People who engage with anti-masturbation groups like NoFap and the "Reboot" community are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts once they believe they've "relapsed." Researchers from Children's Hospital, Los Angeles and colleagues surveyed men who participate in NoFap forums online. From their paper in the scientific journal Sexualities:
"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.