Wondering what all the buzz over NoFap is about? If so, you’re not the only one.
Besides your initial interest in the NoFap meaning, you may have other pressing questions.
More than anything else, you’re likely intrigued by the potential NoFap benefits and wondering,“Does NoFap work?”
You’ve heard about the long list of claimed benefits including:
And the list goes on.
You definitely don’t want to miss out on a possible life-altering self-improvement strategy.
At the same time, you don’t want to deny your sexual urges so drastically if there’s nothing to gain from it.
Since there are plenty of misconceptions out there about NoFap, we did some investigating to see what’s really going on.
Let’s take a look at what NoFap is and whether it actually works.
NoFap reportedly originated from a 2011 Reddit forum discussion about trying to quit masturbation.
It all started with a study that showed a 145.7% increase in testosterone levels in men compared to the previous baseline amount after seven days of not masturbating.
The Reddit world went nuts over this claim (really, no pun intended).
Eventually, NoFap became a trademarked name and the discussion was moved off the Reddit platform to an outside website. NoFap continues to gain increased attention from individuals who want to stop watching porn or masturbating (Over 400,000 strong now). It has its share of skeptics too.
The online group’s website is nofap.com. Here’s how NoFap defines itself:
“NoFap® is a comprehensive community-based porn recovery website. We offer all the tools our users need to connect with a supportive community of individuals determined to quit porn use and free themselves from compulsive sexual behaviors. With our website, forums, articles and apps, NoFap helps our users overcome their sexual addictions so they can heal from porn-induced sexual dysfunctions, improve their relationships, and ultimately live their most fulfilling lives.”
And as a side note, just about everyone wonders where ‘Fap” came from. Wikipedia describes the word origin pretty well:
“The expression "fap" is an onomatopoeic Internet slang term for male masturbation that first appeared in the 1999 webcomic Sexy Losers to indicate the sound of a male character masturbating.”
Those in the NoFap community are sometimes referred to as NoFappers, fapstinent or fapstronauts.
According to NoFap’s website, there aren’t any hard-set rules per se.
The community encourages participants to abstain from porn use, masturbation and possibly partner sex for a set amount of time (porn/masturbation/orgasm or PMO).
Some participants also try to avoid ‘edging’ which is the practice of bringing yourself just to the brink of orgasm and then stopping. This is seen by some in the group as masturbating without achieving orgasm.
Many participants also consider pornography anything that would compel them to masturbate.
So, it doesn’t necessarily have to involve nudity but just be sexually suggestive enough to cause significant arousal.
Having said that, NoFap likes to keep its rules from being too rigid.
Everyone has different goals and motivations which this community wants to encourage.
The primary goal, as NoFap sees it, is to reboot the brain. Essentially, they hope to help those involved to reset their neural pathways so sex compulsions don’t have such a draw.
The recommended time span for this reboot is 90 days although, again, NoFap leaves this open to interpretation by participants.
Here is NoFap’s broad description of abstaining from certain sexual practices:
“Far from being a single-minded movement, our users are a diverse group who find common ground in only one thing—they believe abstaining from individually-elected sexual behaviors for a period of time will improve their lives.”
NoFap admits that if you get much more specific, the commonalities of the group begin to break down.
Here's a summary of the potential paths you could take ideally for 90 days through NoFap:
We already shared some benefits reported by the NoFap community but not everyone outside the group is convinced.
Although it’s hard to argue with personal testimonials of positive change, the medical, psychological and scientific communities still have plenty of skeptics.
Some view most NoFap benefits as the placebo effect.
In other words, those involved expect to reap healthful benefits from abstaining from certain sexual behaviors.
And since participants expect a positive outcome, the brain rewards them for their positivity. But not necessarily because they abstained. That’s one take at least.
Still, it’s difficult to make the blanket statement that NoFap holds no value.
What are some things we can identify as likely positive points without specific medical evidence?
Here are a few possible benefits of NoFap.
Especially for most guys, NoFap offers a lofty challenge.
Men (and some women) are wired to be very sexual. The urge to achieve sexual release is incredibly strong.
Most participants don’t realize just how powerful these instincts are until they try to quit self-stimulating practices for a while.
Those who experience success in sexual self-denial often report discipline in other areas of life too. Some of these include improved work performance and the ability to regulate emotions better.
It seems reasonable enough that learning self-discipline or self-control in one area of life could potentially carry over to another.
Many members who follow the NoFap agenda reported experiencing many mental and physical benefits over long periods of time without “fapping”.
Men reportedly experienced a boost in morale, energy and self confidence.
Some claim that participating in NoFap has given them somewhat “super powers”. It’s been said that other benefits included seeing natural muscle growth, better quality sleep, lowered stress and anxiety levels and even enlightened spirituality.
There are no scientific studies to prove these enhanced male features but becoming more attractive and feeling better about yourself has never been seen as a negative.
A good number of NoFap participants find their sexual behaviors troublesome in some way. For some it’s an issue of morality or faith beliefs but not for everyone.
For nearly all, morality aside, participants tend to feel out of control in some way.
They feel it isn’t healthy to be unable to control their own bodies. Some even go as far as to suspect a sex addiction.
If a person is unable to control a behavior they want to change, it’s worth deciding if it should be addressed in some way.
It’s healthful to evaluate our behaviors to see how they affect ourselves and others. Again, addressing unwanted behaviors in one area of life could make it easier to do so in other areas of life.
Often, it’s far easier to go through life without evaluating ourselves. But evaluating where we’re at is the first step towards positive change.
The psychology community increasingly recognizes that addictions can exist in virtually any facet of life. We can become addicted to anything from food to our hobbies to work. It isn’t always just drug and alcohol addiction we have to battle.
At the same time, many mental and general health professionals feel uncomfortable using the term ‘sex addiction’. In part, the challenge is that sexual libido and expression can vary drastically from person to person.
If we call someone on one end of the libido spectrum a ‘sex addict,’ do we then give a diagnosis to someone who has an unusually low desire for sex? Perhaps ‘chronic abstainer’?
Addiction or not, some in the NoFap community have found that their preoccupation with porn and masturbation negatively impacted their lives in some way.
Maybe they got fired for watching porn while at work or their partner found out and it caused relationship problems.
Other members spent too much of their free time engaged in porn and wanted to do something else with their time they deemed more productive. Or, they worried about the long-term effects of consistent hard porn use.
Some of these individuals who felt too controlled by POM, found NoFap to be an acceptable, confidential and supportive solution. These participants wanted to break free from what felt like an addiction to them.
Why do people rally behind a professional sports team full of people they don’t personally know? Sports fans may spend countless hours and lots of money just to belong to that team in some way.
Psychologically, it often comes down to our human need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We all need to feel part of a meaningful, larger group in some way.
For many, NoFap allows them to be part of a like-minded and safe community. And, since it’s dealing with secretive sexual practices, it also provides an unparalleled level of transparency.
That type of transparency can often be tough to find outside a community like NoFap.
After all, most of us aren’t going to walk up to someone at work, various social gatherings, or within our family and friend circles and tell them about our POM habits.
Many participants find it freeing to share these taboo things with the NoFap community they may never share with anyone else. When they can communicate the deepest parts of who they are and not feel judged, that creates a highly meaningful connection with others.
It’s hard to argue against that type of transparency and depth of discussion without judgment being healthy in some way.
Despite NoFap’s ever-increasing popularity, misconceptions abound about this community. Here are several of the most common NoFap myths out there.
Some immediately assume NoFap has religious roots since it involves some measure of abstaining from certain sexual practices. This is inaccurate.
While NoFap has individuals from virtually every belief system in its community, it is not inherently religious. It also doesn’t claim to be faith-driven in any way.
NoFap intentionally steers clear of the moral issue of masturbation and porn use.
Instead of trying to moralize these practices, it seeks to identify the potential benefits of abstaining from self-stimulating practices for a set time. Then, it seeks to help individuals break free of that potentially addictive cycle.
Much of the controversy about NoFap stems from misunderstandings.
Those outside of NoFap assume the community frowns upon all masturbation and porn use. But per their website, that isn’t entirely accurate.
Rather, it seeks to help individuals break free of unhealthy control of unwanted sexual compulsions. More than anything, NoFap is focused on wellness.
NoFap isn’t saying,“Don’t ever masturbate or use porn.” Rather it says,“Try abstaining from artificial sexual stimulation for a time to see if it has a positive effect on your life.”
The goal isn’t necessarily to never go back to masturbation or porn use after abstaining for a time.
Instead, the hope is that a focused time of abstinence will have broken any unhealthful attachments to self-sexual stimulation or POM.
The NoFap community consists of 95% men and roughly 5% females (femstronauts).
And while it contains mostly heterosexual men, there’s also a small group of gay men in the community.
So, while at first glance, it may seem only heterosexual guys are welcome, that isn’t true. It just happens that heterosexual men are the biggest group of people who seem most attracted to NoFap.
NoFap seeks to help anyone who’s willing to abstain regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Although many outside of the NoFap community consider it to be a movement, NoFap doesn’t see it that way.
A movement typically focuses on leveraging social change and challenging societal norms. NoFap doesn’t consider this its goal.
Rather, NoFap seeks to assist those who come to their community and desire to change. In other words, the process is available to anyone who’s interested, but NoFap doesn’t exist to push its views on others outside of the community.
Now that we’ve discussed some of the commonly believed myths about NoFap, let’s move on to NoFap science. In other words, are NoFap’s most compelling claims backed by scientific research?
Many testimonials exist from NoFap members who claim a slight increase in penis size. There are also plenty of websites besides NoFap’s advocating the same.
The claims don’t necessarily seem to say your penis actually grows by abstaining from porn or masturbation. Instead, those who abstain report stronger erections, possibly making the penis slightly longer or wider in some cases (fuller than before).
It appears to be the exact opposite. Masturbation before sex has been found helpful for guys who want to last longer in bed.
Not masturbating would make it harder to hold out instead of easier. Having an orgasm less often would make it feel all the more urgent to do so once the special time arrived.
This means, in your extra-excited state, you could ‘unload’ sooner than you’d hoped.
For tips to having more control and lasting longer, read: How To Last Longer In Bed (Ultimate Guide For Men)
Some members of NoFap report a greater ability to become aroused in bed after abstaining from PMO.
In theory, this could make sense to some degree in the case of hard porn. Some argue that hard porn could make real-life sex less arousing since porn often sets forth an idealized and unrealistically stimulating world.
Having said that, some scientific research suggests the opposite could also be true.
One study found that those who viewed sexual stimuli experienced increased arousal rather than the opposite.
In summary, little scientific evidence has been done to prove or disprove many of the specific merits of NoFap. But, in the event you decide to try NoFap, here are some handy tips that could increase your success.
Suffice it to say that NoFap is one of the toughest exercises in self-discipline for most men and some women.
Just how do you make it through without perpetually keeping an ice pack strapped to your groin? Here a few tips for success to consider.
While porn or masturbation is often a solitary activity, NoFap is not. You’re almost guaranteed to fail if you try to go solo.
The entire NoFap community is built on helping each other through the guaranteed challenges of the sexual abstinence journey
Most people involved in NoFap could tell you about their own ‘relapses’ before ‘success’.
The determined ones didn’t let their moments of weakness get them down though. They may have had several days of relapse but eventually tried again with better results the next time.
The NoFap group has turned POM resistance into a competitive game. Making it fun and competitive helps to resist POM not to seem so difficult during the tougher times.
If you decide to try NoFap, you might want to join the competition.
Many of the most successful NoFappers replaced their previous POM time with exercise or some other exerting hobby. This allowed them to work out their sexual energy without turning to their previous comfort activity.
The NoFap team has developed apps to give you regular encouragement. You can also get a little extra help during those moments when youreally want to give in.
NoFappers report a long list of benefits from their self-discipline of steel.
Having said that, there haven’t been many scientific studies conducted on the benefits of abstaining from POM. More studies will likely take place in the future to either prove or disprove the benefits.
In the meantime, should you jump onto the NoFap bandwagon? That depends on your goals.
It’s highly unlikely you’ll suffer any harm from participating. And the positivity reported by this growing support group is hard to ignore.
Even NoFap agrees that sex is meant to be thoroughly enjoyed. The community just encourages moderation and balance for a time to hit the ‘reset button’.
Comments will be approved before showing up.