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Men are born into patriarchy, but if patriarchy is going to perpetuate itself, men need to assent to it and work to maintain it.

Patriarchy attracts men in part through material rewards, like higher pay or better jobs. Men learn that they aren't real men unless they sleep with (the right) women. Women become a status symbol; a thing to assert a man's own manliness.

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But perceiving oneself as a sexual failure is common for people of every gender. My (now) wife, was, thankfully, very determined and refused to let a little shyness stop her. But 20 years ago, my virginity was a source of substantial anxiety, unhappiness and self-loathing. And if you're not having a lot of sex, you're supposedly contemptible.

I had good friends, and was not especially miserable on other fronts.

Normative standards for gender expression are designed to make people feel like they are abnormal if they don’t conform.

I had friends who were dating when I wasn't, and many of them (men and women) were also unhappy.

Incels have deliberately adopted an oppositional identity.

It's tempting to take them at their word, and link their sexual failure to their evil.Not least for people who aren’t straight cisgender men.But while gender roles don't hurt straight men more than anyone else, the discomfort of straight men is an especially powerful lever.Many of them felt like they were not doing it right (whatever "it" might be.)Incels think they're uniquely oppressed by gender expectations.But the truth is, gender expectations feel constricting and painful for everyone.Sex is presented, in movies, films and advertising, as so central to the human experience that it goes without saying that anyone who isn’t sexually active must be miserable.