NoFap: Pulling Out Of The Program

7. September 2015

More virility, improved quality of life – young men are increasingly voluntarily going without masturbation. NoFap, an internet community, even wants to treat conditions such as erectile dysfunction. A critical look at the new phenomenon in the United States.

Even in our enlightened time myths still abound about masturbation. The best example: “A 16-year-old boy from Brazil dies after he masturbates 42 times in one night”. This supposedly spectacular message turned out to be presumably fake. For lay people it was a supposed piece of evidence on the health risks arising from too intensively employed hand-based relief. In reality are all of us enlightened, knowing that masturbation is neither an “impure act against nature ‘(ConstitutioCriminalisTheresiana; 1768) nor that it leads to severe conditions such as neuroses, acne, phthisis or tuberculosis? And do pamphlets such as “Onania, or The Heinous Sin of Self Contamination” (1712) only exist as relics from darker times?

NoFap – for the hand, that’s out of bounds

Doubts have been piling up since a community of a special kind has experienced success on the Web: The “fapstronauts”, “fapping” means masturbation – and “nofap” stands for strict self control. Users make a smooth transition to a life based on a construct of ideas derived from medieval and early modern ‘experts’ : “Get a New Grip of Life”. An estimated 150,000 men – for this matter relates exclusively to men– take on three maxims: no porn, no masturbation, no orgasm. By doing this, self-proclaimed disciples hope not just to acquire “more energy” and “more self-assertiveness”, as one reads in forums. They even claim to be able to treat erection problems effectively – without any pharmacotherapy. More and more men are joining the movement. NoFap is not religiously motivated, as one might suspect, but rather fortifies itself through a construct of ideas.

The hour of the guru

Fapstronauts revolve around the ideas belonging to Gary Wilson, a self-proclaimed expert and thinker on the health effects of internet pornography. On his website, Wilson does not hesitate to ignore reputable publications for his own ends. His starting point is a nearly 15-year-old study on sexual abstinence among men. After three weeks without masturbation scientists found higher testosterone levels in subjects. The fact that abstinence had no effect on brain metabolism is happily concealed by NoFap-supporters. Wilson goes on to argue that the male brain constantly need new sexual stimuli. Excitation arises only through more, even harder porn movies; deadening is the outcome otherwise. The guru mentions a further Researchers tried to find a correlation between brain activities and pornographic images by way of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Their conclusion: a correlation exists between the time that volunteers spend with pornographic material and grey matter. The more men occupied their time with pornography, the smaller the volume of their striatum. The authors suggest that frequent porn watching virtually “wears out” our reward system. They assume that regular viewing consumption of raunchy movies or images requires increasingly stronger stimulae in order to keep on being stimulating. Whoever sat regularly at their computer enjoying such forms of media was found to have a weaker communication link between the reward region and the prefrontal cortex. The caveat: whether we are in fact dealing here with a phenomenon of neuronal plasticity or whether the differences existed before the porn viewing is something which can only be examined over the course of studies. Scientists definitely do not make mention of illness. Wilson himself sees connections to relationship incapacities, depression, loneliness, but also to erectile dysfunction. The Guru refers in his website to a further study, where every second patient examined had difficulty getting an erection with his partner, whereas he had achieved it with porn. No erotic media, no self-gratification, but more virility with a partner?

One fapstronaut comes clean

When employed in practice, things look pretty bleak. DocCheck found one former fapstronaut who informs us quite bluntly about his experiences. He himself wants to be referred to only by his alias Martin089. His age: early 30s. After prolonged erection problems he did some research, as have so many such persons on the Web – and came promptly upon Gary Wilson’s videos. More energy, better quality of life – and of course, more women, as many sites and fapstronaut forums promise. Martin089 did the test and for almost three months abstained from porn and masturbation. It was not easy, but in forums users supposedly give useful advice. In any case Martin089 persisted. When he shortly afterwards met a woman, the disappointment was all the greater: his symptoms were unchanged; he got no erection. In the end, he turned his back on NoFap with disappointment and carried on as usual. Perhaps he even benefited health-wise. The question of whether frequent hand-based relief reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer may still be a scientifically controversial one, but not a potential benefit that should be ruled out.

6 rating(s) (3.67 ø)
Medicine, Urology

1 comment:

Dentist JP Sansen
Dentist JP Sansen

No erection with the partner, but well so with ‘screen porn’? And what about erection but no ejaculation? Reasons? Men are used to their partner, men cannot / do not dare have “full-dirty sex in all sorts” with the partner or the female partner is not in for it, as seen on the screen (big boobs, oral sex, licking, fingering, blowjobs, vaginae wide open, different positions, seeing it all, …)

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