Type of site
|Launched||June 20, 2011(subreddit)|
NoFap is a website and community forum that serves as a support group for those who wish to give up pornography and masturbation. Its name comes from the slang term fap, referring to male masturbation. Reasons for this avoidance vary by individual, and may include religious and moral reasons, self-improvement, and physical beliefs that are not supported by mainstream medicine. The group's views and efforts to combat pornography addiction have been criticized as simplistic, outdated, and incorrect by neuroscientists, psychologists, and other medical professionals.
NoFap was founded in June 2011 by Pittsburgh web developer Alexander Rhodes after reading a thread on Reddit about a 2003 Chinese study[note 1] which found that men who refrain from masturbation for seven days experience a 145.7% spike in testosterone levels on the seventh day. This hit the front page of a popular forum on Reddit. The website states that some NoFap participants aim to "...improve their interpersonal relationships", do a "challenge of willpower – to seize control of your sexuality and turn it into superpowers", but always with the goal of being able to "abstain from PMO (porn/masturbation/orgasm)." While the website is most commonly associated with men seeking to quit porn and reduce masturbation, there are a minority of females who are users of the website as well, who are nicknamed "Femstronauts"; Rhodes has estimated that five percent of participants are women.
The expression "fap" is an onomatopoeic Internet slang term for male masturbation that first appeared in the 1999 web comic Sexy Losers to indicate the sound of a male character masturbating.
Alexander Rhodes appears in the documentary written and directed by Nicholas Tana called Sticky: A (Self) Love Story, in which he discusses his findings and his opinions about masturbation. After this, Rhodes created NoFap as a "subreddit" forum community on Reddit. The endeavour is sometimes referred to as fapstinence.
Users on NoFap's subreddit more than tripled in number in two years, leading Rhodes to build an off-Reddit forum at NoFap.com and begin other plans to better serve the website's fast-growing factions in Brazil, Germany, and China. NoFap.com is a forum-style website where individuals who have committed to abstain from pornography and/or masturbation for a period of time can talk about their experiences and engage in challenges to help them recover. NoFap.com is the sister website of the Reddit-hosted NoFap community. NoFap.com sells "premium memberships" and "store merchandise".
A 2020 study reports that "virtually all NoFap followers (99%) are male". The membership of NoFap ranges from atheists, like founder Rhodes, to fundamentalist Christians. Women are also a part of NoFap, although the community is sometimes viewed to be a part of the androsphere. The users of the website call themselves "Fapstronauts." Some correspondents have nicknamed NoFap's community members as NoFappers fapstinent, or no-fappers. Some self-described porn addicts seek out NoFap for help, while others join the website for the challenge or to improve their lives and interpersonal relationships.
The overwhelming goal of members of the NoFap forums is to stop masturbation entirely, and that this goal is due to their "perception of masturbation as unhealthy". After abstaining from porn and masturbation for a period of time, some of NoFap's users claim to experience various improvements in physical and mental health. Some NoFap users say their brains were warped by porn, at the expense of real relationships.
NoFap hosts a wide variety of different opinions on sexual health, and supports users with various goals as long they are trying to improve their sexual health. NoFap techniques are sometimes cited as a self-improvement method by members of the manosphere, and by others as a way to counter the effects of "death grip syndrome", an issue with penis sensitivity which some men attribute to overly aggressive masturbation.
The medical consensus is that there is no harm from normal masturbation practices. According to the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, "It is considered abnormal only when it inhibits partner-oriented behavior, is done in public, or is sufficiently compulsive to cause distress." In the US, masturbation was a diagnosable psychological condition until DSM II (1968). The American Medical Association declared masturbation as normal by consensus in 1972. Masturbation is a common behavior and is linked to indicators of sexual health. Masturbation does not deplete one's body of energy or produce premature ejaculation. More masturbation is associated with higher testosterone levels and testosterone increases immediately with orgasm.
Both the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization rejected "pornography addiction" as a diagnosis. Scientific studies contradict the NoFap belief that pornography use and erectile dysfunction are causally linked. Introductory psychology textbook authors Coon, Mitterer and Martini passingly mention NoFap, and speak of pornography as a "supernormal stimulus", but use the model of compulsion rather than addiction.
Therapist Paula Hall for The Huffington Post was asked about NoFap claims of "physical health benefits mentioned including renewed energy, greater focus, concentration, and better sleep" and responded "there is little medical evidence for any of these changes". Therapist Robert Weiss for The Huffington Post sees NoFap as part of a tech backlash. The endeavor has also been criticized as generating embarrassing side effects such as prolonged or unwanted erections in men or an excessive libido. Psychologist David J. Ley wrote: "I'm not in opposition to them, but I do think their ideas are simplistic, naive and promote a sad, reductionistic and distorted view of male sexuality and masculinity". Ley criticizes NoFap supporters as amateurs who are using "bad data" and "extrapolations on weak science to argue that porn has a disproportionate effect on the brain" and claim that porn use causes erectile dysfunction. Ley has stated that the website is a continuation of the anti-masturbation movements from the past, such as Swiss doctor Samuel Tissot's 18th-century claims that masturbation was an illness that "weakened the male spirit" and led to immorality; American doctor Benjamin Rush, who claimed that masturbation caused blindness; and W.K. Kellogg, who developed corn flakes as part of his anti-masturbation efforts.
A 2020 study found that while NoFap claimed to be science-based, the more that NoFap followers believed that they should abstain from masturbation, the more they also reported "lower trust in science". Social psychologists Taylor and Jackson, who analyzed the content of NoFap forums, concluded in their study that some NoFap participants not only rejected pornography, but also radical feminist critiques of pornography. They also stated that members of NoFap frequently utilized and redeployed familiar hegemonic masculine discourses (e.g. men as dominant seekers of pleasure and women as the 'natural' suppliers of this pleasure), in turn reproducing societal expectations of gendered sexual dominance and submission. A 2020 systematic review of the media on pornography, published in the journal Social Forces, described "These claims do not necessarily come from scientific experts. Instead, we find that newspaper articles draw from a variety of professionals who are not scientists" and mention that "Rhodes is quoted repeatedly reflecting that he was 'addicted to internet porn' and shares the personal consequences." They conclude "journalists and political actors are overextending scientific findings to advance their media markets and political agendas"..." to codify gender stereotypes and normative heterosexuality".
A New York Times story by Rob Kuznia expressed concern about white supremacists promoting the belief that pornography is a conspiracy of Judaism. A 2020 paper stated that NoFap appears to have been specifically targeted by such groups, writing, "the struggle for the 'remasculinization' of white men by overcoming porn (addiction) had to be an antisemitic one: a fight against 'Jewish pornography' and 'Jewish filth,' in which other current anti-porn actors such as NoFap should join".
Several journalists have criticized NoFap. Some of them report that the forums were filled with misogyny, stating that "there is a darker side to NoFap. Among the reams of Reddit discussions and YouTube videos, a fundamentally misogynistic rhetoric regularly emerges", and that "the NoFap community has become linked to wider sexism and misogyny, reducing women to sexual objects to be attained or abstained from and shaming sexually active women." Sociologist Kelsy Burke stated that "Rhodes and a small staff manage NoFap.com and its brand full time". She states, "There is no scientific evidence that supports the idea of these superpowers. Yet hundreds of thousands of NoFap users insist they experience them." She critiques similar gender problems in groups including NoFap, stating, "The scientific and spiritual gets muddled together as participants reinforce damaging gender stereotypes—those of hypersexual, biologically ravenous men who are simply "wired differently" than women. Women whose sexuality exists only in relation to male desire...porn addiction recovery reproduces the worst lessons of porn itself."
In 2017, an Independent article called "Inside the Community of Men Who Have Given Up Porn" noted that an alternative subreddit, /r/pornfree, is different from 'NoFap' as members abstain from pornography but not necessarily masturbation. Another Independent article, from 2018, described /r/pornfree as less 'extreme' compared to /r/nofap.
- Effects of pornography
- Opposition to pornography
- Sexual abstinence
- Sex Addicts Anonymous
- Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous
- Sexaholics Anonymous
- Postorgasmic illness syndrome
- No Nut November
- The thread ("TIL when men don't masturbate for 7 days their testosterone levels increase by 145.7%. • r/todayilearned". reddit.) discussed Jiang M, Xin J, Zou Q, Shen JW (2003). "A research on the relationship between ejaculation and serum testosterone level in men". Journal of Zhejiang University Science A. 4 (2): 236–240. doi:10.1631/jzus.2003.0236. PMID 12659241. S2CID 42127816.
- Cowell, Tom (September 17, 2013). "No fapping, please, it's making us ill". The Telegraph. London, England: Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
So why are men doing it, and what happens when they do? "Why" can be answered two ways: some see a medical problem in chronic masturbation, others a spiritual one.
- McMahon, Tamsin (January 20, 2014). "Will quitting porn improve your life?: A growing 'NoFap' movement of young men are saying no to porn and masturbation". Maclean's. Toronto, Canada: Rogers Media. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
Despite the evangelical tone, NoFap is fundamentally different from traditional campaigns that view masturbation as an assault on religious values. Instead, it is developing as a secular movement popular among young men, many of whom identify as liberal and atheist. The majority of NoFap members are men in their teens and early 20s, though there are women, too, says Alexander Rhodes, the 23-year-old web developer from Pittsburgh who founded the movement two years ago. He estimates about 60 per cent are atheists; the site is also home to a fair number of Christians and some Muslims, all in broad agreement that porn is harmful.
- Imhoff, Roland; Zimmer, Felix (April 30, 2020). "Men's Reasons to Abstain from Masturbation May Not Reflect the Conviction of "reboot" Websites". Archives of Sexual Behavior. 49 (5): 1429–1430. doi:10.1007/s10508-020-01722-x. ISSN 0004-0002. PMC 7300076. PMID 32356083.
We recently published a paper titled "Abstinence from Masturbation and Hypersexuality" (Zimmer & Imhoff, 2020) in which we tried to explore correlates of men's motivation to stay abstinent from masturbation. In motivating the study, we pointed to existing discourses around the topic and cited different protagonists within this debate (e.g., the Web sites "nofap.org" and "rebootnation.org").
- Love, Dylan (November 28, 2013). "Inside NoFap, The Reddit Community For People Who Want To Be 'Masters Of Their Domain'". www.businessinsider.com. Business Insider. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
- Zimmer, F.; Imhoff, R. (March 4, 2020). "Abstinence from Masturbation and Hypersexuality" (PDF). Archives of Sexual Behavior. 49 (4): 1333–1343. doi:10.1007/s10508-019-01623-8. PMC 7145784. PMID 32130561.
As visible from zero-order correlations and multiple linear regression, motivation for abstinence was mostly associated with attitudinal correlates, specifically the perception of masturbation as unhealthy. While there were associations with hypersexuality, no significant correlation with behavioral markers such as maximum number of orgasms was found. Higher abstinence motivation was related to a higher perceived impact of masturbation, conservatism, and religiosity and to lower trust in science. We argue that research on abstinence from masturbation can enrich the understanding of whether and how average frequencies of healthy behavior are pathologized.
- Galager, Sophie (August 19, 2019). "The Rise Of NoFap: Why Young Men Are Quitting Masturbation The NoFap community has grown alongside the rise in internet porn – but is it helping anyone?". Huff Post UK.
- Ley, David. "The NoFap Phenomenon". Psychology Today. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
- Coon, Dennis; Mitterer, John O. (2014). "11. Gender and Sexuality". Introduction to Psychology: Gateways to Mind and Behavior (14 ed.). Cengage Learning. p. 363. ISBN 978-1-305-54500-7.
Is there any way that masturbation can cause harm? Seventy years ago, a child might have been told that masturbation would cause insanity, acne, sterility, or other such nonsense. "Self-abuse," as it was then called, has enjoyed a long and unfortunate history of religious and medical disapproval (Caroll, 2013). The modern view is that masturbation is a normal sexual behavior (Hogarth & Ingham, 2009). Enlightened parents are well aware of this fact. Still, many children are punished or made to feel guilty for touching their genitals. This is unfortunate because masturbation itself is harmless. Typically, its only negative effects are feelings of fear, guilt, or anxiety that arise from learning to think of masturbation as "bad" or "wrong." In an age when people are urged to practice "safer sex," masturbation remains the safest sex of all.
- Love, Dylan (November 29, 2013). "Inside NoFap, The Reddit Community For People Who Want To Be 'Masters Of Their Domain'". Business Insider: Australia. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
- "Sticky: A (Self) Love Story: Trailer 1".
- "In Defense of Masturbation".
- Gander, Kashmira (October 5, 2016). "A man who gave up masturbation for 700 days says it gave him superpowers". The Independent. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
- "The Grumpy Ghey: The Fap Flap". May 24, 2017.
- Eck, Ian. "The Men Who Would Not Wank". SanFrancisco Magazine. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
- Israelsen-Hartley, Sara. "Adolescent addiction: When pornography strikes early". Deseret News. Archived from the original on June 23, 2015. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
- Blair, Leonardo. "Christians Find Help for Porn, Masturbation Addiction Through 'NoFap' Community Started on Reddit by 24-Y-O Web Developer". The Christian Post. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
- McMurry, Evan (March 13, 2014). "9 hilarious ways the religious right tried to eradicate masturbation". salon.com. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
- "Il marketing del rimorchio". The Vision. July 27, 2018.
- Hall, Lex (December 26, 2016). "Internet porn abounds but 'no fappers' rise to the occasion". The Australian.
- McMahon, Tamsin (January 20, 2014). "Will quitting porn improve your life?". Maclean's.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 12, 2017. Retrieved March 10, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Nettle, Neon. "NoFap: Why A Growing Number Of Males Are Refusing To Masturbate". Neon Nettle.
- "Subscribe to the Australian | Newspaper home delivery, website, iPad, iPhone & Android apps".
- Taylor, Kris, and Sue Jackson. "'I want that power back': Discourses of masculinity within an online pornography abstinence forum." Sexualities 21.4 (2018): 621–639.
- EST, Kastalia Medrano On 11/13/17 at 3:39 PM (November 13, 2017). "Can not masturbating for a month give you 'superpowers?' The men doing No Nut November sure hope so". Newsweek.
- Taylor, K.; Jackson, S. (2018). "'I want that power back': Discourses of masculinity within an online pornography abstinence forum". Sexualities. 21 (4): 621–639. doi:10.1177/1363460717740248.
- Subedar, Anisa (June 24, 2017). "The online groups of men who avoid masturbation". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved September 23, 2017.
NoFap' is an organisation that supports its users regardless of what their goals might be as long as they're trying to improve their sexual health and live their sexual habits in a way that they want to," he says, pointing out that abstinence is not the ultimate aim of all participants. "We don't have a unified goal. Some people want to masturbate some people don't want to masturbate – it hosts a wide variety of people with different viewpoints.
- Hilton Jr, Donald L. "Clinical Associate Professor Department of Neurosurgery University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio."
- Infante, Scott Wayne. A Systematic Review of the Psychological, Physiological, & Spiritual Effects of Pornography on Males. Trevecca Nazarene University, 2018.
- Sigel, Lisa Z. (Summer 2004). "Masturbation: The History of the Great Terror by Jean Stengers; Ann Van Neck; Kathryn Hoffmann". Journal of Social History. 37 (4): 1065–1066. doi:10.1353/jsh.2004.0065. ISSN 0022-4529. JSTOR 3790078. S2CID 141801392.
Stengers and Van Neck follow the illness to its fairly abrupt demise; they liken the shift to finally seeing the emperor without clothes as doctors began to doubt masturbation as a cause of illness at the turn of the twentieth century. Once doubt set in, scientists began to accumulate statistics about the practice, finding that a large minority and then a large majority of people masturbated. The implications were clear: if most people masturbated and did not experience insanity, debility, and early death, then masturbation could not be held accountable to the etiology that had been assigned it. Masturbation quickly lost its hold over the medical community, and parents followed in making masturbation an ordinary part of first childhood and then human sexuality.
- George R. Brown, MD (July 2019). "Overview of Sexuality". Merck Manuals Professional Version. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
- David J. Ley (July 10, 2014). The Myth of Sex Addiction. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-4422-1305-0.
- Planned Parenthood Federation of America (March 2003). "Masturbation: From myth to sexual health". Contemporary Sexuality. 37 (3): v. ISSN 1094-5725. OCLC 37229308.
Finally, the American medical community pronounced masturbation as normal in 1972 American Medical Association publication, Human Sexuality (Rowan, 2000).
- Coleman, E. (2008). "Masturbation as a Means of Achieving Sexual Health". Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality. 14 (2–3): 5–16. doi:10.1300/J056v14n02_02.
- "Masturbation: Questions and Answers" (PDF). McKinley Health Center University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 2 April 2008. Archived from the original on 28 December 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- Strassberg, Donald S.; Mackaronis, Julia E.; Perelman, Michael A. (2015). "Sexual dysfunctions". In Blaney, Paul H.; Krueger, Robert F.; Millon, Theodore (eds.). Oxford textbook of psychopathology (Third ed.). NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 441–442. ISBN 978-0-19-981177-9. OCLC 879552995.
- Andersen, M. (2011). "The association of testosterone, sleep, and sexual function in men and women". Brain Research. 1416: 80–104. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2011.07.060. PMID 21890115.
- Kruger, Tillman (1998). "Neuroendocrine and Cardiovascular Response to Sexual Arousal and Orgasm in Men". Psychoneuroendocrinology. 23 (4): 401–411. doi:10.1016/S0306-4530(98)00007-9. PMID 9695139.
- Prause, N (July 30, 2018). "Why Are We Still So Worried About Watching Porn?". Slate. Retrieved July 30, 2018.
- Prause N, Pfaus J (2015). "Viewing Sexual Stimuli Associated with Greater Sexual Responsiveness, Not Erectile Dysfunction". Journal of Sexual Medicine. 3 (2): 111–125. doi:10.1002/sm2.58. PMC 4498826. PMID 26185674.
- Grubbs JB, Gola M (2019). "Is pornography use related to erectile functioning? Results from cross-sectional and latent growth curve analyses". Journal of Sexual Medicine. 16 (1): 90–98. doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2018.11.004. PMID 30621919.
- Landripet I, Stulhofer A (2015). "Is pornography use associated with sexual difficulties and dysfunctions among younger heterosexual men?. The journal of sexual medicine". Journal of Sexual Medicine. 12 (5): 1136–139. doi:10.1111/jsm.12853. PMID 25816904.
- Coon, Dennis; Mitterer, John O.; Martini, Tanya S. (December 5, 2016). Psychology: Modules for Active Learning. Cengage Learning. pp. 413–414. ISBN 978-1-337-51708-9.
- Weiss, Robert (May 19, 2013). "Is 'No Fap' Movement Start of Tech Backlash?". Huff Post. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
- Harrison, Alexandra (2014). "Nudge, Don't Thrust: The Application of Behavioral Law and Economics to America's Porn Addiction". Texas Review of Law and Politics. 19: 337.
- Taylor, Kris (2018). "'I want that power back': Discourses of masculinity within an online pornography abstinence forum". Sexualities. 21 (4): 621–639. doi:10.1177/1363460717740248.
- Burke, Kelsy; MillerMacPhee, Alice (April 24, 2020). "Constructing Pornography Addiction's Harms in Science, News Media, and Politics". Social Forces. doi:10.1093/sf/soaa035.
- Kuznia, Rob (June 7, 2019). "Among Some Hate Groups, Porn Is Viewed as a Conspiracy". New York Times. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
- Kerl, Kristoff (2020). ""Oppression by Orgasm": Pornography and Antisemitism in Far-Right Discourses in the United States Since the 1970s". Studies in American Jewish Literature. 39 (1): 117–138. doi:10.5325/studamerjewilite.39.1.0117.
- Singal, Jesse (August 4, 2014). "Why We're Scared of Masturbation". NY Mag. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
- Klee, Miles (October 24, 2019). "KANYE WEST IS A NOFAP HERO". Mel Magazine. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
- Bishop, Kate (September 9, 2019). "What's causing women to join the NoFap movement?". The Guardian. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
- Burke, Kelsey (May 18, 2020). "Sinning Like a Man Evangelical porn addiction groups show the truth about men who are obsessed with quitting masturbation". Slate. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Hosie, Rachel (May 3, 2017). "Inside the community of men who have given up porn". The Independent. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
- "Man deletes his 18 terabyte porn collection to help overcome addiction". The Independent. August 15, 2017. Retrieved January 31, 2020.