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15 Common Experiences of "Femcels"

Sexual frustration, shame, lookism, targeting, and more.

Key points

  • Researchers analyzed online discussion posts from a femcel-created community.
  • Many themes were identified, including dehumanization, poor body image, and worry about sexual abuse by men.
  • Femcels shared some beliefs with radical feminists pertaining to patriarchy.
Jan Krnc / pexels
Women mentioned their poor body image, eating disorders, and struggles to meet societal standards of beauty.
Source: Jan Krnc / pexels

While much research has been conducted on incels, little is known about the less visible community of femcels, or women who identify as involuntarily celibate. In one of the first empirical studies of femcels, Evans and Lankford (2023) analyzed online discussion posts on, a femcel-created community that broadened to encompass broader pink pill ideologies, which emphasize the misogyny faced by women, particularly those who are unattractive.

The researchers aimed to discover themes surrounding femcels’ discussions of power, sex, frustration, and revenge. To achieve this, they qualitatively coded 1,200 posts containing the keywords “sex” (648), “power” (439), “frustration” (119), and “revenge” (35). Fifteen key themes were identified:

  1. Sexual frustration. Women often reported sexual frustration, including frustration about unavailable sexual partners (particularly high-quality partners) and unfulfilling sex. For example, one woman wrote, “A generous, attentive, even understanding lover does not exist for ugly femcels."
  2. Worry about sexual abuse or harassment. Women often had ambivalent attitudes towards men. Although many longed for intimate relationships with men, some feared being sexually abused by men, especially as an unattractive woman. One woman stated, “I hate this idea that only pretty women deal with sexual harassment or unwanted attention from men. Of course they deal with it more often, but women with ‘ugly’ features will literally be a target for sexual assault because we are less likely to be believed."
  3. Dehumanization of women. Women often felt dehumanized and objectified by men. For example, one person wrote, “That’s just how they are. I think it’s because a lot of them don’t see women as human beings but rather objects they can use for sexual and emotional gratification. The minute we display any kind of feeling, especially if we’re mentally ill, they are reminded that women are indeed human beings and it turns them off, so they leave. Onto the next one."
  4. Being used for sex. In relation, some felt that men often used women (especially those who were “desperate” for relationships) for sex. One mentioned that men often pick wives based on their “sexual compliance." Others disliked how men sometimes confuse sexual desire for love, or how men sometimes hate women whom they are attracted to, seeing them as temptresses.
  5. Concern about interacting with men like “normal” women. Many believed that they could not interact with men like “normal” women. As a result, some felt depressed.
  6. Shame about sexual and relationship needs. Some felt ashamed about their desire for sex and intimacy, even to the point of self-harm.
  7. Feelings of expendability. A smaller number of women expressed feeling expendable due to society’s emphasis on youth and beauty in women. One woman said, “Women will spend years and even decades with men, spend all their sexual market value on them (which is mainly their youth) and then be cast aside for a younger woman."
  8. Perceptions of beauty as power. Many discussed lookism and yearned for the power of beauty. “It’s not about just beauty from the objective point, it’s about what you gain with beauty. I want that. That power,” wrote one woman.
  9. Aspirations towards power. Women had varied attitudes towards power. Many aspired to be more powerful or admired powerful women. Some encouraged women to support other women. “So women should stop wasting their time and instead invest into female-only communities and work on getting money and power,” said one woman. Yet, others felt helpless and powerless.
  10. Viewing men as more powerful. Femcels often criticized the disproportionate amount of power held by men in most domains: financial, political, institutional, and physical. One woman stated, “Remember males are the dominating class in all corporate and global power. Unless they’re willing to change, nothing will change. They hold the money and power to control the people (i.e., women)."
  11. Poor body image. Many discussed being frustrated at themselves. For instance, women mentioned their poor body image, eating disorders, and struggles to meet societal standards of beauty.
  12. Lack of understanding from other women. Femcels mentioned a lack of support and understanding from other women, especially those in relationships. Some felt that their experiences were invalidated by other women online.
  13. Being hurt by men emotionally. Some felt frustrated at men for hurting them emotionally. For example, one woman stated, “Women often cry because we’re deeply hurt and frustrated from trying in vain to explain to a grown ass male how their behaviors and words hurt us… and those same grown ass males turn around and call us manipulative."
  14. Being the target of men’s displaced aggression. Some women felt that men took their aggression out on them when they were “emasculated” by other men. One woman mentioned being used as a “bullseye for target practice."
  15. Being subject to male partners’ unreasonable expectations. Others felt that men had unreasonable standards, expecting their female partners to always be beautiful, sexually available, low maintenance, and accepting of their pornography use as well as their poor grooming habits. They felt that male partners resented them for not being their “dream girl."

The researchers concluded that femcels share some beliefs with radical feminists, particularly pertaining to patriarchy, the oppression of women through control of their bodies, and the need for women to gain more power.

Interestingly, “revenge," one of the keywords that the researchers looked for, was seldom discussed by femcels. When revenge was mentioned, women typically discussed revenge at the hands of men. For example, many expressed that sex to men was often an act of conquest and hate. Unlike incels, who rarely admit to fearing women, femcels feared revenge by men, including revenge rape and revenge porn.

While a small number of women saw men as targets of revenge and wanted to hurt them back, most did not support violence and instead aimed to gain power through legal means. Meanwhile, about 90 percent of online posts written about rape by incels indicate endorsement of it. However, the researchers noted that posts on sometimes indicated misandry through negative stereotypes of men.

Despite its strengths and interesting findings, the research had limitations. Importantly, the posts may not have been written by femcels given that there was no way of verifying the identity of the anonymous posters. Furthermore, the community might include pink pillers who do not identify as femcels, given its broad focus on misogyny and lookism.

Finally, the researchers chose posts with keywords like “power” and “sex” to mirror past research on incels. Other themes could be more prominent than those identified in the study if the posts were chosen at random instead. Therefore, future research might consider examining the experiences of femcels more broadly rather than attempting to compare them to incels.

Facebook/LinkedIn image: TheVisualsYouNeed/Shutterstock


Evans, H. R., & Lankford, A. (2024). Femcel Discussions of Sex, Frustration, Power, and Revenge. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 1-14.

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