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Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

Christians Find Help for Porn, Masturbation Addiction Through 'NoFap' Community Started on Reddit by 24-Y-O Web Developer

  • (Photo: Facebook/Alexander Rhodes)
    NoFap.org's founder, web developer Alexander Rhodes, 24.
December 4, 2013|2:11 pm

A growing online community called "NoFap" with more than 83,000 members on Reddit.com is helping people kick pornography and masturbation addictions, and even Christians are finding a haven for healing in it.

"The worst thing about porn, for me, is time. Just so much time lost…When everyone I know was doing something else. When everyone else was dating and pairing off in college? I was looking at porn. When they were going to grad school? Porn. When they were getting married? Porn. When they got their first jobs and had their first apartments? Porn," confessed one community member under the screen name imissdeadlines, who was celebrating his first day abstaining from porn on Monday.

"And now I'm 32 and sure, I've got some things figured out, and I'm ready to not look at porn, and I'm ready to go. I'm excited, I'm eager, I have more energy every day. But I feel like I'm at life's starting line, and I look up, and everybody else already left, they're halfway around the track," he added.

The group's name is derived from the term "fap," which UrbanDictionary describes as "a sound effect for masturbation used often in Japanese comics. Popularized in the English speaking world by the webcomic www.sexylosers.com."

An introduction on the community's page on Reddit explains that it facilitates challenges "in which participants abstain from pornography and/or masturbation for a period of time." It also provides a forum for participants who call themselves "Fapstronauts" to discuss their experience. The group includes casual participants who simply want to test their self-control as well as those who want to quit excessive pornography and masturbation addictions.

NoFap's 24-year-old founder, Alexander Rhodes, a web developer from Pittsburgh, Pa., told Business Insider that the group is "for porn addicts, it is about recovery."

"Some Fapstronauts are here to improve their interpersonal relationships, whether it be for a marriage, a relationship, or single life. For others, it is simply a challenge of willpower – to seize control of your sexuality and turn it into superpowers. There are many, many different reasons to join but we're all on NoFap with one goal – to help each other abstain from PMO (porn/masturbation/orgasm)," he said.

The NoFap movement was triggered by a June 2011 post on Reddit which linked to a study from the National Institute of Health that pointed out that when men don't masturbate for seven days, their testosterone levels increase by 45.7 percent. The post inspired discussion on the site that eventually evolved into the official NoFap subreddit. A year later a standalone website, NoFap.org, was established.

Rhodes explained that while the majority of group members are men in their 20s, women, identified in the group as "Femstronauts," are always welcome.

"Women are absolutely welcome, although the vast majority of us are guys, mostly in our 20s. I'd estimate that the NoFap community consists of 5 percent females, and although NoFap hosts hundreds of Femstronauts, there is still a lot to learn about their experiences with the NoFap challenge. Pornography, clearly, is not a male-only problem [...] It seems like many of them are experiencing nearly identical problems that the men on NoFap report," said Rhodes.

One 28-year-old Italian Catholic member of the group on Reddit, who writes under the screen name catoblepa111, explained his experience with the challenge and how he came to understand why the church opposes masturbation.

"When I was a teenager I fapped furiously for some days, then I went to confession. I felt guilty, ashamed. God was watching me and judging me. But I loved to fap, I loved porn," he confessed. "Years passed, I grew up, even in my faith. And I choose [sic], after a big issue of my life, to don't care anymore. No more confessions for fapping.

After some time, he said that "slowly, I understood that sex was a wonderful, a gift from God (for the eyes of me, a person of faith). And that fapping, watching porn was like eating Foiegras and drinking Champagne with a McDonald's Burger," he said.

"And so I understood why church (and basically all the religions) was against fapping. It's not because Jesus would stop loving you - he would love you forever – but simply because fapping is bad for you. I've discovered why in the years: no girlfriends, more weight, more sad...," he wrote.

"This year things are going very better. I love even more my friends, I lost weight (a loooot of weight), I'm more confidential [sic] with my work. Soon or later, I will find even a girlfriend, if it's destiny."

NoFap's founder Rhodes explains that individual results from the NoFap challenge will vary, but for now, he continues to work on delivering helpful advice through the online community site.

Contact: leonardo.blair@christianpost.com; follow me on Twitter @leoblair
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