Why Don’t People Stick to Their NoFap Rejection Challenge?
Many people participate in the NoFap challenge to break so-called “porn addiction” and masturbation habits. They are supposed to reboot their brains and experience numerous benefits, including improved relationships.
However, a study of NoFap members found that their experiences ranged from hopelessness to thoughts of suicide. Moreover, their views of women were characterized as commodification and codes to be broken.
1. You aren’t ready
The nofap movement essentially treats masturbation and pornography as addictions that need to be broken through cold-turkey abstinence. It also encourages members to practice a form of meditation called “pattikulamanasikara,” or “reflections on repulsiveness.” This type of meditative abstinence is said to help people overcome desire and lust.
In addition, those who successfully abstain from self-stimulatory practices during lockdown often report improved discipline in other areas of their life. For example, some men may find that learning to control their libido by practicing nofap allows them to better regulate emotions at work.
However, the nofap community is not without its critics. Many outsiders believe that the movement is homophobic and sexist because it is predominately composed of heterosexual men. Others argue that the group’s masculine ideals lead to a toxic sense of entitlement and insecurity, which can be harmful to mental health. Despite these concerns, the nofap movement is still growing. Its supporters say that it offers men a powerful way to revive their confidence with women.
2. You aren’t committed
Many members framed their NoFap challenge as either a hindrance or a catalyst for change. For some, it was overwhelming; for others it was empowering. The challenge was viewed as part of a larger masculine identity that encompassed regular body exercise and the consumption of commercial products that promote sexual potency.
Some participants also linked their abstinence with a moral commitment to hegemonic masculinity. In this context, abstinence was viewed as an “accreditation ceremony” that invests in a man’s reputation and value. Moreover, the community’s neoliberal ethos was underscored by the recurrent theme of competitiveness among users, resulting in a sense of elitism.
In addition, some members reported a relapse in POM resistance. These relapses were a source of distress, but they were handled in the forums with encouragement and advice. Some participants even turned POM resistance into a game that made it more fun, and they credited this approach with making their challenge less daunting during the tougher times.
3. You aren’t disciplined
One of the biggest reasons why people don’t stick to their nofap is because they simply lack the discipline to do so. This mainly comes down to poor time management skills and a lack of self-discipline.
The NoFap community focuses on treating masturbation and porn as addictions that need to be cured through self-control, self-improvement and a cold-turkey break with internet porn. This has led to the community being associated with conservative and religious views on masturbation and porn, as well as misogynistic attitudes.
Despite this, a discourse analysis of the NoFap Reddit page suggests that there is a wide range of reasons why individuals take up the challenge. Several of these revolve around a desire to be more productive and better organized, while others are motivated by the health benefits of abstaining from POM. Other reasons include a desire to change their sexual habits and the sense that viewing porn degrades their masculinity. This echoes themes of the incel movement, which has been described by Bratich and Banet-Weiser (2019) as a recalibration of alpha masculinity toward beta subjectivity.
4. You aren’t motivated
If you want to quit masturbation, it’s likely because you have unhealthful attachments that need to be broken. In order to do so, you will need to have a strong enough desire to overcome them. If you’re not motivated, it will be difficult to stick with the nofap challenge for the long term.
While the NoFap community is overwhelmingly male (95% of its members are men), some women participate as well (femstronauts). In addition, the NoFap community spans across a wide range of sexual orientations.
The NoFap movement is based on the idea that masturbation and pornography are bad for one’s health, and that by abstaining from these things, one can improve their life. This belief is supported by various discourses that depict innate masculinity as being degraded by pornography and society, as well as the idea that men have a natural predisposition for power. In addition, there are also claims that nofap can lead to more positive masculine traits.