The NoFap Fad: Does Masturbation Abstinence Or Is It All Fake Hype?

Sep 29, 2020

There is a lot of information on the internet surrounding masturbation, both the benefits and the potential risks of excessive masturbation. If you’re searching for this kind of information then it probably won’t be too long before you come across something called NoFap. This is a website, community, and support group for people who have adopted a lifestyle of no masturbation or pornography in exchange for various benefits. Is there any truth behind these claimed abstinence benefits though? 

Contents

Who And What Is NoFap?

NoFap started as a subreddit on Reddit back in 2011 that came about during a discussion between a group of individuals who had given up masturbation. These individuals claimed that if you gave up masturbating for seven days, on the last day your testosterone would spike by up to 47.5%. Posting this resulted in this information reaching the front page of Reddit. From there it wasn’t long before this snowballed into a week-long challenge and the official subreddit for NoFap being created. 

Within two years the number of users on the NoFap subreddit had tripled, resulting in an official website being created with a 2019 study showing the group to have 516,444 followers with "virtually all NoFap followers (99%) (being) male". That’s a sizable community, so what are the benefits that this group claims to experience?

The Potential Benefits Of Masturbation Abstinence

The first and most widely claimed benefit that is discussed within masturbation abstinence is the rise in testosterone. This was from a study from 2003 which fueled the Reddit discussion that found not ejaculating for 7 days increased testosterone levels by 45.7%. Of course, this study focused on ejaculation, not specifically through masturbation or sex but just the act. The aforementioned study was also a single study with no noticeable peer reviews, which is not how these effects are scientifically proven as fact. Other studies even disagree in general that there is a noticeable effect.

That 2003 study, however, did lead to a discussion where users discussed the other benefits that they claimed to experience. This ranged from physical benefits such as higher energy levels, muscle growth, improved or even cured erectile dysfunction, and improved sperm quality. The mental benefits that users mentioned included increased happiness, increased motivation and willpower, heightened spirituality, and an improved attitude and appreciation toward the opposite sex. 

Are These Benefits Backed Up By Research?

There isn’t any concrete evidence of any of the above effects that the NoFap users experienced being tied directly to abstaining from masturbation. Any discussion of these benefits was purely anecdotal to each user. There could also be a placebo effect within the community, with users who discuss the topic with other like-minded people believing that they too experienced these effects.

Placebo effects aren’t necessarily bad, however, it should be noted that there is still no solid scientific evidence that backs up that you would experience any of the benefits listed above if you abstain from masturbation.

Is There Any Solid Research Surrounding Masturbation Benefits?

We have already discussed the benefits of masturbation in terms of ‘feel-good’ chemicals here, but there is plenty of other research backing up real positives to masturbation. Research from 2011 even shows that masturbation in adolescence among females, for example, is associated with a healthy self-image and positive sexual experiences later in life. Not to mention the various other health benefits such as increased sexual satisfaction, both solo and in partnered sex, and even giving a boost to your immune system!

Are There Any Risks To Abstaining From Masturbation?

In general, participating in NoFap or just abstaining from masturbation and/or pornography shouldn’t cause you any harm. However, with so many benefits coming from masturbation (including ejaculation), sex, and orgasming in general backed by research and studies… why would you want to stop? 

Of course, managing your masturbation and limiting watching pornography can be healthy if you’re being excessive with either. While the benefits of abstinence aren’t clear yet, with not many scientific studies proving claims beyond that one 2003 study, the scientifically-backed health benefits are more than enough to consider continuing masturbating at a healthy pace for you.