NOBNOM is a 30-day challenge from Tim Ferriss to men. It’s not for everyone, but Daniel Dowling explores some of the benefits.
NOBNOM—(It stands for no booze no masturbation)—was coined by Tim Ferris for a 30 day challenge to men. The benefits range from increased productivity to enhanced testosterone production, but there is more to be gained from this challenge. Being that I rarely drink alcohol, I don’t have much to say about NOB. But when it comes to NOM, I have some advice that will help you become a more persistent and powerful man.
Sexual desire is energy
Sexual desire is energy, and masturbation is an outlet for sexual desire. When you go for a NOM month, you will accumulate high levels of energy. This can be good or bad depending on the outlets you plan for.
Tim Ferriss popularized NOM during his unending quest for higher productivity. He reasoned that if you didn’t spend hours procrastinating with porn and touching yourself, you’d have more time to devote to your self-mastery. But that isn’t even half of it.
Once you stop masturbating, you also free up thought-energy that would have been spent on planning to watch porn and fapping, as it is known. So guys go into the experiment thinking about how much extra free time they will have, but there is a hitch.
Many people go into the experiment and become so preoccupied by sexual desire that they could be five times as productive with their normal routine of porn and masturbation. Insomnia is a common side effect, as well is sexual daydreaming and an enervating struggle to not touch one’s self. If it’s such a hassle and there are so many downsides, why bother with a spankless month?
My Failures and Success
From my experience, which was well before I’d even heard of Tim Ferriss, the benefits range from unlimited inspiration, increased muscle mass, a 10-fold increase in productivity, better sleep, increased availability to partners and loved ones, supreme self control, more creativity, better sleep, better mood, deepened purpose, and a profound commitment to living passionately.
But when I first began my own experiments, I failed miserably. I failed because my focus was on what I wasn’t doing instead of what I wanted to do. So I suggest taking a concurrent challenge along with your NOM: BYB—The “be your best” challenge. Cheesy, but sometimes life calls for cheesy.
The BYB challenge is the meat and potatoes that fills the empty space where masturbation used to be. Without an intense focus on your plan for doing life-changing things, all of that sexual energy you accumulate during your NOM will stagnate, fester, and cause problems for you. But with a firm plan for the ways you’ll channel sexual desire, NOM will be a unique opportunity to be your best self.
The NOM month is a shift in perspective. Instead of looking to feel good, the focus is solely on doing good. If you have faith and commit to the challenge, you’ll realize by the end that feeling good and doing good don’t have to be mutually exclusive. You’ll also find that focusing on the long-term doesn’t have to be a sacrifice of temporary pleasure.
What are some goals that have collected dust on your to do list?
What areas do you need to improve in your career and in your passions?
What do you hope to have accomplished at the end of NOM, aside from not touching yourself or watching porn?
All of these questions and more need to be pondered and answered in order for you to have an explosively productive month. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
But there is a catch 22 … The science on porn consumption points to a correlation between porn usage and diminished capacity for long-term thinking. If you’ve habitually used porn, this is something you need to get real about. It can be harder than you’d anticipate, so the difficulty has to be factored in realistically.
What is your focus?
When I started my experiment many years ago, I had no plan aside from what I wouldn’t do. Not surprisingly, my focus was on not watching porn and not masturbating. Here’s a parallel to make this blunder clear: Ever play golf? You know the pond that you don’t want to hit right before the dogleg? The harder you focus on not hitting it in the drink, the wetter you get. Similarly, the harder you focus on not watching porn and masturbating, the hornier you will get.
Sexual energy is a real thing. Tesla was famously quoted saying, “If you want to understand the universe, think in terms of energy.” Everything is energy. Your sexual desire is the most powerful energy of all because through it you can create new life. Sexual desire is just like any energy in that you can change it to suit your needs. Much like moving water can be converted into hydroelectricity, your sexual energy can be converted into whatever energy you need at any given moment; work, play, planning, creativity, etc.
The only limit for the ways you can channel sexual desire is your creativity, which is limited by your inspiration, which is limited by your goals, focus and imagination. The bold concepts are inherently unlimited, which means you are the only person who decides your limits.
So for your masturbation-free month: What do you imagine you can accomplish? What will you focus on?
What will your goals be? How will you improve?
Once you address those crucial points, you’ll have the building blocks for limitless inspiration and the creativity to channel your sexual energy into your best self.
Before I addressed that fundamental requirement in my own NOM experiments (which is an ongoing thing I just call life at this point), I had some seriously hilarious meltdowns.
Hilarious Meltdowns and Life-Changing Breakthroughs
I would fool myself into believing that jumping up and down repeatedly in the tightest underwear I owned did not qualify as masturbation. Ho-lee-shit. When I felt like I couldn’t control my sexual energy, I would touch myself while playing cat and mouse with an orgasm, which totally defeated the point (and one time occupied an entire night).
I was confronted with raging erections at random, which would distract me from being productive. I oftentimes felt hopeless to succeed in my experiment, and even to control my thoughts. But as I persisted in my challenge through several humbling failures, I discovered some secrets.
One day while having a bully of a hard time, if you know what I mean, I sat down and literally shouted, “Enough!” Then like magic, I asked myself what I could do to change the situation. I had lapsed in my tai chi practice, and since I knew how much it helped me to control my thoughts, I went outside and did a few simple exercises, like snow hands and the dragon opens the curtain.
As I focused my breath and my thoughts, I asked how I could channel my desire into my best self. As I stopped resisting the sexual desire and focused on what I could do with it, my erection faded. As my erection faded, my thoughts were replaced with things that I could do to advance my writing career. Through my thoughts I managed to turn a seemingly impossible urge into energy that fueled my dreams.
The day that I controlled my erection was the day that I discovered the power to rule my life. I shifted my focus to what I could do, rather than what I couldn’t do, and a level of inspiration that I hadn’t known was opened up to me. I accomplished my best writing after that fateful tai chi session, and as I dug deeper into the power of my thoughts and goals, I began to improve exponentially.
I started to ask myself at the beginning of each day,
“How can I channel my sexual desire into the life of my dreams? How can I step closer to my goals through my sexual desire? What projects do I need to focus on today?”
I would then give myself permission to energize my dreams through my sexual desire, and would focus intentions on how I would be inspired, on what I would accomplish, and on gratitude for my sexual desire. If sexual desire isn’t embraced and planned for, it will rule your life.
I still experience waves of desire, but instead of fearing them or attempting to repress them, I thank God for my future wife, my body, and the sexual desire that fuels my dreams and goals.
When sexual desire calls, use it as an opportunity to reflect on your innermost
When I experience sexual desire, I used it as an opportunity to reflect on my internal status. I would ask myself questions like,
“What do I need to accomplish in my professional life? Have I exercised and taken care of my body today? Have I thought about my long-range goals and taken steps to achieve them today? What have I done for others today?”
Whatever I needed to do, I would then give permission to myself to channel sexual desire creatively, faithfully, respectfully, intelligently, and successfully into the life of my dreams. Reminding yourself of other’s needs through sexual desire helps connect that powerful desire to the life and growth of your relationships and community.
As I allowed myself to be inspired through sexual desire, I began kick ass more and more each day. After a month channeling sexual energy into my dreams, my life was hardly recognizable. A vague depression that I had for a long time lifted and was replaced by a sense of purpose, fulfillment and excitement to meet the next day’s challenges.
Instead of sitting around and waiting to be entertained, my life became a sumptuous feast of information, challenge, education, growth and adventure. I began reading several new books each week that deepened my knowledge in areas my work benefited from.
Instead of turning to my email and social media for direction first thing in the morning, I took up meditation to focus on my plans and the goals I would accomplish. Instead of settling for writing one new article a week, I began writing two or three articles each day plus additional chapters for new book projects.
Whereas before I had been content to exercise 2 times a week, I began breaking up my workday with calisthenics routines and barefoot walks and sprints. In the span of 1 month I went from feeling hopeless to feeling unlimited, and all because I took control of my thoughts and planned constructive outlets for my sexual desire. I made NOM something deeper and ended up becoming my best self, which is a continuing process.
Now I don’t think about touching myself or looking at porn because I’m too busy creating the life of my dreams through my plans and goals. I am too busy creating inspired work that helps others change their lives to think of what I’m not doing.
Tips for you
Here are some helpful tips for you to take control of your sexual desire and make NOM the launch-point of your highest self.
Develop a ravenous appetite for knowledge. Pick up a new language and engage your mind to better yourself. Being energized to be your best is much different than feeling constantly distracted by an overwhelming sexual desire, and it is a choice. The more you commit yourself to learning, the more inspiration you will have to channel your sexual energy into the life of your dreams.
Before you start your NOM, make a list of at least ten books and gather them. Plan for books that you’ll read on breaks and during down times. Plan enjoyable fiction for bedtime. Instead of being distracted by sexual desire and tempted to masturbate, reading a book expands your mind and helps you relax into a deep sleep. * Also keep an emergency book for times where sexual desire feels insurmountable.
Tai Chi, Yoga or any moving meditation is important for channeling your sexual energy into your plans and goals. Get familiar with a repertoire of simple moves so that you can have up to 20 minutes of flow. Focusing on a goal or an intention while doing a moving meditation will channel your sexual desire beautifully into the person you want to be. So take 10-30 minutes every morning for tai chi to set the tone for your day and to empower yourself.
3. Adopt a morning routine
If you have a reliable morning routine that helps you to concentrate your focus and prepare for a day of inspiration, you’ll have no need for excuses in making the most of your month. My routine is very effective for me and it looks something like this:
Keep eyes closed upon waking and reflect on dreams, goals, and intentions for the day. Meditate on the qualities you want to exhibit, and focus on the things you want to improve on or complete. Ask for the things you need to do your best. Set focus for your sexual energy and emotions in building the life of your dreams. Be grateful for the people and things in your life and the success you’ve have achieved. (20-30 minutes).
Give myself a pep talk in the mirror and envision the accomplished man I am planning for. Tell myself how valuable and worthy I am, and how important my work is. (5 minutes)
Moving meditation (tai chi) for 20-30 minutes. Intense focus on my goals for the day, for the week and the month. Gratitude for my body and sexuality. (20-30 minutes)
Breakfast for 20 minutes.
Read for an hour. *I’ve found reading work related material helps inspire new ideas in my work flow throughout the day. —
The most important thing about my routine is that it is internally focused. I am the one driving my thoughts and emotions right off the bat; not somebody in my email; not somebody on social media; not a talking head in the news. Because my thoughts are my own and because I’m focusing on the power of my thoughts to shape my day, my day ends up being a slow burn of energy, inspiration and creativity.
The first bit of outside information that I take in is during my morning reading, and even that is meditative and creative by nature. It also helps me to focus attention on my goals for learning and increasing my value as a professional.
The first bit of digital information that I take in is 2 hours after I’ve clearly set the trajectory for my day. I’ll read emails, respond to comments on my articles and engage with my audience, and do some social networking.
4. Allow sexual desire to be a reminder of your power to change.
When you practice taking control of your thoughts and directing your energy, you will get better and life will get easier. Remind yourself that you always have the power to respond positively. When I figured out that my sexual desire could be a reminder of the person I want to be and the things that I need to do, I unlocked a deep level of growth that increases every day.
5. Allow sexual desire to be a reminder of your power to change.
Journaling is the ultimate tool to sharpen your mind and habits. Whatever you’ve experienced through the day, any important thoughts or breakthroughs, take time to write them down. Taking half an hour or so each evening to reflect on your day will help you to integrate success and persistence into your identity.
Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct you life and you will call it fate.” Journaling, along with meditation, will help you overcome those thoughts that had been limiting you.
Taking this time will also help you to identify the weaknesses that are holding you back from greater success. So after I get done journaling, I immediately make self-improvement plans for the next day. One of the best parts of journaling is how you feel your momentum and progress shifting from one day to the next.
After I picked up these habits I gained tremendous faith in my self. I have infinitely more control over my good days, but even when I have bad days, I have the confidence and faith in myself to come out swinging the next day. Now bad days are preludes to my biggest breakthroughs.
If you’ve thought about NOM, you aren’t crazy; you’re curious. If you think that masturbation is essential for good health, well, you’re in the company of the 99%. But as for me, I was too curious not to try, and too determined to fail.
What did I receive for the sacrifice?
- An energized career
- Unlimited access to creative energy and inspiration
- An increased self-worth
- A deepened awareness of my internal needs
- Increased self-control
- Control of my thoughts
- Amazingly productive daily routines
- Greater capacity for long-term decision making
- Greater vitality
- Better sleep
- Happier mood
- Healthier body
- Greater capacity to give
- Enhanced cognition
- Greater sense of purpose
- More than I could possibly list
*I should note that all of the benefits of NOM were solely my choice. Deciding not to masturbate for a month will do nothing in and of itself, but it is what you fill that time with that counts.
I hope this has helped you to make the most of a spankless month Who knows, it could be the start of a spankless life! If you have any additional tips or comments, please add to the conversation below. If you need any more advice from me, please get in touch. I do this stuff for a living.
Success is found when you make decisions not by the easiness or hardness of a thing, but whether it is right thing.