Shyness and Love (book)

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Shyness and Love: Causes, Consequences, and Treatment is a book by deceased professor of psychology Brian Gilmartin on love-shyness and inceldom. It focused on love-shyness as a medical condition and how to treat it.

The book exclusively focused on male virgins however, and does not include some of the less severe incels. The book also only focused on male virgins who are emotionally suffering due to a lack of sexual/romantic relationships with females.


Brian interviewed 300 unhappily virginal men between the ages of 19 and 50 and looked for causes and cures of love-shyness.

Definition of Love-Shy[edit]

Dr. Gilmartin defined love-shyness as the following[1]:

  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, dating no more than 4 times.
  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. (Gilmartin did this as he thought including homosexuals would lend credence to a stigma of love-shy men being gay-in-hiding)
  7. He is male. No female love-shys were studied.

Data Collection[edit]

He chose people for interview/questionairre as followed[2]:

  1. 100 single, never married men, btw 35-50 years of age who met his love-shy criteria.
  2. 200 single, never married men, who were college students and between the ages of 19-24, and who met his love-shy criteria.
  3. A comparison group of 200 single, never married men, all of whom were very self confident and non-shy vis-a-vis the opposite sex. These 200 men were all (a) full-time or part-time college or university students; and all of them were (b) between the ages of 19 and 24 at the time they were interviewed.


Through his data collection, Gilmartin concluded, among other things, that love-shyness was associated with avoidant personality disorder, abusive upbringing, relatively high education level, and generally poor mental and psychological health. His work also explored such topics as violent fantasies by love-shy men.

When psychological conditions are analyzed, usually the mental state is most focused on. However, physical symptoms are just as important. In Shyness and Love, Gilmartin cobbles together a list of physical symptoms he believes characterizes love-shyness based on the percentage of men he interviewed who were shy of romantic relationships with a particular medical problem. Correlation does not imply causation however.

Gilmartin's work contained a lot of detail from many interviews with men shy of romantic relationships and was deemed valuable enough to be reviewed by contemporary psychology in peer reviewed academic journals at least twice and Gilmartin's last book The Shy Man Syndrome had a forward by E. Michael Gutman, President of the Florida Psychological Society 1988-1989.[3][4][5]


The books delves into pseudo-science, but it contained enough academic work for it to be taken seriously (not as fringe on the whole) and reviewed by contemporary psychology. Psychologist Jonathan M. Cheek of Wellesley College published a review of the book in the American Psychology Association's Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books.[6]

The book proposes solutions such as practice dating and sexual surrogacy.

Gilmartin's follow up book, the Shy Man Syndrome had a forward by E. Michael Gutman, President of the Florida Psychological Society 1988-1989.


At least 3 forums have been dedicated to this book including /groups/loveshy-drgilmartin, /groups/loveshy-women, and


See also[edit]


  1. & Love, Causes, Consequences, and Treatment
  2. & Love, Causes, Consequences, and Treatment|last=Gilmartin
  3. Author: Elizabeth Rice, Allgeier, year=1988, Book Review: Shyness & Love: Causes, Consequences, and Treatment, journal: Journal of Sex Research, volume:25, issue: 2, pages: 309–315, doi=10.1080/00224498809551463
  4. Author: Jonathan M. Cheek, year=1989, title: Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, volume=34, issue=8, pages=791–792

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