Orgasm Control & How to Master Edging

Whether you’re starting a self-love journey or exploring how to extend a partner’s pleasure, edging is a way to explore sexual pleasure, sensation, and orgasm control. Sometimes used in conjunction with restraints or rope ties, edging can take place alone or with a partner/with partners. Its results are many and varied: it may be used to help someone experiencing premature ejaculation to prolong their sex sessions; as pleasure practice; or as a way to get to better know what your body likes. Other benefits may include more intense orgasms, different-feeling orgasms, or a higher volume of ejaculate.

There’s no one right reason to try or to enjoy edging. With different techniques and goals, it can be used to achieve and explore a variety of sensations. 

Sexual Edging: What Is Edging?

Edging refers to the practice of staying right on the cusp, or the edge, of orgasm. It involves repeatedly stopping just short of reaching orgasm during masturbation or sex. First documented in modern scientific literature in the 1950s by James H. Semans, edging has also been called the “stop-start method,” peaking, surfing, and “slow masturbation” (by Alex Comfort in The New Joy of Sex).

For many people, edging is a way to heighten sexual pleasure and enjoy the sensation of partnered or solo sex for longer before orgasming. It creates a plateau of extreme pleasure that can stretch on without a refractory period. In some cases, edging is approached as a solution to premature ejaculation, or as an integral part of trying not to cum; but not in every case. Edging is also used by people attempting to unlock how to cum harder; by those controlling their partner’s pleasure; and by those who enjoy erotic sexual denial.

Often, edging is seen as the opposite of premature ejaculation, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Like other sex acts, it can exist in many different forms, and be used in combination with a variety of different techniques. A person could challenge themself to see how long they can stretch an edging session for, testing their boundaries of slow masturbation, but they could just as well edge for a specific set of time and then race to cum/come as quickly as possible. Different techniques and combinations of techniques represent different, but no less valid, types of edging.

Edging is popular for people with a range of genital anatomies, although different techniques will work better depending on a person’s physiology and preferences.  

How To Edge

There are many different techniques that can be used when edging. No technique used to edge is “wrong.” Instead, the techniques available at your disposal are plentiful and varied.

Many people find that edging is easiest to manage during long, solo masturbation sessions. When edging during masturbation, you’re more fully in control of your sensations and environment, so you can better listen to your body’s desires and control them. A common way to try edging for the first time involves “setting the scene” at the location of your choosing, then beginning to touch yourself in the ways your body enjoys. Then, as you start masturbating, you pay close attention to your body’s sensations and heart rate.

When it feels like you’re about to orgasm, slow down or stop the movements that you’re enjoying. This prolongs your body’s sensation of heightened arousal without triggering the refractory period which usually comes after an orgasm. When you’re ready to scale back up to that plateau of sensation, you can choose to re-engage in the same type of stimulation, a variation on the same theme, or change up the stimulation altogether.

The arousal pattern of edging tends to follow a rhythm of plateaus and valleys, where individuals plateau for as long as possible, take breaks from sensation as needed, during which their arousal may dip, and then work their ways back up to the plateau. Some people will come to the edge just once or twice while masturbating, while others enjoy edging for multiple hours.

For some people, edging is a way to prolong solo or partnered pleasure. However, it can also be a way to discover how to make yourself orgasm: while edging, what techniques or thoughts work best for you? How can you modify sensations for yourself or your partner so that you or they reach the desired plateau of sensation as soon as possible? And, once you’re on that plateau, how do you choose to diminish pleasure to prevent an orgasm or increase pleasure to achieve one?

Orgasm Denial

For many, edging is a technique that’s closely intertwined with orgasm denial. Whether you choose to edge yourself or a partner as a form of temporary orgasm denial (also known as orgasm delay) or complete orgasm denial, both forms count as types of edging.

An important aspect to remember about edging is that, while intertwined with orgasm denial, the two concepts are distinct. You can have edging that ends with an orgasm or that ends without one. Additionally, there are multiple ways beyond sensation cessation to achieve orgasm delay or denial. These techniques may involve deep breathing, squeezing or applying pressure to the penis or vulva, or even adding an excess of sensation – for instance, adding sensation from a g-spot or prostate toy to overwhelm the system or introducing a hot/cold skin sensation to delay orgasm. Not every technique has to work for every body, but that’s part of the beauty of being able to add variety to sex!

If you enjoy solo orgasm denial, orgasm denial with a partner, or orgasm denial in a BDSM context, another avenue you may want to explore is the ruined orgasm. A ruined orgasm is when someone’s orgasm is in some way interfered with, meaning that it feels different to a regular orgasm. For some people, it feels less satisfying (in a good way), like they have not experienced a full release.  In the context of edging, a ruined orgasm can have added intensity, as there has been a longer period of building up to the orgasm, which is then ruined. 

Premature Orgasm

Editor’s note: The sites linked below are limited in the way they address bodies and gender beyond the binary, and also focus on heterosexual partnerings. We have included them as insightful explanations of the premature ejaculation fetish and community. 

Edging plays an interesting role in premature orgasm. While some people use it as a method to prolong sex acts and prevent a premature orgasm, others use edging as a technique to achieve premature orgasm. Training methods can be found online to teach premature ejaculation fetishists how to balance edging and orgasm at will, using techniques such as the one-finger method, the lidocaine method, or the trigger method to learn how to quickly pivot from edging a penis or vulva to racing to cum.

Edging is an excellent way for people to learn more about their own pleasure or the pleasure that others experience and can help create dizzyingly long play sessions for those interested in it.

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