This may be a long post – I’m writing this to serve as a guiding light for others and a therapeutic look back for myself. I actually have some work to get done tonight but this is important for me to share. You can skip to the end for benefits I’ve experienced, but I’m going to write out my whole story for those interested.
I started this journey not really knowing how it would affect me. I read many of the 30, 60, and 90 day reports, checked out YBOP, and of course the TED talk. The TED talk was my introduction and what got me interested in all this – so eye opening!
To start off, I actually don’t like to think about whether I was/am an ‘addict’ – I just think that word has so many connotations to it that form a disincentive for people to start (including myself at first). I thought to myself: “I’m not one of these wackos addicted to internet porn, that’s shameful! i just watch some stuff on the internet late at night before I sleep and sometimes when I’m bored, just like all of my friends.” Even with that mindset, I’m a reasonable man…these superpowers seemed intriguing and I’ve been single for a while. I thought why not give it a shot, seems like there’s only an upside!
So I started. Then I failed. After maybe 3 days – I was so upset. I started up again a few days later, failed again. Started again, failed again. This made me afraid. Now I really began to wonder…shit…is this actually a problem?? I thought it was normal healthy behavior for a 20-something guy in America to PMO a few times a week. But once I started actually TRYING to quit and then relapsing, I realized I HATED the fact that something like this had a hold over me (pun intended). I used that hate to fuel my next attempt, which had brought me here today. I have finally mastered myself, and I feel incredible.
I have experienced tons of benefits, many of which I believe are NOT exclusively due to NoFap, which I think is a common misconception here. HOWEVER, I think NoFap served as the CATALYST to a bunch of other positive changes that culminated into benefits.
- Increased energy – I feel an overall vitality that I did not have before. I wake up in the morning with more energy and end the day feeling satisfied, not utterly exhausted.
- Deeper voice – definitely noticeable and much appreciated. I talk on the phone a lot at work often to new people and many times they used to think I was a woman. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but it wears on you when something as personal as your gender identity is misjudged over and over again. This has been COMPLETELY ELIMINATED. I realize this is a weird experiment, but anecdotally since I’ve started this, everyone addresses me as a guy over the phone.
- Confidence – definitely higher. I was never a social recluse, in fact I’ve always been pretty social, but that’s not the same as confidence. I feel that I walk around with a greater inner-confidence now that I did not have before. Some may call this ‘swagger’ haha. I look people in the eye more, walk a little straighter/taller. People move out of my way when I’m trying to get places. It feels good.
- Improved work and school performance – I have a full time demanding job and I attend grad school at night. I’ve been given more responsibilities at work, feel more self-assured in meetings, and generally get more done/get less distracted during the day. I’m probably getting promoted soon. I’ve also been able to focus better in class and actually follow along with the lectures. This has had a massively positive impact on my life.
- Mending my garden – I used to think the perfect woman would just come to me out of the blue since I was ‘such a catch’. Now, I’ve begun to realize women have many choices…and guess what, they’re going to choose the guy with the most to offer THEM. That made me think…what have I got to offer? This thought lead me to be more motivated at work and school, pick up some interesting new hobbies (like photography), and generally be more of a self-sufficient man. Just to clarify…I’m not suggesting you change yourself for women, I’m saying I had an epiphany that made me recognize no woman will just approach me or respond to any advances from me if I’m not a well put-together guy, and being well put-together would also make life more fulfilling personally. A quote I read here actually sums it up nicely – something like…”Don’t waste your time chasing butterflies. Mend your garden, and the butterflies will come.” That proved true as I went on a date with a really cute girl…my first date in a while. She was super friendly and fun. Nothing ever came of it (we’re still friends), and that’s OK! Pre-NoFap me would’ve fapped away the disappointment, but I redirected that energy into making myself even better. Asking her out, putting myself out there, and going on that date was more than I’d done in a while, which I consider progress.
- Fitness – I made a commitment when I started NoFap to also pair it with other healthy behaviors, like exercise and a proper diet. I started going to the gym at least 2x a week, 3x if I could make it, and eating at least 1 salad/day. I also consciously limit processed foods, unless I’m out to dinner with others. I have lost 10-15 lbs – I look great, but more importantly FEEL healthier.
- Improved perception of women – This has been a subtle, but noticeable shift. I notice women a lot more now, and they all look much more desirable. I think this is a direct result of less porn. Also, I used to struggle with HOCD which is something I know a lot of others here experience. I cannot say that has been completely eliminated as I haven’t looked, but I can tell you that I am noticing women so much more in real life and don’t have an overbearing anxiety about HOCD. I truly think porn screwed with my brain in this way.
- Better habits/hygiene – I clean my apartment more often, and take better care of my teeth. It just feels good to take care of myself, which I did not really consciously do before.
- Increased interest in real media – What I mean by this…I used to watch a lot of bad tv/movies on Netflix – dumb shit that was just a waste of time. Now I almost exclusively read non-fiction and watch documentaries and TED talks on TV. This wasn’t intentional or expected…I just am more interested in spending my tv time on these types of programs. I didn’t even think twice about it until one of my friends was looking through my Recently Watched list and was a little dumbfounded by how many documentaries were in there haha. I still occasionally dabble in South Park though, obviously.
- Less social anxiety around men/women – I mentioned earlier that I’ve always been a social person, but for some reason I’ve always felt slightly uncomfortable around new people. I’m not sure this was due to fapping or just lack of self-esteem, but it’s way better now! I specifically want to mention that I’m much more comfortable around other MEN, which is awesome! I don’t feel ‘beta’ anymore – I feel like I should also have a ‘seat at the table’.
- Tranquility – I have an overall peace of mind that I did not possess before. This is probably due to the removal of subjecting my mind to bizarre images of strangers going at it on a regular basis. I also attribute this to my new meditation habit…which leads me to my next section….
I was a total novice when I started meditating. I used this free online guide, which I highly recommend:
Start at Chapter 1 if you don’t want to read the bio – it’s SO worth it to start meditating!!
Check in on NoFap – This is a fabulous and supportive community that has helped give me perspective and reminded me over and over again why I was doing this. Don’t obsess over coming here though, I would advise not to check in every day unless you absolutely need the motivation. Otherwise, I feel like it could just become ‘about the badge’ and you constantly fear relapse. That’s not what this is about…it’s about a permanent life change.
Fill in the void – It seems to me that many fapstranauts make the mistake of believing that you will automatically gain superpowers if you just abstain. I personally don’t believe this. I do however believe that you can create a better life for yourself by eliminating PMO and replacing it with better habits, such as reading great books, exercising your mind and body, spending time with friends and family, contributing to a community project, upping your game at work/school, etc. There’s so much life to live, and many of us are so young…why settle for the sickly glow of a computer screen when the universe has provided abundant sunlight right outside your door?
Read, read, read – I threw myself into self-improvement books(see sidebar for suggestions) and I can honestly say that I am a better man now. Just read 10 pages a day, maybe in the time you would’ve fapped, and you’ll be done with books before you know it.
Some of my favorites:
No More Mr. Nice Guy, The Slight Edge, Think and Grow Rich, Choose Yourself, Disease Proof, Flow, The Power of Habit (particularly relevant to this group).
Re-evaluate your entire existence – haha….I’m kidding, sort of (it’s late). You have the power right now to choose how you live your life. I would advise you take an honest inventory of everything you have going on right now, and then dig deep within yourself and understand what it is you REALLY want. Are you where you want to be? If you’re on this sub, chances are, you are not everything you want to be. Write down your goals – where do you see yourself in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, not just in terms of NoFap, but in Life? What job do you have, what city are you living in, what is your partner like, what are your friends like, how healthy are you, what do you spend your time doing? Now you have a gameplan…a current state and a future state – the hard part is over. Now you just need to break down your goals into actionable steps, and steadily fill in the gaps. It really is less intimidating than you may think, and actually kind of fun to dream!
Find role models – this is also important. There may be people in your life who you want to emulate, maybe not completely, but you admire them for certain qualities. Why can’t you adopt these? You can! If you don’t have any role models in your immediate social circle, there are plenty of historical figures to choose from, not to mention current leaders. Everyone started somewhere, you can do it too. For example, Steve Jobs arguably changed the world with the iPhone – his background was not glamorous. If he can do it, so can you.
Addiction: I should have made this clearer: Addiction is a very serious matter and I am not trying to sidestep it or diminish any sort of addiction at all. I was just saying that when I first found out about NoFap I got the impression that it was only for porn addicts, and I did not think I was one. My main message is: If you watch the TED talk and read YBOP and see yourself in the messaging, give NoFap a shot, whether you think you’re addicted or not! What’s the harm in trying? I don’t know if I’m actually an addict, I’m not an expert on the subject, but in my specific case, I don’t care. I just know that PMO is something I used to engage in, and now I don’t for the reasons outlined above – simple as that.
TED Talk link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSF82AwSDiU
What’s next for me: I’m going to continue staying fap free for as long as possible, and keep up the good habits I’ve built, like healthy eating and meditation, as long as I can. Do I expect to slip up at some point? Yes. But you know what…life is a work in progress. I am perfectly imperfect. Shoot for the moon, even if you fall, you’ll land among the stars.
Mood swings: They came fast and hard…Haha sorry I couldn’t resist. Yes, every couple of weeks I’d fall into a spiral of self doubt, not just about NoFap but everything I had going on – it was very strange. The good news is I bounced back pretty quickly each time, and I had less mood swings after day 60. I’m pretty sure I read on YBOP that this is fairly common during NoFap – I believe it has something to do with our brains adjusting to the lack of regular dopamine rush. I think that’s true, because when I used to fall into a bad mood in the past, I would fap away my feelings. Now I actually have to confront them, or distract myself in a positive way, like reading a good book, exercising, talking to a friend, etc.. These mechanisms get me out of a rut better than fapping ever would…I would usually feel guilty after that.
Timing of benefits: Everything came gradually, nothing was instant. I think this is actually one of the greatest lessons…it takes hard work to feel good! It should not naturally happen at the click of a button.
This turned out to be super long, wow. I guess I had a lot to share! I hope this helped someone out there. I always found these reports to be motivating, and I’m happy to pay it forward.
Gl everyone – you’ve already taken the first step, now run to the finish line!!
TL;DR: NoFap has improved my life in a number of ways, many of them unexpected. I recommend this to anyone who thinks they could be doing more with their life.
Source: 90 Days – Hardmode. Spectacular benefits.