Welcome to the NoFAP Community

Known as “fapstronauts” (or “femstronauts” for the ladies), these are men and women who are taking a stand against their porn and masturbation addictions. They are people who have seen masturbation, or fapping, control their lives, steal their focus and productivity, and damage their sex lives. And now they want help.

The NoFAP community, originally a small group started on Reddit, now boasts over 70,000 members who support each other, blog about their experience of recovering from compulsive porn consumption and masturbation, and attend online seminars geared toward recovery. 

Members of the general population (porn viewers and non-viewers alike) fail to realize two things: first, the number of people suffering from porn and masturbation addiction is astronomical. Second, that there is so much help available for those who want to recover. Porn and masturbation are taboo subjects and heavily cloaked in stigma and shame. As a result, people don’t understand that they are not alone and that help and support in the form of a free, anonymous online community is available.

According to an infographic created by ProjectKnow.org on fapping and the NoFAP community, on average more than 140 people are joining the community each day for a total of over 73,000 subscribers.

But why? Members of the NoFAP community have seen and experienced the way that masturbation and porn can take over life and rob a person of a normal, healthy sex life. They have felt the irresistible pull of porn and they have felt the cognitive dissonance of continually doing what they don’t want to do. Most report anxiety, depression and other symptoms of mental illness as well.

Seventy-five percent of NoFAP members are single. This is a common trait among porn addicts. Many are unable to form relationships of intimacy with others and, as a result, default to the pseudo-sex of the porn, masturbation, orgasm cycle (PMO). Fifty-three percent of members began viewing porn between the ages of 12 and 14, with porn consumption ever increasing in novelty and graphic detail.

The NoFAP community supports PMO addicts in detoxing and abstaining from porn and masturbation, which isn’t an easy thing to do because the viewing of porn is also tightly connected to the brain’s reward center and the body’s sexual response mechanism. Detoxing from porn is possible, but harder than, say, alcohol or even drugs, because once the chemical leaves the system, the body starts to adapt to living without it. However, in the case of pornography, the hard drive of the mind and memory can never be totally wiped clean. As a result, porn users continually fight the urge to return to porn use because of the recurring, often very graphic and shocking, images they’ve encountered online.

Many who are inexperienced with porn use or who are not porn addicts may not understand the fuss. Porn has either never been a compulsion or they aren’t interested in it. But the NoFAP community knows firsthand the effects of PMO. They report a variety of sexual dysfunctions including erectile dysfunction, decreased sensitivity, lack of interest in live sexual partners, and premature ejaculation.

However, there is hope. It is possible to recover from this addiction and to reclaim a normal sex life, or to have one for the first time (about half have never had sex with a real partner). Sixty percent of the NoFAP community members report “improvement in their sexual dysfunction as a result of NoFAP.”

The period of abstaining and recovering from porn overuse is also known as “rebooting.” During this time, the individual abstains from all porn and masturbation. For the man who has relied on PMO as his barometer of sexual virility and health, the rebooting period can be a challenging and even frightening time. Men see their libido drop and often experience varying levels of erectile dysfunction. Some have no sexual drive or response whatsoever.

This is known as “flatlining” and it is merely a phase in the recovery process. The end goal is living free of masturbation and porn and achieving regular, functional intimacy and sexual intercourse with another person. The length of the rebooting period is unique to the individual and is dependent, to some degree, on the severity of the addiction, the duration in years of porn use, the age at which the user began consuming porn regularly, and the “hardcore-ness” of the porn. Longtime users that began at an early age (teenage or younger) and lean toward especially graphic porn heavy in violence, rape, BDSM, child porn, gay porn and bestiality will require a longer period of recovery. Moving through their flatlining phase may take several more months.

But, as the NoFAP community will remind its members, there is hope of recovery—even for the most compulsive porn and masturbation addicts. Freedom, as the community has learned, starts with abstinence, and they are committed to helping their members achieve that.

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