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NoFap Movement: A Community That Refrain It's Users From Masturbation
Having first gained momentum among men in Reddit forums and backwaters of the internet, the community regards NoFap as a sexual health program to combat porn addiction.
New Delhi: NoFap, a platform that encourages its users to refrain from masturbation. A Reddit forum dedicated to abstaining from masturbation has over 450,000 members – and about 5% of them are female.
“After starting NoFap I felt more motivation, more willpower and more discipline,” a user tells reports. “I decided to take part in the movement because I like challenging myself and I wanted to prove that I could accomplish this.”
The flippantly named NoFap community has gained a strange prominence since it was founded in 2011 by Pittsburgh web developer Alexander Rhodes. Inspired by a small study that suggested that male testosterone levels rose after seven days of abstinence from ejaculation, followers avoid masturbation in order to “reboot” their brains.
Having first gained momentum among men in Reddit forums and backwaters of the internet, the community regards NoFap as a sexual health program to combat porn addiction. But there is also a consensus among many NoFappers (who often brand themselves “Fapstronauts”) that refraining from masturbation can lead to “superpowers”, ranging from increased energy and confidence to commanding respect from peers or curing social anxiety. NoFap’s Reddit forum now has more than 450,000 members primarily in North America and the UK, and Kristel is part of a smaller subset of female subscribers.
Rhodes estimates that about 5% of the NoFap followers are female and although the cohort may be small, it is seemingly mighty. Vast majority of members are based in the US, with a smaller but significant following in India.
In an attempt to engage its rising female cohort, NoFap has recently introduced new measures including hiring female moderators and creating women in reboot forums.
A member states “Even though most of the responses I get are encouraging and positive, there is also a side of people not taking it seriously. They think girls don’t even masturbate to begin with.”
There is a darker side to NoFap. Among the reams of Reddit discussions and YouTube videos, a fundamentally misogynistic rhetoric regularly emerges. The movement’s focus on testosterone inherently idealizes masculine traits, and the oft-cited claim that NoFap makes men more attractive to the opposite sex objectifies women and frames them as the “prize” in the game of who can hold out for longest. Some have even linked the movement to incel (involuntarily celibate) communities, who extend contempt towards masturbation and pornography to a more insidious hatred of women.
Sex addiction therapist Staci Sprout says the phenomenon really is “a new grassroots movement where people are seeking to reclaim their bodies separately from pornography’s input. If a woman has only learned how to self-pleasure through high-stimulation pornography and later just re-enacts this with others, she probably won’t know herself very well sexually.”
The women drawn to NoFap seem trapped in a conundrum of the digital age. They see themselves as victims of a world where access to online pornography is unlimited, but also end up seeking solutions within a similarly opaque and murky world. Although they may feel isolated from the male-centric world of pornography, their association with an ideology that idolizes the strange pseudo-science of semen retention and stereotypically masculine powers could only further isolate them from the nuances of female sexuality.
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