Absolute Beginners (aybees) is an English term, which has never been used in the English-speaking world. This is a term that is taken up by a German-speaking scene and is only used in that scene.
In German-speaking countries, Absolute Beginners refers to a community (whitepilled and purplepilled) that started in 1998. The German AB community may be the most under-recognized part of the entire incelosphere. It has several independent sub-communities such as AB-Treff, AB4-neu and unerfahren. Former communities include the forums Parsimonyforum 3708 (the oldest forum), the chat room AB-Plauderstübchen, and the websites ohne-erfahrung.de, Lonesome.at and beziehungsunerfahren.de.
They sometimes call themselves ABs. There have been multiple German forums for 'AB's over the years, including very large real life meetups, often approaching 100 people. They have also been associated with more books and academic literature on incel than any forum community. Two documentaries have been done of AB's; they include Love Alien, made in 2012 by director Wolfram Huke and "Jungfrau sucht die grosse Liebe" (virgins looking for love).
ABs are on occasion called eternal singles or involuntary singles. The term originated in Germany in the late 1990s to refer to people who are involuntarily single or become involuntary virgins way into adulthood.
The etymology of the term derives from a David Bowie song. Absolute Beginners sometimes abbreviate their self-identification as AB. Rheinische Post defines AB's as those above the age of 20 with no romantic experience whatsoever. Sexologist Monika Büchner defines the Absolute Beginner as one who has never had sex by their 25th birthday. The concept of AB is analogous to the English term love-shyness.
Absolute Beginner versus Incel
In German speaking countries the term Absolute Beginner is common, in English speaking countries the term incel is common.
The term Absolute Beginner used in German-speaking countries puts the emphasis of the consideration on the first (sexual) relationship experience. According to this, someone with a unique (sexual) relationship experience from the AB community would be “out”, even if he were to live in an “involuntary celibate” for the rest of their lives afterwards. The term incel, used in English-speaking countries, puts “involuntary celibacy” at the core of the consideration, whereby it is irrelevant whether sexual relationships had already existed before.
The problems surrounding “the first time” and “involuntary celibacy” are two different issues, but they may have similar causes.
The reasoning behind their sexlessness varies from psychological issues, an unsocial life, shyness, being socially inept, or a lack of initiative in making the first move. Absolute Beginners gradually developed into communities that culminated into self-help groups of the same name. AB's sometimes communicate with one another on online forums. They vary in age, including vicenarians, tricenarians and quadragenarians. In some online forums, the hallmark of being an Absolute Beginner is beyond the age of twenty if one still has had no sexual or romantic experience. In online forums, AB's sometimes discuss tribulations associated with their status such as pressures to date and the embaressments and secrecy associated with their inexperience. This is sometimes derived due to social pressure in Germany to have a romantic partner. Awareness of the AB community in Germany has increased. Some German AB's have attempted to document their lifestyle in order to explore the reasoning behind their ineffectiveness at courtship. There are also AB-specific coaches who specialize in giving therapy to AB's. Some of the causes of AB include having a busy career, and its time-consuming nature leaving few options for romantic pursuits, a perception of themselves as unattractive and the subsequent low-self esteem, prudish parents seclusion due to some illness fear of beratement of their fetish, erotophobic family members who demonize the libido, disagreements on who should make the first move, or a traumatic experience during their introductory stage of sexploration. Heterosexual Absolute Beginners have described themselves as feeling invisible to the opposite sex. Factors contributing to German women being Absolute Beginners include attending a single-sex educational institution that discouraged freemixing between the genders, enochlophobia, misinterpreting flirtation as mere friendliness, a fear of being friendzoned, and an exigent personality.
The degree of the phenomenon varies as some AB's never had any form of physical intimacy, including kissing or holding hands. Sexologist Jakob Pastötter recommends therapy to remove inhibition and anxiety. In the Netherlands the organization Aquarion helps AB's by giving lessons on dating and relationships, as well as offering reservations wherein AB's can book sex sessions with one another. Author Arne Hoffman recommends any physical activity such as dancing or sports as a method to increase an AB's confidence levels. Members of some online German forums have set up self-help groups, fellowships and therapeutic programs on the topic. Some analysts have suggested using the internet to facilitate opportunities for mingling with others. However, others suggest that the increasing individualization of society suggests singlehood is normal.
In 2012, director Wolfram Huke published a German language autobiographical documentary, Love Alien, wherein he documents a year of his life as an "Absolute Beginner" between his 29th and 30th birthday. The film features his platonic connection with two female acquaintances; a female distant relative, and a Croatian woman, both of whom he viewed as potential partners. The latter parts of the film show him discussing courtship strategies with a psychotherapist, several family members and random women who tell him how he should present himself. The film ends with a trip to Camino de Santiago on his 30th birthday where he declares that in spite of his efforts, he is still single.
Another documentary on the topic is "Jungfrau sucht die grosse Liebe" (virgins looking for love), which features seven virgins who self-describe as AB's and their attempts at having their first romantic or sexual experience.
- Maria Holzmüller: Ungeküsst: Das Leben der Ewig-Singles, Brigitte am 14. Mai 2013
- „Absolute Beginner“ Als Erwachsener noch unberührt, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger am 25. Oktober 2012
- Leben ohne Sex: Als Erwachsener unerfahren, Frankfurter Rundschau aktualisiert am 3. Juni 2020
- Leben ohne Sex: Selbsthilfe für erwachsene Jungfrauen, Der Spiegel am 10. August 2008
- Florentine Fritzen: Beziehungen: Zuletzt geküsst im Kindergarten, F.A.Z. am 4. Februar 2007
- Spätzünder: Wie ist es, mit 33 Jahren seine erste Freundin zu haben?, RP Online am 2. November 2016
- Astrid-Maria Bock: Absolute Beginner: Mit 25 noch nie Sex gehabt. Und nun?, Die Welt am 7. September 2015
- 40 und ungeküsst: In der Einsamkeitsfalle, Nordbayern am 11. Dezember 2015 (Von Menschen, die noch nie in ihrem Leben eine Beziehung erlebt haben.)
- Maja Roedenbeck: And who kisses me? Absolute Beginners – When love is waiting for you, Berlin 2012, p. 54
- Maja Roedenbeck: And who kisses me? Absolute Beginners – When love is waiting for you, Berlin 2012, pp. 29–30, p. 86, p. 108
- Sprenger: Male Absolute Beginner. A communication-scientific approach to the explanation of partnerlessness, Wiesbaden, Germany
- Olaf Wickenhöfer: Unfreiwillig Single, Eine Studie zur Sozialisationsgeschichte und kulturellen Alltagspraxis, Tectum Verlag, Marburg 2004, page 42
- https://www.welt.de/vermischtes/article159149444/Ich-muss-das-erst-lernen-Sex-ist-nicht-so-einfach.html |title=Erstes Mal mit 31: „Ich muss das erst lernen – Sex ist nicht so einfach
- German incelosphere
- Parsimonyforum 3708