Thursday, 19 March 2015


Apparently there’s been a thing much discussed on some manosphere sites lately, known as the “no fap challenge.” The animating conviction behind this campaign appears to be, put succinctly, that wanking is for wankers.

Satisfying oneself by one’s own hand causes one to lose needful ambition, it is asserted; spanking the monkey monkies with one’s manly vigor; jacking off jacks with one’s sense of proper determination and resolve; flogging one’s log saps a man of juice, leaving him a mere sap, devoid of substance. For the chronic masturbator, perpetual satiation leads to inescapable lethargy, which in turn keeps him mired in his loserific habits, stuck in a vicious cycle of interminable solitary self-loathing when he should be out slaying fierce dragons, rescuing foxy princesses, and otherwise getting busy.

Indeed, the manosphere denizens seem to define “ambition,” “vigor,” “determination,” and “resolve” as synonyms for “seeking copious sex with numerous women.” Consider this little gem composed by “Law Dogger” at Return of Kings, a sort of diary kept by a no-fapster chronicling his adventures in self-deprivation and concomitant carnal conquests. More than once, our hero talks about how wonderfully wired he feels, how primed he is to bag a babe at whatever cost (barring, one hopes, hitting her over the head with a stick and dragging her into his man-cave), and all because he hasn’t expended his seed on his own time. He’s a go-getter, and he’s going to get it, come what may (or come what may not, in his case); indeed, desperate as he’s rendered himself, he’s gotta have it, or else he might just explode from the lack of it.

The hedonists of the manosphere, in short, think that refraining from masturbation will give you greater sexual fulfillment, and transform you into an “alpha” stud super-seducer Lothario Don Juan, which we apparently should all aspire to be, lest we be “beta,” which is a really bad thing to be, apparently, because chicks don’t like you if you’re “beta,” and you definitely don’t want chicks not to dig you, apparently. So in essence, don’t masturbate, since masturbation makes you not want to approach women and do what you ought to be doing: i.e., making major inroads towards banging broads.

Such appears to be the motivation behind the “no-fap” lifestyle challenge. While it should be clear by now that I’m skeptical of the entire enterprise, at the same time I do think the manospherians are, in their own way, onto something. They have, let us say, a firm grip on the serpent, but they’re mistaking the tail for the head and vice versa. Which, of course, can be a deadly mistake.

Yes, indulging in masturbation enervates a man’s sex drive. Yes, it makes him less likely to feel like he’s bouncing off the wall, desperate for some action. But… why is this of necessity a bad thing? Why might it not, instead, be quite a good thing?

When we study Mr. Dogger’s no-fap memoirs carefully, a picture begins to emerge of this narrator that is somewhat less flattering than he seems to think. Indeed, we apprehend a man utterly at the mercy of his lusts, often acting like a brazen fool, at times seemingly (and confessedly) out of control:

"–I'm rock hard with the slightest touch from a girl."
"–I think about sex A LOT."
"–I’m more of a dick to girls, which works initially but then I push it too much and has been backfiring of late."
"–I’m actually less efficient with work, mostly because how to bang and who to bang next dominate my thoughts. I'm past two months now and if I don't approach a girl in about 48 hours or so I start twitching."

Yet for all that, this “Dogger” doggedly hews to the notion that his choice not to masturbate has led, all in all, to a positive outcome; moreover, he seems eager to brag to us about his notch-count. And I don’t dispute that he gets laid a lot, but so what? I realize that the ruling ideology of the PUAs is, as Akon and Lonely Island put it, “Doesn’t matter, had sex,” but does it really not matter? Flattering as you may find it to your ego, you can’t take your notch count with you, ya know. And even if you bang mightily in your lifetime, what have you truly accomplished? Verily, you have your reward, and it is not a lasting one.

Some may say, of course, that refraining from masturbation has greater benefits: having what Nietzsche famously called “semen in the blood” builds up one’s will to power, giving one hunger not just to bed a bevy of women, but to create great works of art or dedicate oneself to the service of a higher goal. There is, after all, a reason why the discipline of celibacy has endured through the ages in various institutions accounted to be of great spiritual importance. Clearly, something can be said for the practice of self-sacrifice as a means towards sanctity or the achievement of aesthetic glory.

Moreover, I am certainly not inclined to endorse masturbation, per se. It would be better if one could simply eliminate one’s propensity towards personally-induced orgasms. Unfortunately, for metaphysical reasons unknown, we men are cursed with a surfeit of desire and a physiological imperative to clean out our seminal ducts on a regular basis. Given such a dubious set of alternatives, I’d say it’s better to fap than to fornicate. It’s more convenient, the mess is easier to clean up, and one’s shame is entirely private.

Originally published August 23, 2013.

Andy Nowicki, co-editor of Alternative Right, is the author of eight books, including Under the NihilThe Columbine PilgrimConsidering Suicide, and Beauty and the Least. He occasionally updates his blog when the spirit moves him to do so. Visit his Soundcloud page.

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