Is NoFap Worth It?
For those who don't know, NoFap is a growing movement by men, and even some women, to not masturbate in hopes of gaining control over their lives. Some hope to manage porn addiction and other health or mental issues while others report spiritual enlightenment and physical changes. There is even a NoFap forum dedicated to helping people get through the struggle, discussing issues they are having. Since so many people have decided to take the challenge and plenty of stories can be found suggesting that it's worth a try, I did some digging because I wondered if NoFap was really worth the self torture. Here are my thoughts and findings.
The more spiritual NoFappers say that semen is a sort of 'life energy' that should be released with caution, so not getting off maintains this energy and virility. Sure, you have to admit that getting off is definitely draining, but semen is a renewable resource. If you are masturbating several times a day and your body can't keep up - it may be time to cut back. A temporary hiatus from masturbation will probably give your body a chance to recover and maybe provide time to organize your thoughts so you can get control of your urges.
Complete withdrawal from masturbation isn't a great idea though - many studies show that 2-3 sessions per week keeps the plumbing in order. I saw another study that showed release is important for prostate health and 21 sessions was the optimal amount for preventing prostate cancer. In all honesty, masturbation doesn't offer the same health benefits as sexual intercourse, but if it's the closest you can get - stroke away in moderation.
For starters, yes porn addiction is a real thing. There are plenty of stories of people who spend money on cam girls, downloads, etc while neglecting everyday bills and even their families. If this sounds like you, then not masturbating might temporarily solve the problem but isn't go to address the mental issue. Obviously there is something that is being sought and a psychologist is what you need to sort out the root cause of your porn addiction.
If you find that your need for more extreme porn is making it hard to get off, then you have probably been desensitized. Studies show that porn can wreck havoc on dopamine receptors and brain chemistry. This will often manifest as the inability to maintain an erection or get off unless very precise visual cues (porn fantasies) are present. That's a problem and most likely you need to cut back and seek a therapist.
Some claim that not fapping will raise your testosterone levels, so they take the challenge to help in the gym hoping to build muscle quicker. I couldn't find any solid proof to back this up. Maybe for a few days you feel more charged up when not masturbating, but that's probably just because your 'hungry" so to speak. It makes sense to forgo self pleasure if you have a significant other, or think there is a chance you're going to get laid, but expecting your testosterone to spike over a long period of time is doubtful.
What I did find that causes a short term spike in testosterone was the actual act of sex or masturbation: during sexual acts the T levels raise temporarily and fall back to normal shortly after. Another thing that seems to cause a test boost is exposure to those we find attractive. So let's say you're on a date and find the lady sexy, you will probably get a short hormone spike as your body prepares for the chance of procreation. So not watching porn and limiting your exposure to these arousing images only makes sense if you want to decrease or limit hormone spikes.
The problem is that over the long-term you're probably going to see a possible decrease in hormone or sperm production as the body starts saying to itself "I don't need to be making as much of this". One study even showed that long term lack of sex from erectile dysfunction lowered testosterone, but the problem was reversible. Others state that when going 3 months or more without sexual activity, T levels will fall until normal activity resumes.
Building Self Control
Some guys, and even girls, try the fap free lifestyle hoping to gain a mental edge or clarity, thinking that they can build self control. Again, if you find yourself getting off in strange places, or spending too much money or time on masturbation - then NoFap might help you get short term control of the problem But it still isn't addressing the real issue going on in your head.
Subjecting yourself to authoritarian control over your sexual urges is most likely going to cause other impulsive urges to rage as you struggle with denying yourself something that was such a part of your life. This might mean more drinking, video games, or whatever to fill the time. In essence you are trying to replace one habit with a new one that's better for you. That's an honorable goal, but giving up masturbation doesn't mean your going to suddenly write a book or movie screenplay. The key to anything is balance and moderation. If NoFap for a short time helps you reorient your perspective then great, but reconsider any long term pledges.
You're not going to gain super powers by giving up masturbation, but gaining some self control is never a bad thing. A couple of sessions per week is probably going to keep things running smooth, but not going to be such a distraction that you can't get other things done. Worse case scenario is that you're probably going to have a little more free time.
If you still want to give NoFap a try, then go for it. Just be reasonable in your expectations and try setting short term goals like a few days or a week. I have seen guys saying that they have went months or even a year without masturbating and that doesn't seem healthy or normal to me.