There are very few things in life that are truly guilt-free pleasures. Throughout the history of the human race, we’ve been on the constant look-out for pleasure. And unfortunately, most of the things we find that give it to us turn out to be bad in some way. Masturbation, though, is not one of those things. It is the jewel in the pleasure crown: something which is both intensely enjoyable and actually good for you. So it’s disappointing to hear that some twats have invented ‘No Nut November’ – a masturbation version of Stoptober (for smoking) or Dry January (for booze). A month during which people are encouraged to avoid masturbation for the good of their physical and mental health.
Also referred to as ‘New Life’ November by some people in the NoFap community (an almost evangelical anti-wanking cult), No Nut November is apparently an opportunity to take some time out of masturbation and focus on other things in your life.
Let’s start up front by saying that your own wanking is your own business: I’m not going to burst into your bedroom and demand you start frigging away. It’s no more my business whether you wank than it’s my business how you brush your teeth or which bits you wash first in the shower. You do you, gang. You do you.
However, it absolutely is my business when movements like NoFap and their band of anti-wanking accolytes try to present masturbation like it’s a vice on a par with, say, smoking or alcohol.
Vices and harm
I feel very strongly about this, possibly because I am so keen on the kind of pleasure you can get from things which are genuinely bad for you. Every time I pick up a packet of fags, I am forcefully reminded that they’ll probably kill me one day. When I go for a night on the piss, I wake up the next morning with a dry mouth and thumping headache that flashes the clear message ‘your liver fucking HATES you.’ Drugs of other kinds can give intense pleasure in the moment, and intense guilt and anxiety later down the line when you start to wonder ‘am I doing this a bit TOO much?’ or you end up face-down on a pavement somewhere and wonder where all your mates have gone. What’s more, drugs like this are illegal (in the UK for now, at least). Side effects of anything from smoking a spliff to getting off your tits on MDMA and rolling around with a group of close friends include (but aren’t limited to) arrest and prosecution.
So if you’re a human being trying to eke pleasure out of this world, is there anywhere you can turn that won’t royally fuck you up? There’s sex, I guess, but even sex itself has some risks attached – more risks than wanking, at any rate. There’s the risk of contracting or spreading STIs, the risk of shagging someone who turns out to be emotionally or physically harmful, as well as the risk of things like pregnancy and falling in love.
Wanking, though? Wanking is free! And you can’t catch STIs from yourself! Nor will you get arrested (as long as you’re doing it in private), end up with a hangover, fuck your liver up or get so off your face you end up doing something stupid. As far as pleasure goes, wanking is one hell of a drug.
Except it’s not a drug, is it? It’s a natural human behaviour. One which the vast majority of us do on a reasonably regular basis. It is not addictive like heroin, or carcinogenic like smoking. It doesn’t make you go blind or give you night terrors or make you paranoid.
It does give you a temporary pleasurable boost and improve your health, though. It can work as pain relief for period cramps or keep your prostate healthy. There are plenty of reasons to masturbate, and only a few reasons not to: if you don’t fancy it, for example, or if you’re personally worried that you’re doing it so much it’s stopping you from doing other things you need to do. But it is not inherently harmful or damaging. It doesn’t need a magic ‘month’ like Stoptober, where we encourage people to stop doing it in order to help them understand just how much better their life could be if they had never started in the first place.
What is the point of ‘New Life’/No Nut November?
So the point, broadly, is that masturbation makes people feel bad and they want to feel good again. Some people feel like they are addicted to porn and masturbation, others think they will become more focused if they avoid doing it or give themselves time to do other things that are more important to them. All of these are personal reasons, and if you have a reason like this for not masturbating, then do what you want: as I say, I’m not going to tell you that you have to any more than I’d tell someone else that they shouldn’t.
But what bothers me is summed up partly by this message from someone on the ‘New Life’/No Fap November thread:
“I’m tired of getting thoughts throughout the day of sexual activity and I’m tired of the feeling of guilt and loathing that inevitably follows a session.“
Where does this guilt and loathing come from? Does it come from masturbation itself, or does it come from society’s attitude towards masturbation? These feelings of guilt and loathing aren’t going to be reduced or eliminated by not masturbating: they will, in fact, be enhanced. The more people that are out there spreading propaganda that masturbation is somehow deeply harmful, the more intense these feelings will be. And the more people (mostly but not always men) will feel pushed towards movements like NoFap seeking a ‘cure’ for this invented problem.
I’m not saying that there is no one out there who has a problem with porn or excessive masturbation – anything is problematic if you do it so much that it interferes with the rest of your life. But the dangers of porn are usually wildly exaggerated or based on stats that are – to put it mildly – incredibly fucking dodgy. And organisations like NoFap actively make a profit off telling people that masturbation is inherently a bad thing. They have a vested interest. Their ‘academy‘, where they teach you how not to wank, costs $50 per month (or $360 per year if you pay for a full year in advance!). Not exactly a bargain when you could get a Catholic priest to tell you much of the same shit for free. They even – and I’m not making this up – sell T-shirts – so you can broadcast your NoFap status to the rest of the world.
And in the meantime, they have tried to jump on the ‘good cause’ bandwagon by encouraging people to abstain for No Nut November. A month during which, no doubt, they will sell a fuck of a lot more academy courses and T-shirts, get more links and attention and traffic, and get their ‘wanking is bad for you’ myth in front of a hell of a lot more people.
If someone were to tell me they’d made a personal choice to abstain from wanking for a while, because they wanted to see whether it made them feel good, or they wanted to spend more time studying or reading or doing DIY, I’d wish them all the best on their personal journey. But when an organisation which profits from spreading lies about masturbation tries to position it as a bad habit on a par with smoking and drinking? I’m not challenging personal choices, I’m doing damage limitation.
And I appreciate the irony here, because I take money from sex toy companies (click on the ads etc etc) to help me run my site. I also take money on patreon for making audio porn. I am effectively a pornographer, and I have a vested interest in masturbation. But here’s the thing: I am also telling the truth. Masturbation is generally accepted by the vast majority of medical practitioners to be not only safe but actively beneficial. If you’re someone who has been at least a little persuaded by the myths peddled by the ‘New Life’/No Nut November or the NoFap movement in general, and you’re worried that I have the same profit motive they do, feel free to never visit this site ever again. Print this blog out, then avoid me like the plague from now until the end of time. Don’t click on any ads, buy anything, or remember the names of any of the companies that want to sell you sex toys. But please also refrain from giving your money to an organisation that’s feeding you lies to make you feel bad in order to sell you a ‘course’ to learn a skill that almost inevitably dooms you to failure (because let’s face it, it’s almost impossible to not wank – if it were possible I’m pretty sure one of the millions of religious folks since the dawn of religion would have found a way to crack it by now).
Don’t give them your money, don’t give them your time.
Personally I’ve got something far healthier and more pleasurable to do right now instead. And it won’t leave me with even the traces of a hangover.