This November, thousands of men have attempted to abstain from ejaculation. The reasons why are somewhat unclear. The No Nut November community on the popular Reddit site has 16,500 subscribers.
According to the group's own description: "Those who have found it hard to go even a few days without masturbating attempt to challenge the dependency."
"Some do it just for the memes, while others do it for actual self-improvement."
No Nut November is clearly about what you make it, reports news.com.au.
In the daily postings of the subreddit No Nut November, men share their experiences of how they have vacillated between periods of severe discomfort and a sort of Zen state where they no longer want to jack it all the time.
"I'm actually kind of mad I have to finish it but it's my own fault for starting," wrote one Reddit user earlier today.
For the followers of No Nut November, sometimes called "Nut Vanquishers", "Thot Slayers" and simply "soldiers", the goal is simple. You cannot ejaculate. Sex counts. So does birthday sex. You can touch it, you can get close, but you cannot reach the point of no return.
While posting in the group, members must refrain from posting sexually explicitly content or racy photos, lest they make it more challenging for one another to abstain.
The group acts as a kind of support network for abstainers, where they share personal anecdotes and offer encouragement to one another as the thousands of newly chaste men struggle through the month.
And things have not been easy for the thousands and thousands of men. Without fully having the time or the stomach to trawl through the thousands of postings, it's clear to see that the attrition rate is high and many have fallen. The confessions are often emotional.
One user posted a lengthy and impassioned post after failing the challenge earlier today, thanking the other redditors for going on the "journey" with him.
"This has actually been the longest I've gone without nutting since I started back when I was 12," he wrote.
"Personally this helped me a lot with dealing with my addiction and I don't think I could've done that without the support of this community."
The language used is often hypermasculine with a tongue-in-cheek military bent — the men involved refer to each other as "comrades" and talk about their month off their junk like a battle.
"The enemies are closing in on me, if I don't make it don't lose hope soldiers," wrote another Reddit user, before switching to caps. "THAT'S AN ORDER FROM YOUR COMMANDER!!! YOU ARE ALL GONNA MAKE IT ALRIGHT? LEAVE ME BEHIND AND GO FORWARD."
The once niche internet sensation has become so popular that Burger King is now tweeting about it.
WHAT'S THE POINT?
"The added hormones had a negative affect on me and I just couldn't handle it anymore. Continue to fight soldiers," read a recent post in the subreddit, which attracted 50 comments.
But as the month rages on and the boys continue their battle against their base urges, it is unclear exactly what their enemy is.
Some refer at times to abstinence causing a "hormonal boost"; the shot of testosterone serving as a kind of panacea to many masculine ails. Testosterone defioniceny can present itself in symptoms like low self-esteem, lowered sex drive and low fertility.
There is no compelling evidence to suggest that how much or little you masturbate can affect your hormone levels.
A preoccupation with sexuality, and masturbation in particular, has been a hallmark of various online men's groups, including Gavin McInness' controversial alt-right group the Proud Boys, who are discouraged from masturbation.
It is believed within the Proud Boys that quitting masturbation can kick start one's dating life, refocusing the individual on external sexual concerns.
As time has passed, the Reddit users have reported feeling aroused by the pink meat in corned beef sandwiches and Thanksgiving turkeys. The posts are often unnerving and smutty, but also fraternal and strangely heartwarming.
"I have never felt so bad while failing NNN. It feels like you killed someone. You betrayed your brothers. You broke your promise."
As time has gone on, the competitiveness within the group has grown and the temptation has increased.
Some reported feeling enlivened as the challenge went on. "Day 22, im (SIC) getting stronger and stronger. Now I can even stop time," wrote one user on a No Nut message board.
Another, however, felt less focused and more skewiff. "I've not been studying, I'm prolly gonna fail (the SAT exams)," wrote another message board user.
"im prolly gonna fail my SATs, what could be possibly worse?"
No Nut November is linked to other online movements that seek to empower men from online based sexual addictions, like addiction to pornography. NoFap is a similar community based site providing tools to online users to empower them to break addictive cycles with "rebooting".
According to NoFap, excessive consumption of online pornography can cause "addiction, hormonal changes, and sexual dysfunction."
No Nut November is not interested in curing men of porn addiction — watching pornography is allowed. As is "edging" — masturbating without the intention of orgasm.
A Reddit user explains: "Porn is not recommended as it leads to edging and edging leads to failure. No Porn is a type of challenge to get yourself off of addiction.
"No Porn is also a rule here as it is unfair to those still in the No Nut November challenge.
"Watching porn *DOES NOT* mean you fail the challenge."