Is there a point to doing NoFap, or are all these people just jerking us around?
NoFap: Getting in touch with not touching yourself
The name might seem self-explanatory, but for those of you not familiar with the concept of “NoFap”, I’ll explain what it is.
NoFap is an up-and-coming (pun totally intended, get ready, there will be many more) health trend revolving around the potential benefits of abstaining from masturbation. This idea isn’t new at all, in fact religion has been promoting the idea that masturbation is a sin for centuries. Whereas religion simply touts masturbation as an affront to God, NoFap attempts to be a little bit more grounded in its justification for abstaining from the practice of dancing with yourself. The NoFap community has been around for at least 10 years, starting out as a sub-Reddit. The idea of abstaining from masturbating for mental and physical health has been talked about on sites like 4chan for as long as I remember (I started going onto 4chan in 2004-2005), the NoFap sub-Reddit organized it into one convenient place.
Before I go any further, I should take a moment to say that the original intent of NoFap was to break porn addiction. In fact, the official NoFap website states that they are not against masturbation, and that their primary goal is to help people fight addiction to porn. You can read their About page here. The website greatly discourages using “NoFap” as a verb or ideology:
“‘NoFap'” is neither a verb nor a principle. It’s the name of an organization and its associated website, tools, and services.”
However, many internet users on sites like 4chan have ignored this and taken to using “NoFap” as a verb and a principle. As such, for the purposes of this piece I will do the same. It’s simpler to type out or say “NoFap” than it is to say “abstaining from masturbation” or something like that. Readers should not confuse my use of “NoFap” as a verb/principle for the website/organization. For this article, “NoFap” will NOT mean the website NoFap.com.
On a side note, I find it highly interesting that the porn industry has been actively attempting to discredit the NoFap website and its core beliefs, to the point where the NoFap founder has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the porn industry. I also find it highly interesting that many of your favorite porn sites are owned by the same company, which chose “MindGeek” as its name. Take from that what you will. I could go into my thoughts about what porn does to the brain and how the overabundance of porn available thanks to the internet isn’t a good thing, but I’ll save that for another time.
The “Benefits” of NoFap
As someone who frequently lurks 4chan’s /fit/ board as well as the BodyBuilding.com Forums, I constantly see threads promoting the glory of NoFap. While the original intent of the NoFap website was to promote abstaining from porn, a lot of people have taken this one step further by abstaining from masturbation as a whole. People who have done NoFap have claimed to see a myriad of mental and physical benefits. The most common ones:
- Less stress and anxiety
- Clearer thinking
- A more positive outlook on life
- Boosted confidence/self-esteem
- Increased motivation
- Improved focus/concentration
- Clearer skin
- Higher testosterone levels
- Thicker hair
- More energy
- Better quality sleep
- Improved/cured erectile dysfunction
- Better sperm quality
Yes, the halls of 4chan and BodyBuilding.com are rife with success stories of people who turned their life around by quitting porn or quitting masturbating altogether.
But is there actually anything to this, or are these people just experiencing the placebo effect? There have been some scientific studies done on the matter, plenty of which contradict each other. I’m not going to sift through that mess, and I’m sure you, the reader, don’t want to either. I’ve heard that the benefits begin to manifest themselves on day 30, day 60, day 90, and even day 120. Reading the subreddit made it seem like NoFap was a moving goalpost, with people saying they didn’t see benefits after 30 days only to be told “NO IT’S ACTUALLY 60 DAYS”, and the people looking for benefits after 60 days being told “NO IT’S ACTUALLY 90 DAYS”. So how many days is it, asshole? Then these people would add other handicaps, telling others that if they wanted to see the full benefits they also needed to abstain from things like playing video games or surfing the internet. There were even some people who said that NoFappers needed to also abstain from sex! Should we go join a monastery too and become Buddhist monks? Most of these people came across as downright silly. My experience reading the subreddit left a bitter taste in my mouth, and made me question the veracity of NoFap.
So in the interest of science, I decided to do NoFap myself. Starting on January 2nd, I ceased masturbating with the intent to go until at least February 2nd, possibly longer.
Any good experiment clarifies the conditions. While I don’t consider this experiment good in any way, I have decided to lay out the conditions under which I carried this out.
Exercise – I maintained a steady weight-training regimen of 3 days a week, each session usually lasting an hour. By happenstance I also picked January to stop doing cardio, so there was no running or riding my exercise bike.
Diet – I averaged around 3,000-3,500 calories a day, most of which was protein and carbs. I ate whole healthy foods about 75% of the time, occasionally having fast food. I also consumed alcohol, averaging 6 beers a week or less. My caffeine intake usually consisted of just one cup of black tea in the morning with breakfast. Sometimes I would have a diet soda or a second cup of tea, but nothing too crazy.
Porn – I really didn’t look at porn all that much before doing NoFap, and seeing as I wasn’t going to be masturbating I saw no reason to actively pursue porn during the experiment. Still, as a frequent lurker on 4chan’s /fit/ board I was routinely exposed to porn and sexual images. My options were either avoid 4chan altogether during this time, or simply suck it up, exert a little bit of self-control, and continue to browse /fit/. While it’s never bad to avoid 4chan, I chose to continue browsing and accept that I would still be exposed to porn during the experiment, making avoiding it a stressful task.
Sex – I did have sex with my girlfriend during this time. This is where some people might say I have the unfair advantage against the average NoFapper, since from what I’ve seen many of them are single and have trouble talking to women. Still, most NoFappers agree that sex during NoFap is okay, with only a small handful who abstain altogether. Besides, if I told my girlfriend “Sorry baby, I can’t have sex with you for a month because I’m doing NoFap” she’d either rape me or dump my ass, or both. I usually see my girlfriend once or twice a week, so it’s not like I’m having sex every single day.
Supplements – As I’ve said before, I take a fair amount of supplements. My current daily stack is as follows.
- B12 – 1,000 mg
- Garlic – 2,000 mg
- Vitamin D3 – 2,000 IU
- Vitamin C – 1,000 mg
- Garlic – 2,000 mg
- Zinc – 50 mg
I also took 2.5 mg of melatonin, but by happenstance I chose January 5th to stop taking this to see if it made any impact on my sleep.
Zinc is also known to increase libido, so this would possibly prove to be an extra challenge.
What I Was Looking For
As my goal was to determine if there was any benefit to NoFap, I monitored as many of the previously mentioned aspects as I could:
- Stress and anxiety levels
- Confidence levels
- Motivation and energy
- Focus and concentration
- Overall mental health
I don’t have any problems getting it up or performing sexually, so I can’t attest to that aspect.
One of the biggest claims about NoFap was that it boosts testosterone levels. I wanted to test this, I really did. Unfortunately, my doctor refused to cooperate on this. When I asked my doctor if I could get my test levels checked, she started asking me why, and asking if I felt I had low testosterone levels. It basically became an interrogation, until I relented and told her that I was doing an experiment to see if NoFap had any benefit to testosterone levels. After looking at me like I was crazy (as any normal person would do if you told them you were doing NoFap), she told me that there was no way my insurance would justify the blood work for that. So unless I wanted to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars out of my pocket for this, I wouldn’t be able to investigate the testosterone claims.
As far as my mental health goes, I routinely deal with depression, anxiety, stress, anger, and some other things, so if NoFap really does have any impact on mental health it wouldn’t be too hard for me to notice.
I have acne on my forehead, probably from wearing a bandana when I work out. I also have a weird dry spot on my t-zone (the area right between your eyebrows). I was interested to see if it cleared up at all.
I’m also balding, particularly on the back of my head. Would NoFap have any impact on this? Thicker hair, maybe? In the interest of fairness, I should mention here that I have been using minoxidil drops for the last 7 months, so this could skew results.
I wrote a whole article about my on-going battle with insomnia. As such, one of the things I was most interested about was NoFap’s effects on sleep. As mentioned before, I also decided to stop taking melatonin a few days into the experiment, after taking it nightly for 6 years, so there’s a chance that this may skew results.
Days 1 through 7
The first few days weren’t rough, but they weren’t easy either.
I routinely had sex dreams and woke up with raging erections. I was also quicker to excite. By day 4 even the fat bitch in yoga pants had a tappable-looking ass. I literally wanted to fuck every woman I could. Obviously I showed some restraint and didn’t cheat on my girlfriend, but it was still kind of annoying. After day 5 this began to subside and I “stabilized”.
I noticed my acne was slightly less visible, but not cleared up. The dry skin on my t-zone also subsided a little bit.
My mental health was also a bit better than normal. I wasn’t as anxious or quick to anger, and I wasn’t really all that depressed. My confidence levels also picked up just a tiny bit, but that could have just been a result of me being calmer, which could have itself been the result of placebo effect.
As I mentioned before, a few days into NoFap I also decided to stop taking melatonin supplements, as I felt they weren’t doing anything for me anymore and didn’t want to keep wasting $9 a month on something that had no effect on my insomnia. I also decided to stop having a “bedtime schedule”, and instead just started going to bed whenever I got tired, even if that was at 10:30-11:00 instead of my usual 9:30 bedtime. I suspect that this interfered with my sleep moreso than usual. As such, I can’t say if NoFap had any impact either way on my sleep.
My focus, energy, and productivity did increase a bit. I had less desire to skip workouts, my workouts even felt more productive. I also began undertaking a project to build a table for my record player and records using scrap wood from busted shipping pallets. Was this placebo effect? Only time would tell.
There was no discernible change in my hair.
Days 8 through 14
I wasn’t really impressed with the “results” of the first 7 days, so I was starting to think that maybe I was wasting my time.
The sex dreams didn’t come back, but the frequent erections did. Again, they subsided after a few days. My sex drive was through the roof, possibly a side effect of my zinc supplementation.
My acne also returned, as did the dry spot on my t-zone. Third week’s the charm, maybe?
My mental health actually continued to pick up. I was even less anxious, irritable, and depressed than before. I think I figured out what was going on though, as I’ll explain in the next paragraph.
My sleep also improved rather nicely. I had now gone a week and a half without the melatonin, and had been expecting a struggle that would end with me taking the melatonin again. Instead, my issues from the previous week were all but gone. Before bed I would plop down on my couch, watch an episode or two of “Penn and Teller: Bullshit!” (solid show BTW), then get drowsy and go to bed, only waking up once or twice to pee. Fuck all those assholes who say not to look at screens an hour before bed, that did more damage to me than watching TV. I’m going to do an entire article that dissects their bullshit one day.
By all appearances, it seems like sleeping better is what made my mental health improve, which in turn made it easier to sleep. However, I will say that I feel NoFap may have made it easier to deal with stopping the melatonin, but I can’t prove this claim so take it for what it’s worth, which is fuck all.
Days 15 through 21
At this point I could literally copy and paste what I wrote for the first two weeks.
Again I started out excessively horny. Again it subsided after a few days.
The acne remained, as did the dry spot.
My mental health was still improving. I continued to have motivation, better control over my anger, etc.
My sleep also continued to improve.
There’s really not much more to say here. I was starting to feel that NoFap was, for the most part, an over-hyped waste of my time.
Days 22 through 28
I was honestly starting to get bored with this experiment. Every week was exactly the same.
The only real difference from week to week was that my mental health and motivation were still on the uptick. But this could easily be chalked up to a placebo effect, so I couldn’t claim that it was all thanks to the miraculous magical powers of NoFap. I had to know for sure. I had to find a way to figure out if it was placebo or not. So I did the only thing I could think of.
I jacked off.
Indeed, I purposely broke my NoFap streak on day 24 to see how I felt after masturbating. Aside from having one hell of an orgasm, I felt kind of off afterwards, but still not too bad. That could easily have been placebo too, chalked up to some kind of subconscious guilt for breaking the streak. So I said fuck it, and jacked it two more times throughout the course of the day.
The day after, I woke up feeling like shit. I was anxious and irritable for most of the day, my social skills were stunted, and I had horrible brain fog.
Maybe there was something to this after all. Jacking it once made me feel kind of off, jacking it three times in one day made me feel like dog shit.
After my “relapse”, I resumed NoFap. The week was basically a repeat of Week 1, except it didn’t feel like I lost all my work on my mental health, just a little bit. My sleep did also take a small hit again, but I powered through it without going back to the melatonin again.
Summary of My Results
Stress and anxiety levels
During NoFap, my stress and anxiety did decrease a reasonable amount.
My confidence did increase, but not substantially.
Motivation and energy
I did feel slightly more motivated and had more energy.
Focus and concentration
My focus and concentration did improve slightly.
Overall mental health
My overall mental health did improve a reasonable amount.
Skin and hair
There were no discernible changes in my skin or hair.
My sleep did improve slightly.
After my experiment, I still wasn’t 100% sure what had been placebo and what had been legitimately attributable to NoFap. After all, I’m no scientist, and as such there would always be holes in my work that I’m sure most of you will be more than happy to pick out as justification to support whatever you might believe. Please keep this in mind, I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL SCIENTIST, THIS IS NOT A PROFESSIONAL CONTROLLED STUDY, THERE ARE ALMOST CERTAINLY FLAWS IN MY WORK.
What do I think?
I think there is at least some evidence of possible benefits to NoFap that makes it worth trying.
I wasn’t what one would call a compulsive masturbater, I usually jacked it no more than once a day. This experiment has convinced me to cut back just a little bit more, to maybe once or twice a week. If your habits are similar to mine, I would suggest this as a more reasonable alternative over simply stopping altogether.
However, if you’re someone who chronically spanks it several times a day, I would definitely recommend taking at least three to four weeks off to see how you feel without it. As with anything in life, moderation is key, too much of a good thing can be bad. Your body uses resources to produce that semen, beating off three or four times a day is definitely depleting you of stuff that your body and mind need to function properly, which in turn wreaks havoc on your hormones. You’re also burning out your dopamine receptors and stunting the nerves in your dick.
To sum that up with no ambiguity: If you beat off once a day, you’re not an addict, but you might benefit from only beating off once or twice a week instead. If you beat off multiple times a day, you are most likely an addict and would definitely benefit from doing NoFap for a few weeks to reset yourself.
So in conclusion, while its benefits are greatly overstated and over-hyped by people on websites like 4chan, I find NoFap to be BASED, and would definitely recommend it to those who are addicted to masturbating.
What do y’all think about NoFap? Let me know in the comments!