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What to Avoid During NoFap: 10 Things You Should Be Wary of During the Early Stages

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What a lot of people don’t seem to understand about NoFap is that it isn’t just about fighting your addiction, but also taking care of your mental and physical health. When starting NoFap, there are certain things you should avoid so that you aren’t harming your own mental health in the process.

Things to Avoid During NoFap

There are certain things we call “triggers”, which are stimuli that can elicit certain responses from your body. For example: seeing a passed loved one’s jewelry can trigger sadness, or the image of a naked woman or man can trigger the desire to masturbate.

There are things you need to avoid that you may not even recognize are triggers. That’s why I’m here to let you know about certain things you should avoid during your NoFap period for an easier time getting through your journey.

With that, here are six things you should avoid during NoFap.

 

Stay Away From Social Media

Avoid Social Media During NoFap

Social media is great for many things: keeping in contact with friends, seeing what’s trending, and catching up on some of your favorite subjects.

However, social media can also be an unapologetically raunchy place. Every so often you’ll see a tantalizing picture or sexual content pop up on your feed. I don’t think I need to tell you that this could very well trigger you. So, I suggest you just get off of social media entirely. Let your followers (if you have any) know that you’ll be off indefinitely and then delete these apps off of your phone. You can come back when you’re ready; just make sure you remember your passwords, okay?

 

Don’t Watch Too Much TV

Avoid Watching TV During NoFap

Just like with social media, you’re going to see an abundance of suggestive imagery on TV, and especially with movies, depending on what you’re watching. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t abandon TV entirely, but that you should limit your screen time and instead pick up some other hobbies. If you need your TV, just choose your shows wisely; maybe rewatch a few things you know are safe for you. Otherwise, TV can be dangerous for your NoFap streak. I know many people who have relapsed because of it, so I tell you that it’s just not worth it.

 

Don’t Have a Poor Sleep Schedule

Bad Sleep Schedule during Nofap

Sleep. Sleep is essential if you don’t want to relapse. If just about the most important thing you can invest in, because when you go without sleep, your willpower is diminished. You’re more susceptible to your own suggestion, and that’s never a good thing. You may find yourself in bed a lot, tired and unable to muster up the energy to get up and do things, or you may just come home absolutely exhausted. Either way, this can lead to you feeling the urge just to relax, and this time, you might be too tired to resist it.

 

Don’t Be Alone

Don’t Be Alone during Nofap

Isolation can be one of your worst enemies during NoFap. When you’re alone, your mind tends to wander. You get bored, or you find yourself wanting to get your fill of stimulation from sources of dopamine, whether that be scrolling through your phone, watching TV, playing video games, or masturbating.

Being around friends and family gives you something to focus on. You can spend time with others, get the stimulation you need and a proper distraction to get you through the day. Call up friends or family whenever you can. It also gives you the chance to be more social, catching up on time that you may have missed during your pre-NoFap days.

This also works if you’re just in public in general. If you ever feel like you’re struggling, go outside and visit a coffee shop. Take a walk and get some fresh air. Your urge to masturbate will diminish greatly, I can assure you.

 

Don’t Peek

Don't peek During NoFap

Peeking refers to when people pull up imagery of their preferred sex with the intent of becoming aroused without touching themselves. I’ll tell you right now that it’s a horrible idea. I won’t call it straight up “cheating”, but it’s close to it, and by engaging with this behavior, you run the risk of relapsing. In fact, if you’re already falling for this temptation, you’re almost guaranteed to fall off the wagon.

You don’t need erotic imagery to “tide you over”. The urge to peek is one of the greatest hurdles to get over during NoFap, but I can assure you that once you overpower it, you’ll be far better off. Don’t give into the temptation, because you are stronger than that, and you can chug through this. This of course can lead to edging, which is in my opinion even worse than being addicted to masturbation.

 

Don’t Drink

Don't drink alcohol

Alcohol is just about your worst enemy when it comes to NoFap, and no, I’m serious. After all, you make all your best decisions while you’re drunk, am I right? Obviously, I’m joking, but I think you know what I’m getting at. Even drinking with other people can be dangerous.

Alcohol can greatly diminish your willpower, and when you’re intoxicated, you might just convince yourself that NoFap isn’t worth it. You’re more likely to give into your desires, no matter how vigilant you’ve been thus far. A few shots can straight up end your streak, so I suggest that if you need some alcohol, then you should keep it to limited amounts, or maybe drink with friends. I also suggest staying away from other substances that can hinder your judgment.

 

Avoid Edging:

Avoid edging while doing the NoFap challenge

By participating in NoFap, you are cutting yourself off of pornographic stimulation of all kinds. It’s essential to being able to help pull yourself away from the clutches of porn addiction.

When I say you need to cut yourself off of any pornographic stimulation, I mean it. There are no “loopholes” to NoFap. If you are trying to work your way around the rigid rules, or you’re trying to bend them so that you can get a bit of sexual stimulation, you’re going to relapse; no ifs, ands, or buts about it. 

There are those who think it’s okay to receive sexual stimulation so long as they don’t achieve climax. They think that you can masturbate as much as you want, but as long as you don’t ejaculate, you’re in the clear. They stop just before they finish, waiting a bit to cool off and come back from the edge, and they go back at it again. They think that they can walk that line safely so long as they don’t cross that line, but that’s just not the case.

This is what we call ‘edging’, and Edging is, in my opinion, just about one of the most dangerous things you can do during NoFap. If anything, it’s a form of relapse; a sign that you’re not yet ready to give up porn. 

There are several types of edging that men participate in:

  • Indulging in pornography without masturbation
  • Masturbating with or without pornography without ejaculation
  • Allowing yourself to sexually fantasize for long periods of time or to the point of gaining an erection

In all cases, edging is not okay. I’m not too into calling edging “cheating” NoFap, but that’s exactly what it is. Edging is not done in moderation for most males. In fact, edging is worse than trying to achieve an orgasm as fast as possible.

Why, though? Why is edging so bad as long as you don’t ejaculate? Well, believe it or not, it’s all about that little chemical in our brains: dopamine, which allows us to feel pleasure and reward.

Dopamine, while very much a necessary chemical in human sexuality (Read this study from Cambridge University), can cause addiction if it’s loaded into your brain at high amounts and for long durations of time. This can be achieved through things like drugs and sugar, but also sexual stimulation.

As we expose ourselves to dopamine levels higher than can be achieved organically, and for long stretches of time, your brain is going to want to get back to that good feeling. However, the more it’s exposed, the more it becomes desensitized, leading to you needing more and more to really chase that high. That’s why some men need more exciting and thrilling imagery as time goes on, because the old stuff just isn’t working for them anymore. In other words, your dopamine baseline becomes lower in general.

 

Dopamine is supposed to reward you for things such as completing a task, eating good food, and doing something you enjoy. However, through edging, it no longer becomes a reward, but a need.

With edging, you’re constantly showering your brain with dopamine, not allowing it to get the break it needs with ejaculation. Whether or not you even masturbate doesn’t change the fact that you’re now forever chasing a high you won’t achieve.

But why though?

Well, let’s start with a normal orgasm. When you are masturbating, the levels of Dopamine are slowly going up (to an acceptable level and for an acceptable period of time), and at the moment of orgasm, there will be secretion of prolactin, which acts as an inhibitor of dopamine. (Source)

Dopamine and Prolactin levels during orgasm
A chart showing the secretion of prolactin during orgasm and acts as a dopamine inhibitor.

 

This process is how your brain regulates dopamine naturally. But when you are edging, two things deviate from this natural order. The first thing is that your dopamine levels stay higher for longer, and the second thing is that there will be no prolactin secretion to regulate and inhibit the dopamine at the end.

And since dopamine levels are always around a baseline as I explained before, you can imagine what happens next. Basically your dopamine levels will slowly decrease and stay lower, for longer (you can call that depression).

In fact, edging is considered a popular kink for many men and women in the BdSM scene, actively indulging in that chase in order to gain as much dopamine as possible. They purposefully avoid ejaculation in order to sustain that build-up for as long as possible.

This is why edging is equal to or worse than just regular masturbation. You can’t cheat NoFap, and if you edge, you are relapsing.

 

Don’t Fantasize

Fantasizing is one of the things to avoid during nofap

One question you might have, as many others do, is whether or not fantasizing is okay. The response in the NoFap community is rather mixed. Some say it’s completely fine as long as you don’t masturbate while you fantasize, while others say it’s just another form of edging.

The general consensus is that it depends on what you’re fantasizing about.

For example, porn scenes are generally considered not okay. You’re just playing out what you would see on a screen, after all, and that would only really perpetuate one’s porn addiction. It fires up those old pathways, and even if you aren’t masturbating, it’s a form of edging that overloads you with dopamine. It makes you crave the real thing, and that can be dangerous. It’s important that you don’t fantasize as you’re trying to sleep or when you wake up, because that is when you’re most vulnerable.

The same is with erotic scenes in books, which can be considered just fantasizing. You’re reading a scene played out before you in great detail. While it may or may not be more powerful to you than traditional porn, it’s still porn nonetheless. Just like traditional porn that you find on a screen, erotica is not okay. If you find it in your book, just skip over it.

So, what about fantasizing about real people? Surely that’s also off limits? Well… not really. In fact, it may just help you on your road to recovery. It’s a little bit of a sexual break, if you will, in order to help you recover a pleasure response that had been numbed by NoFap. It also rewires your sexual conditioning; instead of overloading your mind with scenes found in porn, all found in pixels on a screen and purely unachievable, fantasizing about a real person brings you back to reality a bit. It reminds you of what sex is supposed to be, not staring at a screen as the silent voyeur.

The one warning I need to give is that if you fantasize about real people, don’t make yourself the third party. AKA, don’t make it into a porn scene. At that point, you’re just watching porn again.

So, in conclusion, it’s relatively okay to fantasize about someone who is real, but within reason. What’s not okay is fantasizing about actual porn scenes, which includes reading them in erotica and playing these scenes out in your head before you sleep. If you find yourself fantasizing, just try doing something else for a change. Watch a movie, play a game, or go out for a run.

 

Things to Avoid During Nofap According to The Experts

Nofap things to avoid according to experts

Reading up on something is all well and good, yes, but there are times where we need an expert’s advice on these things. Doctors from all around have done countless studies on masturbation and its effect on the brain. And so because of that, they’ve drawn some conclusions on what to avoid.

Do you know what the “chaser effect” is? Neuroscientists describe it as when seeing erotic imagery brings about an intense craving through your already existing neural pathways. It’s for a short term pleasure and at a long term cost, which is why it’s often described as being “drug-like”. This is what causes porn addiction: constantly chasing that high and needing more and more as your brain becomes tolerant to it.

Because of the chaser effect, using other substances that lower your impulse control can put you at severe risk of a relapse. It’s said that over 50% of Alcoholic Anonymous members are also struggling with porn addiction, as things like alcohol and narcotics can lower your willpower.

The biggest danger to your mental health during NoFap, however, is most definitely digital triggers. 

The internet has over 4 million websites dedicated to adult content, after all. Just a few minutes on any single one of them can cause you to relapse and hard. So the point is to just not visit porn websites, right? Well, that’s not as easy as it sounds.

We’ve been hijacked by the digital age so that whenever we get frustrated or even a little bored, you’re going to want to get online. You’ll see porn sites you might have saved to your computer, ads that insist you go to a certain site if you want to climax in three minutes, and emails from these sites insisting you come back and check out what’s trending. Any of these things can trigger you into clicking on one of these sites, telling yourself you’ll only be there for a few seconds to peek at what’s new, only to undo days or even weeks of progress you’ve made during no fap. It can happen just like that.

But it’s not just porn sites that you have to avoid.

Porn and sexually suggestive content leaks into all facets of social media. Even just scrolling through Facebook or Instagram might cause you to see some rather suggestive imagery that might trigger a response within you. A scantily clad woman on Instagram can make you unravel depending on how deep you were into your addiction.

So, what do the experts say you should do about this? Well, here are the following tips they give to those fighting porn addiction:

  • Block all porn sites and delete any from your bookmarks
  • Install a site-blocking tool or a porn blocker
  • If a site has adult content filters, turn them on.
  • Have someone who can hold you accountable. They can access your browser history so they can make sure you haven’t relapsed.
  • Parental locks on certain devices, including channels on TV or a set time in which your devices shut off.

Experts recommend that you pursue new hobbies outside of the internet and schedule offline social activities to get you away from the computer. The longer you spend away from the computer, the easier NoFap will be for you. The most important rule, of course, is to just keep your hands busy.

 

And Finally, My Advice, Don’t Give up And Learn From Your Failures

Learn from your failures

I talked about the things you should avoid during Nofap according to the internet and according to the experts. Now I’ll try to answer the question according to my own personal experience.

You should simply avoid “YOUR” triggers.

But what are “MY” triggers you say? Well, start your Nofap journey, and you will find out very quickly.

It is okay to fail your Nofap challenge, but try to learn from your failure and try to understand what triggered you, so when you go at it again, you know what to avoid this time, it is as simple as that.

Personally, I have to avoid any sort of stimulation during the first 10 to 14 days, no matter how minute it is. After that, I can go back to social media without any problems. You just have to find out what works for you!