What is NoFap?
How to develop superpowers by not playing with your "snake" or "kitty."
NoFap: a movement to abstain from porn and masturbation. The premise is simple, porn affects our brains, it warps our view on sexuality and derails our lives. Through masturbating to porn we program our brains to be stimulated by porn’s pixilated titillations and, as a result, the brain becomes desensitized to real sexual stimulation. Over time the need for porn increases, ten minutes grows to an hour and so on. What was once appealing becomes boring, resulting in the porn user watching more extreme sexual films. Through abstaining, Fapstronauts, as they are known, undergo a“reboot.” Rebooting describes the “rewiring” of the brain through abstinence.
I first heard about NoFap at a party. Our group sat on a long bench table in the semi darkness, found the idea of people gurning with the effort of not masturbating eye wateringly funny. But, in all seriousness, NoFap is a reflection of how the capitalist society has affected people and their sexuality. As noted in the official NoFap guide, a perfect storm has been created where there is a nearly infinite supply of porn which can be accessed anywhere through digital devices that nearly everyone has. Young people are especially affected by this as they have never been without a digital device in their proximity and as a result are not too far away from the allure of performed sex acts, being sucked into the habit from increasingly younger ages. Before access to porn was limited to those willing to visit specialist shops and sex clubs or risk using a postal service, now it is a few clicks of a mouse away. Access to porn is now secret and abundant and has meant a radical increase in those consuming porn and as a result those who are addicted to it.
The use of pornography and its effects is an area of contention for many in society. In its base form, it provides an outlet for one of the primal needs humans have, sexual contact. One's sex drive no longer needs to be satisfied through painful processes such as dating that leads to real sex. This sexual contact comes more or less without effort or strings attached. In short, whereas previously a human's libido would have meant they would have crossed a continent or climb a mountain to get their rocks off, they are now just visiting the internet. Some suggest this is leading to a sexless generation where the main motivation for dating is taken away, leading to among other things depression and loneliness with health issues such as addiction and modified sex drive affecting real sexual urges and performance.
Another aspect of the porn debate is the exploitive nature of porn. Porn is, in crass terms, filmed prostitution, turning sex and the people who perform it into objects. Many who act in porn do so due to a lack of options. Options that become increasingly limited as after a person's porn debut, they are forever archived bearing all, excluding them from jobs and ostracising them from many areas in society. Health concerns caused by unsafe sex, as well as physical and mental injuries due to having sex when not aroused, affect many in the industry. Contrastingly, some suggest that pornography is the lesser of two evils and has little to no effect on producer or consumer if produced and consumed within the boundaries of the law, arguing that porn provides for a need that otherwise would be expressed in violent and unsafe ways. Whilst the jury is still out on porn as both a product and the effects it has on society, Fapstronauts deem it to be a problem.
The NoFap platform’s primary targets are those who are addicted to porn and those who see their porn consumption as a problem and wish to stop. There are also a number of people who have taken abstinence as a means of training willpower or gaining “superpowers” in what some suggest to be Sex Transmutation, the transference of sexual energy to motivation. The principles of which NoFaps methods are based on various degrees of abstinence from what is known as PMO. PMO is an acronym for Porn, Masturbation, and Organism. NoFap describes the degrees of abstinence in three main methods, although there are others. Known as Hard, Normal, and Easy mode, each involves different levels of abstinence from porn, masturbation, and sex.
The effects of abstinence from PMO are noted to be varied. For PMO addicts, the program provides at least a way to gaining control over their addiction that they may well be too ashamed of to talk about with other people. Contrastingly, there are those who mystify the effects of not fapping, stating that they have become confident, sexy, and less anxious due to the transference of sexual energy into motivation or increased testosterone levels. Although skeptics may argue that evidence for any real change for non-addicts is merely an effect of exercising willpower and getting out the house. Likewise, another aspect to just the abstinence with the NoFap platform is the accountability and community support that exists. The platform allows for abstainers to share their successes and relapses and get support from others; this again may give the participant an improved sense of belonging improving their own feelings towards themselves.
Superpowers and Sexuality
The idea of NoFap“superpowers” ties neatly in with the genesis of NoFap, stemming from a Chinese study that cited that men who did not masturbate had after seven days increased their testosterone levels by a significant amount. The study was shared on Reddit and was taken up into practice. Through a cultural perspective, the ideas of abstinence related superpowers can impart be related to religious and philosophical views on reproduction. In many cases, masturbation is seen as a sin or a waste. Within the Presbyterianism and other forms of Christianity, masturbation is sinful and damaging to the person in question. Similarly, in the Eastern philosophies such as Taoism, masturbation is seen as a loss of energy. It is widely stated that many suffer from a lack of energy post fap. However, with that said, it can be argued that these statements at their base are related to a need for reproduction. Where previously, sex was needed to maintain a population and was for reproduction only, to the point it could be argued that groups of people wished to out breed each other. Today sex is for pleasure and reproduction needs to be controlled.
Furthermore, it could also be argued that NoFap is part of a group of ideas that are intending to redefine masculinity. On one hand, it could be argued that NoFap is based on a search for increasing testosterone, the “male sex hormone.” The aim of increasing the level of testosterone is to become more manly. This quest for manliness, in part, is due to the changes in culture caused by technology and changes in gender dynamic. On the other hand, it could also be argued that NoFap is part of an attempt to make people fear their sexuality. By saying that the sexuality that is expressed via masturbation is bad, people lose contact with part of their sexual expression and thus also themselves.