What Is Edging? The Science, Benefits & 9 Ways To Do It
Looking for new ways to take control of your orgasm? Edging provides you the ability to explore your sexual pleasure and finish when it's right for you. An orgasm is just one part of how your body gets pleasure; the moments before it are just as important, and edging is a way to extend how long that delicious buildup lasts. Understanding what edging is and how to do it for yourself opens up a whole other part of your sexual experience.
What is edging, and why do people do it?
Edging is the sexual practice of getting right up to the point where you're about to have an orgasm, then stopping stimulation, waiting, and starting the buildup all over again. "The intention is to repeatedly bring yourself, or your partner, to the brink of an orgasm—continually building the intense sensations so that when you finally decide to climax, you will be rewarded with a mind-blowingly powerful orgasm," relationship therapist Megan Harrison tells mindbodygreen.
Practiced through masturbation, edging gives you a greater understanding of your body and what it likes. It provides you with increased control over your own pleasure, helping you determine when and how it happens. It also keeps your mind from wandering. "Edging is a good time to practice keeping the mind completely focused on the now. Not only will this concentration and focus help make edging easier, but it will allow a person to fully enjoy the pleasurable feelings," clinical sexologist Sunny Rodgers, ACS, tells mindbodygreen.
How to edge: 10 techniques.
1. The start-stop technique.
"For folks with a penis, try the start-stop method of simply stopping stroking or stimulating and then start again after a few seconds," sexologist and sexuality educator Jill McDevitt, M.Ed., Ph.D., tells mindbodygreen. Instead of immediately giving in to your body's desire to orgasm, this teases it and extends your time being pleasured.
Edging is a careful dance, moving as close as you can to climax without having your body fall off the edge to complete pleasure. Harrison recommends attempting edging at a peak stage of arousal, moving your hands or toy away right as you can see that edge forming. Right when you feel yourself on the edge of orgasm, stop doing the work it's taking to get you there.
2. The squeeze technique.
Depending on your level of sensitivity, it may take longer than a few seconds to delay an orgasm. In this case, McDevitt suggests the squeeze technique in addition to the start-stop method. This involves "stopping stimulation and squeezing the head of the penis for about 30 seconds, and then resuming." It may take some practice to successfully stop this long, so consider building up to 30 seconds as you get used to edging.
This form of edging incorporates Kegel exercises and is designed to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. You still stop right before reaching orgasm but, as you slow or stop stimulation, perform Kegels. The technique is called ballooning, as people with a penis will find their erection deflating and growing during this process.
4. Use a toy.
"For people with vulvas, my suggestion is to use a vibrator with powerful direct clit stimulation and an easy on/off button," says McDevitt. The ability to quickly turn off the toy right before you would orgasm is key when practicing edging.
5. The diversion.
Right when you're about to orgasm, stop the stimulation and pivot to a gentler form of touch elsewhere on the body. If you're with a partner, they might stop stimulating your clitoris and move to simply caress your breasts or run their fingers along your thighs.
6. The tantric method.
Edging is a common practice in tantric sex, which is all about going slow, being intentional, and tapping into the movement of energy between partners' bodies to enhance the experience of sex. To try tantric edging, inhale slowly as you're about to orgasm. While inhaling, try to visualize slowly pulling the orgasmic energy from your vagina or penis upward toward your head. It can sometimes help to have your partner graze their fingers from your genitals up along the front of your body. Then go back to providing that direct stimulation, repeating this process again and again. In tantra, this is believed to help you experience a full-body orgasm.
7. The grounding technique.
The late Psalm Isadora, a well-known tantric sex educator, often suggested practicing edging during tantric yoni massage or tantric lingam massage, both of which involve intentional stimulation both physically and energetically. You can use that energy to your advantage while edging: "During the cool-down periods, place your hand on the heart to help keep the body grounded, connected, and feeling loving energy," she told mbg. This will give you something to concentrate on when you're waiting in between stimulation.
So much of edging is being fully attuned to your body and what it needs to pleasurably delay climax. "Sometimes it can be helpful to focus on each sensation individually as edging ebbs and flows," says Rodgers. "By keeping the mind fully into the act of edging, a person will find it easier to slow down when they feel too close to climax. Being mindfully intentional during edging can greatly enhance the entire experience."
9. Incorporate BDSM.
As Rodgers explains, "In the BDSM world, which has a foundation built on power exchange, edging can be given as an assignment to a submissive as an act of control. Restraining orgasm is just one part of BDSM." If you've enjoyed BDSM in the past, edging can easily be used to continue your expression of it.
10. Practice with masturbation.
Edging can take some time to get used to as you figure out what techniques work best for your body. McDevitt recommends trying edging alone first as you try to master it before adding in the variable of someone else and their pleasure. Masturbating on your own can give you the headspace required to have edging work for you.
Take the time to explore your body and see how it reacts. "I suggest practicing edging for about 5 to 10 minutes every other day. The longer a person can delay having an orgasm, the stronger the physical sensations will be when climax is reached," says Rodgers. An excuse to pleasure yourself every day—how will you manage?
How to know when to stop edging and let yourself come.
The decision to finally let your body climax is a personal one and can change each time you try edging. "Each individual is different, so there is no correct length of time to perform edging before reaching orgasm. It's about balance and control—knowing when to stop and also when to resume sexual play," says Harrison. If you're alone, it really comes down to when you want to, well...come.
With a partner, this decision comes from being deeply aware of how you both are feeling. "If you are trying out edging with your partner, be mindful of your partner's body language and verbal communication for levels of arousal and stimulation," says Harrison. Edging too long after your partner is ready to finish can lead to frustration, so communication is incredibly important here.
Some people experience disappearing orgasms or "half orgasms" after edging, which is when your orgasm actually feels less powerful than usual or like you sort of "missed" it. This is why practice is so important to get edging just right. "Edging requires an individual to have a great level of control over [their] body in order to enjoy it to its full potential," says Harrison. "Stopping too soon, or not building the intensity of orgasm again after stopping can delay the orgasm for too long and lead to 'half orgasms' that can feel underwhelming and frustrating."
If you find this happening more often than not at the beginning, push yourself to wait a little bit longer before stopping stimulation. If you wait too long, the worst thing that happens is you get a good orgasm out of it. With practice, you'll have a better idea of just the right time to edge and how long to do it without losing your orgasm.
Benefits of edging:
1. It helps you have an orgasm.
For many women, trying to have an orgasm can feel like a lot of anxiety-inducing pressure. A 2014 study of 96 women determined that women who masturbate reach orgasm more often. Edging by yourself provides the opportunity to get to know your own body better and what really sets it off when it comes to pleasure.
2. It intensifies your orgasm.
Harrison reports that edging and orgasm control often leads to more powerful orgasms and extended sexual pleasure. OMGYes, a website focused on bringing attention to the female orgasm, reports that 66% of women who edge have longer, more intense orgasms.
3. It increases sexual stamina.
A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that men last an average of 5.4 minutes before finishing during penetrative sex. In comparison, a 2019 study found that it takes women an average of 13 minutes and 25 seconds to have a real orgasm—almost three times as long. Edging can help partners get in sync. "Edging can improve male stamina, and incorporating the 'stop/start' method in the bedroom can help both partners achieve greater sexual satisfaction and enjoy longer-lasting sessions," says Harrison.
4. It increases self-awareness.
Since edging is all about being aware of your body and what it's feeling, the practice can really help you be more present as a whole. "It can help to build body confidence and allow individuals both within relationships and out to tune into their bodies with a greater sense of self-awareness, incorporating mindful values and approaches," says Harrison.
Risks and health considerations.
There are no proven risks or relevant health considerations for edging. Some people falsely believe that edging is related to delayed ejaculation, in which someone with a penis struggles to have an orgasm or ejaculate, but the two are unrelated. Another fear people have is that edging conditions your body to delay orgasms, interfering with times you want to have an orgasm right away. This is another myth; the body adjusts to the individual time and pleasure it feels in any given sexual encounter.
Edging is a great way to explore and enhance your pleasure. Take your time to test out if it's right for you, and enjoy yourself!