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The ultimate test of self-discipline: lockdown and the NoFap community.

Smith, David S.; Butler-Warke, Alice; Davidson, Emma-Lee; Stevens, Gemma


Emma-Lee Davidson

Gemma Stevens


NoFap is a community of mostly heterosexual men abstaining from what they see as an addictive cycle of pornography, masturbation, and orgasm, induced by the exploitation of innate male urges by the pornography industry. In the general population, increased masturbation and consumption of pornography are associated with psychological factors including low affect, loneliness, and boredom, all of which may be exacerbated by the lockdown/social distancing measures adopted in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The present study explores how the NoFap community has responded to the pandemic through discourse analysis of an online message board. We identify four key themes: i) I let go in lockdown, ii) the opportunity of lockdown, iii) testing the parameters of NoFap, and iv) community cohesion. Each is defined and discussed. Combined they illustrate a digital community struggling to honor its meritocratic masculine ideals in the face of challenging circumstances.


SMITH, D.S., BUTLER-WARKE, A., DAVIDSON, E.-L. and STEVENS, G. 2022. The ultimate test of self-discipline: lockdown and the NoFap community. Sexualities [online], Online First. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 16, 2022
Online Publication Date Sep 27, 2022
Deposit Date Sep 28, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 3, 2022
Journal Sexualities
Print ISSN 1363-4607
Electronic ISSN 1461-7382
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords NoFap; COVID-19; Pornography; Manosphere; Masturbation
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