Iatrogenic effects of Reboot/ NoFap on public health: A preregistered survey study

Journal article


Prause, N. and Binnie, J. (2023). Iatrogenic effects of Reboot/ NoFap on public health: A preregistered survey study. Sexualities. 0 (0), pp. 1-33. https://doi.org/10.1177/13634607231157070
AuthorsPrause, N. and Binnie, J.
Abstract

“Reboot,” especially NoFap, promotes abstinence from masturbation and/or pornography to treat “pornography addiction,” an unrecognized diagnosis. While the intention
of Reboot/NoFap is to decrease distress, qualitative studies have consistently suggested
that “Reboots” paradoxically cause more distress. The distress appears to occur in
response to (1) the abstinence goal, which recasts common sexual behaviors as personal
“failures,” and (2) problematic and inaccurate Reboot/NoFap forum messaging regarding
sexuality and addiction. This preregistered survey asked men about their experience with
perceived “relapse” and NoFap forums. Participants reported that their most recent
relapse was followed by feeling shameful, worthless, sad, a desire to commit suicide, and
other negative emotions. A novel predictor of identifying as a pornography addict in this
lower religiosity sample was higher narcissism. Participants reported that NoFap forums
contained posts that were misogynist (73.7% of participants), bullying (49.1%), anti-LGBT
(42.9%), antisemitic (32.0%), instructing followers to harm or kill themselves (23.5%), or
threats to hurt someone else (21.1%). More engagement in NoFap online forums was
associated with worse symptoms of erectile dysfunction, depression, anxiety, and more
sex negativity. Results support and expand previously documented harms and problems
with Reboot/NoFap claims of treating pornography addiction from qualitative research.

Keywordsaddiction; abstinence; iatrogenic; pornography; reboot
Year2023
JournalSexualities
Journal citation0 (0), pp. 1-33
PublisherSage
ISSN1461-7382
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/13634607231157070
Web address (URL)https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/13634607231157070
Publication dates
Print23 Feb 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted24 Feb 2023
Deposited24 Feb 2023
Accepted author manuscript
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https://openresearch.lsbu.ac.uk/item/93513

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