The Younger Love-Shy Men
The cooperation of 200 19 to 24 year old men (all with the seven
love-shyness characteristics delineated on page 117) was obtained from the
following seven campuses: (1) University of California at Los Angeles;
(2) California State University at Northridge; (3) New York University;
(4) City University of New York; (5) Auburn University; (6) Westfield
State College; and (7) State University of New York at Stony Brook. In
addition, 24 men (12 percent of the total sample) were drawn from the
membership of a New York area commercial dating service. All of these
men were similarly enrolled in classes at a number of area colleges.
With the exception of the 25 men interviewed on the Auburn Uni-
versity campus in Auburn, Alabama, all of the younger love-shys had
grown up in the suburbs of major west and east coast metropolitan
areas. Parenthetically, there is no evidence that the 25 Auburn love-shys
were any less severely afflicted with their problem than their 175 fellow
sufferers from the much more highly urbanized west and east coasts.
For the obtaining of the university respondents, announcements
were placed on bulletin boards in (1) classroom buildings, (2) in dor-
mitories, and (3)in off-campus laundermats. These announcements
briefly described the nature of the study and the type of respondents
that would be needed. They also indicated the $10 reward that would
be accorded the appropriate individuals for participation in the study.
I had already been aware of the fact that love-shy people seldom
have telephones. In fact, severely love-shy people often find it too
threatening to use a telephone even for the making of impersonal, busi-
ness contacts. Since love-shy men often choose to write letters in situ-
ations wherein most people would simply opt to make a telephone call,
the bulletin board announcements that were used all requested that
interested men contact me by mail at a clearly delineated address.
Because I was inviting responses from severely shy young men
who often harbor strong inhibitions blocking self-disclosure vis-a-vis
strangers, I wanted to make the announcements as (1) non-threatening,
and (2) inviting, as I possibly could. I also wanted to arouse the love-
shys' curiosity. I therefore pointed out that I was a licensed therapeutic
counselor in the State of California, and that I was particularly interested
in finding ways whereby the social system could be restructured so as
to better meet the needs of love-shy men. Hence, the announcements
all stated that young men who were very shy vis-a-vis women had long
been totally ignored by politicians, university and college administrators,
social event coordinators; and that the time had finally come for some-
thing constructive to be done to remedy this situation.
Thus, most of what little research work has been done on shyness
has started off from the basic premise that shyness is the victim's prob-
lem, the victim's fault, and the victim's responsibility. It has started off
from the premise that any ultimate remedy for the shyness problem
would have to come from the victim himself. In contrast, the bulletin
board announcements used for this study proclaimed the fact that love-
shy men are human beings as worthy of dignity and respect as anyone
else; and that society had a responsibility in the causing and ultimately
in the prevention and cure of love-shyness. In addition, the announce-
ments clearly indicated a recognition of the fact that love-shyness is by
far the most painful and life-destructive of all the various forms of
shyness--and that it is the form of shyness that requires the most imme-
diate attention from the "powers that be".
Finally the bulletin board announcements briefly described the
essential respondent characteristics that the study would require. For
example, in order to qualify for an interview and for the $10 payment,
each respondent would have to be (1) heterosexual; (2) male; (3) virginal;
(4) never or very rarely dates; (5) for a very long time desperately desir-
ous of the emotionally meaningful love and companionship of a member
of the opposite sex; (6) lacking any history of emotionally meaningful
involvement (other than through fantasies and daydreams) with the
other sex; and (7) extremely anxiety-prone at the mere thought of friendly
self-assertion vis-a-vis a person of the opposite sex.
This bulletin board method worked, although progress was slow.
Over a lengthy period of time letters trickled in from interested potential
respondents. And each respondent was contacted in person and screened.
Some of the people who contacted me could not be used for the study
because they did not fit one or more of the seven delineated criteria.
However, better than eighty percent of those who wrote to me did fit
all of the criteria and were eventually interviewed--in most cases within
a few days of the original contact by mail.
The bulletin board announcements had requested that respondents
specify the times and places that would prove convenient and comfort-
able for them. Of course, privacy and security from interruptions had
to be assured; and these matters posed little problem. A three-hour time
block had to be secured; and that similarly posed fewer problems than
I had anticipated. In fact, many of the interviews ran beyond four hours.
People with strong inhibitions against self-disclosure often "open up"
surprisingly well when they are with somebody who shows a sincere
interest in them, and who makes himself known as someone who is
looking for ways of catalyzing society into taking steps towards the direct
helping of love-shy people.
I, the author of this book, am the person who conducted all of the
interviews for the study. I accomplished this by going to the appointed
place at the appointed time as mutually agreed beforehand by letter.
With some respondents two or three or even four letters prefaced the
actual interview. Some respondents needed various types of assurances.
And in some cases interview appointments had to be changed or
Finally, some of the information required for this study had to be
obtained by self-administered questionnaire. All such information was
obtained with me (the interviewer) present in the room. This procedure
proved quite helpful because (1) it enabled respondents to receive prompt
and immediate answers to any questions they might have had concern-
ing certain questionnaire items; and (2)it prevented a lot of time-
consuming callbacks. Simply put, the procedure employed for the data
collecting phase of this study assured that when I left a particular
respondent I had in my possession all of the data that would be required
from that respondent. I did not have to depend upon any respondent
to mail me any data. To depend on respondents to mail information can
be very frustrating because initially enthusiastic respondents often lose
interest; and much of the information that the research requires never
actually gets received.