Many men have struggled to find a healthy balance in their masturbation habits and may question if they are doing it too much. The widespread availability of internet pornography has significantly impacted society and led some men to feel ashamed of their behavior patterns and habits.


The NoFap movement advocates for controlling one’s impulses and suggests that reducing the frequency of masturbation may lead to improved health, memory, cognitive performance, and sexual performance. However, opinions regarding the validity of these claims vary.

This article talks about the NoFap and also explores its effectiveness in combating premature ejaculation, examining both anecdotal evidence and scientific perspectives to provide insight into this controversial topic.

What causes Premature Ejaculation?

A myriad of factors might be the culprit- reduced serotonin levels in the brain, low testosterone levels, relationship problems, anxiety or guilt, negative body image, etc., are a few biological and psychological factors. Medical conditions like erectile dysfunction, spine-related issues, and inflammation of the urethra/ prostate gland may also lead to PE.

While the exact cause of PE remains unknown, several factors are believed to contribute to it, broadly categorized into:

1. Psychological causes:

  • Performance anxiety: This can be due to various factors like being with a new partner, returning to sexual activity after a long break, lack of confidence, or fear of judgment.
  • Stress: General stress or stress related to sexual performance can contribute to PE.
  • Relationship problems: Unhealthy communication, dissatisfaction in the relationship, or lack of intimacy can lead to PE.
  • Depression or anxiety: These underlying mental health conditions can affect sexual function.
  • Unrealistic expectations: Having unrealistic expectations about sexual performance can create anxiety and contribute to PE.

2. Physical causes:

  • Underlying medical conditions: Certain medical conditions like diabetes, thyroid disorders, and neurological problems can affect sexual function.
  • Hormonal imbalances: Imbalances in testosterone, serotonin, dopamine, or oxytocin levels can play a role in PE.
  • Inflammation of the prostate or urethra: This can cause irritation and hypersensitivity, leading to PE.
  • Certain medications: Some medications, like antidepressants, can have side effects like PE.
  • Increased sensitivity of the penis: This can be due to anatomical factors or certain medical conditions.

Some have even suggested that watching too much porn or masturbating too often can also cause this condition, though no scientific study has proven this. 

PE is often a combination of both psychological and physical factors. Consulting a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment is crucial for managing PE effectively.

Treatments for PE

2. Treatments for PE

Talking about treatments for premature ejaculation, there are quite a few. Pharmacotherapy, behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, and their combinations are prevalent. Though drugs like Dapoxetine and Tadapox are helpful and commonly used to treat premature ejaculation. One can also benefit a lot from non-medical and behavioral therapies like the squeeze technique, the stop-start technique, and pelvic floor exercises to delay ejaculation. Another potential technique many people root for is anti-masturbation, which the NoFap movement endorses. People say that it can help quit masturbation urges, reduce porn addiction, and thus help have a better sex life. Supporters of the semen retention technique claim similar benefits. So, what are these techniques, and do they work?

What is NoFap?

“Nofap” refers to a movement and online community that promotes abstaining from pornography, masturbation, and sometimes orgasm (PMO) for a certain period. The term “nofap” is a combination of “no” and “fap,” with “fap” being an onomatopoeic slang term for masturbation. 

Supporters of this movement believe that avoiding masturbation for a prolonged time improves sexual health and life. It looks at pornography and masturbation as unhealthy and harmful. It claims that avoiding the two acts can result in improved mental health, increased focus, and, eventually, improved quality of life. However, note that this isn’t based on any scientific evidence. The question then is- how can NoFap cure premature ejaculation? But first, let’s look at the benefits this movement claims. 

How NoFap Helps With Premature Ejaculation

3. How NoFap Helps With Premature Ejaculation

First of all, there is no direct relation between masturbation and PE. Secondly, it even seems counterintuitive that people who practice NoFap last longer in bed because not ejaculating for a long time makes it harder to stay long in bed! One of the cures for PE is to masturbate before having sex. 

Regarding the question of abstinence, there is currently no concrete evidence to suggest a correlation between health benefits and abstaining from sexual activity. This includes a 2016 study that investigated the potential link between premature ejaculation and nerve test responses.

But there may be an indirect connection, as excessive indulgence in porn or masturbation may be problematic because of religious or societal beliefs. Such beliefs can then cause one to feel guilty or associate negative feelings with sex in general, hence making it a potential reason for PE. Here are some benefits of NoFap that can help with PE and in general-

  • Improved fertility (because of increased testosterone levels on not ejaculating for 7 or more days)
  • Increased sexual satisfaction
  • Better concentration
  • Lowered stress and anxiety levels
  • Increased confidence
  • General physical health is improved

This is not all; you even get a deeper voice quality and can have rare, profound moments of insight! So, people facing problems with the above areas can benefit from NoFap. The online community tested it for themselves and shared anecdotes on social media platforms like Reddit. They even coined a name for it – “fapstinence”. 

How to Practice NoFap?

There are no strict rules to practice NoFap as such, people just decide to not ‘fap’ (or have sex) for a specific time. The community encourages its members to adhere to their goal. It may sometimes even involve discouraging ‘edging’, a practice where you stop masturbating right before you will climax. The definition of ‘pornography’ for community members is anything that might seduce you, so it includes a wide range of stimuli. However, the rules are not very stringent, and individuals make their own goals and rules. Generally, the rebooting of the brain (the primary aim of NoFap) happens after 90 days of practicing NoFap. But this, too is open for the members to follow or ignore. 

Is NoFap Healthy?

4. Is NoFap Healthy

Even though the benefits that its supporters claim to get are not backed by scientific studies, there is no dearth of anecdotal evidence for it. Maybe it’s just a placebo effect, and people are reaping the benefits just because they trust NoFap. But there is no reason to discourage people to try it out because the point is to cure PE, even if it is by a placebo effect. So, even if masturbation is generally considered to be a healthy and even good practice, there is no harm in not doing it. The only downside to NoFap is that you’ll miss out on the fun, which may make you a bit frustrated.

What is Semen Retention? How is it Different from NoFap?

Although NoFap sounds similar to semen retention, it isn’t. The former is avoiding masturbation altogether, while the latter needs you to only avoid ejaculation. Therefore, semen retention is also known as seminal conservation or coitus reservatus. If you’ve heard of tantric sex, you might know about semen retention. So, what it essentially means is that you can indulge in masturbation (or sex) and derive pleasure from it without ejaculating. 

Though the semen retention technique also gives you the same benefits as NoFap, it requires a much greater deal of practice. This is because you need a lot of control over your pelvic muscles. However, semen retention is good for people who don’t want to give up masturbation or sex altogether and also derives the benefits offered by NoFap. 

Again, there is no concrete scientific data to support the above claims, but since it is widely used in traditional techniques like tantric sex, Taoism, karezza, etc., one may want to try it for themselves. After all, there are no harmful effects related to semen retention, just talk to your partner about it beforehand.

When Should You Stop?

There is no time limit to practicing either NoFap or semen retention, you can stop whenever you feel like you’ve got the benefit. However, if you think you are suffering from more serious issues like sex addiction (compulsive behavior), severe anxiety or depression, any other health condition, etc., it is essential that you see a doctor. If you have relationship problems, talking to your partner and getting help from a sex therapist will help immensely. Also, neither of the 2 techniques is a replacement for medicines you might be taking for PE. 

Conclusion

If you are suffering from premature ejaculation, either temporarily or for a long time, you may want to try NoFap or semen retention. While NoFap requires you to completely stop masturbating, semen retention asks you to only prevent ejaculation. Users of both techniques say that they’re helpful in increasing vitality, reducing stress, improving focus, and having several other health benefits. Lack of scientific evidence shouldn’t deter you from using them because they’re not known to harm you in any way. So, maybe it’s time for you to take a NoFap challenge instead of a fap challenge and see how it goes! However, keep in mind that they are no substitutes for other therapies like drug therapy or psychotherapy. 

References

  1. Zimmer, F., & Imhoff, R. (2020). Abstinence from Masturbation and Hypersexuality. Archives of sexual behavior, 49(4), 1333–1343. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7145784/.
  2. InformedHealth.org internet. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Premature ejaculation: What can I do on my own? 2019 Sep 12. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK547551/.
  3. Chu A, Wadhwa R. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. updated 2021 may 10. In: StatPearls internet. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554406/.
  4. Shabsigh, R., Ridwan Shabsigh More articles by this author, Kaminetsky, J., Jed Kaminetsky More articles by this author, Yang, M., Michael Yang More articles by this author, Perelman, M., Michael Perelman (n.d.). PD69-02 double-blind, randomized controlled trial of TOPICAL 4% BENZOCAINE wipes for management of PREMATURE Ejaculation: Interim analysis. The Journal of Urology. https://www.auajournals.org/doi/10.1016/j.juro.2017.02.3143.
  5. Whelan, G., & Brown, J. (2021). Pornography Addiction: An Exploration of the Association Between Use, Perceived Addiction, Erectile Dysfunction, Premature (Early) Ejaculation, and Sexual Satisfaction in Males Aged 18-44 Years. The journal of sexual medicine, 18(9), 1582–1591. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34434144/.
  6. Yang, B. B., Xia, J. D., Hong, Z. W., Zhang, Z., Han, Y. F., Chen, Y., & Dai, Y. T. (2018). No effect of abstinence time on nerve electrophysiological test in premature ejaculation patients. Asian journal of andrology, 20(4), 391–395. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7145784/.
  7. Mascherek, A., Reidick, M. C., Gallinat, J., & Kühn, S. (2021). Is Ejaculation Frequency in Men Related to General and Mental Health? Looking Back and Looking Forward. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 693121. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34434144/.
  8. Myers, C., & Smith, M. (2019). Pelvic floor muscle training improves erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation: a systematic review. Physiotherapy, 105(2), 235–243. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30979506/.

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