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“”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.
|—Clinical psychologist David J. Ley|
NoFap is a secular abstinence website, subreddit, and movement created by Alexander Rhodes which attempts to help people recover from so-called "porn addiction", which does not appear to have a basis in science — despite claiming otherwise. Participants claim it improves their mental abilities by abstaining from masturbation and porn. A scientific study of the group found themes of toxic masculinity, encouraging the goal of conquering women sexually as a way of demonstrating their progress in "recovery".
“”We’re here to help you quit porn, improve your relationships, and reach your sexual health goals. 100% science-based, secular, and sex-positive.
According to the website nofap.com, porn addiction is defined as:
… a phenomenon of the brain marked by compulsive use of pornography which proves difficult to stop despite negative consequences, and which often worsens over time.
To date, the American psychological community has yet to officially recognize porn addiction as a disorder.
NoFap openly acknowledges that porn addiction is not an official disorder, yet treats porn addiction as fact anyway. NoFap goes as far to support the idea that porn is a "public hazard", but also "does not support legislation to restrict the creation or consumption of pornography".
Other studies suggest that porn addiction isn't even real, but seems to be a largely self-attributed problem in religious people. However, reporting feeling addicted to porn is not exclusive to religious people. While fear of masturbation has been a staple of organized religion since time immemorial, a modern shot in the arm of the controversy seems to stem from recent attention paid to a tract called Onania, which apparently had some impact on British society.
The American Psychological Association has recently stated that "when the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) was being drafted, experts considered a proposed diagnostic addiction called hypersexual disorder, which also included a pornography subtype." However, the diagnosis was never actually stated to be a disorder, due to an unsubstantial body of evidence in favor of the disorder existing as something specific (as opposed to: being better understood as an expression of your more typical compulsion or addiction).
NoFappers claim that sex addiction shows similar patterns to those of a cocaine addict. With actual drugs, each use should be desensitizing; however, this pattern was not found in the so-called sex addicts. In one particular study of "sex addicts", these individuals showed an increased response to erotica that was relatively higher compared to normal individuals. In fact, these so called "sex addicts" have matching brain patterns to those with high libido who don't identify as "sex addicts". The study deemed that there is no neural evidence for porn addiction. On the contrary, NoFapper's anecdotal evidence clearly has more authority than actual scientific studies.[citation NOT needed]
How about the fact that I don't give a FUCK about some random's[sic] opinion. I have my own experience as proof and that is all I need really.
|—Moderator, no_splattering, of r/NoFap|
Because the site is dedicated to stopping porn addiction, it seems odd masturbation is listed with porn as an option — wasn't porn the problem?
NoFap gives you superpowers
The theme of nocturnal emissions exposes many of the problems inherent with nofap "knowledge". A whole range of rather differing opinions on nocturnal emissions pepper the nofap-o-verse. Opinions range from the "you cannot do anything about it so don't beat yourself up about it" (was there a pun intended?) to the judgmental and shaming view that "nocturnal emissions are your fault cause you aren't controlling your dreams" or at least controlling your lifestyle or diet choices that lead to wet underwear. In the extreme end of the surreal, one should correlate what food leads to wet dreams and stop eating that food. For many, a noctural emission is no different to having a wank, you've remitted and are a pornoholic again and must start over. The speculative nature and wide variety of takes on the issues reveal how factless much of nofap knowledge is. One of the most recurring themes on nocturnal emissions is the sense of shame for having a wet dream, a symptom of a larger sense of self-hate for not being able to resist natural sexual urges. Interestingly enough, in many of discussions on reddit and nofap comment boards, there tends to be a lot of empathy and emotional support among nofappers helping one another through not just nocturnal emissions but all of their "failings" in getting control over their so called porn addictions and accompanying sadness.
- Short essay explaining why NoFap and Your Brain On Porn's claims are false (Pastebin mirror)
- /r/NoFap/ Subreddit
- NoFap website
- Your brain on porn
- The NoFap Phenomenon, Psychology Today
- 'It gave me superpowers': The men who say sexual abstinence changed their lives. They are part of the 200,000-person strong 'NoFap' community by Kashmira Gande (Tuesday 4 October 2016) The Independent.
- ‘I want that power back’: Discourses of masculinity within an online pornography abstinence forum by Taylor & Jackson Sexualities.
- Jennifer Abel, Researchers: pornography addiction isn't real; Though self-identified porn addicts are probably sincere. Consumer Reports.
- Christians fear porn addiction. health24,com, 3 April 2014.
- Religious People More Likely To Feel They’re Addicted To Porn, New Study Shows. The Huffington Post, 17 February 2014.
- Tom Hymes, Note to Religious Porn Addicts: You're NOT Addicted to Porn! avn.com, 3 April 2014.
- According to NoFap's Reboot Challenges, "edging" is physical stimulation without orgasm.
- 626: White Haze Transcript (09.22.2017) This American Life.