Why You Shouldn't Buy Into the Whole "No Nut November" Thing

Man masturbating in bed with laptop.

Every November, a bunch of guys on the internet challenge each other to go a whole month without ejaculating. It’s “No Nut November,” as they call it. Men do this for a range of reasons. For example, some claim that it enhances strength, energy, and/or focus.

The truth, however, is that there isn’t any scientific evidence that giving up masturbation (or ejaculation) will enhance your health—in fact, if anything, research suggests that there are more potential health benefits to be had by indulging in self-pleasure than by abstaining.

Before we get into that, I should mention that the idea that abstaining from masturbation or taking a break from it is good for you is one that has a long history. In fact, we can trace this back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, among whom it was widely believed that sexual abstinence before a major sporting competition was crucial to success. However, scientific evidence that abstinence improves athletic performance just hasn’t materialized.

There isn’t any evidence that abstinence improves health, either. In fact, research suggests precisely the opposite: frequent masturbation is linked to more benefits than anything. For example, among men, frequent orgasm and ejaculation are linked not just to a lower risk of prostate cancer [1], but also to a longer life [2].

For a closer look at what the science of self-love has revealed, check out the video below and this article.

It’s worth noting that pretty much all of the research in this area is correlational, meaning we can’t really say what’s causing what. In other words, is masturbation benefiting health, or are healthier people just more likely to masturbate? However, if masturbation is something that truly is bad for our health, we wouldn’t be seeing what we’re seeing in the data. So even if we can’t say for sure that masturbation improves health, study after study shows that it certainly doesn’t appear to harm health. So maybe it’s time to stop worrying so much about masturbation.

Watch more videos on the science of sex and relationships here.

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[1] Rider, J. R., Wilson, K. M., Sinnott, J. A., Kelly, R. S., Mucci, L. A., & Giovannucci, E. L. (2016). Ejaculation frequency and risk of prostate cancer: updated results with an additional decade of follow-up. European urology, 70(6), 974-982.

[2] Smith, G. D., Frankel, S., & Yarnell, J. (1997). Sex and death: are they related? Findings from the Caerphilly cohort study. Bmj, 315(7123), 1641-1644.

Image Source: iStockphoto

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