So you two are rocking the bed, and you're working up to what promises to be an explosive orgasm. But then the phone rings. Or your baby starts crying. Or the dog barks like crazy at who knows what. Just like that, the O that was so close has suddenly been put on pause.
Well, "edging" is kind of like that—except you dial back your orgasm by choice, over and over.
Edging is a sexual practice that delays your O and prolongs the time until climax, Rachel Needle, PsyD, a Florida-based psychologist and sex therapist, tells Health. The point is to get super aroused so you're at the edge of orgasm, bring things back to a slow boil, then turn up the heat again…until you hit a point where you can't help but succumb to all the crazy-hot sensations.
How edging can help your sex life
Okay, so what exactly do you achieve by edging? “For some, delaying orgasm makes the orgasm more intense and enjoyable,” Needle explains. “And for some, it [also] increases their desire for orgasm.”
But there's more to it than that. For starters, it helps you and your partner become more familiar with your sexual triggers. Experimenting with different touches and positions gives you a better handle on the moves you respond to. Getting acquainted with your sexual side is always a good thing.
Edging can also improve communication between two partners. Before you get started, you have to give each other a heads up that you want to do it. Then during the action, you need to let the other person know how close you are either verbally or by using body language. The more couples communicate, the better the action is.
Another benefit: Edging can bring some levity to the bedroom, so sex is not so serious and heavy. Edging is really just another way to engage in playful teasing, and that kind of vibe can make things a lot more fun.
Finally, it takes the focus off orgasm as the ultimate goal of a sexual encounter. “Sex doesn’t need to be linear or goal-oriented," Jessica O'Reilly, PhD, Toronto-based sexologist and host of the podcast Sex With Dr. Jess, tells Health. "You don’t have to get turned on and allow arousal to build in a constant state of ascension." If you sometimes feel too anxious or stressed to cross the finish line, edging takes the pressure off, since the point is to delay orgasm.
How to get started with edging
Edging can be done on your own, during masturbation, or with a partner. You can use your bodies or tease yourselves with sex toys, says O'Reilly. It's up to you how you get to the brink of pleasure, but there are some specific ways you can hit the pause button and not be too tempted to let go and climax.
When you're close to climaxing, O'Reilly recommends breathing slowly and deeply so your partner knows. Then, they should de-accelerate by slowing down their thrusts or hand/mouth stimulation…until you signal that you're ready to ramp up the action again. When you feel like you can't take it anymore, encourage your partner to keep doing what they're doing so you can experience the intense orgasm you've been putting off.
“As you play edging, pay attention to how you feel in your body—you might feel greater intensity in your groin, but many people report feeling more full-body pleasure when they prolong the sexual experience,” says O’Reilly.
"When [two partners] eventually reach orgasm, they might feel that it is more powerful—the contractions may be stronger and more numerous, the pleasure might be deeper, it might last longer, and they may feel a wave of pleasure one their entire body.”
As much as we love a quickie, sometimes you need to have the kind of sex that lasts long and really hits all of your pleasure triggers. Edging can help you do that.