In this episode…
A case study of a man who has experienced symptoms of Nofap flatline for 3 years
The best way to improve your NoFap journey
How to understand and work with the withdrawal symptoms of porn addiction (in the guide below)
An alternative to long-term Nofap that will give you higher chances of success, happiness and a healthy relationship
What is the NoFap Flatline?
The NoFap Flatline is an unpleasant period of time a man goes through after stopping habitual porn use and/or excessive masturbation. The flatline period is associated symptoms like:
- brain fog
- low energy
- a feeling of emptiness
- low motivation
- negative thoughts
- erectile dysfunction
- intense cravings for porn use
- social anxiety
- inability to experience pleasure in normal activities
- lack of sexual desire
- higher stress levels
You can think of the flatline as being similar to how a drug user would experience symptoms of withdrawal.
That’s basically what’s happening when a man quits his porn addiction and/or excessive masturbation & ejaculation habits. (This is often referred to as the acronym “PMO,” which stands for pornography, masturbation, orgasm).
Regular porn use has been shown to activate the same brain regions that get activated with addictive drug use.
And excessive masturbation creates a dopamine response cycle in the brain that can feel addictive too. Lots of men use masturbation as a coping mechanism, a way to escape, or a way to experience a quick hit of pleasure that’s usually followed by a crash and feelings of shame & guilt.
How Long Does the Flatline Last?
Some people say that the flatline period only lasts only the first week of NoFap, or couple weeks max, but I’d like to provide an alternative hypothesis.
If you listened to this short podcast episode, you heard about a man who hasn’t ejaculated in 3.5 years because he has been practicing NoFap (we’ll call him Tom).
You can watch a video version of this episode here:
In the beginning of Tom’s NoFap journey, he did get some benefits like increased mental clarity, increased motivation, increased attention & attraction received from women, and increased happiness in day-to-day activities.
But after about a month, he started to experience the symptoms of Nofap flatline, and then he continued to experience these symptoms for over 3 years because he didn’t want to ejaculate and “waste” his sexual energy.
Is Long-Term Flatline Really a Thing?
On the one hand, one definition of the flatline is simply a period of withdrawal symptoms following addictive porn use and/or excessive masturbation.
On the other hand, you could make the argument that Tom experienced long-term NoFap flatline, or perhaps even a flatline lifestyle.
Tom said these exact words to me: “I’ve been in a NoFap flatline for over 3 years.”
This was his authentic experience, and it’s why he hired me for coaching… to help him get out of the funk of the flatline. I think his experience is because of one of the main dangers of NoFap.
We’ll get into this danger below, and then I’ll give you solutions and a better alternative below that.
The Dangers of NoFap
Everything in life has its positives and negatives. NoFap is no different. On the one hand, NoFap has helped millions of men create better lives by quitting their porn addiction and addictive sex habits that were preventing them from living the lives they want.
On the other hand, NoFap can create dangerous beliefs and experiences around sex, ejaculation and relationships that keep men from being able to truly thrive in life – and from experiencing the kind of romantic relationships they really want.
1. Obsessive Fear of Ejaculation
In the podcast and video above, it was mentioned that Tom didn’t ejaculate for 3.5 years because ie was afraid that having an ejaculatory orgasm would ruin his ability to be successful.
Tom was afraid ejaculation would:
- destroy his motivation
- destroy his creativity
- destroy his ability to be successful
- make women not attracted to him
And as a result, he avoided ejaculation at all costs. He avoided women too, which meant that he never learned how to deal with his desires or how to interact with women (and these are VERY useful skills for all men to learn).
He just pushed it all away… Kind of like a form of denial.
And while this can be a useful technique in the short term, it’s not a good long-term strategy (as we’ll see why below).
2. Inability to Get Into a Healthy Relationship
Healthy relationships usually involve some kind of attraction, and attraction is usually sexual. If a man has a negative view about sex, it will hurt his ability to be intimate and even form relationships with the people he is attracted to.
Many men who are doing NoFap avoid women EVEN WHILE THEY WANT A RELATIONSHIP.
To be clear, I do believe it’s useful for men to go through a period of time where they don’t sexually or even flirtatiously interact with women. Many call this a “feminine cleanse,” and it can be very healthy for a period of time.
But/and eventually, most people who quit their porn addiction will eventually want to get into a romantic and sexual relationship again.
This is why it’s very important to learn how to create a healthy internal relationship with sex, desire, and ejaculation. AND – you’ve got to master how to talk about sex too.
3. Viewing Ejaculation or Orgasm as a “Relapse”
It’s fine to consider porn use a relapse if you’re coming from a background of porn addiction (which I did). But associating the word relapse with the act of ejaculation is dangerous & problematic.
Why? Because as men, we are biologically wired to ejaculate, and ejaculatory orgasms can be very healthy, beneficial and beautiful parts of the human experience (and can create deep connection with our lovers too).
Sure you can learn to have a non-ejaculatory orgasm, but those are still peak states of pleasure that could fall into the negative category of relapse if you’re not helpful.
On the RARE occasion that someone is experiencing a true sex addiction, the word relapse might be useful here, but most men in the NoFap world are not experiencing this (if you think you are, please see a trained therapist and do not rely on online resources to heal yourself – there is too much misinformation).
4. Sexual Dysfunction
Lots of guys experience sexual dysfunction when they try to be sexual for the first time after doing NoFap for a long time. Erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, performance anxiety, and general awkwardness are common.
Think about it… During NoFap, most men simply push sex away and don’t learn how to deal with it. And nobody comes into NoFap with a healthy sex life or clean history of sexual behaviors… That means…
When a man starts to be sexual again after NoFap, all of his unhealthy patterns will show up again, because he never healed these patterns… He just pressed pause.
The good news is that it’s 100% possible for you to confidently take charge of your performance in bed and last as long as you want.
That’s a very good thing, and you can find more at the link above and by getting my FREE Ejaculation Control Guide.
5. Living a Lifestyle that Limits Your Full Potential
Sexual energy is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. If you just push it away and don’t learn how to deal with it (like many people do on NoFap), you’re probably robbing yourself of an incredibly life-giving power source that could up-level your entire life.
NoFap is a good short term solution to create a break from porn addiction and excessive masturbation, so your system can reset, but it is NOT a good long-term lifestyle.
Here’s what I suggest instead:
Integrative Semen Retention is the Best Alternative
After you’ve gone through a period of NoFap to reset your brain and system… the best way to move forward is to learn how to integrate healthy sexual pleasure into your life.
Why? Because healthy sexual pleasure can add deep joy, inspiration, motivation, connection and meaning to your life. It can help you thrive in your business, your creative projects, your friendships, and your romantic relationship(s) too.
Ejaculation is viewed as a healthy and pleasurable part of life, that should be experienced at a frequency that is ideal for your age & lifestyle.
How to Learn This Practice:
You can check out my complete semen retention guide first, which will give you everything you need to know to start a healthy and thriving integrative semen retention practice.
I also recommend taking my FREE 7-Day Semen Retention Challenge, which will give you daily exercises & steps you can take to optimize your sexual response system in a powerful and healthy way.
Ultimately, the first step is for you to make the decision that sex is something you want to integrate into your life in a healthy way. If you make that choice, I’m here to help.
I’ve helped thousands of men thrive by doing this.
And I’d like to help you too.
NoFap Timeline & Benefits
If you ARE going to do NoFap, it’s helpful to have some idea of what to expect on your journey. You’ll find a basic timeline below, but if you want an in-depth timeline one, check out my 30 days without ejaculation article.
The First Week
In the first couple of days
Just after ejaculation or quitting porn, you might not feel that great, which is probably why you’re here. After ejaculation, the human male body isn’t even optimized to reproduce for at least 48 hours (in terms of sperm quality & sperm health).
Starting a new NoFap journey might feel inspiring though, and this inspiration might power you through these first days.
In days 3 and 4
You’ll probably start to feel a return to some level of normal baseline (at least in terms of biology and neurology after ejaculation). It really depends on how much porn you were watching though. If you watched porn every day or multiple times per day, you might still feel crappy here… (in the flatline).
During this time it’s VERY important that you have a support system in place for your journey.
The online NoFap community can be a great place for that. Even better would be to combine that with my 7-day semen retention challenge (that will give you actual exercises to work with your sexual energy in a healthy way).
In days 5 – 7
You’ll probably start feeling some of the real benefits of NoFap. Things like increased clarity, motivation and drive that can come from heightened testosterone levels (which peak around 7 days after ejaculation).
The Second Week
Depending on the intensity of your previous pornography addiction or excessive masturbation habits, you’ll really start to feel the benefits of NoFap here.
Your body will have higher testosterone levels, and your dopamine levels will have normalized some too (because you haven’t watched porn in over a week). For a lot of guys this will feel very motivating and inspiring.
Many men will experience the second week as being the most clear-headed they have been in years.
That being said, a lot of guys will experience intense sexual desire during the second week too. The pressure to ejaculate and/or look at porn could be high, and again, that’s why it’s VERY important to have additional support (like what was mentioned in the first week section) if you’re going on a NoFap journey.
In The First Couple of Months
That being said, the psychological benefits of CONTINUING to take a break from porn use and excessive masturbation are big, and this is why I recommend men continue this portion of the NoFap practice into their semen retention practice.
After That, it Becomes a Lifestyle
If you develop a healthy self-pleasure practice, ONLY ejaculate at your ideal ejaculation frequency (for your age and lifestyle), and continue to avoid porn, then you’re setting the foundation for a healthy and sexually empowered lifestyle that will help you thrive in all areas of your life.
Just make sure sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating good foods, exercising regularly (both strength training and cardio), challenging yourself in good ways, having fun times with friends, and being intentional with who you spend time with. All of this matters. A LOT.
And if you need support…
I’m here to help.
Thank you for caring about your life.
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