Hands Off!! Why are a bunch of men quitting masturbation? So they can be better men.
拿開你的手!! 為什麼很多男人正在戒除手淫? 為了成為更好的男人
By Emily Witt
Published Apr 14, 2013
raditionally, people undergo a bit of self-examination when faced with a potentially fatal rupture in their long-term relationship. Thirty-two-year-old Henry* admits that what he did was a little more extreme. “If you’d told me that I wasn’t going to masturbate for 54 days, I would have told you to fuck off,” he says.
Masturbation had been part of Henry’s daily routine since childhood. Although he remembered a scandalized babysitter who “found me trying to have sex with a chair” at age 5, Henry says he never felt shame about his habit. While he was of the opinion that a man who has a committed sexual relationship with porn was probably not going to have as successful a relationship with a woman, he had no qualms about watching it. Which he did most days.
Then, early last year and shortly before his girlfriend of two years moved to Los Angeles, Henry happened to watch a TED talk by the psychologist Philip Zimbardo called “The Demise of Guys.” It described males who “prefer the asynchronistic Internet world to the spontaneous interactions in social relationships” and therefore fail to succeed in school, work, and with women. When his girlfriend left, Henry went on to watch a TEDX talk by Gary Wilson, an anatomist and physiologist, whose lecture series, “Your Brain on Porn,” claims, among other things, that porn conditions men to want constant variety—an endless set of images and fantasies—and requires them to experience increasingly heightened stimuli to feel aroused. A related link led Henry to a community of people engaged in attempts to quit masturbation on the social news site Reddit. After reading the enthusiastic posts claiming improved virility, Henry began frequenting the site.
然後，就在去年年初他交往兩年的女友要搬到洛杉磯之前，亨利看到了ＴＥＤ（一個國外請成功人士演講的節目） 裡一位心理學家Philip Zimbardo講到＂【男性的衰弱】 ＂，它說，相比於真實人和人之間的社交，當一個男性更傾向於待在不切實際的世界的時候，他的學業，工作和感情就很容易失敗。
“The main thing was seeing people who said, ‘I feel awesome,’ ” he says. Henry did not feel awesome. He felt burned out from work and physically exhausted, and his girlfriend had just moved across the country. He had a few sexual concerns, too, though nothing serious, he insists. In his twenties, he sometimes had difficulty ejaculating during one-night stands if he had been drinking. On two separate occasions, he had not been able to get an erection. He wasn’t sure that forswearing masturbation would solve any of this, but stopping for a while seemed like “a not-difficult experiment”—far easier than giving up other things people try to quit, like caffeine or alcohol.
He also felt some responsibility for what had happened to his relationship. “When a guy feels like he’s failed with respect to a woman, that’s one of the things that causes you to examine yourself.” If he had been a better boyfriend or even a better man, he thought, perhaps his girlfriend wouldn’t have left New York.
So a month after his girlfriend moved away, and a few weeks before taking a trip to visit her, Henry went to the gym a lot. He had meditated for years, but he began to do so with more discipline and intention. He researched strategies to relieve insomnia, to avoid procrastination, and to be more conscious of his daily habits. These changes were not only for his girlfriend. “It was about cultivating a masculine energy that I wanted to apply in other parts of my life and with her,” he says.
And to help cultivate that masculine energy, he decided to quit masturbating. He erased a corner of the white board in his home office and started a tally of days, always using Roman numerals. “That way,” he says, “it would mean more.”
For those who seek fulfillment in the renunciation of benign habits, masturbation isn’t usually high on the list. It’s variously a privilege, a right, an act of political assertion, or one of the purest and most inconsequential pleasures that exist. Doctors assert that it’s healthy. Therapists recommend it. (Henry once talked to his therapist after a bad sexual encounter; she told him to masturbate. “Love yourself,” she said.)
And despite a century passing since Freud declared autoeroticism a healthy phase of childhood sexual development and Egon Schiele drew pictures of people touching themselves, masturbation has become the latest frontier in the school of self-improvement. Today’s anti-masturbation advocates deviate from anti-onanists past—that superannuated medley of Catholic ascetics, boxers, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Norman Mailer. Instead, the members of the current generation tend to be young, self-aware, and secular. They bolster their convictions online by quoting studies indicating that ejaculation leads to decreased testosterone and vitamin levels (a drop in zinc, specifically). They cull evidence implying that excessive porn-viewing can reduce the number of dopamine receptors. Even the occasional woman can be found quitting (although some women partake of a culture of encouragement around masturbation, everything from a direct-sales sex-toy party at a friend’s house to classes with sex educator Betty Dodson, author of Sex for One).
One of the unintentional pioneers of the current wave of anti-masturbators is Alexander Rhodes, a 23-year-old college student and actor who lives in Pittsburgh. On June 20, 2011, after coming across a study conducted by Hangzhou Normal University in China that found that testosterone levels peak after seven days without ejaculation, Rhodes started a “NoFap” forum on Reddit, where he announced various challenges for those who wanted to abstain. (Fap is onomatopoeic Internet slang for masturbation.)
在當今戒除手淫的潮流中，一位無意間成為先驅者的人是 亞歷山大．洛德斯Alexander Rhodes，住在美國匹茲堡的一位２３歲的學生兼演員。２０１１年６月２０日在閱讀過一篇中國杭州師範大學的研究發現，男性睪酮素會在七天未射精過後提升至最高，於是洛德斯開始在Reddit上建立了＂不打手槍＂論壇，上面發起了各種自制力的挑戰。（Fap是網路上稱呼手淫的俚語）
When it first launched, the forum received 20,000 visitors a month. There was no shortage of mutual encouragement, with badges awarded for milestones like going a week, a month, or a year without fapping, and a counter tracking exactly how many days a person has abstained. NoFap’s popularity has now ballooned to nearly 400,000 unique visitors per month, and posts have grown in diversity. Some threads tout the perceived benefits of no-fapping (“found my first girlfriend”). Others recommend self-improvement books or revel in a newfound sense of perspective (“I was able to notice birds chirping, which I haven’t done in years”), or engage in what can best be described as penis monologues (“Today I was sitting on the toilet and I looked down and I saw my penis and I kinda just stared at it, then I asked him ‘What is your purpose penis?’ To which he replied ‘I dunno lol’”).
But perhaps the most noticeable shift within the forum is how NoFappers have begun to characterize their short-term challenges as long-term lifestyle choices—one discussion is literally titled “NoFap isn’t a challenge. It’s a way of life.” In the thread, Aterazideme posted: “I desire to be a person in control of his desires. Each day of NoFap brings me close to that ideal.”
And that “ideal” is defined pretty consistently, at least to “fapstronauts,” as they call themselves. In short, it means being more masculine, which in turn leads to success in other aspects of life. Take the example of 19-year-old Redditor Ojdidit123. After 70 days without masturbating, he wrote, he went from being a virgin to meeting a woman on his flight, getting a “raging boner,” and having sex with her in both the plane and an airport hotel. The confidence he got from that encounter, he said, not only helped him perform well at a job interview later, and secure a job at a hedge fund for the summer, but also enabled him to call a long-simmering crush and ask her out. “All that shit happened in the span of 48 hours,” he posted. “It was pretty fucking crazy.”
Henry went out to California. For two months, he lived with his girlfriend. Their relationship felt strong, the sex was great, and everything seemed to be on track. Then work and family compelled him to return to New York. They remained a couple, and Henry maintained his efforts. He says that his abstention, along with daily meditation and no porn, made him feel confident and grounded. He recorded his voice on his iPhone and claims it had deepened. Perhaps it was all in his mind, but he noticed other benefits, “like when you walk down the street and you make eye contact with a woman, and she smiles. And there’s no darting with the eyes, or no staring creepily, just a more natural exchange.”
He compares the feeling to being on antidepressants: “It was like a buffer, little things didn’t bother me.” He also began feeling more alert. And younger. And he found himself far more attracted to women—not in a furtive or uncomfortable way, but in the sense that the world around him felt more charged. Something totally banal—the before and after pictures of a Weight Watchers commercial, for example—suddenly had meaning.
“It felt like it did when you were in puberty or in college,” he says. “Women became more salient.” For 54 days, he did not masturbate. Then, over the phone, the relationship ended, and so did Henry’s campaign. “I didn’t have any desire,” he says. “I could totally not have done it, but I was like, ‘Fuck it.’ ”
【原文】- YewYork Magazine