Healthy men should just say no to “No Nut November,” an annual, month-long event focused around abstaining from occasional masturbation. Although proponents claim that the trend benefits men’s sexual and mental health there is no research or data that suggests abstaining from masturbation or ejaculation improves focus, boosts testosterone, or reduces compulsive behaviors. Meanwhile, there is mounting evidence that the “No Fap” movement empowers misogynistic hate groups.
“I think ‘No Nut November’ is largely anti-science,” psychophysiologist and neuroscientist Nicole Prause, told Fatherly. “The new designation, and it is hardly a tradition, appears supported most by the for-profit NoFap company, some religious organizations, and groups like Proud Boys. These are largely known for their very young male members and misogyny.”
While some people have attempted to use No Nut November to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer, there is at least some data suggesting that men who ejaculate regularly are at lower risk of prostate cancer. Studies have also suggested correlations between ejaculation and improved memory, deeper sleep, improved immune cell function, and decreased inflammation, Prause says. Still, the evidence in favor of ejaculation has not stopped No Nut November from spreading the seed of misinformation all over the internet, thanks to online echo chambers like Reddit and 4chan. For instance, proponents of No Nut November often claim that withholding ejaculation increases fertility, despite the fact that studies suggest the opposite.
“There is no evidence that not orgasming for a month will influence sperm motility factors any differently than abstaining for a few days,” Prause says. “Abstaining for years is associated with decreased sperm motility, not better.”
That’s not to say that keeping your hands off yourself for a month is always a bad decision. Katie Ziskind, a marriage and family therapist, says that abstinence for a month might help some men get a handle on porn addiction, or for other social reasons. “If you’re refraining from sex in order to gain a deeper spiritual connection, you may find benefits,” Ziskind told Fatherly. “You may find benefits if you were using sex as an addiction and were using sex to numb out through a variety of one night stands.”
Scientists balk at even this claim, however. “There are zero random-assignment clinical trials supporting abstinence as a part of treatment for compulsive sexual behaviors,” Prause says. In a word—there’s no reason not to Nut in November.