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The NoFap Flatline: How to Bounce Back From This Common Reboot Side Effect

If you’re a follower of the NoFap program, looking to clear yourself from a dependency on porn and masturbation, you’ve likely noticed quite a few effects. Some are positive and allow you to get a better feel for a life free of porn addiction – read the nofap benefits here, and some are negative, such as the NoFap flatline.

Bored man - Nofap flatline

If you’re actively participating in NoFap, or you’ve done it once before, you may recognize its symptoms even if you don’t recognize the name itself. It’s mainly defined by a sharp drop in sexual interest, general libido, and mood. It’s said around ¼ of people experience the flatline, and while it can be a blessing for some, not everyone appreciates it, especially those in relationships.

For those of you unfamiliar, you may be asking yourself just what it is, and for those who are already quite familiar, you may be wondering how one can bounce back from a flatline. Well, I’ll give you the rundown on everything you need to know about the flatline, the signs of a flatline, and what you can do about it.


What is a NoFap Flatline?

Flatline blip - Nofap flatline concept

When someone decides to go through with pursuing NoFap, they go through what is often referred to as a “reboot”. A reboot is essentially unplugging yourself from porn entirely, and with it, masturbation. Some decide to only masturbate infrequently, but those who want to go through a hard reboot tend to cut that part out entirely. The purpose is to cut those with a dependency on porn off from their main vice.

The reboot tends to last from anywhere between a week and three months, also known as a 90-day reboot. After this set period of time, people can decide what aspects of their sexual habits they’re willing to reintroduce into their daily lives. Sometimes this includes frequent masturbation and porn. However, it’s what comes during a reboot that is important to this discussion.

As previously stated, those currently going through a reboot tend to experience a wide variety of both positive and negative side effects, and one of these is known as the “flatline”. The flatline is a steep decline in sexual interest, libido, arousal, and even mood.

It’s not at all a strange phenomenon; many people in the NoFap community tend to experience it, and it’s not exclusively just those trying to go through a hard NoFap reboot. Anyone dealing with porn addiction can experience it when trying to break away from their vice.

To some, this may seem like a blessing. After all, it’s so much easier to get through NoFap when your libido is shot and you experience little interest in masturbation and sex. However, not only is it that simple or easy, not everyone is happy by its existence. After all, many people going through NoFap have partners, whether they be romantic or just sexual. Being unable to perform for someone in a situation that actually calls for arousal can be tough to deal with. Thankfully, there are signs you can look for and ways to bounce back from it.


What Are the Signs of a Nofap Flatline?

A stressed man - A Sign of a nofap flatline

A flatline can be sort of difficult to really spot at first, but when you do, it can be pretty annoying.

Those who participate in NoFap tend to report the following symptoms as being all too common:


Decreased ability to become sexually aroused

For some people, it’s not that they don’t want to become aroused, but they just can’t become aroused. This is because of the dependency on porn that many people are pursuing NoFap because of. Porn can greatly warp our sense of what is arousing and what isn’t.

If you masturbate regularly, you may notice that some of the things that made you aroused in the past just won’t do it for you anymore. That’s because of the tolerance gained over time, which causes people to seek out more stimulating forms of content. This can happen to both people with penises and vaginas, but don’t worry, it’s not a sign that your junk has stopped working completely.


Diminished interest in sex

You’re going to find that after a while of starting NoFap, you’ll start to lose interest in masturbation. This is usually a good thing, as many who go through NoFap try to stop masturbating in general. However, this is often paired with a lack of interest in sex in general, and that includes with a partner. For people who actually want to continue having sex or have a partner who enjoys it, then this can be a problem.


Less motivation

You may find that you’ll have less motivation during a flatline. While this does include lack of motivation to pursue hobbies and interests, it can also lead to feeling unmotivated about pursuing recovery.

This is dangerous, and it’s advised that if you begin feeling this way, you should keep pushing forward. You will get over this hill soon enough, so don’t try and do any of the things you should be avoiding during nofap


Lowered mood

A big issue in a flatline is the steep decline in mood that many people experience. You may find that you’ll feel less enjoyment with things you actually enjoy doing. This can lead to bigger issues, such as boredom, anxiety, and issues sleeping. However, this should not be confused with depression. If you think you’re going through a genuine depressive episode, you should seek help from a professional.


Regularly feeling tired

Feeling tired or sluggish is normal for a NoFap flatline. Many report experiencing less energy throughout the day, and while it is unfortunate, it is ultimately temporary. Although it can be a pretty big inconvenience, I also don’t suggest replacing a porn addiction with a caffeine one.


How Long Does a Nofap Flatline Last?

Hourglass - A representaion of the duration of a nofap flatline

While flatlines tend to start a week or two after pulling away from porn, when it stops is a bit less clear. People experience reboots in different ways, mainly depending on how they consumed porn in the first place, as well as the uniqueness of our bodies in general. Many things can affect how your body experiences a flatline, like age, hormone levels, experience, and many other factors. Some say it lasts for just days, while others say it can last months. For the most part, it’s believed that those who used porn more frequently and at a younger age were more likely to experience a flatline.

Many also believe how you react to a flatline can affect just how long it lasts. One thing that people note is that you shouldn’t use porn in response to a flatline. Not only is this highly counterproductive, but it’s not likely to even work aside from stimulating your ability to become aroused again. You may still feel a drop in mood and low motivation.


How to Get Through a Flatline

Man closing a laptop - Getting Through a Nofap Flatline

Understandably, a flatline can make the whole prospect of getting through NoFap to be far less attractive. This is only spurred on by the fact that there isn’t really a way to get rid of the flatline other than time. However, there are ways to get through it. So, if you’re open to digging your heels in and bearing through it, I’ll show you some helpful ways to eventually meet that bounce back.


Remember that the flatline is temporary

You have to remember that no matter how serious your flatline may seem, you’re going to be just fine in the end. Your dick isn’t going to fall off, and you’re going to make it to the end at some point. Once you hit it, it’ll be smooth sailing from then on.


Don’t use porn to “reawaken” your libido

One of the worst things you can do is use porn to gain an erection or “reawaken” your libido. Not only is it not going to help with the rest of your symptoms, but it’s also highly counterproductive. You might just find yourself getting sucked back into that porn addiction, which is the very last thing you want to do in this case.


Try to appreciate the flatline

While many aspects of the flatline can be outright annoying and affect your life in negative ways, there are bits that you should try to appreciate. For example: the fact that you’re no longer feeling the urge to masturbate as frequently as you once did. For major porn addicts, this can be a blessing. You also have more time on your hands than you did before, and you’ll be able to be more involved in social situations and concentrate on work without constantly thinking about sex.


Take care of yourself

One aspect about NoFap that I will never cease to harp on is the importance of self-care. It’s a vital part of keeping your sanity intact. NoFap isn’t easy for most people, after all. Make sure you take care of your hygiene, keep yourself fed, stay hydrated, and keep in touch with your social group. If you can do this, you can get through anything NoFap can throw at you. Remember that NoFap is about looking out for your own mental and physical health; not masturbating won’t matter in the long run if you let the rest of you fall apart.


Seek support

One of the most important things to keep in mind is the fact that you’re not alone. ¼ of people breaking away from porn addiction have experienced the same issues that you have. You can go onto forums and find social groups of people who are also familiar with NoFap, this way you can have knowledgeable people to talk to. You should also keep in mind that there’s no shame in seeking professional help. If you think you really need that in this struggling time, then you should go for it.


The Timeline of a Nofap Flatline

Timeline of a Nofap Flatline

One of the important things about entering NoFap is knowing what to expect. This includes the NoFap Flatline. Thankfully there is a timeline that can be built regarding what to expect. Here’s what we have for you.


Week 1

During this period, you’re going to feel the urge to masturbate for the first few days. That isn’t at all surprising, but it can sure be annoying. Along with it will be a mental haze, a lowered mood (often confused with depression), and periods of high arousal multiple times in the day. This is the worst part of the flatline, but once you get through it, things will lighten up a tad.

You’ll start to get some doubting thoughts, such as wondering if NoFap is just a placebo, if the benefits in the end are even worth all the trouble, and the idea that you’ve quit for “long enough”. These are dangerous and are common to have with not only porn addiction, but all kinds of addiction in general. It’s important that you ignore these thoughts because the benefits of NoFap are very, very real.


Week 2-3

From here, the urge to masturbate lessens a substantial amount. You may find that your sex drive will start to reemerge. It won’t be good as new, but you’ll definitely feel it. You’ll find that you’ll have a bit more mental clarity now. With your mind no longer clouded by a porn addiction, you’ll see that you’ll actually be able to think properly.

Your mood and energy may still be dampened, which isn’t a surprise, but there will be health benefits creeping up. You’ll begin to feel better than you did during the first week, but you’re not quite yourself just yet. There’s still some more you have to get through, but before you know it, you’ll be feeling better than ever.


Week 3-6

This is where the benefits of NoFap really start to reveal themselves. Your urge to masturbate will become uncommon, your libido and interest in sex will return, you’ll have more energy again, and most important of all, you’ll have learned self-discipline.

You’re now at the home stretch; you can’t give up now, because before you know it, you’ll be feeling like an upgraded version of yourself. You’re almost at your goal, and when you reach it, you’ll feel better than ever.


What Comes After a NoFap Flatline?

Next Sign

So, the question is: what happens after? Do you go back to the way you once were, or are there some improvements? Did your body just restart like a computer, or is there little to know difference? Well, to give you a straight answer: you’re going to feel great. Or, at least better than you did prior to the reboot.

After all, you’ve dealt with the worst that addiction has thrown at you. You’ve learned self-control over your own urges, and because of that, you’ve come out on the other end as a better person than you once were. You’ll find that your mood and libido have returned, your motivation is back, and you can properly get aroused again. The only difference? You don’t have to deal with that feeling of addiction anymore. Those urges are gone for the most part, and you’ll be left feeling better than ever. Prepare to pat yourself on the back, because you got through the worst of it.

From here, you can decide whether or not you want to reintroduce some of your prior sexual habits back into your life. Only  this time it will be on your own terms and not while in the clutches of addiction.