The other day I was reading Nick’s post about probable masturbation euphemisms on the goal-tracking app Lift. The gist of the post is that some folks on the no-masturbation subreddit r/nofap created a goal called something like “Don’t masturbate” and the app’s creator took notice and said something nice about how they’re using the app. And that sure was nice of him.
But wait. There’s a no-masturbation subreddit? As in, that is enough of a common thing for people to get together and talk about it? Like they just hang out and not masturbate together? That… that is different. So I looked into it.
I started with the post in which the CEO of Lift basically said “hey guys, great job not jerking it.” The post begins with a guy saying, “Having just relapsed yesterday…” Whoa, whoa, relapse? That’s a serious word. When learning about drug abuse in a college psych class, the word “relapse” was associated with horrible things. “He relapsed and hit rock bottom. He lost everything.” What’s a relapse here, really? “I relapsed and lost 20 minutes, then I had to wash my hands. It was a nightmare.”
And in that Lift post, that CEO tries to relate. He tries so badly.
I watched the nofap TEDx talk and could relate to the part about internet addiction. I have a related problem where I get sucked into email before I’ve even gotten out of bed, which creates chaotic monkey mind for the rest of the day.
“Hey guys, you know how you avoid jerking off? Sometimes I read email, and I’m just like ‘ahhh, email!’ Right, guys? These emails are like jizz!!!”
But as I looked into it, I realized that this is a big challenge for some people. Sometimes it’s a matter of not wasting time. Some people have a legitimate addiction to porn, while others just see it as a challenge. I respect all these reasons, but here are a few things I noticed while poking around this subreddit:
People worry about jizz a lot. Like, they just don’t know where it goes. “It’s not coming out of me. Am I going to explode?” Take, for example, this post entitled, “Too much jizz?” A dude was worried he was just building it up forever like he was a ticking jizz bomb, going so far as to ask, “is there a straight up cup full of jizz when you cave?” And since this is a support group, people supported him and it was nice to see a community help a guy with his jizz questions. And golly, are there a lot of jizz questions.
There are a lot of posts from people who just masturbated. Given that it’s a legit support group, it’s not uncommon for someone to begin a post with something like “hey guys, just fapped” and it’s not weird. There’s just post after post of people pleasuring themselves and then thinking, “Ah crap, I need to tell the Internet.” There are also a lot of throwaway accounts. This is understandable.
People take this very, very seriously. And as I write this, I’m trying to take this seriously, too. But monkeys masturbate. It’s arguably a pretty natural thing to do. And yet I find myself imagining this scenario where a monkey finishes fapping (probably in front of a third-grade class at the zoo) and then thinks, “Oh god, what have I done? I wish I understood how the internet works so I could share my feelings.”
There’s a lot of talk about wet dreams. A lot of it’s just casual wet dream chitchat. Some people get really ashamed about them. Other people don’t feel that way at all. Here’s a post entitled, “I want my damn wet dream already!” So there. Now you’ve read that sentence.
Its members appear to be mostly younger people. There are a lot of posts where people say they’re a teenager, or that they’re in college and they’re trying to focus for school. There’s also the use of language that, frankly, older people wouldn’t bother with. The term “hard mode” gets thrown around a lot — a reference to taking the nofap challenge without a significant other to help you, uh, relieve tension. That is definitely a young person word. If people weren’t sharing their age so much, you could still tell this is generally a younger crowd based on the way this gets talked about like it’s a video game. They’re also using badges — a longstanding convention for 12-step programs — yet that also seems to fit in nicely with the more achievement-based nature of video games.
Due to the anonymous nature of the subreddit, there’s a lot of sharing. I read a post where a guy asked if banging hookers counted against his nofap streak. And apparently marijuana makes it difficult to not masturbate? Nobody’s holding back questions or intimate stories of shame and/or triumph. And I guess it’s worth repeating that literally every other post in this subreddit is people openly talking about primal urges and masturbating. And that’s weird, given that this is the same website I use to find funny YouTube videos and video game news.
So, that’s r/nofap. If they made a Lifetime movie about it, they could call it “r/nofap Subreddit: The Story of Self Control and Uuuuuuugh I Can’t Believe I Just Accidentally Read Like Fifty Stories About Wet Dreams.”