A man explains why giving up masturbation was the “best decision” of his life. But, are there any real advantages?

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A man explains why giving up masturbation was the "best decision" of his life. But, are there any real advantages?

There are subreddits for almost everything, from long furbies to a subculture that loves to staple food to trees. One that jumps out is “nofap,” which serves as a type of support network for those who have decided to quit masturbating for various reasons.

People in the group usually take on challenges in which they don’t masturbate for a set length of time and then report back to the group on how it went. One “success” story from the group was published last month, and it attracted a surprising amount of media attention (maybe because we are entering a period that the Internet, in its wisdom, has chosen to label No Nut November).

“Today is day 90. I had no clue I was three months in since I didn’t check my streak very frequently, maybe once every 1-2 weeks, which I believe was crucial to my abstinence “Vyxize, a Redditor, posted on the thread.

They claimed to have experienced a variety of health advantages (though admitted that these could have been placebo).

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“During these 90 days, I have had more energy, my brain has ceased sexualizing mundane things, and my brain fog has largely disappeared,” they stated.

“I find it easier to socialise, and start conversations. I have also experienced a huge energy boost in the gym, and have seen tremendous progress during these 3 months.”

“Some people may call this placebo, and even if it was just placebo, all these successes stories have actually helped with other people’s mental health”.

Is there actually any benefit to abstaining from masturbation?

People in the nofap community tend to cite benefits such as increased testosterone and energy – but is there actually anything in this? Well, the evidence is weak, and even contradicted by other available evidence. 

One notion is that if you quit masturbating, your testosterone levels will rise. However, as Australia’s Healthy Male points out, this theory is based on a small (and retracted) research that discovered testosterone levels in guys increased after seven days of no intercourse or masturbation. A following study discovered that masturbating raised testosterone levels. Another found no discernible change in either case. The question of whether you want to increase your testosterone levels is one you should discuss with your doctor (should you feel your testosterone levels were too low).

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Some think that refraining from masturbation and sexual activity increases energy levels. A research that looked at the influence of masturbation and sex the night before athletic testing discovered no “statistically significant difference in physical exercise performance” between those who masturbated, had sex, or refrained from both.

In reality, there are many more practical advantages to turning it up like it’s going out of style. According to one research, climaxing 21 times or more per month may lessen the risk of prostate cancer by up to one-third.

Another study found that masturbation and sex increase serotonin, and are a good way to get some shut-eye.

“Engaging in safe and satisfying sexual activity (either alone or with a partner) together with other sleep hygiene strategies before attempting sleep,” the study concluded, “may offer the general adult population a healthy behavioral approach toward improving their subsequent sleep”.

Abstaining from masturbation may have been anecdotally beneficial to some in the nofap subreddit (some of whom say they are addicted to sex) but the benefits to the general population are unclear or unsupported, at least medically speaking. Should you feel you are addicted to sex or masturbation, a better port of call might be to a doctor rather than a subreddit.

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All “explainer” articles are confirmed by fact checkers to be correct at time of publishing. Text, images, and links may be edited, removed, or added to at a later date to keep information current.

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