January 21, 2014 by mattfradd
Nofap began as a space for atheists and agnostics to encourage each other to be free of porn and masturbation.
They have a humorous way of motivating each other. Note the picture over there which comes from their FB wall. ——->
Heads up: Some of the content on nofap.org can be somewhat vulgar. Please don’t understand my interview with Rhodes to be an uninhibited endorsement of his site. I think, however, that as Christians, we should affirm goodness, truth, and beauty wherever we encounter it, and I encountered much of it in the work Rhodes is doing.
Before our interview here are a couple of terms you should be aware of.
Fap = slang for masturbation.
PMO = porn, masturbation, orgasm.
Matt: Alexander, tell us a little about nofap and its origins.
Alexander: I started up NoFap in June 2011 after a Chinese journal article hit the frontpage of reddit. It explained that after abstaining from orgasming for a week, men’s testosterone levels temporarily raised. This started buzz about “the seven day challenge” throughout the comments section of the website.
At the time I was excessively masturbating to internet porn and before I saw this journal article, I was already thinking I should probably take a break.
The article and reddit-wide discussion about it inspired me to create a place to host week and month-long challenges to abstain from masturbation.
In the beginning it wasn’t geared towards any sort of self-help initiative. It was simply a place to take a break from masturbation. But since the small group of us stopped masturbating for a period of time, naturally we stopped watching so much porn. And we began to experience tremendous benefits in our lives; we wanted to experiment with the program more frequently and for longer periods of time. Around the same time people in other areas of the internet started to realize some of the negative effects of porn… they found NoFap.
All of this stuff compounded to make NoFap one of the most popular porn-recovery communities in existence.
Matt: Now, you yourself don’t identify with any religion, you shared with me that you’re an agnostic, so what motivates you, Alexander, not only to be porn/masturbation free yourself, but to help others do the same?
I’m still figuring things out… but I’m not religious at all. Agnostic would probably be the best word. Love is my motivation. My excessive masturbation and porn use contributed to me hurting women I care about. My excessive porn use and my attempts to indulge my porn-infused fantasies and expectations made my partners feel used, objectified, and “not enough”.
Love is the infinite energy source I tap into for motivation. For myself, abstaining from PMO is all about reconnecting intimacy, empathy, love, and affection to sex.
Porn doesn’t just effect the consumers – it often effects the dynamics present in their interpersonal relationships. Not to mention the sexual assault, sexually transmitted infections, and manipulation present in the porn industry…
Matt: How is the atheist/agnostic community responding to the work you’re doing?
Alexander: Very well. According to a few surveys we’ve conducted, the majority of NoFap’s userbase identifies as atheist or agnostic. I think that people, religious and non-religious alike, appreciate my secular approach to the issue.
Matt: Would you say one of your goals is to help people be completely porn free, or are you mainly interested in helping them gain control of their use of it? In other words, do you consider pornography to be an evil to humanity? Something that always stunts human flourishing? Or do you only see it as a problem with it becomes addictive?
Alexander: I like to compare pornography to cigarettes. For the consumer, it is always a harmful thing to consume. Some people are able to smoke, in moderation, without too many consequences. But that is rare. Most people, especially those who binge (chain smoke), experience larger negative repercussions. Like cigarettes, porn seems to be very addictive.
So I guess I’m not demonizing it. But I think it’s generally bad. Overall I dislike it and encourage people to live life porn free.
Matt: What would you say to an atheist who said, “Hey, if God doesn’t exist, all things are permissible, porn helps me relax I enjoy it, therefore I’m gonna keep doing it.
Alexander: I’d say “ok, have fun”. I try not to push my views too hard on other people. I present them the overwhelming anecdotal evidence that porn is bad… and if they want to argue the point, I like to live and let live. If porn is hurting them or those they care about, they’ll figure it out eventually and my website will be there to help them quit.
Matt: Can you share with us any victory stories those on your forum have shared?
There are so many to choose from and success stories help fuel the work I’m putting into NoFap. From saved relationships and marriages to profoundly changed lives, NoFap has it all. But because of my own personal motivations, I really like hearing from those involved with previous heavy-porn users.
One person wrote:
Last night, I told my wife I had joined an online support group for my PMO addiction. I told her about all you great people and how you encourage each other and share your success stories. She started crying, but it wasn’t tears of sadness. She wasn’t walking away, like she needed to when I first told her about my porn problem. They were tears of joy, and she was walking towards me, to embrace me. She was thanking me. Porn ostracizes you from your loved ones. It separates you. What we do here… it brings you together.