Porn can really ‘bust your balls’, excuse the harsh words.
Something that was once considered a normal, private activity is now being noted by scientists, with studies being devoted to learning more about what a porn habit or addiction really means for your body, mind, and intimate relationships.
There are plenty of people still divided on the subject and even more who have no idea what the NoFap challenge is all about. But before we get started with the definition of NoFap, it’s important to first understand just how porn can be harmful.
Your Brain On Porn: Dopamine and Addiction
As with other addictive substances (did he say addictive??), porn releases a chemical inside the brain called dopamine. You’ve all heard of it by now. It’s the fun chemical, the one that makes everything exciting, that gives you that rush, or that kick out of what you’re experiencing. It also happens to be a chemical that can be induced unnaturally by the use of external stimulation, such as drugs, porn, and gambling. So yes, as with other habits, the way a porn dependence forms is still largely based on a person’s individual character. However, men are hard-wired to be visually stimulated, which means that we’re already pre-disposed to becoming hooked on something as visual as internet porn (or any kind, for that matter).
The problem, though, is that over time your brain builds up a tolerance and less and less dopamine is released through the original stimulant. What this means is that before, where a little erotica was more than enough to get you going, you now have to turn to the super x-rated hardcore stuff. Essentially, you’re handing over the control of your own body and its desires to the people of the porn industry (insert evil laugh from somewhere on the internet here).
“Ok, what’s so wrong with that?” I hear you ask.
Well, it’s this need that stands in the way of good, healthy, strong and intimate romantic relationships. But it’s more than that, it’s that the loss of control ultimately results in a myriad of problems which can, and have for many, led to porn-induced ED or performance anxiety down the line.
What Is NoFap?
In short, the word “Fap” is onomatopoeia. That is, it’s the written sound of masturbating. NoFap, however, refers to a website which hosts NoFap challenges for the sake of dumping the porn addiction for a better, healthier and all-around happier sex life. Really what NoFap aims at doing is to assist you, through their programs, to keep the spark of great sex alive with any romantic encounter you have.
To be 100% clear, NoFap does not encourage indefinite abstinence from masturbation or sex, quite the opposite. The NoFap challenge was designed to ensure that you are able to experience a deeper connection with a deeper sense of intimacy with your partner by eliminating the need for porn or PMO (Porn and Masturbation to Orgasm). It aims at re-wiring one’s brain, which has, over time and exposure to hard porn habits, become so dependent on the stimulation that porn provides. This means that you get to decide where to set the balance after your NoFap challenge is finished. But if you choose to abstain because you know it may lead to a relapse, then you can choose to do so, as many others have done too.
Cue the scores of comments about how non-release is bad for you and you stand at risk of contracting prostate cancer if you do not release yourself. It’s absolutely true that studies have shown that release can be extremely good for your health. But note that the emphasis is on release and not self-release.
Many a time a porn addiction can get in the way of building good relationships, and can lead to dependency. And that is the focus for the NoFap challenges: kicking the PMO habit.
NoFap and Reddit
There is an entire sub-culture dedicated to NoFap and its challenges. NoFap is a huge sub-reddit, with pages that span far and wide where one can get advice, find a support system and read all about how and why the challenges have helped so many people. It has grown to such a point where many are calling it a movement, but as the NoFap website likes to put it, the only common goal between its users is the desire to tackle their own fapping addiction. Further than that, it cannot be constituted as a movement because people are not technically taking a stand against anything or for anyone other than themselves.
But really, there’s no other word to use than movement. It encompasses what the NoFap challenges mean to the many who have taken part in them. Something to work towards, fight for even, alongside a group of people who are all doing the same. It’s an anti-movement movement.
There are a large number of people who have worried about the religious undertones to the NoFap movement, but they have made it clear that it’s not religiously affiliated and based solely in the desire to help people from across the world, regardless of their race, cultural backgrounds, gender or sexual lean.
A quick history of NoFap
We have Alexander Rhodes to thank for the movement, a web developer and well-known “redditor” who saw the harm that porn and masturbation were doing in his life and others. He believes that sex is a healthy part of life and should be celebrated in its full potential, and that porn can become an obstacle to this. It’s this idea that Rhodes supports and would like for all the fapstronauts around the world to experience for themselves.
As the NoFap movement has grown, there’s been a notable variety of benefits reported by the fapstronauts themselves. For some, the effects are astronomical, for others the benefits are minimal but long-lasting. Whatever the case, if you are dedicated to “rewiring and rebooting” you should have success and see positive results.
Here’s a quick list of some of the benefits of taking on the NoFap challenge
The following benefits are all from people who have taken the challenge themselves and struggled through the 90 days of no fapping.
Life changing emotional benefits
Increase in Confidence
Many fapstronauts have noted an increase in confidence when approaching women and that they no longer felt awkward when talking to them. Some even mentioned that their confidence has improved overall thanks because they no longer have to hide something they were initially ashamed of. This brings us to the next point…
Social life improves
Not everyone factors this as a major improvement, however there were a large number of people who did mention that social situations which had been the cause of anxiety pre-NoFap challenge were now actually quite enjoyable and exciting after doing the 90 days. Some even saw immediate differences after just a few days. This could be a huge part or be the direct result of the next point…
General and Sexual Anxiety dissipates
Porn really puts a limit on your ideas of healthy social interactions and expectations. It causes objectification of women, even if we don’t mean for it to happen. Everything in a porn movie is just…so…easy. The expectations put huge amounts of strain on a person to perform well sexually and if this doesn’t happen, well, then you could start developing serious anxiety. Thankfully, as many fapstronauts have confirmed, all of this can be reversed with a zero PMO period.
Motivation and inspiration increases
So many men have made mention that their desire to talk to women and initiate flirting has increased exponentially after taking the challenge. Possibly the best part of it all is that flirting seems to happen more spontaneously and easier for many of the men who mentioned motivation as one of their biggest NoFap benefits. However, this motivation is not only isolated to flirting with women, it’s a general motivation which increased the drive to take on projects or situations and be productive in them for longer periods of time.
Many feel that they are now receiving more respect from men and women alike. This may have something to do with the increased confidence, but it could also have something to do with the increase in testosterone, which is suggested to increase after the seventh day of the challenge.
To really appreciate your partner during sex, you have to put aside what you’re thinking of and rather experience her than the sex. The fact that the 90-day period enhances your connection to women, and other people is one of the more mentioned benefits along with some of the physical benefits like being more present during sex, enjoying it much more and experiencing quicker arousal that was more pleasurable than the arousal received from porn. The more pleasurable arousal makes for a more pleasurable release.
Not as common on the thread, but still common enough to mention is the fact that there were many who listed deeper, clearer emotions as a benefit.
Among those deeper emotions were:
Less frenzied interactions with people, but also a less frenzied interaction with the self.
A clearer mind, which meant clearer reactions to situations
a greater capacity for compassion, empathy and care.
A sense of calm throughout the day.
Some of the physical benefits:
Again, these are benefits that Reddit users themselves have mentioned throughout the NoFap threads.
- More energy to tackle new experiences and finish old projects
- Clear(er) skin
- Harder erections
- More pleasurable sex
- PIED eradication
- Increased strength and endurance when it comes to physical activities
- Mental clarity as opposed to the brain fog pre NoFap challenge
To really gain from the full spectrum of benefits, it’s suggested to stick to the challenge 100%. Not easy, for sure, but perhaps it helps to remember that your goal is not to abstain from fapping indefinitely. Your goal is to re-wire your brain in order to keep your focus on the connection and intimacy of being with another person and experiencing real euphoria as opposed to experiencing a temporary rush of dopamine that’s not rooted in reality (and leaves some feeling guilty).
The NoFap Challenge
Probably the best thing about the NoFap Challenge is that you really don’t have to guilt-trip yourself if you have a relapse. However, a relapse means starting from scratch. Guilt-tripping yourself is not going to do you much good, but making sure you have a good support team behind you (i.e. other fapstronauts) and a dedicated bookmark to the NoFap Reddit pages that offer help, insight, and extra tips will be a sure-fire way of cementing your success. Also, this getting started guide is a great place to start before taking the challenge.
Even if you don’t make it through the entirety of the challenge without a relapse, the fact that you’ve started means you’re already moving forward in the right direction, and the fact that you’ve not completed it yet, means that you still need to keep trying. More importantly than making it all the way to the last day of the challenge, is your frame of mind.
A quick word of advice:
Keeping with the program is 100% up to you. No-one will watch you and any checks that you have to pass all rely on your honesty. So how you prioritize the challenge is going to be the number 1 factor in your success. If you’re going to do it, make the most of it by taking the challenge seriously and not laughing it off. When you’ve attained success, give credit where it’s due: you.
How does ED, PE and performance anxiety all fit into this?
It’s starting to become a well-known that excessive porn use can lead to erectile dysfunction and it can be the catalyst for anxiety disorders down the line with regards to sexual performance. Porn can also contribute to a lack of drive, arousal, and curiosity.
So, before trying the multitude of drugs out there to fix an ED, DE or PE problem, many are suggesting to first try cutting out the factors that may be the root of the problem. As mentioned in our recent article about overcoming your performance anxiety, it’s highly possible that there’s a combination of elements responsible for any PEID problem.
So it makes sense to try something that is completely free, all-natural and is proven to work well and deliver the desired results. If it doesn’t work, hey, then you move on and try something different, but you can never say it didn’t work if you never give your all at making it work.
One commenter said: “Where your focus goes, energy flows.” I leave you with that excellent piece of advice.