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I'm posting in this circle because the "No Fap" (I know, the name is so cringey) movement is directly related to pornography consumption, and also because I want to address this question specifically to the radical feminists here. I know that radical feminism is concerned with women's liberation and our focus is on the ways that patriarchy oppresses women, rather than any negative impacts it may have on men. As such, I am not trying to ruffle any feathers here by bringing up a male-centered movement, I am just making this post because I do feel this movement is adjacent to many of the things we fight for and aligns with many of our goals. I would like to hear if anyone here has any opinions regarding it. I have never seen it discussed, perhaps there is a reason for that? Or it just hasn't come up?

Thanks to the user who posted that Gail Dines video yesterday I have been on a big Gail Dines binge on youtube. (She's amazing and I want to be her when I grow up). That led me to finding the channel for the "Fight the New Drug" organization, which is also quite excellent - it's full of expert testimonials on how porn impacts the brain, the rise of pornography in the internet age, as well as stories of trafficked women. In addition to this, they feature stories of young men who have given up pornography consumption. Going down that rabbit hole led me to the "No Fap" subreddit and I'm just really not sure what to make of it.

In the best light, I see a huge number of men who see how vile, dangerous and often pernicious pornography is, exactly the thing we want to get people to realize. Could these men be .... allies? They are the target demographic of porn, and they're shunning it. Of course, they are doing it for reasons of personal benefit (e.g. they're trying to regain the ability to have an erection without having to watch something violent and disgusting, they see how it personally impacts their ability to function and have normal relationships), rather than necessarily realizing how harmful the porn industry is toward women. I guess an analogy would be someone who becomes a vegan to lower their cholesterol rather than for animal welfare reasons. Either way, they aren't eating meat.

A reduction in consumption is a reduction in consumption. The porn industry serves a demand, and it seems that lowering demand by any means is good, right?

One post on there was like "I gave up porn because I lost my ability to see women as anything but objects". Objectification of women underlies every struggle we fight as radical feminists. The porn industry is massive and its reach is so huge, and it's hammering the idea into the heads of virtually all young men that women are subhuman objects. Gail Dines rightly calls it a "public health crisis". So I guess it's heartening(?) to see that some young men are realizing this and quitting porn, and encouraging each other to quit it, too.

I'm posting in this circle because the "No Fap" (I know, the name is so cringey) movement is directly related to pornography consumption, and also because I want to address this question specifically to the radical feminists here. I know that radical feminism is concerned with women's liberation and our focus is on the ways that patriarchy oppresses women, rather than any negative impacts it may have on men. As such, I am not trying to ruffle any feathers here by bringing up a male-centered movement, I am just making this post because I do feel this movement is adjacent to many of the things we fight for and aligns with many of our goals. I would like to hear if anyone here has any opinions regarding it. I have never seen it discussed, perhaps there is a reason for that? Or it just hasn't come up? Thanks to the user who posted that Gail Dines video yesterday I have been on a big Gail Dines binge on youtube. (She's amazing and I want to be her when I grow up). That led me to finding the channel for the "Fight the New Drug" organization, which is also quite excellent - it's full of expert testimonials on how porn impacts the brain, the rise of pornography in the internet age, as well as stories of trafficked women. In addition to this, they feature stories of young men who have given up pornography consumption. Going down that rabbit hole led me to the "No Fap" subreddit and I'm just really not sure what to make of it. In the best light, I see a huge number of men who see how vile, dangerous and often pernicious pornography is, exactly the thing we want to get people to realize. Could these men be .... allies? They are the target demographic of porn, and they're shunning it. Of course, they are doing it for reasons of personal benefit (e.g. they're trying to regain the ability to have an erection without having to watch something violent and disgusting, they see how it personally impacts their ability to function and have normal relationships), rather than necessarily realizing how harmful the porn industry is toward women. I guess an analogy would be someone who becomes a vegan to lower their cholesterol rather than for animal welfare reasons. Either way, they aren't eating meat. A reduction in consumption is a reduction in consumption. The porn industry serves a demand, and it seems that lowering demand by any means is good, right? One post on there was like "I gave up porn because I lost my ability to see women as anything but objects". Objectification of women underlies every struggle we fight as radical feminists. The porn industry is massive and its reach is so huge, and it's hammering the idea into the heads of virtually all young men that women are subhuman objects. Gail Dines rightly calls it a "public health crisis". So I guess it's heartening(?) to see that some young men are realizing this and quitting porn, and encouraging each other to quit it, too.

39 comments

[–] Medusa 🐍 61 points (+62|-1) Edited

I'm glad for the reduction in porn consumption and agree that, regardless of intent, the material impact of "No Fap" towards women is a net benefit. However, I wouldn't call these men allies unless they're specifically going "No Fap" due to the porn industry's treatment of women, and even then, it's an "allyship" based on a single issue.

Mostly it seems to be men upset that they broke their dicks through poor decision making, and while I think they should have a space to discuss that and support each other, it is if no interest or concern to me from a feminist perspective.

Edit: I did not realize that "No Fap" was its own movement/culture, I thought it was another generic male anti-porn subreddit. Given what I've learned since originally making this comment, I wouldn't call them feminist at all, they sound misogynistic as fuck.

[–] La 7 points (+7|-0)

I don’t know anything about this. How are they misogynistic?

[–] spacykate 33 points (+33|-0)

From my brief foray into nofap when I first heard about it, most the the problems that the men who do this have with porn is that they can't get hard anymore. Most, like 99% of them, would still be into porn and all its crappiness if they hadn't completely broken their dick. There is precious little introspection and sympathy for women. In fact, I found the complete opposite, a lot of resentment and hatred for the porn performers for being so alluring. They are not feminist allies.

[–] Boudicaea 16 points (+16|-0)

I'll add that my understanding has been that some of the men there are MRAs, and they don't like needing porn/women. However they would be fine with dominating and abusing a live woman, so long as she is entirely submissive and waits on him hand and foot.

This is just my impression, haven't spent any time on there really.

[–] proudcatlady 2 points (+2|-0)

Friendly reminder to everyone here that a man is not “going his own way” if he uses porn

[–] normcore 55 points (+55|-0)

r/pornfree is more likely to have allies than r/nofap. No fap can get pretty weird; one of the ideas behind it is that ~saving your semen will make you more powerful and manly. So there's all these dudes saying that they've developed these supposed superpowers by stopping masturbating. That is, it's less anti-porn and more anti-masturbation.

[–] Chickpea 37 points (+37|-0)

Also the countless memes about how they’ve collected a whole new folders worth of videos and can’t wait for it to be over so they can go back to watching more than ever to make up for the month.

It’s less anti-porn and more anti-masturbation.

This.

I agree there’s nothing really of value to discuss about NoFap that would relate to feminism, let alone radical feminism. It doesn’t have any lasting impacts, guys don’t come out of it with big revelations about patriarchy. I think it’s just another dick measuring contest/“challenge” but at the end of the day it’s still at the expense of women.

[–] proudcatlady 26 points (+26|-0)

Exactly this. They don’t care about the women in the videos and they don’t care about any women on the planet because we are ALL harmed by porn. They are doing it for themselves. Anything that reduces traffic to porn sites is better than something that doesn’t, but they’re not allies or good people.

[–] Chopu 23 points (+23|-0) Edited

There is also r/antipornography which has some great discussions about the objectification of women based on what I have seen.

[–] lucretiamott [OP] yesallmen 11 points (+11|-0)

Thanks for posting this, it looks interesting!

[–] Chopu 3 points (+3|-0)

OP there was another sub I was reminded of while replying to another comment today. There is r/PornFreeRelationships too in case you are looking for more anti-porn places on reddit. The good thing about this one is that it seems to be women-dominated based on what I have observed from my occassional silent lurking.

[–] zephyrean 9 points (+10|-1)

That is, it's less anti-porn and more anti-masturbation.

They try to abstain from porn. They're not actually anti-masturbation despite the name. From the info page:

"most of our users then return to masturbation having freed themselves of the need to use pornography."

[–] Intuiterf 33 points (+33|-0)

Urgh. Regretfully I tried to spend some time there when I was younger and anti-porn but hadn't yet discovered radical feminism and anti-kink places. They hate and blame all women for their fapping addiction, not just porn. Women aren't allowed in their "movement" because as they see it, we're the cause of all their problems and having any women in nofap is a danger to the men because they might relapse if they so much as notice a woman existing. Not joking, this is what I was told when I was told to leave. It's just the same old story.

[–] lucretiamott [OP] yesallmen 19 points (+19|-0)

Wow that's really awful. Now I'm kind of sorry I brought it up. I literally just discovered all this stuff. I usually just ignore what men are up to but I've become more interested in the crusade against pornography lately.

[–] heartwitch 10 points (+10|-0)

I'm glad you brought it up, because I'd heard of them and wondered what they were about but never cared to investigate it myself. Now I've got answers effortlessly.

[–] Intuiterf 3 points (+3|-0)

Not at all! I found wayyyyy better communities shortly after. I just wanted to share my experience with regards to how they see and blame women.

[–] Coffeefiend 10 points (+10|-0) Edited

These men are so pathetic. If they can’t control themselves, that’s their fault. And they want to gaslight us into thinking they’re stronger, more rational, should lead lol when they let their sad pee pees have total control over them and lack the self awareness and self responsibility to place the blame where it should be..their own weak asses, not women.

[–] Boudicaea 10 points (+10|-0)

I'm OK with them excluding us from a masturbation recovery sub, personally. I just wish men would respect our spaces the same way.

[–] Chopu 8 points (+8|-0) Edited

Women aren't allowed in their "movement"

It looks like they might have changed their rules since the last time you were on the sub. Because currently one of the rules on the r/nofap sidebar clearly states:

This forum is for men and women - the only requirements are being a human and wanting to develop healthier sexual habits.

They also have a link to a female-only nofap forum too for the women who want a space without men.

[–] Intuiterf 2 points (+2|-0)

I searched "women" on the sub and found some recent threads asking if women were allowed on the sub. I remember this question being asked there years ago, and the comments were always filled with misogyny and hate. I figured it would be about the same, but the comments now are pretty welcoming, I must say. Not sure what to make of that, but it's better than it was, that's for sure.

[–] Chopu 0 points (+0|-0)

I am so sorry to hear that women used to be met with hate before. I only discovered r/nofap maybe 2 years ago and just silently lurk there every once in a while. At least based on what I have seen those people are supportive of women. Even outside of nofap, I have noticed a positive shift in other places on the internet where criticizing porn from a feminist perspective is not met with as much hostility as it used to even a few years ago.

Also, I don't know if you are looking for more anti-porn places on reddit, but in case you are there is also r/FemaleDatingStrategy,  r/antipornography, and r/PornFreeRelationships (seems to be women-dominated).

[–] BlackCirce twam thursday 29 points (+29|-0)

They are adjacent to us but they are not our allies.

Many of these porn addicted men are still virulent misogynists who view themselves as victims of the women exploited in pornography and prostitution. Remember, men with addictions are not reliable supporters or protectors. Some of them may be claiming to go off porn to get attention, and I know a lot of them go on and off of using porn repeatedly just like any addict.

A man who is addicted to masturbating to women’s abuse is not a feminist or an ally. He’s a man addicted to masturbating to women’s abuse! Radical feminists need to focus on what these men do (use porn) and not what they say they are about (quitting).

Fight the New Drug is a good organization, I support them wholeheartedly against porn but they are not feminists. They are extremely reluctant to name the problem and present as gender neutral as they can, even to the point of absurdity. They do not focus on the exploitative and violent male sexuality that is behind porn and focus more on men’s myopic, selfish concerns like not being able to sustain an erection with a female partner, or men feeling isolated and sad.

I’m glad that a small number of men are seeing that pornography harms them as end users of exploitative sexual material and I hope because of that the demand goes down. But these men still need to be educated that they are the exploiters of prostituted women and any legal strategy should punish the creators and end users and never prostituted women.

[–] Chopu 16 points (+16|-0) Edited

R/Nofap isn't entirely free of misogyny (which place on reddit is though?). Some of those men are only against porn due to the damage it did to their sexual and mental health (rather than any genuine concern for women). But, I have seen some good posts too by users discussing how they want to quit porn because of how it harms women. Funnily enough, finding r/nofap kinda indirectly led me to discovering r/gendercritical so for that I am very grateful.

Ultimately, I think they do significantly more good than harm (it's one of the last places on reddit where you can criticise porn without being downvoted to oblivion) but I also think radfems shouldn't naively assume a man respects women simply because he is pro nofap. I mean he might but it's not guaranteed. After all, these are men who spent many years of their lives being porn addicts. Even if a man is genuinely repentant, the psychological conditioning and damage caused by porn are challenging to undo.

Edit: some wording

[–] zephyrean 16 points (+17|-1)

Some members are allies. The movement itself is misogynistic.

  • It doesn't care about the harm to the women raped on camera - only to coomers - and doesn't support restrictions on making porn.

  • It thinks that objections to porn use can only be religious in nature. (This is also anti-atheist, in a weird roundabout way: "Only religious people are angered/disgusted by the sight of a woman getting beaten and raped".)

  • It does not openly condemn porn use as harmful to users, it's only concerned with members to whom it caused harm by their own admission. Far from "raising awareness", it won't even publish a statement like "porn is harmful, but we won't waste time trying to convince you coomers".

  • It considers "using prostitutes" a minor vice a nofapper might consider getting rid of while abstaining from porn, not the horrific act of violence it actually is.

  • It's genderist. The website has a section "for women" that's closed off to members "who identify as male" and helpfully reminds you can change your gender in the profile to access it.

[–] Lilim 12 points (+12|-0)

Some of their rhetoric is odd and there’s nothing wrong with masturbation on its own, it’s when combined with porn that it’s a problem. I’m am glad some men are at least realizing how harmful and degrading porn is though.

[–] JooskeRunneboom 11 points (+11|-0)

It's good that they're not consuming porn because it reduces demand for porn, but I wouldn't call them allies for panicking over their broken dicks. They're still completely self-centred on the matter.

[–] Ishahchai 10 points (+10|-0)

I think they’re doing a good thing for the wrong reasons. I also think that it shows that men as a class cannot be trusted. We believe that men need to sort out their own problems and here is a group doing exactly that. Except these men are still blaming women for their own problems. Their porn consumption is entirely on them but they can’t seem to figure that out on their own.

[–] Sunkised 8 points (+8|-0)

I lurk in that space. Some men said they finally see women as human after quitting porn. People really underestimate how bad porn is for our brain. After I quit, it felt like my brain reset. I stopped oversexualizing fellow women and saw this disgusting trash for what it is.

[–] PaperDelusions 7 points (+7|-0)

I personally don't have problems with people masturbating, it can be good and healthy (if did sometimes without porn).

If by no fap you mean "no porn" then of course it's a good thing. The less porn males consume, the better for everyone.

But don't get fooled, they mostly don't do it because they care about human trafficking, disgusting abuse etc. They do it because their dick doesn't get hard the way they want it to, because they don't get off to normal sex anymore.

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