5 Reasons Why People Fail on NoFap

  • Author: Sumit
  • Published: May 8, 2023
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The beginning of a NoFap journey is often the most exciting.

Many guys are amped up, and excited for the benefits.

But they soon realize it’s more than meets the eye. And may find themselves hours deep in a porn binge.

Every second, 372 people are typing the word “adult” into a search bar.

So we asked ourselves, why do people “fail” on NoFap?

To us, failure isn’t just considered a relapse. Failure consists of giving up entirely and continuing to watch porn.

Knowing about the pitfalls on the path to NoFap greatness will help you avoid them. In this article, we’ll explore 5 reasons why people fail on NoFap.

1. Counting Days

Ah yes, the “abstinence” approach to recovery.

A lot of men measure their success on NoFap using the number of days they’ve been clean.

Make no mistake, this is a significant indicator of your recovery. But it isn’t the full picture. Recovery is more than just abstinence. It’s about learning how to live so you don’t need porn. It’s not just about abstaining from porn.

Moreover, a high day count can put immense pressure on a guy. The longer he goes, the more he feels like he needs to uphold that “streak”. And he may fold under this pressure.

Relapses are also worth mentioning. A guy with the “day counting” mindset may be hit harder by relapses. The thought of being on “day zero” is discouraging to many.

Here’s what to do instead:

Take a look at how many times you’ve watched porn within the last month. Aim to reduce the number of relapses in that window.

You should also measure your recovery using benefits! This is where it gets fun. For example, some guys practice NoFap to recover from PIED (porn-induced erectile dysfunction). When they feel their erection coming back, it’s a tangible way to see recovery.

Another benefit you can use is decreased social anxiety. Of course, you’ll need to talk to people to test your comfort level. And when you do, it’ll improve your social skills. This is something you can use to improve yourself instead of fixating on how many days you’ve been clean. Shift your focus. And be creative with your recovery. You’ll find that NoFap can be a lot more fun this way.

journal with handwritten days of the week

2. Edging

Edging is the act of taking yourself close to orgasm, but not climaxing.

It’s obvious why this can set you up for a relapse. Some guys edge with porn, which makes it even worse. Remember, your current desire to PMO (porn, masturbation, orgasm) is fueled by a previous PMO session. And edging can be seen as a session. Rather, experts have said it’s worse than a quick climax. This is because of the sustained dopamine spike. Your brain becomes desensitized, and it needs more just to feel the same high.

When you climax, you go below baseline levels of dopamine in addition to a release of prolactin. This gives your brain a chance to rebalance the hormones in your bloodstream.

Some guys also edge with a partner (without porn). This is done to increase the pleasure from the eventual orgasm. If you’re on soft mode of NoFap (meaning sex is allowed) — then this type of edging is okay. Your brain will make associations of pleasure with a real-life partner, not porn. This is conducive to our goal of recovery.

Mental edging is a lesser-known concept, and possibly more important. It occurs when a sexual thought enters your mind. Instead of dismissing that thought, you entertain it. Eventually, you consider “just having a peek.” This can lead to edging, which can turn into a relapse.

Refraining from mental edging may be more important for you. This is because edging starts here. If you cut this habit out, you won’t edge in the first place. You can improve your ability to monitor your thoughts by practicing mindfulness. A great way to strengthen this skill is to practice meditation. This will improve your ability to be acutely aware of your thoughts.

When a sexual thought arises, place no importance on it. Simply see it cross the plains of your mind, and vanish.

3. Overthinking

Overthinking can cause a cocktail of emotions.

Many times, these emotions aren’t favorable, and they can lead to relapse.

Overthinking falls into two categories, ruminating and worrying. Ruminating is about trying to reconcile the past. Worrying involves negative predictions.

Someone may be ruminating about a missed opportunity, or something they forgot to do. In this case, it’s futile to constantly think about such a thing. The opportunity is gone. Thinking about it won’t bring it back.

It can also interfere with your sleep and mental health, both of which increase the chance of a relapse. Here are a few ways to combat overthinking:

  • Awareness: Pay attention to how you think. In the previous section, we mentioned mindfulness as a technique you could use against edging. The same applies here. If you catch yourself replaying events in your mind, know that those thoughts aren’t productive. You can’t control your thoughts, but you can control your reaction to them. In this case, simply let the thought float away without giving it importance.
  • Replacement: Telling yourself not to think something will cause the opposite effect. It’ll pop into your mind even more. Keep yourself busy through another activity. Put on some headphones and listen to a podcast, exercise, or call a friend. Get yourself immersed in a project that’ll ward off negative thoughts.
  • Problem-solving: Experts recommend focusing on problem solving. It’s a productive way of coping with overthinking. If your solution works, it’ll put your worry to rest which will reduce your overthinking.

Fun fact: research suggests that 73% of 25 to 35 year olds overthink routinely. They’re also more likely to have drinking-related problems.

Overthinking is also associated with other conditions such as anxiety, depression, overeating, and substance abuse. We advise you to speak to a medical professional and get to the root cause of your overthinking.

4. Loneliness

A common theme among guys who relapse is loneliness.

Being “alone” isn’t the issue. It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company.

Instead, it’s the feeling of loneliness that’s the issue. You could be in a crowd of people and still feel alone.

Feeling lonely isn’t exactly a mental health problem. But it’s strongly linked. Having a mental health disorder can increase the chances of feeling lonely.

So, how do you cope with this feeling? Here are a few tips:

  1. Think about it: This is often the first step in addressing your loneliness. Knowing why you feel lonely will help you apply the correct solution.
  2. Make new connections: Sometimes, loneliness does come down to simply being alone. To make new friends you’ll have to put yourself out there. Consider joining a club or a group. You could also work or study at the library or a cafe to be around others.
  3. Take it slow: Fixing a loneliness problem isn’t an overnight thing. Getting to the root cause of your loneliness may require unpacking trauma. Furthermore, meeting new people and developing friendships with them may happen over weeks and months.
  4. Don’t compare yourself to others: Some people need social interaction more. This is decided by their experiences and environment. If you see someone doing amazing on their own, don’t compare yourself to them. You may need more social connections to feel satisfied.
  5. Get some help: As mentioned, your loneliness could be linked to a mental health issue. Consider working through your problems with a mental health professional.

It’s important to know about the different types of loneliness. Some people go through deep bouts of loneliness that last a long time. It doesn’t go away despite their social connections. Others go through temporary loneliness from bereavement, switching schools or jobs, or moving to a new country. If you experience the latter, it usually goes away once you’re settled in your new environment.

As for the former, you’ll need to dig deep and find out the source of your loneliness.

5. Spending Too Much Time Online

It’s difficult to escape the internet entirely. We carry it around in our pockets wherever we go.

Notifications tempt us to check our phones frequently. However, the internet can be used as a tool to your advantage.

Turning off push notifications is an excellent way start to this. It’ll allow you to be less distracted, and reduce your screen time.

Furthermore, you can use the internet to gain knowledge in beneficial areas. Examples of these are exercise, nutrition, and spirituality to name a few.

Higher screen time has been known to have a negative effect on one’s mental health. Aimlessly browsing online can increase the likelihood of a relapse. This is because you’ll be more prone to stumbling upon triggers. When using the internet, we advise being intentional.

Set “soft rules” for your phone use. Try to refrain from being on the internet (phone or otherwise) a couple hours before bed. Also, try to keep your phone away from your bedside.

a smartphone showing social media icons

Final Words

“Failing” NoFap isn’t just about a single slip.

It’s about repeating poor habits that cause you to slip over and over.

Eventually, you become so discouraged, that you stop trying altogether.

That’s failure.

Of course, there are many paths to failure. We’ve outlined the common ones here.

Breaking free of these “failing” patterns will require some effort. Once you push through and clean up your habits, you’ll notice more success on NoFap. And your success will reinforce your efforts. Eventually, you’ll cultivate an ecosystem of positive habits and learn to live without porn.

This is recovery.

Get to it. We believe in you.

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Sumit is a chemical engineer and a motivational speaker. He is a regular contributor to MrMindBlowing.com.


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