In this article, we will discuss what NoFap is, what is pornographic addiction, how it is linked to depression and what is usually talked about on the NoFap platform. This article will cover a holistic view about NoFap and how it is helpful to its users.
What is NoFap
NoFap is an online website and community which serves as a support group for those who wish to give up masturbation and adult-content. Its name comes from the slang fap which refers to male masturbation. This community was founded in June 2011 by Pittsburg Web Developer, Alexander Rhode after reading a thread on Reddit about a 2003 Chinese Study. In this study it was found that men who refrain from masturbation for seven days experience a 145.7% spike on the seventh day.
With their website, forums, articles and apps, NoFap helps the users overcome their sexual addictions so they can heal from porn-induced sexual dysfunctions, improve their relationships, and ultimately live their most fulfilling lives.
They refer to the process of recovering from porn addiction as “rebooting.” Research has shown that heavy porn use can change the neural pathways of the brain causing addiction, hormonal changes, and sexual dysfunction. The rebooting process is intended to restore these neural pathways to factory settings, so to speak.
Rebooting is a personal process with no single correct approach. They challenge their users to abstain from adult-content, masturbation, or even sex altogether for a period of time. Rebooting the brain by abstaining from these behaviors has freed many users from porn addiction and porn-induced sexual dysfunction.
What is NoFap Depression
NoFap Depression is a website where people test their self-control and practice it.There are a number of techniques and challenges which are active on the site and are used to abstain one self from masturbating and engaging in watching adult-content. As put up by various NoFap users, because of the elongated self-control, they experience depression. They feel lonely, sad, depressed and share it within their community.
While it is a great way to control extreme cases of addiction to adult-content, the complete abstainance coming from a very outdated view, seems unusual and unhealthy. Perhaps, a moreprogressive motto might have helped in gaining attention from people. However, the active use of the site may suggest otherwise.
What are the beliefs of NoFap
NoFap followers want to achieve the goal of stopping masturbation entirely. This goal comes from the belief that masturbation is unhealthy. After abstaining from masturbation ad porn for a while, NoFap followers believe that it brought out some surprising improvements in their physical and mental health. Some of them also believe that their brains were warped and moving away from real relationships. NoFap hosts a wide variety of different opinions on sexual health, and supports users with various goals as long as they are trying to improve their sexual health. NoFap techniques are sometimes cited as a self-improvement method by members of the manosphere, and by others as a way to counter the effects of ‘death grip syndrome’ an issue with penis sensitivity which some men attribute to overly aggressive masturbation.
What do people have to say about NoFap
Therapist Paula Hall was asked about NoFap claims of “physical health benefits mentioned including renewed energy, greater focus, concentration, and better sleep” and responded “there is little medical evidence for any of these changes”. Therapist Robert Weiss for sees NoFap as part of a tech backlash. The endeavor has also been criticized as generating embarrassing side effects such as prolonged or unwanted erections in men or an excessive libido. Psychologist David J. Ley wrote: “I’m not in opposition to them, but I do think their ideas are simplistic, naive and promote a sad, reductionistic and distorted view of male sexuality and masculinity”. Ley criticizes NoFap supporters as amateurs who are using “bad data” and “extrapolations on weak science to argue that porn has a disproportionate effect on the brain” and claim that porn use causes erectile dysfunction. Ley has stated that the website is a continuation of the anti-masturbation movements from the past, such as Swiss doctor Samuel Tissot’s 18th-century claims that masturbation was an illness that “weakened the male spirit” and led to immorality; American doctor Benjamin Rush, who claimed that masturbation caused blindness; and W.K. Kellogg, who developed corn flakes as part of his anti-masturbation efforts.
Real link between adult-content and NoFap Depression
It may seem that adult-content use may cause depression, it does not have a direct impact on your mental health.
An excessive amount of watching adult-content may obviously lead to addiction and this addiction may take various forms. The person may feel depressed out of loneliness. There may be a void which is filled during this act, but after that they may not feel so. The dire need of having a partner, to be loved and to love may lead to depression.
This may be the sole reason why people on NoFap talk about depression. They feel lonely, they feel alone and hence talk about it openly on the internet. It, in some way, acts like a group therapy where people get to talk openly about their worries and they get hope when they see that they are not alone in this journey.
Can adult-content lead to depression?
There is no conclusive research which can suggest that adult-content can cause depression. Although, there has been research which shows that loneliness can lead to depression. A research study was done in 2007 on 400 participants. These participants filled out a questionnaire and the results showed that those who watched internet adult-content more often, were more likely to feel lonely.
Depression is also of a concern when someone feels guilty or shame after viewing adult-content or masturbating. This was shown in the 2018 study with a sample size of 1,638 participants. They found that individual differences between perception and use of adult-content were significantly related to depression. In other words, it’s not the act of viewing adult-content that contributes to depressive symptoms but someone’s own reaction to the activity.
As the definition says, ‘Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.” It is already established that loneliness is one of the symptoms of depression. So, in conclusion regarding this, we can say that those who watch more adult-content are risking themselves at depression. It is also not the direct act of viewing adult-content or masturbation that causes depression, but it is the self-percetiion of the act itself that leads to mental disturbances. And once these disturbances are prolonged, they may have serious effects on the mental health of a person.
For example, a person may be seriously addicted to adult-content and hence, may also indulge in the act of masturbation. Additionally, the person comes from a very orthodox and religious background which believes that such acts are ridiculously shameful and one should, at all times, abstain from such acts. Now, such a person will be in an endless loop of guilt, shame and self=doubt. Possibly, may also start hating himself for ‘committing a crime’. These things lead to depressive thoughts because, firstly, the person is already addicted to adult-content or masturbation. Secondly, there is an endless cycle of self-pity, shame and guilt leading to depressive thoughts.
What are the signs of problematic porn usage?
Everyone’s experience with adult-content and mastubation may vary but here we have listed a few common ones:
- Higher levels of hypersexuality: the person feel sexually aroused more than what is normal
- Depressive symptoms: The person may feel low, lonely and in deep sadness
- Sensitivity to boredom: the person may resort to adult-content or masturbation when he/she is bored
- Feelings of discomfort about adult-content: because of excessive usage, the person may doubt him/herself and may feel discomfort towards adult-content.
- Lower levels of self-esteem: As the person is already in a mentally distressed loop, he/she may have lower levels of self-esteem. This may come from the belief that he/she is lonely in life and no one wants them.
- Less satisfaction of their psychological needs related to social belonging, sense of competency and overall autonomy
- Insecurities around body image: Excessive adult-content and masturbation may also lead to distorted body image. The belief that no one wants to be with them, may trouble them so much mentally that they might feel that their body is the reason why no one wants to be with them.
- Relationship strain: Troubled amounts of adult-content and masturbation may lead to distress in a relationship, quarrels between partners which makes the relationships come crashing down.
Is NoFap a solution for pornographic ‘depression’
NoFap is an online community where there are no trained professionals to individually guide people in their journey of self-control. The sole reason why it was founded, was to abstain a person from viewing adult-content or masturbation. Over the period of time, the site has gained momentum and people have made better use of the site. The original motto seems to be at bay when people talk about their struggles online and feel a sense of community.
However, there may also be a backlash when new members joining the community mght feel astounded at seeing so many people struggling. They are already lost and seeing distressed threads may be overwhelming.
At the end of the day, it is us who can make a better use of the site.
Where to seek support when you are worried of your adult-content use and Depression
- In-person therapy
- Online or text-based therapy
- Healthy self-control
- Being vocal of your problem to your family to avoid losing them
FAQ’s: NoFap Depression
How difficult is NoFap?
People say that NoFap is tough as we live in a society of instant gratification. Although, with self-discipline, one should be able to achieve their personal goal. Setting a healthy goal may seem helpful at such times. For example: Setting a goal of ‘ I will abstain myself forever from sexual activities’ is a little more harsh than ‘ I will take one day at a time to move past my addiction’. The first goal is very unrealistic, coming from an unhealthy motive, than the second one where the person is realistic about his addiction and the way he wants to tackle it.
Does NoFap make one happy?
Members of the NoFap community have expressed their gratitude and happiness from the self-control that they have been trying to achieve since a long time. The commitment that they set for their own selves seemed fruitful through the help of sharing online their own thoughts, their journey regarding this control.
How do I stay motivated to NoFap?
The only way you can stay motivated towards your self-control is by being aware of your problem and being realistic towards it.
In conclusion, we summarise that NoFap is a helpful site for its community members. It is helpful for people who set a realistic goal towards their self-control journey.
What we recommend for depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.