My record is 13 months without mastur_bating. It wasn’t always easy to stick to, but honestly, my life was never better.
It’s amazing how much good it does me to not mastur_bate. I’ve quit for weeks, sometimes months, several times throughout my twenties. And I’m not alone. Millions of people (mostly, but not only, men) around the world are joining “NoFap” – a movement that encourages people to give up p0rn and masturbati0n.
I first started thinking about the effect watching p0rn was having on me when I was 19. Like the rest of my generation, I grew up being able to watch p0rn on demand. I remember searching for “lingerie” on the internet when I was about 14, which led me to more explicit images.
By my late teens, it had got to the point where if I was alone in my room it was only a matter of time before I ended up watching p0rn. I started to worry that I was addicted. I felt like a loser, who couldn’t meet girls in real life and had to resort to mastur_bating alone with the internet.
At 19, I was single and a virg!n. None of my relationships had developed into anything serious and I was pretty clueless about se_x. Staying home and mastur_bating seemed the safest way of avoiding a knockback. Whenever I did try to chat up girls, I couldn’t shake the memory that the night before I’d been looking at images of nak_ed women. I felt sure that if they knew they’d think I was a creep.
I would spend nights lying awake worrying about the effect p0rn was having on my life. I didn’t talk to mates about it – it wasn’t normal in my friendship group for us to share what we got up to in private.
One day, just after my 20th birthday, I decided to stop. My mum was into spiritual stuff and I’d started sneakily perusing her bookshelf. I’d just got into meditation and that’s where I first discovered the idea of using se_xual abstinence as a way of boosting my energy and self-confidence. The idea is part of an ancient belief system called ‘Kundalini’. I was too embarrassed to ask my mum about it, but I decided to find out more. That’s how it all started.
At first, I thought I’d give up masturbati0n for the rest of my life. So I was disappointed when I only managed a month. I decided to set myself more realistic goals after that.
The NoFap movement recommends 90 days of abstinence. I first heard about it in a Ted Talk about the impact of internet p0rn on the brain. It compared the effects of watching p0rn to taking hard drugs, and also linked excessive p0rn use to a rise in the number of young men suffering ere_ctile dysfunction. Lots of people do NoFap because they’re worried about their erecti0ns, though that wasn’t my personal reason for it.
Discovering this whole online subculture of people like me was a relief. I’d always wondered if I was doing the right thing – after all, plenty of people seem to watch p0rn and form healthy relationships – but this made me wonder if there were more men suffering the negative effects of p0rn and masturbati0n than I thought.
The NoFap movement was born in 2011 when Reddit user Alexander Rhodes started a thread about the benefits of not masturba_ting, which went viral. The thread now has over 300,000 members, or ‘fapstronaunts’, as they call themselves. Alexander also created a website where people share their experiences of living a p0rn-free life.
Lots of people believe NoFap has cured them of p0rn-induced ere_ctile dysfunction. For me, NoFapping makes me feel confident, clear-headed, and motivated. It helps me relax and talk to girls because I know I have my libido under control.
I’ve banned myself from mastur_bating and watching p0rn as much as possible over the last 10 years. The first week is always the hardest – everything reminds you of sex. I’ll get aroused by an attractive woman on TV or in a YouTube video. Sometimes I’ll get rejected by a girl and want to mastur_bate to make myself feel better.
Each time I break, I feel shit for a few days after. I used to beat myself up for failing, for being weak and lacking discipline. It can take a few days for my mood to settle and then I start again.
My recent year of NoFap came to an end due to work stress. I’d just finished a big project and was exhausted and needed the release. I’m not in a relationship, my flatmates were away, I was lonely and had got bored of vegging out on the sofa. It was a moment of weakness.
Giving up for that long had really helped me focus on my work, though. These days, I can spend hours alone in my room on my computer and not get tempted to mastur_bate. I couldn’t have done it without NoFap.
I’m starting again now. I’m hoping to beat my record and get to 18 months without masturbati0n or p0rn. My long-term goal? To stop mastur_bating for good.
Below are 40 benefits of quitting masturbati0n:
1. Clear thinking;
2. Breathe better;
3. Smoother mood transitions;
4. Sharper mental dexterity;
5. More articulate;
6. Better memory;
7. Working through stress more effectively;
8. Increased energy levels;
9. Reduced depression;
10. Deeper interactions with others;
11. Improved integrity;
12. Boosted confidence;
13. No social anxiety;
14. Better focus on task at hand;
15. Enjoying simple pleasures more deeply;
16. Increased faith in ability to control negative mental triggers ;
17. Increased muscle tone;
18. Increased joy;
19. Renewed self-respect;
20. More free time;
21. Need to sleep less;
22. Reduced anger;
23. Confidence to try new things;
24. Increased humility;
25. More laughs;
26. Better partnership with girlfriend;
27. Better ability to learn and remember new things and new ‘songs’;
28. Reduced anxiety;
29. No worries about of being found by somebody;
30. Increased brainpower and mental endurance;
31. True bonds with friends;
32. Better fitness level;
33. New doors opening to spiritual world;
34. Confidence to take on any task;
35. Ability to strike up conversation with anyone I choose without fear or insecurity;
36. Deeper philosophical thinking;
37. Increased motivation for self-improvement;
38. Communicating more;
39. So much more energy than before ;
40. No more feeling guilty;