- Edging is when you intentionally delay an orgasm to make sexual activity last longer.
- It can prolong pleasure, help you get to know your body better, and result in a stronger orgasm.
- Edging is safe to practice, as long as it isn’t combined with cutting off blood flow.
- Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice
For many people, the goal during foreplay and sex is to orgasm as quickly as possible. However, for others, delayed gratification might be more of a turn-on than rushing into orgasm. Enter: edging.
Edging is when you intentionally stop stimulating yourself or a partner right before the point of orgasm, and then start up again and repeat the process until you’re ready to have or give an orgasm.
Here’s what you need to know about edging as well as how to do it either alone or with a partner.
What is edging?
Put simply, edging is the intentional delay and control of orgasm, says sex therapist Aida Manduley, LCSW, who practices at The Meeting Point. While to some people the concept may seem foreign and confusing, there are multiple reasons why you might want to engage in edging.
Depending on the situation and personal preferences, the duration of edging can vary.
“For some people, edging does end in orgasm in the same sexual session, while for some, the delay can span hours, days, months, or longer before an orgasm is achieved or allowed,” says Manduley. Typically, the longer delays are a part of kink with power dynamics.
Despite all these benefits, edging may not be right for everyone. “For some people –– especially those who experience inconsistent arousal, difficulties staying present, or erectile difficulties –– edging can be tricky and lead to a ‘lost orgasm’ or ‘ruined orgasm,’ or getting out of the mood,” says Manduley.
Is edging safe?
In and of itself, edging is safe, Manduley says. However, it depends on what methods someone is using for edging. If you’re simply just stopping and holding off on stimulation, this is totally safe. But if you’re getting kinky and doing something that meaningfully cuts off blood flow or numbs the genitals, for example, this could be dangerous.
It’s a myth that people with penises can experience harm from being “backed up” with ejaculate due to edging. “Any sexual fluid that is produced but not expelled will get reabsorbed and/or broken down as needed,” says Manduley.
The only other safety concern to consider is psychological. Manduley says you should never edge someone without consent. Always discuss edging with your partner first before doing it.
How to edge
The overall concept of edging is not too complicated, and you can go about it however you’d like. “Think of it like driving around a house before pulling into the driveway. You can keep circling the house, you can pull a little bit into the driveway, then pull out, circle the house some more, and whenever you’re ready, you can pull the car fully in. Or you can decide you just want to entirely drive off and not pull in at all,” says Manduley.
How to edge by yourself
It’s a bit easier to edge during masturbation than it is to edge with a partner since there’s no communication gap. Manduley says to follow these steps:
- Masturbate doing whatever you need to do to get close to orgasm.
- Once you’re close to orgasm, pull back. You can do this by stopping touch completely, slowing down, easing up on pressure or intensity, or changing the focus area.
- When you’re ready, ramp things up again by working your way back up to the previous speed or intensity, or going back to the original body part you were focused on.
- Repeat these steps as much as you desire.
- When you’re ready to orgasm, just keep masturbating instead of pulling back.
How to edge with your partner
First off, make sure edging is consensual before diving in, and remember that communication is key. Our partners aren’t mind readers, Manduley says. Follow these steps to edge with your partner:
- Stimulate your partner through your desired method and get them close to orgasm.
- Ask your partner how their body is feeling and how close they are to orgasming. (This is especially important if there aren’t super obvious visual clues that someone is getting close to orgasming, such as in people with vulvas).
- Adjust your actions based on how close your partner is to orgasm. If they’re close, pull back – whether you are slowing down, easing up on pressure or intensity, or changing the area of focus.
- Start back up when you and your partner are ready.
- Repeat these steps until you want to make your partner orgasm.
- When you want your partner to orgasm, keep stimulating them instead of pulling back.
Edging is an exciting and generally safe way to switch things up in the bedroom either solo or with a partner. There are multiple ways to go about it, and you can tailor the situation to your personal preferences for the most pleasure. If you’re edging with a partner, remember that consent is key.