The NoFap movement began in 2011, on social media platform Reddit, as a way to help those suffering from porn addiction. The movement encourages its users to refrain from masturbation, citing numerous benefits to abstaining from porn and self-pleasure. However, a movement that originally took off among males is now spreading to increasingly more females, reported The Guardian.
Founded by Pittsburgh web developer Alexander Rhodes, NoFap is based on a small study that suggested that male testosterone levels rose after abstaining from ejaculation for a week. Followers of the movement believe that this surge of testosterone can help "reboot" their brains. The website promotes the NoFap program as "a comprehensive sexual health platform" focusing on "porn addiction recovery."
NoFap's Reddit forum now has over 450,000 members primarily located in North America and the U.K., with about 95 percent of members identifying as male. Rhodes has estimated that just 5 percent of NoFappers are female, likely due to the male-dominated trend and initial evidence that attracted people to his movement.
Among the few female NoFappers is Kristel, a 26-year-old woman who found abstaining from masturbation has many benefits for her. On her YouTube channel, she describes the changes she's seen after joining the NoFap movement, ranging from better skin to healthier hair and more self-discipline.
"After starting NoFap I felt more motivation, more willpower and more discipline. I decided to take part in the movement because I like challenging myself and I wanted to prove that I could accomplish this."Kristel has now become the poster girl for the female NoFap movement, as the program attempts to recruit more women. Chicago-based YouTuber Alana is another woman who has followed in Kristel's footsteps and finds the movement brings positivity to her life while also helping her with her self-esteem.
"I think the biggest issue is porn. Porn is where people go to learn how to have sex, and most of the time the approach to sex in porn is built around the man's pleasure. Even as a heterosexual woman, porn made me sexualize and objectify women … I also began to think of myself as a sex object, and that my value came from my sex appeal."Many of the women who are drawn to the movement see themselves as victims of a male-dominated and unrealistic porn industry.
The NoFap movement is a community for like-minded people but does not provide scientific evidence that women struggling with sex or porn addiction can actually benefit from it.