Why Edging Can Make Sex Even Better
Edging is a sexual technique for intentionally stopping, or reducing, stimulation right before reaching the point of no return, with the goal of delaying orgasm. If you are a fan of teasing or of experiencing the sensation of desperately wanting something and it being tantalizingly just beyond reach, edging might be for you.
Edging, also known as peaking or surfing (and sometimes orgasm control), can be practiced solo and/or with a partner. It requires an awareness of your signs of arousal, or a partner’s, to perform successfully. It can promote mindfulness and body awareness. Please note that edging is different from “edge play,” which is a BDSM term for testing one’s limits and boundaries.
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Why do it?
Stopping stimulation and preventing or delaying orgasm might seem counterintuitive to a good time but there are several reasons why someone might want to try edging.
For one, it can increase your arousal and improve the quality of your climaxes.
By pausing at the right moments, you can build up arousal so that it becomes more intense during each wave of stimulation, making your body beg for more. As arousal builds and your sensitivity increases, it can also increase the length and intensity of your orgasm, once you finally choose to climax, and can include multiple waves or delicious aftershocks.
In addition to stronger and longer orgasms, edging techniques can extend sexy time itself. Some people with penises struggle to last as long as they or their partners would like during penetrative sex. Therefore, edging can be used to pause stimulation long enough that the desire to orgasm abates. This keeps penis-based sex acts in play and avoids waiting out a refractory period.
A third benefit is the mental boost that orgasm control can play. Perform edging on your own (and with a partner) for the physical benefits of extended arousal. But partnered edging can be a whole different game when the power to orgasm rests in someone else’s hands (or tongue, or – well, you get the picture). As practitioners of sexual teasing know, the promise of what you seek can sometimes be as much fun, if not more fun, than the actual outcome. It elicits a delicious torture of not knowing when orgasm will be granted.
When partners are in tune with one another’s arousal signs, they can pause right before the moment of no return. Within the kink and BDSM world, there is also a more intense version of edging called orgasm denial where orgasm is delayed for a longer period, for example, over days, before release is granted.
Whichever way you practice, the sexual tension builds for more pleasurable outcomes.
Know the Signs
Practicing edging can sometimes feel like a delicate science. If you pause a moment too late and stop stimulation when your body has moved from plateau (aka very aroused) to orgasmic in the sexual response cycle, you can lose the orgasm or have a very weak orgasm. As you can imagine, this can be hella frustrating.
That’s why it is so important to learn what your and/or your partners’ body does right before it climbs over the edge into orgasmic bliss and to distinguish between close and already there. This might require testing at which point in your body’s orgasm prep you can stop without losing your orgasm. Signs include tenseness of muscles, your unique breath patterns, skin color shifts, and more.
Prepping to edge can be a fun self and partner exploration activity in awareness and observation!
Researchers at Indiana University at Bloomington and OMGYES collected data from 2,000 cis women. They found three major edging variations, which included pausing and restarting, distracting, and continuous edging. Below I describe what these look like regardless of the genitals you are packing!
Pausing and Restarting
This first type takes the longest but has very happy customers. The idea is to get close to orgasm and then pause genital touch long enough (anywhere from seconds to hours) for all desire to orgasm to dissipate before starting again. This is similar to orgasm denial because of the intentional cooling off period. For people with penises, allowing an erection to become a bit flaccid can be a useful indicator.
Distracting is about using an alternative, and potentially intense, sensation elsewhere on the body right before orgasm to prevent climax. At the same time as the distraction, pause or reduce the genital stimulation.
Examples of distraction techniques can include a strong nipple squeeze, squeezing a butt cheek, a slap or spank (against butt, genitals, thighs, chest, face, etc.), using nails or somewhat sharp objects to scratch across the skin, and so on. Then once the distraction has worked enough to reduce desire to orgasm, you can start regular stimulation again.
For those who struggle with premature ejaculation, the physical distraction may not be enough. It can therefore be helpful to not only physically distract and pause stimulation but also engage in unrelated thoughts to reduce your mind’s excitement.
This last technique is about subtle shifts. Rather than completely stopping stimulation or engaging in intense distractions, you simply shift stimulation to another part of the body that is less likely to bring you to orgasm, such as labia, scrotal, or nipple play. The intention is to maintain pleasurable stimulation without allowing it to be pleasurable enough to climax.
This one is also recommended specifically for people who are more prone to losing orgasms completely because it maintains a high level of arousal throughout.
Which of these strategies do you like (or do you think you’d like) more? Let me and Pure Romance know on Instagram!
Yael R. Rosenstock GonzalezSex Educator, Researcher, Author, Speaker
Yael has been engaged in workshop development and facilitation since she joined the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) as a teen peer reproductive rights educator at 15 years old. Since then, she has served as an educator with children ranging from 10 months old to adults in their 70s with different organizations and communities. In her work as first Program Coordinator, then Director of Programming, and finally Associate Director of the Center for Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Understanding, Yael developed and led events, workshops, and programs with an intersectionality lens.