Fapping is the practice of masturbating without a partner. It involves stroking your own penis, sometimes with your hands or with a variety of sex toys like pocket strokers, fleshjacks, and prostate simulators. Some people also like to include their testicles and perineum in a fapping session. These areas contain nearly the same number of nerve endings as your penis and can feel just as sensitive.
The fapping movement first took off online in the early 2010s. It spawned from a debate about whether masturbation really had health benefits. The discussion got heated, and some men started claiming that they were experiencing a variety of physical and mental benefits from refraining from masturbation for long periods of time, including increased self-esteem, stronger erections, and even cures for erectile dysfunction. The word “fapping” popped up in the headlines of various websites and blogs, including Wonkette, Gawker, and the New York Times. The term made its way into the mainstream because of its similarity to the sound effect of fart, and also because fapping is a goofy word that’s easy to type into forums or chat programs.
Masturbating is not a bad thing, but it can be harmful if you’re addicted to it or use it for emotional or psychological relief. If you’re concerned that your masturbation has gone too far, try focusing on other things in your life to get pleasure, or talk with your healthcare provider for guidance. During orgasms, the body releases hormones dopamine and oxytocin, which can improve feelings of happiness and increase your self-esteem.