Friday, June 18, 2010

I Heart Scott Atran

I find it fascinating that brilliant scientists and philosophers have no clue how to deal with the basic irrationality of human life and society other than to insist against all reason and evidence that things ought to be rational and evidence based. Makes me embarrassed to be an atheist.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Love Shyness - Movies

This is part of a series on Love Shyness. The index can be found here.

Gilmartin's work has revealed that Love Shy men prefer a different genre of movie than their non-shy counterparts. When asked to list movies Love Shy men have watched at the theatre at least five times, some movies stood out.
For example, one 39-year old love-shy man had seen the 1973 film JEREMY 86 times, at least in part because he was so overwhelmed by the appearance of the star, Glynnis O'Connor.

The plot is more important to the Love Shy male than the actress involved.
On the other hand, "10" was one of the comparatively few films which a small number of the self-confident non-shys had seen multiple times. The non-shys had loved it whereas the love-shys hated it—despite the fact that both groups agreed with the premise that Bo Derek is an extremely beautiful woman.

Most of the loveshys had found it to be dreadfully boring because it contained an unstructured, highly confusing story with no love or romance. Simply put, it did not engross the emotions. It did not touch the heartstrings.

The top five movies were as follows (keeping in mind that this study was done in the 80's)

1. Jeremy (1973) 86 times.
2. David and Lisa (1962) 46 times.
3. Forbidden Games (1952) 44 times.
4. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1965) 37 times.
5. The Graduate (1967) 29 times.

Plot summaries of the movies have been sourced from IMDb and show a relatively consistent theme in the popular movies.

Jeremy Jones is learning Cello at an arts school in New York. At school he spots Susan Rollins, who practices for a ballet audition, and he falls in love on first sight. He's very diffident in nearing her, so he gets some help of his experienced friend Ralph. Susan's first impression isn't great, until she hears him play his Cello. The movie paints a quiet image of him winning her heart and the development of their relationship.

David and Lisa
The emotional story of a young man in a mental institution for teens who begins to understand his psychosis in the environment of others with mental and emotional problems. He finds intimacy with Lisa, a young woman suffering from schizophrenia.

Forbidden Games
A girl of perhaps five or six is orphaned in an air raid while fleeing a French city with her parents early in World War II. She is befriended by a pre-adolescent peasant boy after she wandered away from the other refugees, and is taken in for a few weeks by his family. The children become fast friends, and the film follows their attempt to assimilate the deaths they both face, and the religious rituals surrounding those deaths, through the construction of a cemetery for all sorts of animals. Child-like and adult activity are frequently at cross-purposes, however.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
Geneviève, 17, lives with her widowed mother, who owns an umbrella shop in Cherbourg. She and Guy, a twenty-year-old auto mechanic, are secretly in love and want to marry, but when she reveals this to her mother, her mother objects on the grounds that Geneviève is too young and Guy is not mature or well-established enough, particularly since he has not yet done his required military service. Shortly after this, Guy is drafted to serve in the war in Algeria. Before he leaves, he and Geneviève consummate their love for each other, which results in her becoming pregnant. While Guy is away they drift apart, and Geneviève, strongly encouraged by her mother, accepts a marriage proposal from a well-to-do gem dealer named Roland Cassard, who has fallen in love with her at first sight and has promised to bring up her child as his own. (The character of Cassard is continued from Demy's earlier film [i]Lola[/i] (1961).) Guy is wounded and is discharged before his two-year term is up, but when he returns to Cherbourg Geneviève has already married and moved away. He struggles with depression and anger, but eventually is healed by falling in love with and marrying Madeleine, a young woman who had been caring for his now-deceased aunt Élise. Using an inheritance from his aunt, Guy fulfills his ambition of opening a service station. Years later, the now conspicuously wealthy Geneviève, traveling with her daughter, Guy's child, accidentally meet Guy at his service station. While the two have only a brief conversation about the state of their respective lives, the conversation is clearly fraught with unspoken fondness and regret.

The Graduate
Benjamin Braddock returns home to California after successfully completing college. He gets a hero's welcome from his parents but Ben isn't quite sure what to do with the rest of his life. He is soon seduced by Mrs. Robinson, the wife of his father's partner, who methodically pursues the inexperienced young man. Soon, they are meeting regularly in hotel rooms. Warned by her to stay away from her daughter Elaine, his father goads him into taking her out on a date. He finds he quite likes Elaine but when she learns he's been having an affair with her own mother, she'll have nothing to do with him. He's smitten however and pursues her.

Love Shyness - Beauty and the love-shy

This is part of a series on Love Shyness. The index can be found here.

Gilmartin spends an entire chapter on beauty, as he believes its a crucial element in the creation and continuation of love-shyness.
Chronically love-shy men have an unusually strong penchant for physical beauty. To be sure, virtually everyone loves beauty. However, one of the most significant findings of the study upon which this book is based is that beauty is quite a bit more important to the love-shy than it is to the non-shy.

This need for beauty which the love-shy feel is very strong as well as highly generalized. And it extends to such things as dogs, automobiles, music, natural scenery, as well as to women. And it clearly suggests a major reason as to why most love-shy men could never be really well satisfied—particularly since their own level of physical attractiveness tends to be at least somewhat below average.

I had to laugh at the last sentence given that I've accepted for a long time that I am of below average attractiveness.

The Need for Beauty
As I have indicated, the love-shy men studied for this research very seldom or never dated. They were all far too shy to assert themselves with women, and particularly with women whom they found attractive. However, they desperately wanted to date and to spend all of their time with just one opposite sexed partner whom they could love.
This desperation leads to fantasising and day dreaming about the object of their desires. Day dreaming constitutes a vicarious form of wish-fulfilment and gives unrealistic expectations.
I asked each respondent: "Compared to other teenagers at the time you were a teenager, were fantasies and daydreams more OR less important to you?" And zero percent (nobody) of the non-shys indicated that daydreams and fantasies were more important, compared to fully 87 percent of the older love-shys and 61 percent of the younger love-shys.
Who knows how many years I have spent day dreaming, something I do even to this day.

What do these day dreams consist of?
The fantasies enjoyed by these men typically entailed being warmly loved by very feminine, nurturant, non-assertive but liberal-minded women with long hair, beautiful faces, and very little or no make-up. They tended to fantasize women with a rather delicate, ethereal beauty, and with a gentleness and vulnerability that is not realistically likely to be found in today's world.
Its kind of scary to realise that these private fantasises of mine are actually rather universal for love shy individuals.

How bad is the delusion?
But curiously, most of the younger love-shy men seemed to maintain a sense of optimism that they could or would somehow one day magically be able to win such a specimen without taking any positive steps on their own initiative.
I'm not sure I've ever been this delusional. Although it was always a dream for this to happen, I knew the odds of it happening were next to none. Having said that, without taking any positive steps of my own initiative, I was able to "win" much inferior specimens. (Keeping with the language employed). Therefore its not intrinsically impossible.
Their fantasies and daydreams revolved almost exclusively around the imagery of already having such a beautiful woman. Virtually none of the shy men ever spent any time visualizing themselves taking positive steps to introduce themselves or to otherwise allow themselves to become acquainted with available and accessible women.
This doesn't seem that surprising. Considering the former is something positive and locked-in, whereas the latter scenario is uncertain and potentially negative, its easy to understand why someone would rather think about something pleasant rather than something which could stress them out.
Clinical psychologists often recommend that shy people engage in mental rehersals in their mind's eye.
Looking back - I highly recommend this tactic!
A key theme of this chapter is to suggest that "real, live, accessible women" are not beautiful enough to meet the unrealistically stringent demands and needs of the love-shy. Simply put, the love-shy will not fantasize a female face that is not sufficiently beautiful to constitute a wish fulfillment.
I would say this conclusion is perhaps a little too harsh, however given the next piece of data - it's perhaps warranted.
A further illustration of this uncompromisingly romantic attitude of the love-shy can be seen in the pattern of response to this statement: "I would not want to date anyone to whom I could not visualize (fantasize) myself as being married." Fully 64 percent of the older love-shys together with 46 percent of the younger ones agreed. In contrast, only 4 percent of the self-confident non-shy men saw fit to agree.
I somewhat agree with this sentiment...
Again, most love-shy men would like to somehow magically bypass what many of them perceive as the cruel indignity of dating, and just somehow wake up one morning married to the esthetically lovely, beautiful girl of their dreams.
Well yeah...

What about the "average" woman?
The love-shy tend to feel more comfortable and they tend to converse more fluently when they are in the company of a less-than-beautiful girl than when they are with the type of girl who is so attractive that marriage to her is immediately visualized and envisioned. In essence, the closer a girl comes toward meeting a love-shy man's tastes and predilections in the physical (especially facial) attractiveness department, the more shy and inhibited he is likely to be in his efforts to converse with her.
To finish this section, I would like to highlight something rather curious that I never knew about.
Psychologists have known since the late 1960s that introverts tend to prefer small-breasted women, whereas extroverts tend to prefer those with large breasts. In fact, there appears to be a rather strong statistical relationship between how extroverted (outgoing) a man is, and how large he wants the breasts of his female partner to be.

Love Shyness - Medical Symptoms

This is part of a series on Love Shyness. The index can be found here.

Gilmartin's survey of the love-shy also delved into the medical histories of the love-shy to determine whether there were any common medical conditions the love-shy shared in greater or lesser proportion to the average population. He also speculates on the potential origin of such differences.

Headaches - No statistically significant deviation

Back Aches - Slightly less amongst older love shy, much less amongst younger love shy than the population. Gilmartin speculates the lack of rough sports may be a contributing factor.
Bedwetting - Slight less likely to have wet their bed after the age of 4.

Weight Problems - No statistical difference. Weight problems ruled out as a potential cause of love-shyness.
Constipation and Diarrhea - No statistical difference. Gilmartin tries to establish a link between nervousness and digestive problems.
Flatulence - No statistical difference.

Height - No statistical difference.

Eyeglasses - Three to four times the number of love shy males to their non-shy counterparts started to wear glasses after their 16th birthday. Gilmartin suggests this is due to the love-shy pursuing academic qualifications (i.e. heavy reading). Gilmartin also suggests that the love-shy should not wear "dark and heavy plastic frames", but this book was written in the 80's...

Acne - 53% of the younger love shy males and 63% of the older love shy males reported "moderate to severe" acne, compared to 26% of the self-confident non-shy men. Acne can. as Gilmartin says, leave emotional scars during adolescence.

Insomnia - 19% of the older love shy males and 16% of the younger love shy males suffered insomnia. This compared starkly to the zero number of non-shy men who were insomniacs. (Phrased as "difficulty in falling asleep")

Stuttering - 97% of the non-shy men had never had problems stuttering. On the other hand the love shy men had more problems stuttering, with only around 45% claiming stuttering was never a problem in some time of their life.

Buck teeth - Three to four times more prevalent in love shy males than their non-shy counterparts.

Hypocondria -

Handling Door Knobs: 10-16% of love shy males have problems handling door knobs compared to 0% of non-shy males.

Touching the Floor: 31-46% of the love shy males are compelled to wash their hands after touching the floor (for example doing push-ups), compared to 0% of non-shy males.

Bananas: 52-65% of the love shy males would not eat a banana until all back or grey spots were removed. This compares to 33% of non-shy males.

Bowel Movements: 25-31% of the love shy males were fascinated by their own bowel movements. This was true for only 4% of the non-shy males.

Garbage Removal: 52-68% of the love shy males were compelled to wash their hands immediately after taking the garbage out, compared to 35% of non-shy males.

Physchotherapy - All of the older love shy males had at some time in their life sought help from a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. On the other hand, just over one third of younger love shy males, and a measly 3% of non-shy males have done the same thing. Despite the high prevalence of love shy males seeking help, they find they are unable to be helped with their love shy problems through these "conventional" means and many had major complaints about their experiences.

Next I will discuss two vital findings from the research. The statistically significant link between nasal problems and love-shyness and the link between love-shyness and those with reactive hypoglycaemia.

Love Shyness - Love as a Drug

This is part of a series on Love Shyness. The index can be found here.

Most people have been in love at one time or another. Gilmartin discusses the biochemistry of falling in love.
The available data indicate that romantic love feelings commence in the region of the lower brain that is known as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is composed of a dense cluster of nerves which controls hundreds of bodily functions and impacts in a large host of ways the entire nervous system. Whenever a person subjectively perceives another human being as romantically appealing a portion of the hypothalamus transmits a message by way of various chemicals to the pituitary gland. And in turn the pituatary releases a host of its own hormones which rapidly suffuse the entire bloodstream. The sex glands respond to these hormones by rapidly releasing into the bloodstream their own hormones which have the effect, even among preadolescent children, of creating a more rapid heartbeat and a feeling of lightness in the head. Simultaneously the nerve pathways in and around the hypothalamus produce chemicals
that induce—provided that these chemicals continued to be produced over a long period of time—what people refer to as "falling in love".
Gilmartin tries to link the hypothalamus to the love shy.
Simply put, for severely love-shy men the "love nucleus" portion of the hypothalamus may "awaken to full operation" seven or eight or nine years prematurely, long before adolescence is arrived at with its normal surge of sex hormones. The prepubescent child who does not have any awareness of sex or of erotic feelings (as these do not usually occur prior to adolescence) interprets the powerful feelings he does feel as being those of overhwelming romantic love.
Do you remember the last time you started to fall in love with someone?
Among the first signs of "falling in love" is a giddy high similar to what might be obtained as a result of an amphetamine boost. This "high" is a sign that the brain has entered a distinct neurochemical state. This occurs as a result of the hypothalamus releasing a chemical substance (probably phenylethylamine) that is very much like an amphetamine and which, like any "upper", makes the heart beat faster and confers energy.
This high is enough to give the average person the motivation to act on their feelings. The love shy on the other hand are incapable of harnessing this energy through flirting and winning the attention of the loved person. Should the love not be reciprocated, this high usually quickly fades.
In not being able to make the approach to the love object the biochemical "high" remains endemic in the love-shy child's brain for an indefinite, usually quite lengthy period of time. And the elementary school boy (or man as the case might be) becomes "hooked" on his own brain biochemicals.
I remember during high school having long term crushes on girls, lasting anywhere from half a year to years on end. Despite this, it was extremely rare for me to do anything about it and when I did - and usually failed - I would quickly move on to another person. Looking back, I can appreciate the love as a drug analogy. The high was a period of happiness, whereas "coming down" always left me morose.

Gilmartin suggests that "the ability to share many experiences with the love object would operate to remove the "rosy colored smokescreen" of infatuation, thus preventing this addiction." This is something that I can appreciate, despite never having spent any length of time with any object of my affections.

On the effects of withdrawl, Gilmartin notes:
A key consideration for anyone who gets hooked on drugs is that of withdrawal. Whether a person gets hooked on pills or on natural drugs that the brain produces, the "crash" of withdrawal can be highly distracting and debilitating for a person of any age.
Gilmartin also discusses the role of chocolate - something which should be familiar to lonely single women...
But of especial interest here is the finding that people who "crash" after having been deeply in love tend to have an unusually strong craving for chocolate. Very noteworthy is the fact that chocolate is high into phenylethylamine—the very substance that is released by the brain into the bloodstream as a concomitant of falling in love. When the love-feelings cease the body craves chocolate because it has developed a tolerance to the phenylethylamines which it is no longer getting—because the brain has stopped secreting them.
I can say that I usually have strong cravings for chocolate. Now I know why!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Teenage Jehovah's Witness 'died after refusing blood'

I often wonder if I would have died for my religion if put in such a position. I suspect I would have, and would have done so without hesitation. This person will never get the opportunity to change their mind despite the high probability he might not have remained in this religion.


A teenage Jehovah's Witness crushed by a car as it crashed into a West Midlands shop is thought to have died after refusing a blood transfusion.

Joshua McAuley, 15, was airlifted to hospital from the incident in Smethwick on Saturday but died later that day.

Elder at Smethwick's Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses Clive Parker said Joshua, who worshipped there, had "made a stand on the blood issue".

A post-mortem examination is due to be carried out on Thursday.

Joshua is believed to have told doctors at Selly Oak Hospital not to give him a blood transfusion on religious grounds.

Jehovah's Witnesses refuse transfusions because they believe the use of products derived from blood is forbidden by God.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said Joshua's family, who live in Smethwick, did not wish to comment.

Mr Parker said Joshua was conscious after the accident in Cape Hill. He added the family worshipped at Smethwick's Kingdom Hall.

He said: "A mother has lost her son, and Joshua had a brother. He has lost his brother, he was there in the morning and then gone by the afternoon. They are terribly distressed."

A spokesman for Selly Oak Hospital would not comment on the individual case but described the issue as an "extraordinarily complex area" with no set rules.

"There is no automatic right to override parental wishes or that of a minor. It is a very complex area that has to be approached on a case-by-case basis," he said.

Two other adults were injured in the crash, which happened in the Cape Hill area at 1114 BST.

Police said a 24-year-old woman was in a serious but stable condition in hospital and a 32-year-old man sustained a suspected broken arm and leg.

A 28-year-old man from the Winson Green area of Birmingham was arrested after the crash and bailed pending further inquiries.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Draw Mohammed Day - Other Contrarians

In a previous post I defended the rationale behind my contrarian stance as to why I would not be supporting the Draw Mohammed Day. The UWA Atheist and Agnostic Society wisely decided not to officially sanction this event although members were free to partake on their own behalf. Despite the "official" stance the vast majority participated during the "Atheists In The Tav" weekly event. Efforts to reason with my friends and colleagues fell flat - but that's okay, we are all free to disagree. (That's not to say I wasn't disappointed with my ability to defend my position!)

Since this time there have been some reasoned responses put out by some prominent YouTube atheists and agnostics. In particular Richard "the dick" Coughlan (coughlan666 on YouTube) and LiberalViewer (on YouTube - not sure what his real name is).

These are the main points I took from their reservations behind supporting this event.

coughlan666 (3.35 ratio up to down votes) - The protest was a failure as there was less freedom after the event (referring to the Facebook ban by Pakistan).

LiberalViewer (11.8 ratio up to down votes) - There is a risk of alienating those we should be working with - the moderate Muslims who renounce terrorism. It also gave Fox News a way to spin the event.

I'm glad I wasn't the only person pissing in the wind. We as rationalists must not succumb to group-think. I can accept there are times when many members of a group can synchronise on their conclusions based on sound reasoning, but when the argumentation takes on an emotional characteristic, it's important to stop and think. The first sign of a movement which could turn toxic is when no one questions the "leaders" or prominent members (in this case the likes of Thunderf00t and PZ Myers, etc.) I didn't renounce a "cult" to join another!!

One great resource I've heard about which does exactly this is "You're Not Helping"

To give one example of a wonderful contrarian response to the recent brouhaha concerning the New Atheists not given a seat at a Vatican sponsored faith conference - read this post.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Love Shyness - Stalking

This is part of a series on Love Shyness. The index can be found here.

As I have mentioned before in "What to look for in others", love shy males may stare at or stalk girls without ever intending to do anything about it.

Why do love shy males, who are relatively timid and shy engage in such behaviour?
At this point the reader may be somewhat confused because it obviously requires some amount of "nerve" or non-shyness in order to engage in this sort of compulsive behavior. Of course, most non-shy men never had any need to engage in this sort of compulsive behavior; they could interact and communicate face-to-face with the women of their choosing.
What is it that the love-shy think about when staring?

they would fantasize and daydream very deeply and long about the particular girl with whom they were uncontrollably infatuated and towards whom they had felt impelled to stare. Their fantasies made her out to be a sort of "saint"—someone who would somehow understand them and their love-shyness problems.
Many of the love-shys had fantasized about how this girl of their dreams would really like to meet them, and about how this "angel" of a girl would one day find a way to assume the assertive role in opening up a friendship with them.

Do they ever give up this delusion?
Many of the love-shys had remained incredibly "innocent" in this regard until their early 30s, when some of them started to become quite cynical.
I became cynical in my early to mid-20's that's for sure!

What would happen if a girl ever looked back?
Of course, the problem was that any time the girl actually looked as though she might be ready to make an actual move towards the love-shy man doing the staring, that love-shy man would instantly become overwhelmed with fright. And he would either very quickly walk or run away, or he would turn his head in a different direction.
An all too familiar tale really...

Gilmartin goes into some personal testimony of males who have been beaten up (by friends or cousins etc) or arrested because of this stalking. Some love shy males write love letters to unsuspecting females which can get them in trouble.
After receiving the love letters these shy men had written, the women often became very nervous and upset. Often they would respond by going to the police or the dean or to some other legal source about the matter.
I admit I did this once, which caused great distress to all concerned. Looking back I can somewhat laugh it off because nothing official came of it. Although I was lucky to "get away with it", many do not. Of course the inevitable trouble associated with such actions can be devastating to the love shy male.
This outcome served to further disillusion many of the love-shy men about women. Indeed, this type of (to them) hostile response caused many of the love-shy men to become all the more lethargic about doing anything constructive to remedy their love-shyness situation.
The problem is that the love shy males does not have the correct methods available to him to solve the situation he is in. Instead he does things which makes his situation worse, which leads to a downwards spiral. Later I will discuss positive ways in which the love shy male can begin to make progress with this problem.

Love Shyness - What to look for in others

This is part of a series on Love Shyness. The index can be found here.

Love Shyness is problematic both for the sufferers and for the friends and families of those affected. We all want our friends and family members to be happy and to do this we need to know what is wrong with them and what we can do for them. Without help and support, love shy males can live a long, lonely and depressed life without ever getting what it is they really want.

Love Shyness is, at least in my opinion, embarrassing. Admitting any abnormality comes with potential social cost, especially when confirming to certain norms is expected. It's also embarrassing because it can be seen as a personal failure, as if somehow the person who is Love Shy is weak or inferior, especially compared to their friends who can get their act together.

Love Shy males may do or be seen to do the following...
1) They do not date or rarely talk to members of the opposite sex
2) They do not participate in mixed-sex events
3) They spend a lot of time looking at pictures of attractive unobtainable women
4) They obsess about sex, but never make any advances towards satisfying their demand
5) They stare or stalk girls without ever intending to do anything about it

I would like to elaborate on number 5 because it is perhaps the most serious and can carry important legal ramifications.

It's important to remember that the Love Shy male is on average much less likely to engage in ANY crime (except stalking).

From Gilmartin:
As a case in point I asked each man to respond to this statement:

"There have been times when I have stared for long periods at a girl whom I have found very attractive; but as soon as she would look in my direction I would immediately look away."

Fully 97 percent of the older love-shy men together with 71 percent of the younger love-shys indicated that this had been "true" for them. In stark contrast, only 11 percent of the self-confident non-shy men indicated that this statement was true for themselves.
This obsessive behaviour can lead to stalking.
I asked each respondent to react to the statement:

"There have been times when I have followed a girl whom I have found attractive all over campus or town; but I have looked away whenever she looked in my direction, and I have not said anything to her because of my extreme shyness."

Zero percent (nobody) of the self-confident non-shys indicated "yes" to this statement. On the other hand, 44 percent of the older love-shys along with 35 percent of the younger love-shys indicated that the statement was "true" for themselves.

Moreover, fully 19 percent (almost one-fifth) of the older love-shys together with 13 percent of the younger love-shys agreed that they had "gotten into trouble" at one time or another as a result of an uncontrollable urge to follow a girl all over campus or all over town without ever saying anything to her.
Although I have never followed someone around, I must admit that I have found myself "planning" on being where "she" might be just so I could see her. Always in the back of my mind was the worry that I was stalking - yet there was always a certain hard-to-shake compulsion...
Needless to say, this sort of behavior had been very unnerving and upsetting to most of the women who had been victimized by it. Most people tend to fear that which they do not understand. And most of the victimized women found this staring (then looking or running away) behavior to be exceedingly strange. And they did not know how to respond to it.
It is my desire that people who may have been harassed or stalked by someone with love shyness to understand that these people are not dangerous and actually require help. This of course should not be confused with general warnings over the dangers caused by real stalkers and psychopaths who are out to hurt people.

If you suspect someone is love shy, then you should engage in positive measures, which may or may not be covert (depending on the sensitivity of the person) to help them become less love shy. Love shyness should be nipped in the bud in childhood (I will discuss this later) however there is still going to be a certain percentage who fall through the cracks. In future posts I will look at positive ways in which the love shy can turn their life around.

Love Shyness - Common Symptoms

This is part of a series on Love Shyness. The index can be found here.

As I mentioned in the previous post - normality can exist in groups where otherwise the individual might be considered abnormal. The following characteristics are shared by many Love Shy individuals. Gilmartin suggests that love-shy males should satisfy all these criteria, however personally it does not seem entirely reasonable to be disqualified over one or two criteria. Those which I have put in bold are, I believe, key to love shyness.
(1) He is a virgin; in other words, he has never had sexual intercourse.
(2) He is a person who very rarely goes out socially with women. None of the love-shys studied for this book had dated more than four times during the year prior to being interviewed.
(3) He is a person without a past history of any emotionally close, meaningful relationships of a romantic and/or sexual nature with any member of the opposite sex.
(4) He is a person who has suffered and is continuing to suffer emotionally because of a lack of meaningful female companionship. In short, he is a person who desperately wishes to have a relationship with a woman, but does not have one because of shyness.
(5) He is a man who becomes extremely anxiety-ridden over so much as the mere thought of asserting himself vis-a-vis a woman in a casual, friendly way. This is the essence of "love-shyness".
(6) He is a man who is strictly heterosexual in his romantic and erotic
orientations. In other words, he is a person who is in no way a homosexual.
(7) He is male. No female love-shys were studied for this research.

Personally I no longer qualify for many of these symptoms yet I still believe it is still relevent.
1) I was fortunate enough to lose my virginity to a strong girl who "took care of me". Although I could equally imagine this still being relevant today had I not been that fortunate. Given that I have been fortunate enough to meet quite a few strong ladies, is this perhaps a sea-change brought about by the sexual revolution?

2) I make continual efforts to spend time with strong women friends, but dating (particularly online dating) is still problematic.

3) Still relevant. Being 26 and without having dated anyone longer than a couple of weeks troubles me immensely.

4) Still relevant. It is perhaps not surprising that deprivation can lead to obsession, initiating a downward spiral to depression.

5) Somewhat relevant. I've developed immensely in the confidence department over the past few years thanks to many different techniques.

6,7) Relevant. Although it is still possible to be female or homosexual and love-shy, it is much more problematic for heterosexual males who are often culturally expected to "make the first move". Females and homosexual males are (generally) fortunate enough that they can rely on others to take the lead. This was more of a problem in previous eras however some cultural norms are hard to shake.

Before the age of 20 I would have satisfied all the above criteria. Suffice to say there is hope out there to change ones fate. Even if one cannot "solve" love-shyness, it should still be possible to progress out of the depths of despair to a level where one can function as a human being.

It's important to note that love-shy males are not the following...

1) Closet homosexuals - Love shy males are not attracted to members of the same sex. Many love shy males may be confused by others with homosexuals as they are less likely to interact with females. Indeed, my father has noted this many times, somewhat jokingly, somewhat seriously.

2) Male lesbians - Love shy males are not males who feel they were born in the wrong body yet are only attracted to females.

3) Asexual - Despite the lack of sexual activity, love shy males are not asexual, some in fact may be hypersexual, that is they may have an unhealthy preoccupation with sex coupled with a lack of release valve. This leads to a negative perception of their sex lives contrasted with asexuals who aren't obsessed.

Could most nerds be considered love-shy?
I don't believe that anyone can be correctly classified as "love-shy" unless he truly craves emotionally meaningful female companionship. Deprivation is never enough by itself to cause mental anguish, pain and suffering. A person cannot feel deprived of something unless and until he actually wants the thing of which he is being deprived. A person who truly feels deprived of something he very dearly wants will necessarily suffer a very great deal (1) from anxiety, and (2) from very painful and highly distracting feelings of preoccupation.
What's the difference between those who are deprived and those who are love-shy?

If the deprived person is accorded an opportunity to work towards the thing he so strongly desires, his energy-wasting preoccupation and distractability will rapidly dissipate. However, the love-shy man cannot do this. The love-shy man is prevented from working towards his female companionship goal by his intractable shyness and inhibition, and by the inordinately strong fears of interpersonal anxiety that accompany love-shyness and which are intrinsic to it. Simply put, the mere thought of asserting himself in a friendly way vis-a-vis a girl whom he finds attractive fills a love-shy man with overwhelmingly painful (and forbidding) anxiety feelings. Hence, he can only continue to feel preoccupied and painfully distracted.
By now most people should be able to recognise themselves in this as love-shy or not.

Not a day went by from the age of at least 10 to my early 20's when I did not think about "someone" constantly. The first thing I thought about when I woke up was them and the last thing I thought about before going to sleep was them. Some crushes continued for years without anything happening. School was always a battle of attention between my work and the object of my desires. Yet the mere thought of acting on those feelings was enough to freeze me on the spot. Saying a friendly "Hi." was out of the question - so too maintaining any eye contact despite desiring to look at them all the time.

Do you have a friend or family member who seems to be love shy? Next post I will look at the symptoms you can look for in others which may indicate that they might be suffering (and it really is suffering) from love-shyness.

Love Shyness - Definition

This is part of a series on Love Shyness. The index can be found here.

Don't let anyone tell you that normal doesn't exist. There are many characteristics which can be defined rather rigidly, with exceptions representative of pathologies. For example, it is normal to have four fingers and a thumb on one had. To not have this is a pathology. This isn't a judgement - five or three fingered individuals aren't bad or worse people, they are just different. Political correctness to me means not to discriminate or bully those things people can't choose - having said that there is nothing wrong with pointing out what is and to always remember that you cannot easily derive an ought from an is. (Such as you cannot say six finger/thumbed people are bad just because it's "not normal")

Certain pathologies are rather consistent amongst populations where one particular pathology is present. When this happens, one can actually derive a normality within a sub-population of abnormal people! To put this more simply, internet trolls/kooks are very highly likely to be male. It is therefore normal to be a male internet kook, but abnormal to be a female internet kook.

Love Shyness, as defined is only relevant to the male heterosexual population - however there are likely female love-shys (and homosexual male love-shys), but they are unlikely to suffer the same problems as a male love-shys due to cultural considerations.

From Gilmartin's book:
This book is about heterosexual, "single, never married" men who have never voluntarily chosen to remain "single, never married", but who have been constrained to remain that way because of severe shyness in informal social situations involving women. This form of chronic, severe shyness can best be labeled "love-shyness". And it afflicts approximately 1.5 percent of all American males.

Indeed, [this book] is devoted to men who would like nothing better than to be able to marry and to have children, but who are not moving towards these goals because of severe bashfulness, shyness and social timidity.

Love-shyness is a life-crippling condition. Victims of love-shyness cannot marry. They cannot have children, and they cannot participate in the normal adolescent and young adult activities of dating and courtship.
This book was written in 1985.
Today many young women complain about what they perceive to be a serious shortage of eligible heterosexual men who are desirous of a permanent, intimate, committed relationship with a woman. As this book will make quite clear, the love-shy constitute a rich and long neglected supply of such men.
Looks like nothing has changed in the past 25 years! It would be interesting to see if the new sexual revolution has lowered the rate of love-shy males in the population.

Why is shyness a problem?
To be shy is to have one's actions (or lack of them) misunderstood, misinterpreted and misread by others. An extreme fear of the pain of anxiety prevents the shy person from taking the kinds of action that are in accordance with his or her values, wishes, knowledge and rational judgment. More simply put, shyness inhibits people from assuming a sense of responsibility for their behavior. It makes them feel and truly believe that they are not in the "driver's seat" of their own lives and destinies.
We all get shy at some stage don't we?

Well there are two kinds of social situations,
1) Personal social situations
2) Impersonal social situations

Impersonal social situations deal with public performance, etc. Essentially a "scripted" environment. On the other hand personal social situations are "unscripted" and deal with one on one or group talk where one has no "script". The love-shy are particularly susceptible to shyness in personal social situations. While most people can get away with being shy in impersonal social situations, most people cannot maintain happiness when they are shy in personal social situations.

Next post I will look at what symptoms are common in love-shy males.

Love Shyness - Index

I want to start a series on a relatively unknown condition known as "Love Shyness", something which I have and yet have only recently discovered exists. It is my hope that people who come across this may see themselves in it too, and realise they are not alone and it explains why conventional treatments for shyness, anxiety and social phobias may not be appropriate for the Love Shy individual.

Here is a tentative index, updated when new posts are made (or when new topics are introduced).

1. What is Love-Shyness
1.1. Definition
1.2. Common Symptoms
1.3. What to look for in others

2. The Origins of Love-Shyness
2.1. Pre-Childhood
2.1.1. Role of Family
2.2. Childhood
2.2.1. Early Childhood Crushes
2.3. Physiological

3. Living with Love-Shyness
3.1. Beauty and the love-shy
3.2. Love as a drug
3.3. A bleak future
3.4. Psychology of the Love-Shy
3.4.1. Love-Shy and the law Stalking
3.4.2. Movies
3.5. Medical Symptoms
3.5.1. The nose
3.5.2. Reactive Hypoglycaemia

4. Curing Love-Shyness
4.1. Positive Steps
4.2. Support
4.2.1. Friends
4.2.2. Family
4.3. Prevention
4.3.1. Reforming Childhood Norms

A.1. Studies of the Love-Shy

This series is based mainly on Dr Brian G. Gilmartin's book "Shyness & Love" injected with my own tales and thoughts.