Last updated

NoFap Company Logo, July 2015.png
Type of site
LaunchedJune 20, 2011;9 years ago (2011-06-20) (subreddit)
Current statusActive

NoFap is a website and community forum that serves as a support group for those who wish to give up pornography and masturbation. [1] [2] [3] Its name comes from the slang term fap , referring to male masturbation. [4] Reasons for this avoidance vary by individual, and may include religious and moral reasons, self-improvement, and physical beliefs that are not supported by medicine. [5] [6] The group's views and efforts to combat pornography addiction have been criticized as simplistic, outdated, and incorrect by neuroscientists, psychologists, and other medical professionals. [7] [8] [6] [9] The 'science' cited on NoFap is said to come from anti-porn activist Gary Wilson, "an Oregon man with no scientific training or background, who has made a career peddling pseudoscience." [10]



NoFap was founded in June 2011 by Pittsburgh web developer Alexander Rhodes after reading a thread on Reddit about a 2003 Chinese study [note 1] which claimed that men who refrain from masturbation for seven days experience a 145.7% spike in testosterone levels on the seventh day. This hit the front page of a popular forum on Reddit. [11] The website states that some NoFap participants aim to "...improve their interpersonal relationships", do a "challenge of willpower – to seize control of your sexuality and turn it into superpowers", but always with the goal of being able to "abstain from PMO (porn/masturbation/orgasm)." [4] While the website is most commonly associated with men seeking to quit porn and reduce masturbation, there are a minority of females who are users of the website as well, who are nicknamed "Femstronauts"; Rhodes has estimated that five percent of participants are women. [4]

The expression "fap" is an onomatopoeic Internet slang term for male masturbation that first appeared in the 1999 web comic Sexy Losers to indicate the sound of a male character masturbating. [4]

Alexander Rhodes appears in the documentary written and directed by Nicholas Tana called Sticky: A (Self) Love Story , in which he discusses his findings and his opinions about masturbation. [12] After this, Rhodes created NoFap as a "subreddit" forum community on Reddit. The endeavour is sometimes referred to as fapstinence. [13] [14] [15]

Users on NoFap's subreddit more than tripled in number in two years, leading Rhodes to build an off-Reddit forum at and begin other plans to better serve the website's fast-growing factions in Brazil, Germany, and China. [16] is a forum-style website where individuals who have committed to abstain from pornography and/or masturbation for a period of time can talk about their experiences and engage in challenges to help them recover. is the sister website of the Reddit-hosted NoFap community. [17] sells "premium memberships" and "store merchandise".[ citation needed ]



A 2020 study reports that "virtually all NoFap followers (99%) are male". [6] The membership of NoFap ranges from atheists, like founder Rhodes, to fundamentalist Christians. [18] [19] However, Rhodes has publicly solicited and received funding from religious groups. [10] Women are also a part of NoFap, [18] although the community is sometimes viewed to be a part of the androsphere. [20] The users of the website call themselves "Fapstronauts." [21] [22] [11] Some correspondents have nicknamed NoFap's community members as NoFappers [23] [24] [21] fapstinent, [25] or no-fappers. [26] Some self-described porn addicts seek out NoFap for help, [11] while others join the website for the challenge or to improve their lives and interpersonal relationships. [11]


The overwhelming goal of members of the NoFap forums is to stop masturbation entirely, and that this goal is due to their "perception of masturbation as unhealthy". [6] After abstaining from porn and masturbation for a period of time, some of NoFap's users claim to experience various improvements in physical and mental health. [14] Some NoFap users say their brains were warped by porn, at the expense of real relationships. [25]

NoFap hosts a wide variety of different opinions on sexual health, and supports users with various goals as long they are trying to improve their sexual health. [27] 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", [28] an issue with penis sensitivity which some men attribute to overly aggressive masturbation.


Therapist Paula Hall for The Huffington Post 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". [7] Therapist Robert Weiss for The Huffington Post sees NoFap as part of a tech backlash. [29] The endeavor has also been criticized as generating embarrassing side effects such as prolonged or unwanted erections in men or an excessive libido. [30] 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". [8] 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. [8] 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. [8]

Research concerning NoFap forums and followers

A 2020 study found that while NoFap claimed to be science-based, the more that NoFap followers believed that they should abstain from masturbation, the more they also reported "lower trust in science". [6] Social psychologists Taylor and Jackson, who analyzed the content of NoFap forums, concluded in their study that some NoFap participants not only rejected pornography, but also radical feminist critiques of pornography. They also stated that members of NoFap frequently utilized and redeployed familiar hegemonic masculine discourses (e.g. men as dominant seekers of pleasure and women as the 'natural' suppliers of this pleasure), in turn reproducing societal expectations of gendered sexual dominance and submission. [25] Another 2020 study stated that the forum represents itself as a source of medical information, which seems to discourage members from seeking actual medical advice and instead self-diagnosing. [31]

A 2020 study analysing discourse on pornography, published in the journal Social Forces , stated regarding NoFap that "These claims do not necessarily come from scientific experts. Instead, we find that newspaper articles draw from a variety of professionals who are not scientists" and that "Rhodes is quoted repeatedly reflecting that he was 'addicted to internet porn' and shares the personal consequences." They conclude "journalists and political actors are overextending scientific findings to advance their media markets and political agendas" in support of gender and sexual norms. [32]

A 2020 paper stated that NoFap appears to have been specifically targeted by far-right groups, writing, "the struggle for the 'remasculinization' of white men by overcoming porn (addiction) had to be an antisemitic one: a fight against 'Jewish pornography' and 'Jewish filth,' in which other current anti-porn actors such as NoFap should join". [33] Cultural studies scholar Simon Strick stated regarding NoFap that a "racist culture war...was already implied in the call to join the ‘movement’ by becoming abstinent". The chapter continues, "NoFap present themselves as a search for non-toxic and progressive gender roles, even as they partake in gendered and racialized narratives that are no less violent". [34]

NoFap supporters are "known for vitriolically attacking female scholars not sharing their view". [35] Sociologist Kelsy Burke stated that "Rhodes and a small staff manage and its brand full time". [36] She states, "There is no scientific evidence that supports the idea of these superpowers. Yet hundreds of thousands of NoFap users insist they experience them." She critiques similar gender problems in groups including NoFap, stating, "The scientific and spiritual gets muddled together as participants reinforce damaging gender stereotypes—those of hypersexual, biologically ravenous men who are simply "wired differently" than women. Women whose sexuality exists only in relation to male addiction recovery reproduces the worst lessons of porn itself." [36] NoFap forums are described by a 2020 paper as a place where "men's sexual entitlement to women was left unquestioned". [37]

Journalistic descriptions of NoFap

Several journalists have criticized NoFap. [38] [39] [40] [41] Some of them report that the forums were filled with misogyny, stating that "there is a darker side to NoFap. Among the reams of Reddit discussions and YouTube videos, a fundamentally misogynistic rhetoric regularly emerges", [40] and that "the NoFap community has become linked to wider sexism and misogyny, reducing women to sexual objects to be attained or abstained from and shaming sexually active women." [41] NoFap followers have posted videos on YouTube that regularly feature anti-homosexual and anti-woman values, such as 'stop being a little bitch' demands. [42] A New York Times story by Rob Kuznia expressed concern about white supremacists promoting the belief that pornography is a conspiracy of Judaism. [43]


NoFap has been involved in legal actions filed or threatened by their founder, Alexander Rhodes. After threatening two scientists with litigation, the scientists published a letter defending the need to be allowed to criticize NoFap "As [NoFap] operate in the public sphere, however, we deem it not only as legitimate but necessary to acknowledge and cite them as one prominent voice in the debate around masturbation abstinence—everything else would be an unjustifiable muting of their stand." [44] For publishing a critique of NoFap's fundraising efforts, Rhodes sued ScramNews in the UK. ScramNews is a small outlet, had no lawyer to defend itself, and was forced to close by Rhodes' lawsuit. [45] NoFap threatened to sue The Spectator for writing about their association with right-wing, antisemitic groups. [46] They threatened to sue a blogger for using 'NoFap' as a trademark. [47]

NoFap also threatened Wikipedia with litigation, claiming that Wikipedia editors are secretly part of the porn industry. [48] [ better source needed ] Rhodes' aggressive litigation has had a chilling effect on free speech, as "Sex educators, adult industry groups and therapists told Motherboard that they are scared of legal action from NoFap, and some of them weren't willing to speak openly about masturbation and the stigma of watching porn." [49] The lawsuits appear largely funded by the elders from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Morality in Media, religious organizations seeking to ban all pornography. [10]

Similar sites

In 2017, an Independent article called "Inside the Community of Men Who Have Given Up Porn" noted that an alternative subreddit, /r/pornfree, is different from 'NoFap' as members abstain from pornography but not necessarily masturbation. [50] Another Independent article, from 2018, described /r/pornfree as less 'extreme' compared to /r/nofap. [51]

A study of NoFap reddit users found that NoFap members were most likely to also be members of TheRedPill, seduction, and similar men's right and pick up artist Reddit groups. [52] Another study reported a similar pattern that NoFap Reddit members also were likely to be supporters of American president Donald Trump. [53]

See also


  1. The thread ( "TIL when men don't masturbate for 7 days their testosterone levels increase by 145.7%. • r/todayilearned". reddit.) discussed Jiang M, Xin J, Zou Q, Shen JW (2003). "A research on the relationship between ejaculation and serum testosterone level in men". Journal of Zhejiang University Science A. 4 (2): 236–240. doi:10.1631/jzus.2003.0236. PMID   12659241. S2CID   42127816.

Related Research Articles

Sexual abstinence Act of refraining from sexual activity

Sexual abstinence or sexual restraint is the practice of refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity for medical, psychological, legal, social, financial, philosophical, moral, or religious reasons. Asexuality is distinct from sexual abstinence; and celibacy is sexual abstinence generally motivated by factors such as an individual's personal or religious beliefs. Sexual abstinence before marriage is required in some societies by social norms, or, in some countries, even by laws, and is considered part of chastity.

Hypersexuality is extremely frequent or suddenly increased libido. It is currently controversial whether it should be included as a clinical diagnosis used by mental healthcare professionals. Nymphomania and Satyriasis were terms previously used for the condition in women and men, respectively.

Pornography addiction is an addiction model of compulsive sexual activity with concurrent use of pornographic material, despite negative consequences to one's physical, mental, social, or financial well-being. Neither the DSM-5 nor the ICD-11 classify pornography as a mental disorder or addiction.

Sex-positive feminism is a movement that began in the early 1980s centering on the idea that sexual freedom is an essential component of women's freedom. Some feminists became involved in the sex-positive feminist movement in response to efforts by anti-pornography feminists to put pornography at the center of a feminist explanation of women's oppression.

Marty Klein American sex therapist

Marty Ralph Klein is an American sex therapist, author, educator and public policy analyst. Klein has spent his career supporting the healthy sexual expression of men, women and couples in a wide range of ways. He is critical of censorship, the concepts of sex addiction and porn addiction, as well as the anti-pornography movement. He believes that public policy relating to sexuality should be driven by scientific data rather than emotion, "tradition" or popular but untrue myths. He has been a participant in various state, federal and international court cases dealing with the First Amendment, obscenity, censorship and "harmful to minors" laws.

Opposition to pornography

Reasons for opposition to pornography include religious objections, feminist concerns, and claims of harmful effects, such as pornography addiction. Anti-pornography movements have allied disparate social activists in opposition to pornography, from social conservatives to harm reduction advocates.

Sexual addiction, also known as sex addiction, is a state characterized by compulsive participation or engagement in sexual activity, particularly sexual intercourse, despite negative consequences.

Pornography Explicit portrayal of sexual acts and intercourse

Pornography is the portrayal of sexual subject matter for the exclusive purpose of sexual arousal. Pornography may be presented in a variety of media, including magazines, animation, writing, film, video, and video games. The term does not include live exhibitions like sex shows and striptease. The primary subjects of present-day pornographic depictions are pornographic models, who pose for still photographs, and pornographic actors who engage in filmed sex acts.

Adolescent sexuality in the United States Issues related to sexuality of US adolescents

The sexuality of US adolescents includes their feelings, behaviors and development, and the place adolescent sexuality has in American society, including the response of the government, educators, parents, and other interested groups.

Human sexuality covers a broad range of topics, including the physiological, psychological, social, cultural, political, philosophical, ethical, moral, theological, legal and spiritual or religious aspects of sex and human sexual behavior.

The effects of pornography on individuals or their sexual relationships depend on the type of pornography used and differ from person to person. Pornographic material has been studied particularly for associations with addiction as well as effects on the brain over time. Some literature reviews suggest that pornographic images and films can be addictive, particularly when combined with masturbation, while others maintain that data remains inconclusive. Other research has looked at pornographic material's relation to sexual violence, with varying results.

Religious views on pornography are based on broader religious views on modesty, human dignity, sexuality and other virtues which may not be reflected or may be reduced for humans who practice pornography. Different religious groups view pornography and sexuality differently.

James Cantor

James M. Cantor is a Canadian clinical psychologist and sexologist, specializing in hypersexuality and atypical sexual interests. He is a former editor of the journal Sexual Abuse and an expert on paraphilias. His neuroscience research on brain differences in pedophiles has been cited as evidence that pedophilia is something unchangeable and that people are likely born with it.

Hypersexual disorder is a pattern of behavior involving intense preoccupation with sexual fantasies, urges and activities, leading to adverse consequences and clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important functions. It was proposed in 2010 for inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5) of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to human sexuality:

The Ichud HaKehillos LeTohar HaMachane is an Orthodox Jewish organization. It educates Jews about pornography-use habits, Internet addiction, and other problems that can result from Internet usage.

Interview of Dylan RyanTristan's Interview

Women's pornography, sometimes referred to as sex-positive pornography, is pornography often produced by women and aimed specifically at the female market – rejecting the view that pornography is only for men.

xHamster is a pornographic media and social networking site headquartered in the Cypriot city of Limassol. xHamster serves user-submitted pornographic videos, webcam models, pornographic photographs, and erotic literature, and incorporates social networking features. xHamster was founded in 2007. With more than 10 million members, it is the fourth most popular pornography website on the Internet after XVideos, XNXX and Pornhub. As of July 2020, xHamster was the 20th most trafficked website in the world.

No Nut November is an internet challenge revolving around abstinence, in which participants abstain from masturbating or having an orgasm during the month of November. Although No Nut November was originally intended to be satirical, some participants claim that abstaining from ejaculating and watching pornography has health benefits. An Urban Dictionary entry for No Nut November was published in 2011, and, in 2017, the movement started to gain popularity on social media. It is associated with the NoFap community on Reddit, which encourages its members not to masturbate. The Reddit community /r/NoNutNovember grew from 16,500 subscribers in November 2018 to 52,000 subscribers as of November 2019 and to 85,300 in November 2020.


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