Learn more about No Nut November, how you can do it without being a dick, and some tips on how to get through a long long month!
What is no nut November?
No Nut November (NNN) is where people decide not to ejaculate for a month. Nutting is another word for ejaculation (which is good because we don’t have enough of those). Although anyone can take part, it’s usually something that men with penises, take part in. It’s an internet thing (it came from reddit which came from the No Fap movement) and a lot of people hate it.
Why do people hate it?
A lot of the people taking part in NNN (or No Fap generally) are absolute fucking dicks about it – sorry about the swearing. No really, they fucking suck. They use hateful sexual slurs against women, and are often racist. Some of these people also have used NNN to threaten sex workers and porn companies.
Other people hate it because the claims that are often made about abstaining from masturbation, are pretty much BS (more on that below). There are also clearly some links to organisations and ways of thinking that are extremely toxic. Also the messages that they send out to men about being a man are harmful to men and everyone around them.
However, it’s important to remember that a lot of people doing it are being pretty chill. Some of their posts about it are genuinely funny. I think it’s just important to remember that people get really shitty sex education, which doesn’t teach them anything useful about masturbation at all.
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Why do people do it?
Just as with masturbation itself, people take part in No Nut November for lots of different reasons. Many people feel that they masturbate too much or are in some way addicted to sexual thoughts or images (eg porn). Some look at the energy and time they put into masturbation and think they could use this for something else. ‘Don’t masturbate for a month and learn Dutch’ (which is actually the sexiest of languages, don’t fight me).
Others think that it will make them ‘more of a man’ if they are able to be in control of their urges. Related to this some people think that their levels of testosterone will increase if they don’t masturbate. If they think that this one hormone will make them more manly then they will be more manly – but that’s not how either testosterone or manliness works.
Is it a good idea?
In my expert opinion I would say ‘meh’, or ‘maybe I dunno’, or ‘het kan me niet schelen of je masturbeert of niet, wees er gewoon geen klootzak over.’
The history of ‘what we teach people about masturbation’ boils down to two basic ideologies. Don’t masturbate, or you should definitely masturbate. It’s either the sex negative ‘masturbation is a sin and you’ll burn in hell for this’. Or the sex positive ‘you should definitely masturbate, it’s actually really good for you and here are all the reasons why.’
If you’re a fan of this website you’ll know that we’re a bit more chill about sex and masturbation. As my driving instructor used to say to me ‘if it feels good, do it and if it doesn’t, don’t.’* A lot of people worry about how much they masturbate and what affect it’s going to have on them. I get a lot of questions about it and I answer them and people feel better as a result. Basically masturbation is fine so long as you don’t hurt yourself, you can maintain your friendships and relationships, and you still do your chores and school work and stuff. I’ve also written about sex / porn addiction so you might also want to read that.
*bear in mind I failed my test really badly and still can’t drive, I am 44
Expert tips for No Nut November
If you are doing NNN or No Fap either for the lols, or just to see if you can, or to try to have a bit more control over how much you masturbate, here are my best tips.
Alternatives to masturbation
One thing that I advise, is to think about why you masturbate. Write down all the reasons that you have masturbated: bored, stressed, tired, horny, procrasturbating etc etc. Once you’ve done that have a look through the list and ask yourself the question ‘which of these can I only achieve through masturbation?’ Then think of all the other ways that you could do those things. You could read, do some breathing exercises, have a nap, do your course work etc. If you’re horny you could:
Surf the urge
Urge surfing is something my mate Meg-John told me about in this podcast we did together. It’s about really slowing everything right down and being very present in your body. You just notice when you are horny and instead of just shutting it down, you just notice it. What can you feel in your body? Where does it start? Do you feel a tingling or temperature change. You just see where the horniness goes and just surf it, just notice it and watch it and be in the moment with it.
This is just good advice if you find yourself doing anything which is a habit, or a craving. It comes from Buddhism, and the basic idea is that our suffering as a human comes from our cravings and a sense that we are lacking something. By noticing our cravings we can eventually just notice them like we might notice clouds, weather, or Ed Sheeran.
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So this is a loophole that I don’t think the NNN crowd have discovered. Orgasms are completely different from ejaculation. They often happen at the same time, but they often don’t. I’ve written this article about orgasm and ejaculation aren’t the same thing, so maybe you could learn more about how to experience an orgasm without ejaculation.
How to deal with blue balls/vulvas
If you get aroused and don’t ejaculate or have an orgasm then you might find that you feel a slightly dull ache in your genitals. This is called blue balls or blue vulvas. The proper term for this is vasocongestion – the best kind of congestion. Masturbation is a way to relieve this vasocongestion, so obviously you might want to avoid that if you’re doing NNN. Thankfully, vasocongestion goes away by itself if you are patient enough. You could also maybe apply a cold flannel to your bits if you like. Read more about balls and vulvas.
Fewer nuts November
See my problem with abstinence models like No Nut November is that as soon as you nut, that’s it, game over. I know that’s the point of it, but if you are wanting to cut down how much you masturbate. Or if you are wanting to have a better relationship with masturbation (and yourself) then I don’t think it helps.
To see yourself as a success or a failure fixes yourself in a mindset where you are one thing or another. It’s okay to be in the middle and someone who just keeps correcting themselves and adjusting course.
Also remember that we are always changing and our ‘selves’ are always in a state of becoming. We can’t be a success or a failure because these states don’t exist on their own and they aren’t fixed either. So instead of No Nut November, it might be Fewer Nuts November. And yes, that’s a lot less fun sounding, but it’s more helpful.
Support each other
The vibe I get from a lot of NNN practitioners is that they are holed up in a bunker somewhere, shielding themselves from internet hotties, underwear adverts, and Love Island. For some reason I also imagine that there are lots of crisps around, or Graham Crackers, or boxes of Cornflakes. My message to you, the brave, stoic, mis-guided NNN er, is to get your mates to help you. You could also get a friendly lion to help you out, like St Jerome.
If there are good and genuine reasons that you want to take part in NNN, then ask your friends to help you. You should trust your mates more to have your back, and by doing that you get better mates and better relationships. So can you support each other, ask for what you need, and ask for what they need. If you have a NNN person in your life, ask them what you can do. You could watch an episode of Love Island ahead of them and note down when they might want to turn away from the screen, for example.
Be cool about it
You’re more likely to get support for your NNN if you’re not a dick about it. Just treat it like doing a sponsored run, or growing a moustache. There’s no need to try to shame other people into doing NNN. And you certainly shouldn’t be mean to people just because they might make NNN harder for you.
Find other ways to be a man (or not)
If you think that the key to being a real man is to not masturbate for a month, then I think you’re wrong. Sorry about that. There’s a lot of pressure on men to be men, and it can be really hard for young men to figure this out. I’ve got lots of tips for you if you want to learn how to be a man, without being a dick.
Hope you find that helpful!
This recent academic study about No Fap is really interesting and you might want to have a read.
© Justin Hancock, 2021.
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Justin Hancock has been a trained sex and relationships educator since 1999. In that time he’s taught and given advice about sex and relationships with thousands of young people in person and millions online. Find out more about Justin here