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What Are the Effects of Not Masturbating?

Each November social media lights up with talk of "No Nut November," where men vowing to abstain from masturbating for the month, and year-round, many men claim to be doing "NoFap," which is another general term for a designated duration of not masturbating. The most common reasons for doing these challenges are because men want to improve their life in some way, shape, or form.

The most common reported benefits for abstaining from masturbation include:

  • Increased energy
  • Better concentration
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Improved confidence
  • Improved motivation
  • Increased productivity
  • Better mood
  • Reduced depression & anxiety
  • A clearer mind

But are any of these claims true?

What is No Nut November?

No Nut November is the name of a challenge where men abstain from masturbation for a designated period of time. This challenge has been covered in places like Maxim and Cosmopolitan.

The challenge is typically between 30 and 60 days, but some men take it longer, and some men go for shorter periods of time.

It is important to note that No Nut November is a challenge, and it should not be taken as medical advice or be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Why Are Some Men Choosing To Abstain from Masturbation?

Men often choose to abstain from masturbating for a variety of personal reasons.

Some men abstain from masturbation to improve their life in some way. While many people think of the challenge as being to improve their sexual performance, many men abstain from masturbation to improve their lives in other ways. These include, but are not limited to: increased energy, better concentration, improved self-esteem, improved confidence, improved motivation, increased productivity, better mood, reduced depression & anxiety, and a clearer mind.

Many men feel that abstaining from masturbation results in increased work ethic, increased drive, and increased motivation to accomplish goals, but are these claims based in fact?

Fact or Fiction?

NoFap leads to greater amounts of energy. Answer: Kind of.

When your body reaches orgasm, it does let out a lot of relaxing hormones, but abstaining from masturbation doesn't mean that you're going to be more energized. Energy levels are tied more to your diet and exercise.


NoFap gives you greater concentration. Answer: Fiction.

Abstaining from masturbation will not directly give you greater concentration. You need to exercise your body and mind in order to improve concentration, not abstain from masturbating. However, it is true that by limiting the amount of time you spend looking at erotic material online, you will have more time to exercise and study.


NoFap improves self-esteem. Answer: It's Personal.

Self-esteem is more tied to your overall life and experiences than it is to your ability to abstain from masturbation. If you're having a great life and experiencing a lot of success, you're going to have high self-esteem. If you're having a hard time in life and experience a lot of stress, you may have a lower self-esteem.

If it makes you personally feel better, then abstaining from masturbation is most likely going to improve your self-esteem.


NoFap improves your productivity. Answer: Perhaps!

If masturbation takes up a large part of your day, then you're going to be less productive. However, if you can abstain from masturbation and still get your work done, then you will likely be more productive.


NoFap improves your depression or anxiety. Answer: Anecdotal Evidence, it could go either way.

Depression and anxiety are both linked to low dopamine levels in the brain. Abstaining from masturbation (and watching porn) can cause your dopamine levels to rise, but not consistently. This is because masturbating to pornography causes your body to release dopamine and endorphins, and because pornography is a form of escapism by fantasy, your brain then becomes accustomed to your new high level of dopamine, which can then lead to a lack of motivation, concentration, and depression.

Another factor that may contribute to both porn habits and depression is the expectations that pornography sets. Pornography is designed to give you an unrealistic sense of sex, and this lack of realism can actually lead to a higher level of depression and anxiety when a person then attempts to have real sex.

What Happens To Your Body When You Don't Masturbate?

In other words, can it harm your body if you don't ejaculate? Many men fear that if they don't ejaculate, their semen will build up in their testicles and cause pain. Others worry that not ejaculating can have an effect on their levels of testosterone, but both of these claims are just not based in fact.

Blue balls, or epididymal hypertension, is a temporary condition caused by the increased pressure of blood flowing into the testicles. Since there is nowhere for the blood to go, it can cause a bit of pain in the testicles and lower abdomen.

When you ejaculate, semen is expelled from the body and the blood flow in the penis and testicles naturally subsides. That is why the pain goes away when the blood pressure is relieved. However, if you're not masturbating because you're participating in "No Nut November" or "NoFap" then you won't be ejaculating, and your testicles will be filled with extra blood until your erection subsides.

If you're experiencing any pain or discomfort due to blue balls, and you plan on continuing to avoid masturbating or having sex, try taking your mind off what is causing the arousal so that your erection will subside. This can be done by engaging in other activities, such as going for a walk or watching a movie.

As for testosterone, ejaculating has very little to do with testosterone levels. The average man's body produces testosterone whether it is released from the body or not, and it has nothing to do with whether or not a man ejaculates on a regular basis.

Facts and Fiction on Male Masturbation

Fact: Masturbation is a very common practice among young males and is not a cause for concern unless it becomes a preoccupation or develops into a compulsive pattern.

What does it mean for masturbation to be compulsive? Compulsive masturbation is deemed to exist when a person engages in masturbating behavior in response to a persistent and recurrent pattern of intense or uncontrollable urges to masturbate, which may be difficult to control, and when the person recognizes that this response is clearly excessive.

Excessive masturbation is not a disorder, but rather a symptom of another problem. The primary concern may be the result of an underlying psychological problem or anxiety, or it can be the effect of an underlying physiological problem.


Fiction: Young people can become physically addicted to masturbation and have withdrawal symptoms when they stop.

There are no physical withdrawal symptoms associated with the cessation of masturbation. Yet, some young people believe that they have experienced symptoms of physical withdrawal as a result of stopping any masturbation. They may have experienced a brief period of irritability, restlessness and trouble sleeping, but this is not the same as a physical addiction.


Fact: Masturbation can help some people sleep.

This is because the body releases stress-relieving chemicals during orgasm, such as endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin. These chemicals may make a person feel relaxed and sleepy.

On the other hand, masturbation is a very stimulating exercise, and many men find they have difficulty sleeping after they masturbate.


Fact: Masturbation can relieve sexual tension.

Many young males masturbate regularly to relieve sexual tension, and masturbation is a safer alternative for relieving sexual tension because of the absence of risk of pregnancy and the risk of disease transmission.

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