Nofap & social anxiety

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In this article, we will discuss the link between anti-masturbation or the social movement of NoFap and social anxiety. 

We will also discuss what social anxiety is, its symptoms, the link between mastrubation and social anxiety.

What is the link between NoFap and Social anxiety?

While there is no definity research done on the impact of Nofap or Anti-mastrubation on the experience of social anxiety symptoms, there is some evidence that suggests that excessive mastrubation is linked to higher levels of anxiety. 

Though there is no inconclusive evidence that suggests that anti-mastrubation might reduce social anxiety symptoms, there is a possibility that education and separating guilt from masturbation and viewing masturbation as a healthy and common behaviour could help reduce anxiety related to this guilt. 

One theory suggests that because masturbation releases feel-good hormones like dopamine, the act itself can become addictive to the point where other activities including social interaction and spending time with people no longer give you joy which might lead to social withdrawal with people preferring being alone and masturbation to socialising. 

Based on such perspectives that link masturbation and anxiety, the social phenomoenn of restricting mastrubation spearheaded by NoFap.com- a community that helps people recover from porn addiction- has gained traction over the years. 

What is NoFap?

NoFap is an anti-masturbation movement that is spearheaded by the Nofap.com community that is focused on helping people overcome porn addiction and masturbation addiction. 

Supporters say avoiding masturbation for prolonged periods improves their lives and sexuality. Some people may join for religious or ethical reasons, or because they worry about the effects of masturbation on their lives.

The NoFap movement endorses a specific and perhaps a stern understanding of masturbation and human sexuality. It argues that pornography is harmful and that avoiding masturbation can help people regain a healthier control over their lives and also avoid or reduce compulsive sexual behaviour. 

The NoFap community helps each other overcome sexual addictions and push the notion of recovering from porn addiction-called “rebooting”- so as to restore the dopamine fueled neural pathways and to stabilize it. 

According to this movement, Rebooting is a personal process with no “one correct approach” rather it challenges people with abstinence with various tools, peer to peer support, challenges, competitions, podcasts, blogs, and various information they can gain inspiration and motivation from.

The movement argues that anti-masturbation have various benefits such as:

  • refocus on relationships
  • helps people conform to their religious or moral values
  • decreases use of pornography
  • improves focus and concentration
  • gives them time for other pursuits
  • Reduction of depression and anxiety symptoms. 

While these benefits have not been objectively and scientifically studied and measured, the Nofap community boasts various testimonials that attest to these benefits. 

What is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is characterised by an overwhelming fear of social situations that usually begin during teenage years and might persist unless there is effective intervention. 

This particular disorder is plagued by various thoughts related to social situations and an intense and deliberate aversion and avoidance of social situations. 

It affects the person’s daily functioning and causes disruption in one’s life, sense of self, work, and relationships. The symptoms of this disorder include:

  • worry about everyday activities, such as meeting strangers, starting conversations, speaking on the phone, working or shopping
  • avoid or worry a lot about social activities
  • find it difficult to do things when others are watching 
  • Preoccupied with the thought that they are being judged.
  • fear being criticised
  • avoid eye contact
  • or have low self-esteem
  • often have symptoms like sweating, trembling or a pounding heartbeat (palpitations) in social situations.
  • panic attacks

Social anxiety is a diagnosable disorder and the DSM-5 criteria for social anxiety disorder include:

  • Persistent, intense fear or anxiety about specific social situations because you believe you may be judged negatively, embarrassed or humiliated
  • Avoidance of anxiety-producing social situations or enduring them with intense fear or anxiety
  • Excessive anxiety that is out of proportion to the situation
  • Anxiety or distress that interferes with your daily living
  • Fear or anxiety that is not better explained by a medical condition, medication or substance abuse
  • The individual that is affected also causes dysfunction in various important areas of one’s life like work and relationships.

What is the relationship between Masturbation and Social Anxiety?

Masturbation is a common sexual activity that is a healthy way for people to develop an awareness of one’s own body and sexual preferences- it is natural. 

However, many individuals do experience mental health challenges as a result of masturbation and at times even porn addiction and related masturbation. These challenges manifest itself in the form of depression, anxiety related to guilt, and even social withdrawal.

While there is no conclusive evidence in research that indicates a definite link between masturbation and porn addiction with social anxiety and social anxiety behaviours like social withdrawal, there is evidence and testimonials that indicate that people who masturbate show higher levels of anxiety. 

Theories suggest that this link could be because of two reasons:

One is that people become addicted to the act of masturbation and porn because of the changes in dopamine levels as a result of the feel-good chemicals released int he brain during sexual acts and orgasms. 

This could lead people to engage in addictive behaviors including withdrawing from social scotties because they no longer find these activities pleasurable. Prolonged withdrawal could cause them to become reclusive and also shun other relationships. 

Another theory speculates that people experience anxiety in general with masturbation because of the guilt that comes with masturbation and sexual acts in general because of moral and religious values. 

Feelings of guilt could be a result of spiritual, cultural, or religious views, which view masturbation as immoral or “dirty” or a taboo which can cause not only anxiety but also various sexual dysfunction issues.

These feelings of guilt might project the idea that they are “unclean”, reducing their sense of self worth and value which can further lead them to withdraw from their social circles, and lead to anxiety and even depression. 

How to manage masturbation-induced anxiety?

If you experience anxiety because of masturbation, or you seem to be developing social anxiety because of your sexual habits, here are a few things you can do to help. 

  • Seek professional health- talk to a therapist or a sex therapist who can help you cope with these feelings of guilt, thoughts, and  anxiety. If your anxiety in social situations is not related to masturbation, your therapist can help you get treatment for the social anxiety disorder as well. 
  • Educate yourself with respect to what mastrubation is and what are some risks as well as benefits of mastrubation- restructuring our beliefs about masturbation and sex can help you reduce anziety realted to guilt. 
  • Try to engage in self-help behaviours like meditation, self compassion, kindness, and engage in activities that are not masturbation like exercising whenever you feel the urge to masturbate or distract yourself with other activities. 

Conclusion

In this article, we discussed the link between anti-masturbation or the social movement of NoFap and social anxiety. While there is no direct link that attests that restrain from masturbation can reduce social anxiety, it is possible that reframing the understanding of masturbation can help reduce anxiety related to guilt in general. We will discuss what social anxiety is, its symptoms, and the link between mastrubation and social anxiety.

References

Holland.K. Does Masturbation Cause or Treat Anxiety? Healthline 3rd May 2018. Retrieved on 23rd November 2021. https://www.healthline.com/health/masturbation-and-anxiety

Ayubi. M. Does NoFap Kill Social Anxiety? Explained. TheAlphaproject. 21st April 2021. Retrieved on 23rd November 2021. https://thealphaproject.in/nofap-social-anxiety/#What_is_Social_Anxiety

Social anxiety disorder (social phobia). Mayoclinic. Retrieved on 23rd November 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/social-anxiety-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353567

What is NoFap? Nofap.com. Retrieved on 23rd November 2021. https://nofap.com/about/

FAQ related to Nofap and social anxiety

Who is Alexander Rhodes?

Alexander Rhodes, a former internet porn addict and founder of NoFap.com. He spearheaded the antimasturbation community to help promote recovery from porn addiction. 

Does no FAP help with anxiety?

The Anti mastrubation community highlights that restraint from mastrubation can lead to

increased happiness. boosted confidence. increased motivation and willpower, lower levels of stress and anxiety.

Does mastrbation make you depressed?

Masturbation does not cause depression nor does abstinence have a direct link to depression. Instead a healthy perspective on masturbation and sex  may boost self-esteem and help a person explore their sexuality.

How long should I NoFap for?

The Nofap movement invites people to abstain from porn and masturbation and sex for extended periods – typically around 90 days.

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