Their motivations vary, but a growing number of men are gathering online in communities devoted to abstinence not only from sex, but also masturbation. It has more than , members, or about as many as forums devoted to Bitcoin and Bernie Sanders. And while some users claim "superpowers" and warn of the dangers of porn and sex addiction, there is little advice in the forum being offered from qualified medical professionals. The term "fap" is a relatively new onomatopoeic synonym for masturbation which cropped up in a Japanese comic strip in The "NoFap" community has had a steady increase in its membership since it started in , and has spawned an organisation and spinoff groups, some devoted to particular religious communities. In some ways the movement is an offshoot of the huge demand for online health advice.
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The Internet has opened up the possibility to find someone who shares just about any interest, and that includes those with an affinity for the art of masturbation. HuffPost Live took a deep dive on Tuesday into niche-market dating apps, which serve everyone from pot smokers to dedicated dog lovers to self-pleasure aficionados. The latter group often connects through sites like Bate World, a social networking platform that serves the "solosexual" community, according to Paul Rosenberg, the founder and manager of "jack-off club" Rain City Jacks. Rosenberg told host Caitlyn Becker that the users who visit sites like Bate World are simply finding common ground in their sexual interests.
Sex may still be one impetus behind the mainstreaming of the internet, but it's not always about hooking up with other people. Sometimes it's just about you and your computer. And what better time to explore technology's role in solo sex than International Masturbation Month? I've always thought of self-love as just that: something you do with yourself.