This post is about masturbation.
Or a lack, thereof. Because last month, I did a 30 Day No Masturbation, aka No Fap, challenge.
Hands down, this will probably be the most important blog post I’ve ever written. Why? This was probably the best challenge I’ve ever done. (and roun’ these parts, that’s not an expression thrown around lightly).
In this post, I’m gonna talk about why masturbation (and porn) are so toxic, then get on to what happened.
That said, let’s go.
Money Doesn’t Make the World Go Round
You may have heard the expression “money makes the world go round”. Literally speaking, this is, of course, ridiculous. The planet’s been quite content for 4.5 billion years without the stuff, thank you very much.
Figuratively speaking, it’s also ridiculous. Money doesn’t make society function, sex does. Sure, dollas may be the lubricant that greases society’s wheels, but sex is the driving force behind every animal species on Earth. Money is only a means to an end. Sex, and the propagation of the species is that end.
From a biological standpoint, how could it be anything else? In the Darwinian game, if we don’t pass on our genes in the form of snotty-nosed brats/angelical wanes, we fail at the game of life. Food? Water? Shelter? Platinum membership on Xbox live? Just means to an end.
After all, if we had infinite resources; if we fulfilled every one of Maslow’s needs, but didn’t pass on our genes, there’d be none of us left. Biologically, the perpetuation of man-kind is our ultimate goal. Sex is the only way to achieve it.
I’m not going to go into the religious side of things, and whether there’s a higher purpose than sex. Biologically, there’s not. But hey, life is what you make of it. If you think there’s a higher purpose, then there actually is a higher purpose.
Regardless, we can all agree that sex is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. And like all powerful forces, it can be harnessed for good, or abused until self-destruction.
The Outlets of Sexual Energy
So sex is an extremely powerful force. The currency of this force is sexual energy. What is sexual energy? It’s energy that arises from our libido.
To see how potent sexual energy is, consider any animal before and after castration.
“Destroy the sex glands, whether in man or beast, and you have removed the major source of action. For proof of this, observe what happens to any animal after it has been castrated. A bull becomes as docile as a cow after it has been altered sexually. Sex alteration takes out of the male, whether man or beast, all the FIGHT that was in him. Sex alteration of the female has the same effect.” – Napoleon Hill
A castrated animal will of course still have energy. But only a fraction of what they had before, as they’ve lost all their sexual energy. Thus, the MAJORITY of our energy is sexual energy.
What use is this sexual energy?
Well, as healthy human beings are always gaining more of it, it needs an outlet. The obvious outlet is having sex. (The reason we have sexual energy in the first place.)
The second outlet is masturbation.
The third outlet is sexual transmutation.
Energy can’t be created or destroyed, only changed from one form to another. – Physics.
Transmutation means change. Sexual transmutation refers to harnessing sexual energy, and applying it to other channels. “Other channels” can be whatever you like. Climbing mountains, campaigning against social injustice, fighting wars, writing books, winning friends and influencing people, accumulating fortunes, working out, debating… Anything.
In short, we can harness sexual energy to build the world of our dreams and a kick-ass life. Sexual energy, or its transmutation – is the force we need to become the strongest versions of ourselves.
Now, you may be thinking, “Iain, this is a load of airy-fairy, new-age BS.”
Fair point, but sexual transmutation has been around for thousands of years. The retention of sexual energy was revered in Ancient Chinese culture.
“When a man squanders his semen, he will be sick and if he carelessly exhuasts his semen he will die before his time.” – Master Sun Ssu-Mo, a prominent physician of the Tang Dynasty (618-906 AC),
“There is no medicine or food, and no spiritual salvation that can prolong a man’s life if he fails to understand and practice the harmony of sexual energy.” – Peng Tze, physician to the Yellow Emperor
“A man may attain health and longevity if he practices an ejaculation frequency of no more than twice monthly, or twenty-four times in one year. If at the same time, he pays careful attention to good diet and proper exercise, he will live a long and healthy life.” – common Ancient Chinese Wisdom.
These quotes aren’t talking about masturbation. They’re talking about losing sexual energy with sex.
I.e, they’re talking about the dangers of losing sexual energy at a time when there was no porn, when there was no TV, when by and large there was no masturbation.
It’s akin to to Seneca’s advice in On the Shortness of Life.
“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste alot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount of it has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realise that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life, but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it.”
Seneca wrote that over 2000 years ago. Warning against wasting time, at a time when there was none of the time-wasters we have today.
Thus, is Seneca’s advice, and that of Ancient China, held true back in they day, it’s even more important nowadays.
The wisdom of Ancient China was that a man shouldn’t waste his sexual energy, even when having sex. Nowadays, losing sexual energy via masturbation is the norm! (Or so I was told in sex education class.)
But I digress. Take-home point: sexual transmutation isn’t new. Masturbation and porn are.
Other enegies can also be transmuted.
In the legendary Think and Grow Rich, chapter 11 “The Mystery of Sex Transmutation”, Napoleon Hill lists ten “mind stimuli” which can be transmuted. They’re listed in order of power, sex being the most powerful.
- The desire for sex expression.
- A burning desire for fame, power or financial gain, money.
- Friendship between either those of the same sex, or those of the opposite sex.
- A Master Mind alliance based upon the harmony of two or more people who ally themselves for spiritual or temporal advancement.
- Mutual suffering, such as that experienced by people who are persecuted.
- Narcotics and alcohol.
“Scientific research has disclosed these significant facts:
- The men of greatest achievement are men with highly developed sex natures; men who have learned the art of sex transmutation.
- The men who have accumulated great fortunes and achieved outstanding recognition in literature, art, industry, architecture, and the professions, were motivated by the influence of a woman.
The emotion of sex is an “irresistible force,” against which there can be no such opposition as an “immovable body.” When driven by this emotion, men become gifted with a super power for action. Understand this truth, and you will catch the significance of the statement that sex transmutation will lift one to the status of a genius. The research from which these astounding discoveries were made, went back through the pages of biography and history for more than two thousand years. Wherever there was evidence available in connection with the lives of men and women of great achievement, it indicated most convincingly that they possessed highly developed sex(ual) natures.”
(My own theory on why Leonardo Da Vinci achieved so much was (partly) that he was gay at a time when being homosexual was illegal. Thus, the guy had a ton of sexual energy with which to take on the world.)
Hill then explains that the vast majority of the “greats” achieved their greatest achievements well past the age of forty because they wasted their sexual energy in their youth.
Of course, there are other factors at play – acummulating 10,000 hours, life experience etc, but the fact that Hill is saying this of men and women who lived in a era without masturbation and porn only highlights the problem we face today.
So, let’s take stock.
- Sex makes the world go round.
- Most of our energy (our fighting spirit; drive) is sexual energy.
- Sexual energy needs an outlet.
- Outlets are ejaculation during sex, masturbation, or sexual transmutation.
Now, as we all know, sex (leaving aside the ejaculation part) has incredible benefits. Studies show again and again that sex is a huge indicator of life satisfaction.
And as we’ve read, sexual transmutation takes us from mediocre to genius, allow us to achieve great things, and build the world we dream of.
But the third outlet – masturbation – has none of the benefits of the other two. And as we’ll see, not only does it makes sexual transmutation impossible, but is a slippery, self-destructive slope.
Why Masturbation is a Big, BIG Problem.
- You’re wasting your sexual energy.
To lift ourselves from mediocre to genius via sexual transmutation, we need sexual energy to transmute. Clearly, then, building a kick-ass life with sexual transmutation and masturbation are mutually incompatible. We can’t have it both ways.
The more we fap, the more we waste, and the less we have to transmute. The more we fap, the less we have for building skyscrapers, making art, writing, lifting weights, and changing the world as we know it.
Frequent masturbation is like self-castration. We become the bull without the fight. We lose the motivation to challenge ourselves, we lose the drive to build the life of our dreams, and we become a sad shell of our potential self.
The opportunity cost is enormous. By masturbating, we’re missing out on massive opportunities for personal growth, and missing out on what life is really about.
And I’m not against depleting sexual energy by having sex. Obviously, the ideal is having sex without ejaculation, thus preserving sexual energy but getting all the benefits. Win win. However, the Ancient Chinese wisdom gave leeway – twice a month, 24 times a year.
But depleting sexual energy through sex isn’t what I’m talking about. Self-castration with masturbation is.
2. Masurbating Tricks Your Brain into Thinking your Winning at Life.
Back in 10,000 BC, you had to be a high status individual to get the stunner of the pack. Nowadays, not so. You can be morbidly obese, with zero social skills, with no useful skills for society, and still have access to the sexiest human beings under the sun, at the touch of a button.
Yet, when we masturbate, our brain is none the wiser. After all, you have access to the most beautiful women or men you’ve ever seen, and you’re ejaculating. From the brain’s perspective, you must be winning big time at the Game of Life, whereas nothing could be further from the truth.
And shoutout to Simon Somolai over at Basic Growth for his straight-up talk on this subject. As he says, satisfied needs don’t motivate.
If your brain thinks you’re top dog, why would you possibly want to improve? If you have access to an unliminited number of men/women online, what possible motivation does that give you to go out and develop the social skills, physical health, and societal value that you need to attract an actual human being?
When Charlie Munger, business partner of Warren Buffet, was asked how to attract a worthy mate, he replied, become someone worthy of a worthy mate. Masturbation and porn give us access to the worthiest of mates (biologically speaking), without the need of becoming worthy ourselves.
It’s a toxic short-cut. Masturbation requires no self-development or effort and exposes your brain to a super-stimulus in the case of porn, which further pushes your brain to take the easy way out.
And just like Facebook tricking your brain that you’re communicating, masturbation tricks your brain into thinking you’re having sex. But just like Facebook, masturbation carries none of the benefits of the real thing, and leeches the energy needed to go out and get the real thing.
3. It’s a Super-Stimuli that real-life can never imitate.
Super-stimuli are things that our brains we’re never meant to handle. Related are environmental mismatches, where our bodies experience things they never would have encountered back in the day.
Take sugar. Our bodies are designed to seek out sugar, because foods that contain sugar are high in calories, which are easily stored as body fat. Our ancestors were designed, upon finding honey, or a mango tree, to gorge themselves and put on as much weight as possible. It was a survival advantage, because when food is scarce, the pudgy man wins.
The same is true for fat. Why would a caveman eat a chicken breast with no calories, when he could eat the fatty legs?
Nowadays, our bodies cravings for sugar and fat doesn’t do so well. We now have access to more sugar (combined with fat) at your average corner store than cavemen would in a lifetime. Hence, two-thirds of Americans are obese. Thus, you might say McDonald’s is a super-stimulus.
Similar mismatches arise with foot problems (we shouldn’t be wearing cushioned shoes), dental cavities (way too much sugar), arthrities (inflammatory grains), nutrient defiencies (nutrient varied hunter-gatherer vs. single foodstuff farming), poor eyesight (lack of visual distance variety) and depression (living in a world not built for human beings). The list goes on and on.
But back to masturbation and porn. Back in the day, cavemen and cavewomen had to make do with who they had in their clans of around 150 people or less (Dunbar’s number).
Nowadays, a 12 year old in 1 minute can see more flesh than a caveman (or woman) saw in a lifetime. Again, it’s a case of satisfied needs don’t motivate. If from puberty guys (and girls) are satisfied, how can they be motivated to become the strongest version of ourselves?
But more worryingly, is how this super-stimulus re-wires our brain.
Dopamine & The Law of Diminishing Returns
Dopamine is the pleasure chemical. When it’s released by the brain, it makes us feel happy. It’s nature’s reward system – it’s released when we do something conducive to survival. In this way, nature teaches us to be better humans through little scoobie snacks of pleasure.
Eat sugar and fat? Good for hard winters. Dopamine. Run real fast to escape a saber-tooth tiger? Dopamine. See six pack abs? Must be a strong, worthy mate. Dopamine. See a baby? You need to look after it. Dopamine.
But we get the Mother of All Dopamine Hits from sex. Why? Because biology wants us to do that above all.
Back in the day, this was great. It encouraged our ancestors to procreate and gather more food for the offspring.
Nowadays, it’s still great. Without the dopamine reward, we wouldn’t be driven to keep reproducing. But thanks to internet porn, YouTube videos and the likes, we can be flooded with far higher levels of dopamine than a caveman would’ve encountered.
Why is this a problem? First, like alchohol and drugs, our bodies quickly normalise to these super-high levels of dopamine. Thus, to get the same level of pleasure, we need even more dopamine.
How do you get even more dopamine? By going down even darker alleys of internet porn and masturbating more. More masturbation = even less sexual energy.
But let’s not forget. Our brains are built to seek pleasure, and take the path of least energy. Every dopamine hit from masturbation reinforces behaviour like a sardine tossed to a dolphin. The more we masturbate, the more likely we are to seek out masturbation in the future, and the further we slide down the slope of self-destruction.
It’s a vicious cycle. Our brains reward us for messing up our lives. Every time we waste sexual energy, the dopamine hit is an atta boy that makes us want to do it again. With less sexual energy, we have less drive to face the challenges in our lives, driving us to masturbate even more.
And of course, the sight of a man or woman in real life simply cannot compare to the insane dopamine levels experienced in the past. If they can’t compare, why even try? Thus, we’re driven further into the toxic cycle.
4. We Use it To Escape Your Problems.
Brains want dopamine. Brains wants to expend the least amount of energy possible. Handy for survival, that.
But paired with masturbation and porn, disastrous.
To become the strongest versions of ourselves, we have to follow our hearts, not our heads. We have to choose the hard way, not the easy way. To grow, we have to do the thing that scares us the most. We do things not for what we’re going to get, but for who we’re going to become. We will never achieve anything great in our comfort zones.
So, with masturbation reinforced through dopamine as a habit, which will le brain choose: An insanely easy way to get pleasure that real-life can’t provide, fulfilling (or so the brain thinks) life’s prime goal in the process? Or girding our loins, following our heart, doing the scary thing, which offers no garauntee of success, with the only certainty of cuts and bruises in The Arena?
The reptilian brain is gonna choose the former, every single day of the week.
Plus, with the accompanying loss of sexual energy, we’re even less likely to tackle the challenges in life that make us stronger and our lives better.
Tis a vicious, vicious cycle.
5. Lowers Confidence.
Unless you’re proud of masturbation, it lowers your confidence. It’s not something to be proud of.
Everytime we fap = less confidence = less likely to tackle challenges = further masturbation = even less confidence = no confidence with members of the opposite sex = even more likely to fap vs. actually have sex.
Yet another destructive positive feedback system.
But Here’s The Good News.
I hope that by now, we’re on the same page about the toxic effects of masturbation (and porn).
But hey, on the flip side, this means that by kicking it to the curb, life will quickly take on a new beastly shine.
For every vicious cycle, there’s a heavenly cycle of beastly gains. For every slippery slope, there’s a upward staircase to a kick-ass life and the strongest version of ourselves.
So if you’re reading this and thinking, “Holy crap, what am I doing to myself?” then don’t sweat it, brother (or sister). It’s all up from here.
The Heavenly Cycle of No Fap.
- WAY more (sexual) energy.
With your mojo back, the only thing you have to do is decide where to spend all the energy. Lifting weights, reading, writing, creating music, building social skills, changing the world… Imagination’s the limit here.
With more energy and more motivation, you take more action. And of course, nothing motivates action like action, leading to yet more action. The more you do, the more you want to do. Win win.
2. Unsatisfied Needs
With your brain no longer fooled that you’re winning at life, you can be objective about where you are, and thus actually go about winning at life. Funny, eh?
Increased mental clarity leaves you able to accept where and who you are, in order to become who you want to be.
3. Associate effort with reward.
When you stop masturbating, you can’t get a dopamine hit whenever you want any longer. Your brain is retrained to link effort with reward.
Needless to say, associating effort with reward is fundamental to every area of life.
4. No Escaping Your Problems.
This is often described as one of the hardest things about No Fap. You have to confront your demons – there’s no hiding. Whereas before you would’ve indulged in dopamine hits to blunt the mental pain, and escape, now you have no choice but to face reality.
But with your drive back, increased mental clarity, and revamped effort-reward circuitry, surmounting life’s challenges will never get more appealing.
5. Confidence Sky-rockets.
With all of the above – energy, mental clarity, choosing the right way over the easy way – PLUS the knowledge that you’ve no longer got a dirty little habit hiding away?
F- yeah. Feels epic.
And of course, all these benefits reinforce No Fap, making it an easier habit to stick to.
What Happened on the Challenge.
So, did my life become beastly?
Here’s my experience.
- Choosing unknown heaven vs. known hell.
Before April, I was working as a freelancer. I was writing, in English, for a solar energy blog. In theory, this was a very cool thing. After my 30-Day Spanish project failed, I was desperate for cash. Being extremely well-paid for this part of the world, the job was ideal. Plus, I could relocate to Buenos Aires or Marakesh anytime I wanted, and I was writing about my passion – clean energy.
For the first few weeks, all was well. But then reality sunk in. After writing my ass off to earn enough money to get a flight home for a family reunion, I wasn’t paid in time.
I was writing in English, which defeats the purpose of being in Mexico.
But perhaps above all, I was commentating on the work of those in The Arena, i.e Elon Musk, and not scrapping in The Arena myself. And as we all know,
“It’s not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could’ve done them differently. The credit goes to the man who is actually in The Arena, whose face is marred by blood and sweat and dust.”
I wasn’t taking action, I wasn’t meeting people and I defintely wasn’t making things happen.
(The reason I love writing for DreamBigStartSmall is because it’s about lessons learned being IN The Arena.)
Plus, Upwork, the freelancing platform, take 30% of income earned, and my rebellious writing style was rocking the boat.
Now here’s an interesting observation. Before NoFap, after masturbating, I found I could write for said company more easily. I procrastinated less. I became more focused. I stopped rocking the boat. From the boss’s perspective, I became a far better worker.
On the surface of things, then, it would seem that masturbation was a good thing. But actually, I became as docile as a lamb. It made me less opinionated, less likely to argue for what I thought was right. And worst of all, I became more accepting of a known hell, and less willing to jump out of the boat altogether and swim towards an unknown heaven.
I knew this was happening before No Fap. So it was no surprise that I abandoned ship almost as soon as I started.
I followed up on a job link, went into the office of a solar company here, asked for a job, got it, and I’m now in charge of sales and promotion of a small solar energy company.
Now, I spend every day improving my people skills (in Spanish), making things happen, learning how to run a business, meeting people, building relationships, transitioning the world to solar energy, and being paid for it.
How friggin’ sweet is that?!
Everyday, I have to walk into businesses, and make my pitch to the owner. In Spanish. At the start, it was pretty nerve-wracking. Now? No pasa nada.
Thanks, sexual energy.
2. Energy In the Gym
After a tough day of pitching solar energy to business owners in Ensenada, I’d wearily walk to the gym. But there, amazingly, I discovered I had fresh reservoirs of strength lying in wait.
Plus, I’ve decided for the first time to not give two shits about a bit of body fat, and go on a proper bulk.
Plus, energy in general. Selling (in another language) is an energetically demanding job, so I need to bring my A-game. Without a healthy dose of sexual energy, this wouldn’t be possible.
3. Confidence, Flatlines & Girls.
According to the No Fap website, guys go through periods of being extremely interested in the opposite sex, with flat-lines where there’s zero interest. I can definitely attest to that.
Week 1: Asked a girl out.
Week 2: Goes on date. Post-date, felt nothing.
Week 3: Nothing.
Week 4: Nothing.
Week 5: Thinks about asking a girl out.
Week 6: Asks girl out.
Week 7: Moderately interested.
So there we go. At times, I thought that No Fap had completely destroyed my interest in girls, but then it came back. (As other people have pointed out, when you flat-line, many people are tempted to fap to make sure everything is working. DO NOT do this.)
But the confidence though. That, for me, has been the biggest benefit. It’s such a virtuous cycle. You have more energy to build a kick-ass life. Said kick-ass life, (in the gym, at work, socialising) gives you more confidence in the gym, at work, and socialising, which makes you want to lift more, work more, and socialise more.
Plus, the knowledge that you’re souped up on sexual energy and not doing something you feel guilty about doing is freaking epic.
Nowadays, I just feel more ballsy. More socially cavalier. Smoother with the ladies. More of a lion amongst sheep.
Why This is All the More Remarkable (For Me)
Here’s the kicker. I can’t say I’ve masturbated much.
When we had sex education class in high school, and our teacher was talking about masturbation, and how boys did it hundreds of times (my friend said out loud “thousands”), I genuinely had no idea what the hell everyone was talking about.
To be honest, I was too busy building an empire on Habbo, training for triathlons, and studying to care.
And that, perhaps, is a sign of why my high school years were pretty damn successful in terms of pixelated business empires, grades, and sports. Because my sexual energy was friggin’ high.
I only started around age 18-19. Considering I’m now 22, that’s 3 years, tops. Around the same time, I read Think and Grow Rich (talks about the waste of sexual energy) and Basic Growth (has lots of stuff about sexual energy). Thus, I was probably saved from going down the slippery slope into the vicious cycle because I’d read how damaging it could be.
Although I’ve certainly used fapping and naked models on Google images to escape my problems, I can’t say I’ve ever watched hardcore porn or been a porn-addict. At worse, I would’ve fapped 3 times a week. But usually, trying to limit it, it’s once every 1/2 weeks before giving in. I’ve also gone large periods abstaining on adventures in other countries and such.
I’m not saying this to be all peitous. I’m saying it to point out that I can’t say my life has been ruined by masturbation. So if I enjoyed aforementioned beastly benefits, then imagine how insane No Fap would be for guys or gals out there for whom masturbation has had a big impact.
I can’t say my life has been ruined by masturbation. Nor can I say it’s been ruined by social media, phones, or videogames. However, my life has become significantly more kick-ass by face-punching them all the hell out of my life.
Some Final Remarks.
- Is NoFap for girls?
I’m not a woman, so I can’t attest to its effectiveness for gals. However, there’s a ton of lovely female YouTubers to answer this for you.
- Is masturbation ever a good thing?
One of the NoFap founders, I believe, talks about the difference between inspiration fapping and desperation fapping. Inspiration = you feel inspired, desperation = you use fapping to escape your problems. I don’t think inspiration fapping is a bad thing, but I do think there’s better ways to spend sexual energy (sex being one of them).
- Won’t NoFap give me cancer?
The theory goes that if you don’t clear the tubes, you’ll get cancer. However, the body naturally emits excess through wet dreams, then there’s sex itself. KreativeVein has a cool video on this.
- Why don’t we get taught about the toxic effects of porn and masturbation in sex ed. at school?
That’s a bloody good question.
No Fap really is the Mother of All Challenges. *Stamps with DBSS stamp of approval.*
If there was ever something worthy of a 30 Day Challenge, this is it.
Dream Big Start Small!