Some Guys on Reddit Claim Quitting Porn Is Good for You (VICE)

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guy looking at his faceIn the “boys only” part of sex-ed in year five, the teacher told us “if you masturbate, that’s okay—it’s totally natural.” I nodded knowingly and when the bell rang, sprinted to the playground to ask everyone what masturbation was.

Of course, over the next five or six years, I furiously made up for lost time. In the shower, on the family computer, even in the rickety bunk bed I shared with my twin brother (sorry dude). When I broke both my wrists jumping off the roof, my plaster casts weren't a setback, they were a challenge. It’s amazing what a determined 14-year-old can do with a thumb and a forefinger.

It was a golden age of jerkin’ it, reinforced by what the sex-ed classes and Men’s Health magazines had told us. “It’s natural” they said. “It’s good for your prostate.” We were doing something noble, something right.

But what if it was all a lie? What if shaking hands with the unemployed isn’t the refreshing tonic it’s made out to be? What if the near universal use of internet porn among young men is turning us into a bunch of low energy, reclusive social retards? That’s what the nearly 60,000 fapstronauts on Reddit’s r/NoFap board have been saying since 2011. Partly inspired by Gary Wilson’s TedX talk “The Great Porn Experiment,” NoFap is like alcoholics anonymous for masturbators. Instead of 12 steps, they have the “ultimate challenge” – no tossing the boss and no porn for 30 or 90 days.

NoFap is full of inspirational messages from guys and girls whose lives have genuinely changed since beating off. “I have a life that’s mine and I love it,” posts Redditor newblue52, who has been clean for 72 days. “I’m in the best shape of my life, my skin is clearer than it’s ever been, and I’m the most confident I’ve ever been. I have a girlfriend that’s wonderful, and after we have sex, I look at her in eyes and I can love her.”

The fapstronauts go even further, claiming that even if you don’t think you have an issue, it’s worth trying to quit—even for a short time. So, in the spirit of journalistic curiosity, clear skin and confidence, I decided to give it go.

It was harder than I thought. It’s not like I was even beating off every day before, but when you work from home, there’s always the possibility of a quick five knuckle shuffle. The first five days were easy. But on the sixth day I slipped. Let me tell you, the post-cum come down is desolate and shameful when all you’ve done is ruined a sock. It’s worse when you’ve let yourself down as well.

So it was back to the drawing board. When days six and seven rolled around again, I nearly hit the wall (and the ham). It was then that I started to get what the Fapstronauts are on about. Porn is addictive.

After I pushed through the one week barrier, things got easier. By the start of week two, fapping had ceased to register on my to-do list. What had started to register were the dreams—lucid, sticky dreams. I hadn’t had a wet dream since figuring the whole self-pollution thing out back in year 5, now it was like Game of Thrones XXX (minus the medieval hygiene) everytime I closed my eyes.

Thank god I’ve got a girlfriend. I was as horny as a 15 year-old, except without the aforementioned ability to jack off five times a day. It was like 40 Days and 40 Nights, except ten days shorter, with less romance, less Josh Hartnett, and whole lot more semen. Deprived of a release valve, I was blowing loads like Ron Jeremy, without the self-control. My girlfriend was flattered at first, then kind of grossed out.

But what I did notice was that I had a whole lot more free time. If you take half an hour a day to beat off, that’s three and a half hours by week’s end. My attention span was longer and I was more motivated, and though I never did get that flawless skin, I totally recommend the 30 day challenge. Hell, at very least, all the porn is new by the time you get back online.

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