What Is ‘No Nut November’ (and Should You Participate)?

What Is ‘No Nut November’ (and Should You Participate)?
Photo: Yupa Watchanakit, Shutterstock

It’s the beginning of No Nut November, a yearly internet challenge in which participants abstain from orgasming for an entire month. This unusual annual abstinence event originated online around 2011, probably as a satirical take on “Movember,” and since then has grown in popularity. It’s hard to say how many people actually partake in NNN, but there are nearly 100,000 members of Reddit’s No Nut November group.

As you might guess, it’s mostly men, but women are encouraged to participate, as well.

What are the rules of No Nut November?

NNN’s rules are easy to understand but difficult to follow: Don’t climax in November. Don’t rub one out to porn (at least, don’t fully rub one out to porn), and don’t complete the act with your partner. “Wet dreams” do not count, although lucid wet dreams disqualify you.

“Any loopholes like Nut Coupons, birthday freebies, three strikes rule, or anything of the sort will disqualify you from the challenge. If you are looking for any loopholes of the sort, then you’ve already lost,” according to Reddit’s No Nut November sub.

“To clarify, the challenge is about abstinence from orgasming, not abstinence from any other things. Watching pornography, spending time with your partner, masturbating, and even having sex is TOTALLY ALLOWED. It’s only climaxing or orgasming that disqualifies you.”

How serious is No Nut November?

The serious “don’t orgasm” crew are on Reddit’s “NoFap” board. No Nut November is a much more lighthearted affair. It’s more of an opportunity to post memes (some of which are really funny) or discuss sex and masturbation habits than a serious movement; although there are some adherents who earnestly tout the benefits, claiming increased mental clarity, increased productivity, and that abstinence is beneficial to people who are “addicted” to porn and masturbation.

The case against No Nut November

While not orgasming for a month probably won’t hurt you, there doesn’t seem to be much scientific support for its benefits. If anything, there are counter indications that a healthy sex life can lower your blood pressure, make it easier to fall asleep, and can help prevent prostate cancer.

Even the idea that No Nut November might help people who compulsively masturbate seems scientifically dubious. “There are zero random-assignment clinical trials supporting abstinence as a part of treatment for compulsive sexual behaviours,” psychophysiologist and neuroscientist Nicole Prause told Fatherly.

While it’s not all that serious, No Nut November seems like a holdover from the Victorian-age idea that “self-abuse” can lead to all manner of ill-effects. Here’s an excerpt from The Secret Companion: A Medical Work on Onanism or Self-Pollution, by R. J. Brodie, because Victorian writing on masturbation is amazing:

Sages and moral writers of every age, have described in glowing terms the direful and awful result of Masturbation a passion that captivates the imagination of its victim imperceptibly, step by step, till every moral feeling is obliterated, and all the physical powers destroyed.

The case for No Nut November

There’s nothing wrong with deciding to “master your domain” for a month — I’m not one to kink-shame — and some would argue that there’s something admirable about choosing to delay pleasure for its own sake. Like a cleanse or a fast.

Abstaining from pleasure as a way of exerting power over your own urges is nothing new. No Nut November is at least somewhat similar to religious traditions revolving around abstinence, like the Lenten season in Catholicism, even if the aims are very different — it’s not like too many people are abstaining for orgasm in order to reflect upon Christ’s suffering.

Even without a lofty, spiritual purpose, at the very least, not masturbating frees up a lot of time that can be spent learning a second language (assuming you really take time with yourself) and is, at the end of the day, a fun internet challenge that almost everyone will fail.

Destroy Dick December

Finally, it must be said that there can be no better follow-up to No Nut November than “Destroy Dick December.

This much-less-popular annual event offers a more hedonistic (but ultimately more difficult) cock-related challenge: Nut once on Dec. 1, twice on Dec. 2, and so on until Dec. 31, when you’ll nut 31 times — I assume a plume of dust or a ghost will come out.

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