The Battle for “NoFap”: Myths, Masculinity, and the Meaning of Masturbation Abstention

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Critical masculinities scholarship has identified a number of ways in which abstention from sex, pornography, and masturbation works to repair and reproduce hybrid and hegemonic masculinities. Though the mercurial and plural nature of contemporary online masculinities is investigated on a number of fronts, analysis to date has often pinned down abstention to a particular subject position, often understood predominantly in its gendered dimensions. In this article, I argue that the anti-pornography, anti-masturbation movement NoFap should be understood as a site of political contestation for the meaning potential of abstention and that these subject positions should be read intersectionally. Through analysis of a large corpus of tweets (6,569) scraped from the micro-blogging site Twitter, I present evidence for seven distinct subject positions linked to discrete myths, which include extreme anti-feminist and anti-Semitic articulations. I argue that this bird’s-eye view of NoFap uniquely lays out competing myths in their specificity, facilitating a nuanced understanding of “morbid” identities.




Burnett, S. (2021). The Battle for “NoFap”: Myths, Masculinity, and the Meaning of Masturbation Abstention. Men and Masculinities.

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