NOBNOMGOM: Why abstinance is only half the equation
Porn is destroying young minds. According to some estimates, more than 30% of the infrastructure that makes up the internet is for porn.
With the advent of super-cheap computing and widely-available internet access, I can’t help but image hundreds of millions of young teens around the world with access to a computer and the internet, all looking at porn.
What is the result? An endless buffet of pornography for little reptilian brains to feast on.
Recent studies show that the effects of porn on the brain are similar to the effects of hard drugs, and frequent porn users show behavior similar to drug addicts. Further, and I’m speaking entirely of porn’s effects on guys here, frequent porn users have difficulty reaching sexual arousal and maintaining an erection. It’s quite clear that porn is wreaking havoc on the brains of young men.
In spite of the apparent perils of a generation raised on hardcore porn, there’s a glimmer of hope that men are abstaining and making an effort to rewire their brains. Leading the charge is the site Your Brain On Porn, which organizes the latest research about porn and how it affects the brain. It’s a sort of public health awareness portal for men looking to take back control of their urges.
And then there’s reddit NoFap, a community dedicated to abstaining from PMO (porn, masterbation, and/or orgasm). As of August 2015, r/NoFap has more than 160,000 people committed to keeping their hands off themselves.
Even the term NoFap has cracked into the mainstream, with various TV personalities and internet celebrities commenting on the movement. In my own group of friends, many guys have committed to “not fapping.” We keep tabs on each other in GroupMe, posting frequent updates about successes or failures adhering to the NoFap principles.
Given the destructive nature of porn’s effects on the brain, these movements look like an effective remedy. And in many cases, there are stories of guys completely changing their lives through NoFap.
More recently, NoFap has spawned a new kind of “men’s abstinence” movement: NOBNOM. Coined by Tim Ferriss, the rules of NOBNOM are simple: No Booze and No Masterbation. Among the benefits of NOBNOM are increased testosterone, leading to more energy, focus, and productivity.
While those benefits are up for debate, one thing is sure: it’s very difficult to follow through with NoFap after a few drinks. After 30 days without sexual release, the slightest trigger can, in a matter of speaking, set the mind off. After a drink or two, your brain’s willpower will be so depleted that it won’t be able to resist sexual urges nearly as effectively as when you’re sober.
In that sense, NOBNOM is the natural evolution of NoFap, ie NOM. It succeeds where NoFap fails by removing alcohol from the equation. However, having tried NOBNOM myself, hearing about friends who’ve tried it, and reading accounts online, it’s clear that NOBNOM is still not an effective means to abstain from PMO.
We need a better solution. That solution is NOBNOMGOM.
What is NOBNOMGOM? NOBNOMGOM is the next evolution of NOBNOM. It’s principles are the same, with the addition of GOM:
- No Booze
- No Masterbation
- Go Out
So additional to cutting out Booze and abstaining from Masterbation, we add two proactive actions: Going Out and Meditating.
The addition of GOM is the solution to achieving NOM. Without GOM, NOBNOM will rarely be a successful strategy.
Why does NOBNOMGOM succeed where NOBNOM fails?
When you cut out any form of stimulation from your life, your brain will seek new stimulation to replace it. One example of this on a small level is craving sugary foods after a night of drinking. The lack of stimulation from alcohol leaves a vacuum, and our brains want to fill that vacuum with the immediate stimulation of carbohydrates.
On a broader scope, look at drug addicts (whose brains, as we pointed out, are quite similar to porn addicts’ brains). Imagine a recovering heroin addict – for years he’s been using a chemical to be happy. When the chemical is removed, life is very dull and it takes months or years of healthy living to return to that same level of happiness.
When cutting out booze and masterbation (on NOBNOM), it’s easy to feel as if you’re making progress in life, when in fact you may retreat in other areas.
By Going Out (ie, socially stimulating activities), you put yourself in situations where most people drink. If you can’t continue Going Out without drinking, then the progress is superficial; when you do decide to Go Out again, you will be just as tempted to grab a drink as you were before. The attachment to booze must be burned away by proactive action.
Note that there are many ways to “Go Out”. To Go Out means to stretch your comfort zone in a social setting. Dinner with friends or family, meeting new people at bars or clubs, networking professionally – these all qualify as Going Out. As a single guy in my mid 20s, it includes a wide array of activities (where people my age drink), but usually refers to going out to a bar or nightclub to hang with friends and meet women.
I’ve tested this myself and I recommend trying it out. If you’re a social guy, try NOBNOM for 30 days and see how it works. You’ll find that your inclination to Go Out is less, and it’s easy to rationalize not Going Out under the veil of progress.
Meditating, the other half of GOM, is not as important as Going Out. However, the insanely awesome health benefits of meditation or so well documented at this point that it definitely helps the process.
Learning from NOBNOMGOM
Admittedly, there are many things that could substitute for GOM. Any healthy activity that brings positive emotion into your life could be used in place of Going Out and/or Meditating: travel, hiking, exercise, reading, and sex all work well.
I suggest GOM for young guys because the nature of not drinking and not masterbating is not to become a monk, but to improve the quality of your relationships with women. By Going Out, the issue is tackled head on. Further, I’ve tried NOBNOM in combination with many different activities, with fewer results at achieving NOM than when just using GOM.
In fact, the acronym should read in this order: GOMNOBNOM. Going Out and Meditating should be the first priorities. Not drinking while doing so should follow, and a lack of desire to binge on porn and masterbate will naturally follow as a result.
That’s a key secret to male psychology: by Going Out and stretching your social comfort zone, you will naturally do the things that lead to a healthier brain and lifestyle. But for the sake of phonetic appeal, we’ll stick with NOBNOMGOM.
Minimalism and stoic ideas are great for cutting out bullshit from our lives and helping us focus on things that really matter like health, wealth, relationships and meaning. However, in our efforts to cut the fat, we often forget to replace the fat another source of energy. Such is the shortcoming of NOBNOM.
A simple addition to the formula – GOM – fills the the emotional vacuum we create when attempting the NOBNOM challenge.
At the very least, it’s what works for me and why GO+M is a big part of my life.