It’s been a cringeworthy, meme-generating, challenge-based “holiday” since about 2011. The challenge? Last for the entire month of November without, well, “nutting”. Aimed especially at men who are regular masturbators, that means complete abstinence from ejaculation – no sex, no masturbation, no nothing. Sounds hard, right?!? While some claim it has sexual health benefits, we’re here to bust those myths wide open, so you can get back to busting a nut.
1) It doesn’t increase your testosterone levels.
One of the chief claims made by proponents of NNN is that abstaining from ejaculating for a month allows testosterone to “build up” in your system, somehow “increasing your manliness”. Followers claim enhanced performance at sports, greater mental clarity, and stronger “masculine urges” after they stop abstaining. In fact, all the way back to the ancient Greeks & Romans, it was believed that abstaining from cumming before sporting exhibitions or battle was crucial to a man’s performance. The science behind that has never materialized, though, and it’s actually a far cry from the truth. While a few very small studies have found a slight increase in testosterone after a month of not making the bald man cry, a far greater number of studies actually show substantially increased testosterone levels after having an orgasm. It won’t make you a manlier man or cure Low T or any other sexual dysfunction, so why bother?? If you are genuinely concerned about your testosterone levels or ability to perform in the bedroom, talk to your doctor.
2) It doesn’t improve your sex drive.
Guys who last the whole month without squeezing the one-eyed snake often make claims about how much it can enhance your sex drive. While it’s true that delaying orgasmic release after brief periods of arousal (sounds a lot like kinky orgasm denial!) can make the eventual orgasm feel better, abstaining for a whole month does literally nothing for your libido or anything else. Do you know what DOES improve your sex drive? Maintaining your regular schedule of masturbation, and having sex more frequently!
3) It has no physical or mental health benefits.
Those that swear by the benefits of No Nut November claim it can improve mental focus and clarity, give them more strength and energy, and even lead to a “spiritual awakening”. In fact, it may be quite the opposite – actually harmful to your health. Many doctors and mental health practitioners agree, abstaining from masturbating is actually unhealthy for your body and mind. Urologist Dr. Rena Malik told Insider that, “while proponents of the month-long abstinence from masturbation or orgasm often portray it as beneficial for your mind and body, there’s no substantial research to back those claims.” At the very least, it will just make you uncomfortable, but there are a few real risks involved, too, such as:
- Epidydimal Hypertension, AKA Blue Balls. While usually temporary and harmless in the long run, it will at least cause discomfort.
- High-tone Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. According to Malik, “when people intentionally try not to masturbate, they can tense the muscles in their pelvic floor, causing pain in their testicles, excessive urination, and constipation. The condition, called high-tone pelvic-floor dysfunction, can become a cycle, she said, where anxiety from the condition makes the tension worse.
- Increased risk of prostate cancer.
- Sexual frustration & increased anxiety. Unable to get the usual release you would through orgasms, you grow sexually frustrated. Then worrying about not completing the challenge or being “weak” increases anxiety and frustration even more.
- Emotional pain & feelings of romantic and/or social isolation. By being “forced” not to do something you’re so used to doing and that feels so good, whether it’s masturbation or having sex with your partner, men can start to feel alone in their struggle and like they’re missing out on life. Hint: If you’re participating in NNN, you are missing out, and no one is making you but yourself! It might also piss off your partner; more on that later.
“In addition to making you feel good, ejaculation can reduce stress and may even decrease your risk for prostate cancer.” Malik says. Additionally, ejaculation, especially from sexual intercourse, has been found to boost the immune system, and ejaculation, especially when paired with regular physically active intercourse, can reduce risk of death by heart disease. Some studies have even shown a correlation between frequent jerkin’ it and living longer, according to Dr. Justin Lehmiller for Sex & Psychology’s article “Why You Shouldn’t Buy Into the Whole ‘No Nut November’ Thing”. Masturbation and reaching orgasm during partnered sex can also reduce stress and help you sleep better, so get back to strokin’.
4) It has dubious roots.
No Nut November seems to have suddenly emerged out of the ether on social media sites such as Twitter and Reddit in 2011. While little is known about the originating keyboard warriors who wound up “founding” No Nut November, their backgrounds could be described as non-professional at best and problematic at worst. It’s safe to say there were no legitimate medical professionals involved in its formation, because most doctors agree NNN is actually bad for you. Even if they (maybe) weren’t the ones that started it, NNN has gained a lot of steam over the years through groups like NoFap. These anti-feminist “manosphere” groups claim to be about men supporting other men on their journeys to “quit” masturbation and/or pornography because it’s “bad for them” (P.S. “Pornography addiction” is not a real clinical diagnosis) and bad for society, somehow. Guys get sucked into these groups because of some misplaced sense of moral duty or in an effort to feel better about their other shortcomings, presumably, but they’re not innocent support groups. Instead, they have morphed into misogynistic and violent hate groups with vendettas against porn stars, sex workers, and even women in general. These groups remain very vocal about participating in NNN. They brag online about their achieving their “W” by going the whole month without shooting their load, or whine about the particulars and the rules, such as “do wet dreams count??” Don’t add any fuel to the fire of any of these groups by pretending their organized meetings, outings, & online challenges to get guys to stop masturbating are normal and okay.
5) If you have a partner, it will probably make them sad, too.
If you and your partner have a perfectly good sex life most of the time, why would you want to ruin that for a pointless social media challenge?? Sex is good for you, and your partner, and your relationship. In addition to the “happy hormone”, dopamine, orgasm releases oxytocin. Known as “the love hormone”, this release reduces cortisol (the stress hormone) and helps you feel closer to your lover. Don’t complicate the relationship or leave your partner high and dry with, “hey, I really love you and all, but we can’t have sex this month because the internet told me so.” I know I’d be pretty upset if my partner came to me with that mess. As we’ve discussed above, NNN is arbitrary, unfounded nonsense. Treat it as such and go have all the sex you want. Your partner and your relationship will benefit from it.