On the internet, everything is a challenge: Either you’re getting a bucket of ice dumped on your head (to raise awareness of ALS) or setting yourself on fire (for, uh, the likes). Beyond the potentially dangerous one-off stunts, there are month-long challenges, many geared toward self-improvement: “Drynuary,” for example, has participants forgo alcohol for the entirety of January. Or, if you feel your masturbation/porn habit has spiraled out of control, you may participate in a tradition known as “No Nut November.”
Which begins today.
Your personal guidelines may vary, but the basic rule is this: no jerking off between Halloween and the first of December. A more ascetic variation forbids intercourse as well, meaning no nutting of any kind, solo or otherwise. Whether women can be said to “nut” — and the permissibility of cranking your hog without nutting — are the type of questions I’ll let you iron out yourselves.
Originally, when I set out to write something on this phenomenon, I wanted to explain how there’s really no such thing as No Nut November: It’s an elaborate meme that parodies “challenge culture” in general, combining elements of No Shave November (a cancer-related cause) and Reddit’s r/nofap community, where some 370,000 people discuss efforts to “reboot” by abstaining from auto-erotic behavior for days, weeks and even years. In practice, No Nut November — which really took off in 2017 — is a joke about lacking the self-discipline to do this.
When these guys aren’t revealing how they “failed” the challenge, they’re usually ribbing the r/nofap crowd for exaggerating the supposed benefits of storing up your semen. (The subreddit promotes 30-day abstention periods throughout the year — e.g., Orgasm-less October — and does not affiliate itself with No Nut November as such.) It’s not that nobody on r/nofap has a sense of humor, but when you post stuff like this…
…and claim that you’re becoming “smarter, stronger and faster” each day you don’t flog the dolphin, well, you open the door to mockery. It doesn’t help that there’s an ongoing schism in r/nofap over the “superpowers” one allegedly acquires by quitting masturbation. Some members feel utterly renewed and invincible, while others urge them not to overhype the effects, annoyed by what they view as pseudoscience.
The No Nut November crew delights in satirizing such evangelism, describing newfound abilities including, but not limited to, telekinesis, levitation and alchemy. Incredible stuff.
And if you still had any doubt that they don’t take the anti-fap philosophy all that seriously, they’ve also proposed months like Destroy Dick December and Fibonacci February, where the goal is to jack off more and more with each passing day.
But here’s a wrinkle: Not Nut November isn’t a joke to everyone.
Some have considered trying it, and others already have. That sounds harmless as far as memes that spiral out of irony into sincere action go, but sustained opposition to stroking off has a darker side. Once you start believing that your jizz has mystical properties — at least one r/nofap disciple has written of “The Cup of Hermes,” which apparently resides in “the loins” and fills as we “preserve our seed” — you’re on the same wavelength as some true weirdos.
This ethos, moreover, finds an ally in archaic, puritanical and authoritarian dogmas. Obviously, masturbation was stigmatized in religious cultures focused on the necessity of procreation — and the sinfulness of spankin’ it. This old Boy Scouts manual offers an example of god-centered, evidence-free claims around semen’s function and nature.
From here, it’s a short jump to masculinity-obsessed, right-wing extremism. The reason r/nofap even exists is because of a study linking a week of abstinence to higher testosterone levels. That also appears to be the rationale behind the “no wanks” rule adopted by a white supremacist gang known as the Proud Boys, who think “it will leave them more inclined to go out and meet women,” a theory the no-fappers embrace as well.
Racists who warn against the collapse of white culture at the hands of brown people are automatically invested, too, in the retention of “pure” white-guy splooge, a necessary tool in their war of demographic control. As Congress’ ranking neo-Nazi stooge Rep. Steve King put it in a tweet against immigration: “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, goes a step further, calling porn itself a weapon of “racial hatred against Europeans,” wielded by a nefarious cabal of Jews. No doubt this kind of paranoia is stoked by headlines that warn of plunging sperm counts in the Western world.
It’s enough to make some wonder if purposefully not nutting correlates to a rise in fascist ideology — a suppression of physical release to match the conformity of dull obedience and intellectual inhibition. Of the Proud Boys’ #NoWanks vow, sex and feminism writer Lux Alptraum smartly observes: “If every time you get the urge to indulge in self-pleasure you’re forced to think instead about the organization that has banned you from masturbation, that group can feel increasingly essential to your life — purely by virtue of the fact that you cannot stop thinking about it.” Difficult as it may be to prove these patterns, it does make sense that illiberal politics would seek dominion over the body in addition to the mind, the two quite connected in this case.
That’s why I’m begging you, men: Feel free to laugh at No Nut November and pump out more quality memes about it, but do not, under any circumstances, withhold that nut. Masturbation, besides being safe and healthy — even Fox News knows that! — is an essential bulwark against the fringe reactionaries eroding our democratic traditions, nutting very much included. First they’ll take your nut, then they’ll take your freedom.
It is your right — nay, your responsibility — to exercise this patriotic, egalitarian instinct whenever the whim should strike. You needn’t rely on porn if you have an ethical objection, and don’t feel pressured to sing the praises of rubbing one out — I’ve got that covered. But for the love of god, indulge in this gift of human sexual anatomy. Do it often. Call this the “Go Nut November” challenge, or “Must Nut November,” or maybe just “Nutvember.” The branding isn’t important, but your happiness and autonomy are. Spill that seed, boys.
And remember: There’s always more where that came from.