Learning anything new has clear steps.
And NoFap isn’t any different.
There’s the initial phase of learning the basics. Then, you move to the intermediate stage, and finally mastery.
The NoFap timeline simply outlines these steps in your learning.
There’s a lot of talk online of “time-based” progression through the stages of NoFap.
For example, at the 30-day mark, your mind will feel clearer. And at 90 days, you’ll reach “God Mode.”
But we don’t think this paints an accurate picture of your recovery.
First, NoFap is subjective. This means that everyone will experience it differently. Some may go through the stages quickly, and others slowly.
Progression should be defined by your level of mental clarity, self-control, and energy among other things.
In other words, the progress you’ve made towards healing.
Note that there isn’t a concrete standard for the stages of NoFap. But they generally follow the same trend. There’s a lot of resistance in the beginning and clarity in the latter stages.
Here is our outline of the seven stages of the NoFap timeline.
What Is the NoFap Timeline?
The NoFap timeline refers to stages in the NoFap journey.
As stated, these stages are usually time-based. But we think they should be based on qualitative metrics related to recovery.
This is a fancy way of saying, don’t measure your recovery only using days.
However, there are distinct things that many men have reported feeling in the first few days, first weeks, and three months into the challenge.
Each stage comes with its own benefits and challenges. And they’re a great time to work through other issues.
For example, porn addiction can bury deep seated emotions. You may have unresolved trauma that needs to be sorted.
Without porn in the way, these issues become clear. And with this newfound awareness of your problems you can solve them the latter stages of the timeline.
But wait, why solve these other issues? I thought NoFap was about curing my porn addiction.
Consider this — your porn use may be because of these other issues. And ultimately, this is what recovery is about. Getting to the root of the issue.
First, this will solve your porn addiction. And second, you’ll clean up some cobwebs along the way.
If you only abstain from porn without addressing the root issue, it’s only a matter of time before you fall into the relapse loop.
Your porn use may not be because of your sedentary lifestyle. But wouldn’t it be awesome to use recovery from porn to become more active?
This is why you’re healing. Your aim should be to use NoFap to become a better version of yourself.
It’s not about quitting porn so you can finally start living life.
It’s about learning to live a life that you love — so you don’t need porn.
Why Do People Do Nofap?
From personal to religious and philosophical to health reasons, people have plenty of motivation for NoFap.
Those addicted to pornography will benefit from NoFap the most. It’s a tried and tested method to break free from this addiction. Moreover, it’ll help you control your impulses. You’ll also experience improved mental and emotional health.
And it doesn’t just stop there, your physical health may also benefit from NoFap. Those who abstain have reported an increase in energy, focus, and confidence.
And that confidence and energy leaks into their personal relationships. NoFap also paves the way for healthier communication and intimacy with a partner.
For those part of the self-improvement crowd, NoFap is a staple in their regimen. It improves discipline and self-control.
Trends such as “No Nut November” are also responsible for the surge in NoFappers around the end of the year. Some continue to practice it even after the month is over. They find that the benefits are often worth keeping, as their overall health improves.
What Does the Science Say?
You may be thinking, all those benefits sound great.
But does NoFap really work? Or is it just a bunch of placebo hogwash?
Well, let’s turn to science to answer that.
When you’re watching porn, you’re blasting your brain with enough dopamine to rival hardcore drugs like cocaine.
And when this happens, your brain decreases it’s dopamine receptors. Over the long run, this causes significant damage to your reward circuits.
Why is this important?
Dopamine is the hormone of “drive.” Feeling hungry? Dopamine motivates you to get food. This is an overly simplified example, but you get the point. You can extend this to work, relationships, chores, etc.
With it, you’ll feel happy, alert, and motivated. Without it, you’ll feel depressed, have mood swings, and be unmotivated.
There are also many diseases associated with low dopamine. These include ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), Parkinson’s disease, and restless legs syndrome.
There’s always a lot of flack thrown at NoFap for not being backed by science. But the collateral damage it does is backed by science. And that’s where you need to focus your attention. Fapping could be ruining your sleep, relationships, and health.
Fapping could be making you sadder, dumber, and poorer than you should be. How? Take working out of example. It’s been known to alleviate symptoms of depression. But you’ll likely skip many workouts because of porn addiction. That’s how porn can make you “sadder.” Another example is work. Showing up on time and doing a great job is dependent on the quality of your sleep.
If you wake up tired, you’ll carry that energy into work. It’ll likely snowball into months and years of poor performances. At your full potential you could be due for promotions. But you’ll never know if you keep fapping.
Also, consider the following: fapping may simply be a symptom of a deeper problem you have.
When men have no purpose in life, they can often turn to empty pleasures. Sure, it’s a more philosophical take that may not apply to everyone. But it’s food for thought that may resonate with some guys.
As part of our guide to recovery, we mention finding a purpose as a key step in recovery. Read more about that by clicking here.
Stage 1: Awakening
You may have heard of NoFap through a friend or stumbled on it online. You might also be skeptical or deny that porn and masturbation has a negative impact on your life.
This is denial. And not everyone goes through this.
Some people immediately recognize the harm of excessive porn and masturbation. They commit to making a change for the better and hop on the NoFap train.
Based on who you are, the awakening stage includes a lot of research and learning. Oftentimes, we see guys more excited to try NoFap when they’ve got some knowledge about it.
Stage 2: The Challenge
This stage is marked by the first few attempts at NoFap.
Guys will quit porn and masturbation, and pick up healthy habits. This is done to rewire the brain. It also helps them manage urges.
This is also a time where we encourage guys to look at other areas of their life.
Oftentimes, porn will lull us into a false ego.
We may go to bed thinking we’re better than we actually are.
Without the constant stimulus of porn, we can clearly see who we are. It’s like looking at yourself in a clean mirror.
Maybe you’re lazy and undisciplined with your workouts? Get to it champ.
Got chores and to-do’s piling up? Finish them.
Stage 3: Fighting Urges and Emotions
This stage comes with a lot of relapses. It’s one of the more difficult periods in the timeline.
You’ll learn about your triggers and you’ll get a lot of intense urges. But be steadfast in managing your impulses.
The more you relapse here, the more you’ll prolong your recovery. It’s common to practice this stage through repetition many times until guys have a decent handle on their emotions and urges.
It sounds counterintuitive, but don’t rush through this stage. Get a decent understanding of your triggers. This will help you develop strategies to manage them.
It’s common for this stage to happen more than once. Fighting urges is frustrating and it can easily seem impossible after a relapse.
Be kind and give yourself the time you need to start again.
Stage 4: Withdrawals
Mood swings, irritability, and physical discomfort is the name of the game here.
Withdrawal symptoms are temporary. They’re your body’s response to your PMO habit that’s been deeply ingrained over years.
This is one of the more annoying stages to get through.
Some may confuse withdrawals with flatline. However, withdrawals may be indicating that flatline may occur soon.
Stage 5: Plateau and Flatline
Flatline is a period of low libido. You’ll also want nothing to do with sex.
It’s easy to get discouraged here since you’ll feel flat all around.
Your energy may be low, and your mood will be dampened.
Flatline hits everyone with varying intensity and duration.
There’s also an interesting theory that states flatline is your brain’s way of resetting itself. Read more about that in our guide to flatline by clicking here.
Stage 6: Clarity and Ascendance
This is where the brain fog lifts.
In the other stages, you may have felt bogged down by withdrawals, flatline, and urges.
All the pain didn’t make sense.
But now it does. This is where you’ll start to appreciate why you were doing NoFap.
Mental clarity allows you to not want to watch porn. And this is huge. Before this, you might have felt like you were resisting the grip of porn and masturbation.
You wanted a session so bad, but you couldn’t.
This is the defining mental shift of this stage. If you don’t want to watch porn, you know you’re here.
You’ll also enjoy improved focus. Tasks become easy, and although distractions are plenty — you can easily swat them away.
This is a time for celebration, it’s often accompanied with a “high.” This is where talk of “superpowers” sets in. To some, “superpowers” are just the normal you. The part of you not bogged down by porn. To others, superpowers are a newly discovered heightened state. This is because some guys started watching porn very young — around 8-12 years old to be precise. So they’ve never experienced adulthood without porn.
Whatever you choose to believe, it’s a stage where personal transformation happens. We’ve commonly seen guys shift the way they see themselves. Their self-worth is elevated, and from this abundant state — they attract the best of relationships, wealth, and health into their life.
Stage 7: Maintenance and Integration
You’re at a stage now where NoFap is a part of your life. It’s just like brushing your teeth.
Integrating NoFap into your life is about finding a healthy balance between sex and everything else.
As you reach the end stage, the curtains aren’t drawn yet.
Urges will still come and go, they never stop. But their grip is almost non-existent. You’ve learned that urges are fleeting. They leave as easily as they come. You’re mindful every time an urge comes. You don’t suppress the urge. You simply examine it for what it is, and let it pass.
Your strategies for managing urges are also much more sophisticated now.
And you’ve used the benefits of NoFap to build up other areas of your life.
At this stage, you’ll enjoy the foundation of self-disciple and resilience you’ve built. You can confidently face life’s challenges head-on and make mindful decisions towards your future.
Gone is the brain fog that dampened the sunshine of your life.
NoFap isn’t an “empty” practice.
We hope you’re not just sitting around idly not touching your willie.
These stages are meaningless unless you use them to transform your life.
Let’s think back to stage one and see how this all ties together.
You found something wrong with your life (excessive porn use) and decided to change it.
Upon doing so, you discovered that you can implement strategies that slowly get you to your goal of quitting.
Consistent application of these strategies yielded results. And seeing those results motivated you, so you reapplied the strategies.
On the path to success, you relapsed many times. But you eventually got there.
Congratulations, you’ve discovered a system that works for you. And you can repeat it with everything else in your life that needs to be fixed! Finances, relationships, physical health, etc. are all yours for the taking.
NoFap is a systemized approach that teaches your brain (aka your problem solving machine) to do its job better!
It’ll be better equipped to gracefully and confidently handle future challenges.