see sex workers. This would also help the #MeToo movement. If paying a sex worker is considered a positive healthy way to spend a portion of your paycheck, like going out to eat in a nice restaurant, then maybe some of these executive frustratos won’t harass their assistants so much.

Pansexual & Proud

Then again, there are the incels-in-the-closet I mentioned in the year of Rodger’s rampage:

“…some men have problems with women because they’re actually more attracted to men… Some rage at females because they really wish they could be women, but they’re profoundly afraid to admit this ‘sin’ against masculinity, even to themselves. I wonder if Rodger might have felt such feelings, since he ‘never even kissed a girl,’ and reports so far indicate that he didn’t try to ask out any of the women he claims to have lusted after.”

Who knows if Rodger was “really” gay, bi or trans, but I’m willing to bet that many incels are. Thanks to human society’s age-old disapproval of various forms of nonreproductive sexuality, these uber-repressed dudes feel deeply ashamed of and utterly hopeless about their own sexual feelings. That doesn’t excuse them for lashing out at “Stacys,” “Chads” and “Normies” in any way, let alone committing crimes. But when we as a society ignore the causes, we can expect to reap the results.

As for our bonobo cousins (who are highly endangered, thanks mostly to human bushmeat hunting, and urgently need our help), they’re all bisexual. Or you could say, “pansexual” (like Janelle Monáe), a more fitting term as their Latin name is Pan paniscus, creatures of Pan, that great horned and horny Greek god of the wild, a true deity “of the people” and nature, eventually transformed by the Church into Satan.

Being pansexual certainly reduces the incel population. In crude, reductive but practical terms, you might say this means that when a few horny bonobo boys go out cruisin’ and none of the gals are interested, they can just have sex with each other.

Merry Masturbation Month, Incels!

Straight, gay, cis or trans, in or out of the proverbial “closet,” another part of the solution to society’s incel mass murder problem happens to be something more and more of us are celebrating in May: Masturbation Month.

Self-pleasure, at the moment, is not illegal. Though if Senator Ted Cruz had his way, it would be. In a 2008 brief defending a Texas law criminalizing the sale of dildos, Cruz argued, “There is no substantive-due-process right to stimulate one’s genitals for non-medical purposes unrelated to procreation or outside of an interpersonal relationship.” Fortunately, the Court of Appeals threw out this puritanical and just plain silly argument, so Texans can’t be busted for wanking in the privacy of their own homes, even for “non-medical purposes.”

Though if American cops burst into your bedroom and you happen to be holding a vibrator, they might mistake it for a gun and shoot you.

Furthermore, masturbation is still highly stigmatized, sometimes even more than sex work. Many men feel they are unmanly when they “need” to jack off. As a sex therapist, I hear a lot about male masturbatory shame. The right-wingers believe they are moral “sinners” bound to burn in hell for it, while the lefties worry that they are “sex addicts” undeserving of love unless they fork over $25 grand to some shady “sex addiction clinic.” With such capitalist extortions and negative notions about the simple, harmless joy of self-pleasure, is it any wonder that so many incels get—and go—”mad”?

I try to encourage the incels I encounter to be proud and happy, or at least unashamed, to jack off when they want to. Shoot the gun between your legs! It won’t win you a Nobel, but then, a lot of Nobel winners are war criminals.

So, make love to someone you love tonight, even—or, this month, especially—if that someone is you. It’s the Bonobo Way.

Merry Masturbation Month!

Susan Block, Ph.D., a.k.a. “Dr. Suzy,” is a world renowned LA sex therapist, author of The Bonobo Way: The Evolution of Peace through Pleasure and horny housewife, occasionally seen on HBO and other channels. For information and speaking engagements, call 626-461-5950. Email her at