The science of incels: All the reasons why some men can't find a partner

In the old days men could just take women by force - that's a no-no in modern society. Photo credit: Getty

There are 43 different reasons some men struggle to find a partner, according to a new study.

Researchers in Cyprus wanted to find out why so many men - estimated at around a third in Western society nowadays - are single.

So they analysed an epic Reddit thread titled 'Guys, why are you single?' which had more than 13,000 responses.

The most common reason given was being ugly, short or bald, followed by a lack of confidence.

"I am ugly as f**k and have been cursed with awful genetics," one response noted in the study read.

"Any semblance of social skills I have go out the window if I have a crush on you," said another.

Others said they couldn't be bothered making the effort or weren't interested in having a long-term relationship.

Many also blamed:

  • a lack of flirting skills ("My IQ drops to about 40 whenever I talk to women.")
  • being too shy
  • not trusting women after a previous relationship went sour
  • being too picky ("My standards are too high for what I bring to the table.")
  • not having any chances to meet women ("Not many women on my way from my room to a kitchen and back.")
  • struggles with illness, addiction or disability
  • a lack of money ("I don’t have money for dates, I barely pay my gas bill.")
  • being gay ("I'm gay and 99 percent of the people I become attracted to aren't.")

Menelaos Apostolou, who led the study, said the skills required to attract a mate have changed, and many men just aren't well-equipped.

"Single modern men often lack flirting skills because in an ancestral pre-industrial context, the selection pressures on mechanisms which regulated mating effort and choosiness were weak.

"Such skills are needed today, because in post-industrial societies mate choice is not regulated or forced, but people have to instead find mates on their own."

In other words, in the old days men could just take women by force, or were paired off in arranged marriages.

"Their looks were irrelevant, and they did not need to know how to attract the opposite sex."

Men's inability to attract a mate has spawned the online 'involuntary celibate' movement, often shorted to 'incel'.

Controversial Canadian professor Jordan Peterson, on his way to New Zealand next year, has proposed "enforced monogamy" to stop self-described incels from committing acts of violence, such as the man who drove a van into a crowd in Toronto in July, killing 10.

"Half the men fail [to procreate]," he told the New York Times earlier this year. "And no one cares about the men who fail."

Some have interpreted "enforced monogamy" as the state providing women to men who can't otherwise get mates, for sexual purposes. Mr Peterson has denied this, saying he only means for monogamy to be "socially" enforced, to stop attractive men from having more than one woman, so there are more for the less attractive.

The findings of the latest study were published in journal Evolutionary Psychological Science

An earlier study by Prof Apostolou that concluded lesbianism evolved because men found it sexually attractive was roundly criticised by LGBT groups.