Masturbation Madness—Can It Kill You?

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According to the new No-Fap movement, there’s an “epidemic” of “urges” to “fap”—to masturbate. To stem this destructive rampage of addiction and self-harm, there are programs all over the web—and even in-person conferences—designed to help men stop masturbating.

Guys who take up the No-Fap Challenge for 30, 60, or 90 days are aiming for a life “free of” masturbation. A “hard-core” version of this challenge even excludes partner sex for as much as a year. These guys—almost invariably still in their ‘20s—say they’re looking for freedom, self-discipline, and higher self-esteem.

Great goals. Bizarre (and rarely successful) strategy.

No-Fappers say they want to transform their sexual energy into vitality for work, sports, and love. This reveals more than they perhaps intend. Why does sexual energy need to be “transformed?” Part of what’s hurting Americans is that they’re putting too much of their libido, their eros, their chi into work and sports, and not enough into sexuality—truly nourishing sexuality, not the junk food of drunk sex, perfunctory quickies, and guilt-ridden porn-watching.

So why are young guys trying so desperately to stop jacking off?

1. They’re finding it hard to connect with women.
2. They notice how much easier it is to masturbate with porn than to connect with women.

There are good explanations for these things: Over-dependence on smartphones is reducing people’s in-person relationship skills. And young people are delaying their developmental launch—in their mid-20s many still have limited privacy, limited financial autonomy, and therefore they lack the infrastructure to couple up.

Simple solution: jack off every night with Cheeky Butts and Ophelia Rump. And in the grand American tradition of pathologizing masturbation, there’s now an entire industry designed to help guys stop. They even recommend cold showers—the oldest non-digital solution ever.

My pal Paul Joannides (author of the world-famous Guide to Getting It On) has created a devastatingly funny parody of these Fapstronauts and those who exploit them, here.

He even explains what the extinct dinosaur T Rex teaches us about masturbation.

Meanwhile, here are few reminders about the No-Fap flap, including talking points so you can challenge one of these guys if you meet him in a bar.

* No one abandons a vibrant partnered sex life for masturbation.

If a woman complains that her guy won’t have sex with her, don’t blame masturbation. If they can’t create sex that’s compelling, or he’s just not into her (or women or people), don’t blame masturbation.

* If a person masturbates with porn too much, don’t blame the porn.

He may be obsessive-compulsive, bipolar, or a little Asperger’s; or insecure or sexually inexperienced; or ashamed of his preferences; or a million other things that make people find simplistic ways to soothe themselves without others.

* There’s never been a credible study showing masturbation is bad for you.

Masturbation itself is completely harmless. In fact, the feel-good chemicals it releases are good for you.

And masturbating with porn? It doesn’t rewire your brain, doesn’t create crazy ideas about women (only a life without women can do that), doesn’t cause erection problems (anxiety about women or sex will do that), and doesn’t make men go out and rape (unless they’re violent, sadistic, and Machiavellian to start with).

Any time you see a claim that masturbating with porn does these awful things, look at the author’s credentials. Anecdotes aren’t evidence, passion isn’t expertise, and belief isn’t science. Even if your book or video has a great title and lot of views.

* * *

Of course, there are many good reasons to masturbate.

Sure, it’s a low-cost, low-calorie source of pleasure. Beyond that, it’s an excellent analgesic for temporary or chronic pain. It helps you fall asleep. It helps supplement relationship sex if there’s a desire discrepancy. It keeps people simmering if they’re in a long-distance relationship.

It makes you feel glad to be alive and it helps you look forward to the complex adult sex you deserve and hope to have with someone someday (or tomorrow night). That’s pretty close to the definition of healing.

Thanks again, Paul, for giving us a savagely funny laugh. The rest of Paul’s videos are fantastic, too. Check ‘em out here.

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