Sexual Health

Why Scientists Think ‘No Nut November’ Is Nonsense

Despite claims that abstaining from orgasms for a month has benefits, the science is on the side of ejaculation.

Originally Published: 
A man and woman laughing in bed, unclothed and covered by a blanket.
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Healthy men should just say no to “No Nut November.” What is No Nut November? It’s the annual, month-long event focused on abstaining from sex and masturbation. So is No Nut November healthy? Although proponents claim that there are sexual and mental health benefits of not masturbating, there’s absolutely no research or data suggesting that abstaining from ejaculation improves focus, boosts testosterone, or reduces compulsive behaviors. Meanwhile, what started out as a jokey internet meme has become inexorably entangled with the “No Fap” movement, which empowers far-right conspiracies, misogynistic hate groups, and harmful pseudoscience.

“I think ‘No Nut November’ is largely anti-science,” says psychophysiologist and neuroscientist Nicole Prause, Ph.D. “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.”

Although some people have tried to use No Nut November to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer, at least some data suggests that men who ejaculate regularly are at lower risk of prostate cancer. Studies have also found ties between ejaculation and improved memory, deeper sleep, improved immune cell function, and decreased inflammation, Prause says.

Still, the evidence in favor of ejaculation hasn’t stopped No Nut November from spreading the seed of misinformation all over the internet. For instance, proponents of No Nut November often claim that withholding ejaculation increases fertility, despite the fact that studies actually 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. It may be beneficial for other social reasons too. “If you’re refraining from sex in order to gain a deeper spiritual connection, you may find benefits,” Ziskind says. “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 other words, there’s no reason not to nut in November.

4 Health Benefits of Skipping No Nut November

  • Ejaculation may lower the risk of prostate cancer.
  • Ejaculation is linked with higher-quality sleep.
  • Ejaculation, especially from sexual intercourse, has been found to boost the immune system.
  • Ejaculation, especially when paired with physically active intercourse, can reduce risk of death by heart disease.

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