If you have been active on the internet in recent years, No Nut November (NNN) will definitely ring a bell. Every year in November, like clockwork, No Nut November starts trending on social media platforms and communities. Chances are that you might have seen NNN trending on social media by the time you start reading this article.

But what exactly is No Nut November?

The challenge originated in 2010 but it was only in 2017 that it gained popularity. To sum it up in the most simple of terms, NNN is a social challenge between men where they take a month-long oath of sexual abstinence. It includes laying off masturbation, colloquially called ‘nutting’, from which this challenge derives its name. This might sound like a page torn straight from a boy’s club rule book, and TBH you are not mistaken because it has its own set of rules to abide by.

What are the rules of this challenge?

Like most things that stem from an unsaid pact of bro code, NNN has its own set of rules. The major rules of this self-imposed exile include –

Any form of orgasm will result in disqualification; Only involuntary wet dreams are an exception; You may watch pornography, masturbate or even have sex, but nutting by climaxing will disqualify you.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. These rules are pretty straightforward. Some forums lay down detailed rules that might even sound bizarre. The one who fails the challenge is branded as “unmanly”.

The Dark Side Of No Nut November

Some suggest that NNN has various health benefits, is a means of self-control, and can even combat porn addiction. But some suggest these are just exaggerated claims. Going into the depths of these claims is, however, beyond the purview of this article.

No Nut November

In 2018, this seemingly innocuous challenge took a dark turn. Vice reported how various NNN communities had sent death threats to porn sites. As this challenge is associated with cutting off porn consumption, self-appointed upholders of morality considered it their duty to harass adult performers on social media. When communities engage in harassment and in issuing death threats, it ceases to be a harmless challenge.

Delving Deeper Into The Roots Of No Nut November

A challenge exclusively between men became grounds for the portrayal of sexism and puritanical ideologies. In some ways, this challenge does look down upon men and others who engage in consensual sex. This challenge goes on to paint sex as taboo – as a forbidden concept. And on the other hand, it also reduces women to sexual objects. What looks like an exercise in self-control has its roots in sexism and misogyny.

Think of it, a person who does engage in some form of sexual activity in November will lose the challenge and will be branded as ‘unmanly’, doesn’t this pave way for toxic masculinity? The idea that a person who abstains from sex is an ‘alpha male’ dominates this challenge and hence this idea tends to look down on sex. Young people in these communities can develop feelings of shame where sex is concerned.

Misogyny comes into play because NNN is followed by DDD – Destroy D*** December where these communities challenge men to engage in sexual activity each day of December to make up for the self-imposed abstinence in November. Misogyny comes into play because these communities often have discussions where men share what made them lose the challenge. The content even includes pictures women have posted online. It could be any picture, the crux is that it reduces women to objects.

What started as a silly challenge between men can have ramifying effects on people of all genders. Beyond the memes lies the murky waters of toxic masculinity and misogyny.