I had heard of noFap long before I first tried it. Back then, I was mainly posting on /r/ForeverAlone and occasionally, people would make “helpful” posts about how all we lone losers needed was noFap. It was condescending to say the least. Masturbation was the only sexual release I had and then someone tried to take that away from me. That concern was never addressed (and remains unaddressed to this day, btw). When I checked out the noFap sub, all I could see was cultish behaviour and bro-science. So we weren’t off to a good start.
In September 2016, I finally confessed my feelings to my then-crush and, to my dismay, had to learn that she had had met someone just a few weeks prior. Needless to say, I was devastated. But the event served as a sort of catalyst for me to reevaluate my life. Since then, I have started meditating twice a day, switched from electric razor to classical wet shaving with a safety razor, unsubscribed from ForeverAlone, started going to the gym twice a week and became more conscious about my diet. I also started seeing a psychiatrist a few months earlier. I’m mentioning all this mostly to give context and make clear that me trying noFap wasn’t really a “clean experiment” since I introduced a lot of other variables around the same time.
I mainly became curious about noFap because of the promised benefits, especially increased confidence and attractiveness towards the opposite sex. That sounded like things I could do with. And Your Brain On Porn even delivered a concise explanation that wasn’t based on bro-science. I didn’t have anything to lose. If it worked, great. And if it didn’t, I at least could stick it to those jerks who “invaded” ForeverAlone.
First Two Weeks
The last time I masturbated and watched porn was on Friday, October 28th 2016. The beginning wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined. January 26th 2017 seemed almost an eternity away but I kept myself motivated by reading the success stories on reddit, the forums and YBOP. People going from sad, depressed and lonely to happy and in a relationship with a beautiful girl in sometimes less than 90 days seemed too good to be true. And for the first two weeks or so, it seemed to work. I started feeling less gloomy and depressed and had a lot more energy to pursue projects outside of my university career. But exactly two weeks after I started, the apex seemed to be reached. It was pretty much the last day of my reboot that I felt that new energy and optimism. Coincidentally, it was also when I had the pinnacle of any interaction with a girl during my reboot: I shared an umbrella with a classmate for a brief walk from one building to another during a field trip.
The Darkest Valley
Day 15-90 pretty much was a single flatline. I didn’t feel worse, I just felt like I did before I started noFap. On the positive side, I didn’t really have any strong urges either, so it wasn’t really a battle. But that also meant that I didn’t really feel like I had accomplished anything remarkable by the end of the first 90 days.
By the end of January, I had made it, I had finished the generally recommended duration for a reboot. But I didn’t feel anything had changed that I could definitely attribute to noFap. I decided to double it, for good measure. 182 days (because 180 isn’t even divisible by 7). For one, I felt like I should at least try as long as it took me to get out of the flatline valley. And second, by then I already knew that noFap is great at moving goal posts. So if I pointed out that I had tried it and it hadn’t really done anything for me, at least someone would say that I should have waited longer. And bollocks to that.
The second round went better. It took me several more weeks to get out of the flatline but my overall situation slowly improved. Of course, during the same time, I continued meditation, workout, therapy and medication so I can’t tell for sure how much can be attributed to noFap. A few weeks in, I had told my therapist what I was doing and he was supportive of the idea, so that added extra motivation. And I started becoming more clear as to what I wanted from it. Basically none of the alleged benefits manifested. However, I realized that I could do very well without porn and the knowledge that I wasn’t consuming it had something liberating. So I was now sure that I’d complete that second reboot and then start masturbating again but without porn. And that’s what I did.
On May 06th 2017, after 190 days, I deliberately broke my streak. But I used everything I had learned so far to do things differently. I knew that a tight grip could lead to desensitization, I knew that masturbation often conditioned us to finish quickly.
I started slowly, not only gently touching my penis but my entire body. I focused my energy towards my lower body and continued with gentle strokes along the entire length. Whenever I felt my arousal rising, I stopped and took a few long, deep breaths. I made sure to remain well lubed up the entire time, touched different regions of my penis, took breaks and almost never fantasized at all, instead focusing on the sensation alone. I took almost half an hour. When I finally allowed myself to orgasm, it was the most intense climax ever. I obviously had expected it to be intense after such a long abstinence but not that much. I ejaculated a lot, more than I had ever before and more than I had ever thought I could. But there was another difference too. Even though I had masturbated and even though I had masturbated for so long, I felt neither drained nor ashamed or any of the other negative emotions I knew from when I would binge porn. It felt nice. I felt like I had just experienced something pleasant. Like it should feel. But more interestingly, I also felt a strange kind of confidence. Before, I had almost always held back my semen with my hand and then wiped it off. If I did allow it to come out, it was usually a small squirt at best. Seeing it squirt out so intensely felt great. It made me feel good about being sexual and masculine, something I had never felt before.
It’s now more than 30h later and I still don’t feel drained or ashamed or as if I had “wasted life energy”. In fact, I’d wager I feel better than before. Because I now know exactly what I want. Masturbating for the first time after noFap felt great because it was the first time after long abstinence but also because I did a lot of things differently. And I think that’s important. I think what made masturbation so comparatively mediocre before was that it was a routine. Something I just regularly did for no real reason. It had to be quick and easy and I did it whether I felt like it or not. I never want to do that again. But taking your time, exploring what feels good, reacting to it and then experiencing the sheer pleasure of release, that feels amazing. So from now on, I will masturbate like that, every two weeks or so. I think noFap has helped me with that, to be able to break the habit and turn masturbation into something enjoyable again. And with what I have learned, it should be pretty easy to go two or three weeks without masturbation.
Also, I think what has had a real detrimental effect on me was the consumption of porn. And I managed to get out of that addiction too. Which is the goal of noFap, even though about 90% of users here don’t really seem to realize that.
Conclusion and lessons
What happens if you reboot your computer? Does it just stay off forever? Obviously not, that’d be stupid. It shuts down briefly and then starts again. Usually, this is done to solve some problem. And I think the same is true for a noFap reboot. That’s why it’s called that. Yes, temporary abstinence from masturbation is necessary but if you don’t boot again, it’s not a reboot, it’s a shutdown. I feel like I could have gone on for months and months without ever really achieving anything. But by masturbating again, it feels like I actually finally completed my reboot. I broke my habits of compulsive masturbation and addiction to porn. But I also learned that masturbation can feel amazing and how to make it feel amazing. I wouldn’t have accomplished that without noFap but neither would have I accomplished it by continuous abstinence.
I know what some of you are saying now, because I’ve heard it ad nauseam in the past 190 days: You need to have actual sex to rewire the brain and complete the reboot. Well, I counter with the same argument I have made when I first heard of noFap, when I started noFap, many times since then and which I still think is true now: Not everyone can just get sex. It’s nearly impossible for some of us. And I think the argument that noFap makes you more motivated and/or more capable to get it is bullshit as well. Let me explain why…
The sub r/seduction actually recommends noFap to increase motivation to find a real sexual partner. And noFap itself makes similar arguments. If you satisfy your urges with porn, you’ll never feel the motivation to overcome your approach anxiety and talk to that cute girl in the bar. Maybe that’s true for some people, I don’t know. But for me, and for many other people, I imagine, it’s bullshit.
Some of you may have heard of Quarks before. For those who haven’t let me give a quick summary (it’s gonna be very basic, it has been a while since I’ve had physics classes): Quarks make up, among other things, Protons and Neutrons. They are held together by what is called “Strong Force”, transmitted by Gluons. What’s interesting about them is that the binding force between quarks increases the further you pull them from each other. The stronger you pull, the stronger the force you’re working against.
I think I have encountered a similar phenomenon while doing noFap. I did a lot of reading on sexual shame during that time. The gist is that, surprisingly, for many people, lack of motivation isn’t what’s keeping them from approaching that cute girl and asking for her number. For me, it was mainly that I grew up with two paradigms: First, always, always respect women. Disrespecting a woman is one of the worst things you can possibly do. Second, male sexuality is predatory and bad and women put up with it at best. Confronting women with it is disrespectful, which brings us back to the first point. So I never interacted with women with sexual intent because that would have been disrespectful. Then I did noFap, lost my only sexual release and my sexual urges started to build up. And so did the motivation and desire to look at the butts of girls in the gym or to say hi to the cute girl a few seats over at the lecture hall. But guess what? Like gluon interaction, the more my sexual urges rose, the more my sexual shame started pushing against it. noFap didn’t create motivation in me or reduce anxiety. It just caused more and more tension. Like if you’re trying to pull apart Quarks.
Letting your sexual urges rise can be beneficial but make sure you don’t have a strong barrier preventing them from rising! Otherwise, noFap will do more harm than good.
I now think that reducing masturbation and porn consumption can indeed give you more motivation to go out there and try to meet someone. But don’t stop masturbating completely. First of all, suppressing your sexuality that way will cause devastating tension. And from the seduction point of view, I think it also increases what they call “outcome independence”. Yes, having real sex would be great because you’re feeling horny. But you don’t NEED a girl to have a sexuality because pleasing yourself is fun too.
No Fun Allowed
One of the things that irked me most about noFap, and still does, is the whole culture that comes with it. It’s not enough to just stop fapping. And if you’re not experience all the metaphysical benefits that are supposed to come with it, it’s your fault because you’re also supposed to work out five times a week, only take cold showers, never eat sugars, don’t play video games and live in the cabin in the woods where you have to shit behind a tree because you have no toilet. The goal of noFap is to stop compulsive fapping, not become a fucking monk. And speaking of monks, if you ever read any material about noFap instead of exclusively relying on the sub, you realize that one of the goals is to improve your sex life, not become entirely asexual.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve started to recognize the tremendous amount of shame I feel in context with anything sexual. I realized that me trying to always hide my sexuality from girls is not a sign of respect but dishonesty. Feeling sexual attraction to the opposite sex is good and natural. Seeing women as pieces of meat to masturbate into is gross. Seeing them as beautiful human beings you’d like to share intimate moments with is great. Yet on r/noFap, asexuality is celebrated. Suppressing all sexual attraction to girls and ignoring them completely is basically the equivalent to Buddhists achieving Nirvana. I’m trying to overcome my sexual shame and repression, not reinforce it. And noFap isn’t helping with that. Abstaining from masturbation to kill your sex drive will create exactly the kind of internal tension I mentioned above.
Benefits and Super Powers
I think this is what the majority of people are most interested in, especially newcomers. After all, the amazing success stories kept me motivated when I started out. Well, sorry to disappoint you but this is going to be a really short chapter. The only benefit I can undoubtedly confirm is that music sounds better. That one’s definitely true. I’m not sure why but it is. It probably has something to do with your brain learning to deal with more normal levels of dopamine release again. All other alleged benefits I couldn’t really observe. My depression improved but I attribute that mostly to therapy and medication rather than noFap. I didn’t magically become more attractive to women, I didn’t suddenly get looked at by them all the time. In fact, I seemed to remain pretty much invisible. Surprisingly, my voice didn’t become deeper and my jaw didn’t become more pronounced but to be fair, I don’t know how the fuck that’s even supposed to work. If you want to achieve that, try voodoo instead of noFap. You’ll probably have a similar success rate. I will say this, however, for the first few days, I felt more energetic, more confident and more aggressive (in a neutral way). And now, as I write this, about two days after masturbating again, I can feel those qualities returning. But that seems to be a short-time effect that doesn’t last. All the more argument in favor of occasional, healthy masturbation.
Remember, this is what I experienced. I know I will get yelled at by people who didn’t touch their dicks for a week and suddenly, they turned into Wangdor, the Horse-hung Barbarian, two horny super models materialized in their rooms, and the CEO of a big investment firm hired them on the street. Their experiences are just as real as mine. Maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle, I wouldn’t know.
If you just came here to find a tldr, fuck off and read the whole thing. For everyone else: I tried noFap for 190 days and it didn’t do much for me in terms of “super powers”. But I learned that I neither need or really like porn. And that occasional, mindful masturbation is much more fun than a daily habitual wank. A noFap reboot seems to be a good way to overcome mindless fapping and porn addiction but it doesn’t seem to be a healthy long-term lifestyle.
Overall, as useful as the idea behind is, r/noFap is just too annoying, zealotic, sex-negative and esoteric. I’ll move to r/pornfree and enjoy the occasional pleasure of a good session of self-loving. This place has been helpful in my endeavours but it was not meant to last. It’s time for me to move on now.