Age 24 - 6 months: Greater confidence, motivation, clarity of mind, and emotional wealth
As of today, I have been on NoFap for exactly half a year. I’ve had high highs and very low lows throughout this time, but regardless of how hopeless and helpless I have felt, I continued to do this, and I continue to lengthen my list of reasons to. Below is that list.
Clarity of mind
As most of us know, NoFap can provide a marked mental sharpness after a certain period of abstinence. This is a huge motivator for me, as my success in school directly depends on my ability to maintain focus. During periods when I am fapping frequently, I become disorganized, miss appointments, forget assignments and quiz dates, have a difficult time studying… the list goes on.
Freedom from guilt and shame
These two states of mind have followed me every day for the greater part of my life. There has never been a time when I have felt proud of vicariously fucking someone, and I can confidently say that there never will be. I have longed for a very long time to be able to look at people in the eye and know that there is no longer, just beneath the surface, the recollection of binging for hours on end the night before. I want to be able to look back on this time and smile. I can’t do that just yet, but that day is much closer than it used to be.
This almost goes without saying. One week into a streak and I am, without a doubt, more inclined to talk to strangers, to make eye contact, to raise a point or ask a question in class, to introduce myself to a girl, etc. As someone who has spent most of their life feeling shy, even inadequate, the confidence that I gain through NoFap is invaluable.
Similar to confidence, a boost in motivation is something that most of us have experienced on NoFap. During periods when I fap infrequently, more things get done, and I feel better about doing them. It’s wonderful.
This is closely related to being free of guilt and shame. As much as I try (and you should too) to not let my degree of success with NoFap have a strong bearing on my sense of self-worth, it does. Long, sleepless nights and wasted afternoons of porn binging reliably make me feel like a shitty person, and they always will. If I am to continue building my self-worth, I need to continue to avoid this.
Take this one however you will. I originally had this listed as “spiritual wholeness”, for lack of a better descriptive, but I tend to wince at the word, so I took it out. Leave it in if it applies ;). It’s a bit of an abstract thing to talk about, but generally I feel more whole as a person when I haven’t PMOed in a while, and if I had a soul, it would be cleaner. I think other people can see this as well, which can open the invitation for healthy people into your life.
Affirmation that I can stick to something
I have a long history of not finishing things, which is something that I want to change about myself. I rarely finish video games, many of my books have bookmarks midway through, I generally stop exercising as soon as I start, etc. I need to stick this one out more than I do most things. Getting to 90 days (and beyond), will be a huge success for me, not just in conquering addiction, but also in staying committed to something.
Comfort with discomfort
This is something u/Self_as_object (Mark Queppet / Sacred Sexuality guy) has talked about, and which really resonates with me. This is one of those things in NoFap that can carry over into other parts of our lives. Becoming comfortable enduring the uncomfortable can enable us to break our self-confining habits and start to meaningfully work on becoming the people we envision ourselves to be. As clichéd as that is around here, it’s true.
Exercising delayed gratification
This stems from the previous point, and it’s just as valuable. Whether or not you buy into the idea that we all suffer from hypofrontality, or some other form of neurochemical damage, I think exercising the ability to put off something that you desperately want so that you can achieve something more rewarding is beneficial in its own right.
Being an incredible (eventual) boyfriend
For me, looking at porn precludes feeling the full extent of love and adoration (and often respect) that’s possible towards my partner, and introduces a dissonance that increases with use. I started NoFap after my last relationship ended. During this time, I have grown more than I have in any other period of my life. I believe I have something legitimately wonderful to offer the next person that I bring into my world. I want that person to be fortunate that they are with me, and I think this is now possible.
Cessation of objectification
Invariably, after looking at porn for any length of time, I find myself seeking visual stimulation from any and every girl in my field of view. There’s a stark contrast between this kind of pleasure seeking and actually appreciating someone’s beauty. After I’ve distanced myself from porn for a while, I’ve found that I stop looking for the same visual cues on girls that would lead me to click on them if they were in a thumbnail. Instead, I began to take in the whole person (<key word), and feel desire for them to be in my life, rather than on my hard drive.
By whatever mechanism you subscribe to, excessive porn viewing and masturbation can dampen your (or at least my) ability to feel emotions to their fullest. I’ve found this to be true during every long streak. I had my first good cry in several years after about ten days into one of my early streaks. Since then, I’ve cried many times – while listening to music, reading a story, thinking about people in my life, even beautiful ideas can make me emotional. This wasn’t the case before NoFap. For as long as I can remember, I have been melancholy and generally unaffected by the world around me. Certain things were powerful enough to cut through the haze I lived in, but mostly I floated. I was uncomfortably numb. The reversal of this has been one of the more profound changes I’ve seen since starting NoFap, and has been particularly rewarding.
Emotional sensitivity has given rise to increasingly frequent bursts of creativity. Being moved by something you’ve created is truly rewarding, and incredibly reinforcing. I’ve written more music that I’m actually proud of in the last few months than I have in the previous four years since I started. I also find myself daydreaming about things far removed from the dramas in my life. This is a far cry from what has historically occupied my mind, which was generally an odd mixture self-criticism and imaginary situations in which I was exalted in some way. Increasingly freer from this, I now find myself inspired to think and to create again.
Increased arousal when needed
This hasn’t been as much of an issue for me as it has been (and still is) for a lot of people. Still, I’ve found myself in situations where my sex drive wasn’t as strong as it should be, usually right after a binge.
No more lost sleep to porn binges
This is a big one for me, as I go through periods when I have a hard time sleeping anyway. Waking up after four hours of sleep because you stayed up compulsively porning out always sucks a lot, especially if you have important things to do that day. I recently binged the night before a funeral after which I had to interact with family members I hadn’t seen in several years. I was horribly awkward and visibly worn out the entire time, and as a consequence, I was unable to really catch up with anyone, and probably left a less than positive impression. Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Coupling sleep debt with reeling from a binge is horrifically uncomfortable and something that I don’t ever want to repeat.
NoFap is ultimately an act of self-love. This, above all, is the most important reason that I have to continue. If we can keep in mind that we are doing this out of love for ourselves, then we can learn to forgive ourselves when we fail, we can justify the pain and discomfort, and we can begin to heal our scars. It both inspires and is born out of our perseverance. If you take away one thing from me today, I hope it’s this.
I'd love to read yours :)