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What Is Edging? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

What Is Edging? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

By Andi Breitowich

The idea of intentionally stopping an orgasm might sound less-than ideal, whether masturbating or with a partner, but halting the release could actually elevate your pleasure to a whole new level. Seriously. If you’re looking to get a little playful, add an element of power and control, increase stamina, and foster connection, let us introduce you to the art of edging.  

In this article we will talk all things edging, including: 

  • What it is;

  • What’s the point;

  • What are the benefits;

  • Is it bad for you;

  • Should you edge by yourself or with a partner; and

  • How you do it.

Let’s dive in.

What is edging?

So what is edging in sex? Simply put, it is a form of orgasm control–it is the practice of bringing yourself to the edge of an orgasm, but stopping before you fall off the cliff, says Karine Bedard, a sex positive relationship coach and the creator and host of the Breaking Free Authentically podcast. “It’s like creating a wave of pleasure that builds in intensity by coming to the edge of orgasm, but not going over it,” she explains. In other words, edging is a form of orgasm control, like the ultimate tease. 

Also known as teasing, peaking, or surfing, edging is the voluntary means of stopping sexual stimulation just before you come, with the goal of building excitement and intensity of an orgasm. It’s a unique experience depending on your desire and intention, but there’s a whole lot the practice can offer.

It’s also worth noting there’s no timeline for edging, and it could technically go on for as long as your desire. That said, when you do reach orgasm, it will be an intense, overflowing release, thanks to you slowly edging your way there.

What’s the point of edging?

"To build an empowering relationship [alone or with a partner] is to create connection, safety, and novelty, and this process of edging touches on all three,” says Bedard. 

So, not only is it a way to make sex last longer, but it increases sexual fulfillment and allows you to connect with your body, pleasure, and sexual energy. 

On an individual level, edging opens the doors of arousal and hones your ability to connect with yourself, while simultaneously controlling your body to experience an extended form of pleasure. “As you discover the process of edging, you have to spend time with yourself and connect to how your body feels, and what your body does when it gets to these different stages toward orgasm,” says Bedard.

Otherwise, if you're not in tune with yourself, you may have no idea an orgasm is coming. But when you learn to pay attention to your arousal and the signs of climax, you can pull back, control the sensation, and breathe into the intensity. 

Now, when it comes to edging with a partner, connection is just as important, says Bedard. But this requires practice since you have to learn someone else’s arousal patterns and tune into their signs and bodily expression of orgasm, she explains. Just remember to be patient – this is a marathon, not a sprint. Communicate with your partner about what turns them on, how it feels when they’re about to orgasm, and where (or how) you can stimulate arousal. 

At the end of the day, edging is meant to be fun. Embrace the chase, because edging is a great way to take control and turn up the heat on your orgasm, adds Dr. Lori Beth Bisbey, a clinical psychologist, intimacy coach, and host of the A to Z of Sex podcast.

What are the benefits of edging?

Edging during sex allows you to ride on the brink of orgasm, which can be deeply passionate and playful. So, explore the connection and experience to maximize the benefits. 

Increase stamina.

If you’re looking to up your stamina between the sheets, edging might be just what you need, says Dr. Bisbey. “Learning how to delay orgasm can be especially useful for people who have penises and find it difficult to wait for their partners to reach a climax,” she explains. 

In other words, by pausing stimulation and stopping an orgasm just before you reach the top, you can learn to control your release and maintain an erection for longer. Just remember this takes practice and won’t happen overnight (literally).  

Connect with your body. 

Edging is ingrained in connection and requires a sense of awareness and expertise of your own body. It may sound like common sense, but when it comes to pleasure and sex, your body is uncharted land. 

"You learn to recognize your signs of arousal and pleasure so that you are more connected to the feeling in your body rather than the mental state of fantasy,” explains Bedard. So, instead of thinking of what you’re making for dinner, the email you need to send, or the bill you need to pay, indulge in yourself, and focus solely on your own body.

Connect with your partner. 

Once you master your own self-awareness and become familiar with controlling sensations and the nature of your orgasm, edging can be incredibly connecting with a partner. “Edging with a partner can become very playful because you edge *each other*,” explains Bedard. Bringing your partner close to orgasm and being able to recognize their signs can build intimacy and a union of togetherness. 

Not to mention, safety, vulnerability, and trust are major components of edging. When you’re with a partner you must be able to commit and trust each other to pull away from pleasure in order to keep it going. It’s a constant ebb and flow, and when you’re both on the same page, it’s powerful. 

Boost vitality. 

Energy is inherently seeped into the act of edging (or sex in general), and it can create huge amounts of vibrancy. “In tantric and holistic practices, edging can be used to build up sexual energy in the body and learn to transmute (or move) it to other areas,” says Bedard. “The sexual energy created in the genitals is moved out and up into the heart and body to give a sense of euphoria.” So, instead of feeling drained or sleepy after orgasm, you can translate the power of edging. 

Embrace your power. 

If you’re looking to explore and discover new sexual experiences, edging can be a power and control game, says Dr. Bisbey. “It’s an easy way to experiment with taking control or surrendering control and seeing how that feels,” she explains. “It doesn’t involve any props, restraint, pain, elaborate scenes, and it can be a way to get used to intense sensation which can be a stepping stone to multiple orgasms.”

Is edging bad for you?

No, edging sexually is not bad for you, says Bedard. “But like anything else in life, if it becomes your soul focus and it takes you away from other things that need to be done, it might become unhealthy,” she explains. Just be mindful of your edging practices and determine when it best suits you.  

In addition, everything must always be consensual. If edging sexually ever becomes painful, unpleasant, or a burden, stop, scale back, and reevaluate. 

Should you edge by yourself or with a partner?

Edging is meant to be fun, pleasurable, and empowering, so it’s totally up to you whether you want to edge alone or with a partner. “It’s important to give yourself permission to explore your body in whatever way you desire,” says Bedard. Try using your hands, toys, vibrators, or cock rings. Use various levels of pressure and interchange the speed and frequency of stimulation, whether you are masturbating or engaging in oral sex and/or penetrative sex.

You can also experiment with edging sexually if you are in a consensual open relationship, orgy, or threesome. “It’s so important to know your body well in order to communicate with other partners,” says Bedard. “When having a threesome, foursome, or moresome, it’s important to be able to last and control your orgasms so that you can experience all the pleasure available in that moment, because being aware and mindful is freedom.”

Can sex toys be used to edge?

Absolutely! In fact, sex toys can actually bring your edging game to a whole new level because any form of simulation is going to ramp up the intensity. Not to mention, if you’re with a partner, using a sex toy can double-up your stimulation (think penetration and outer genitalia arousal).

Vibrators offer an extra form of control since you’re in charge of the speed and intensity, and it’s a buzzy way to elevate masturbation and/or sex. Try a hands-free strap on vibrator to lure in stimulation, or a rabbit vibrator for powerful pleasure at its best (if you know, you know). If you’re edging with a partner, this remote control vibrator is also an alluring way to edge. Hand your partner the remote and let them be in charge of your vibe with the 15 different channels as you slowly reach climax. If you’re interested in anal play, this seven piece set is a great way to test the waters and surge your edge. 

And, like anything else during sex, don’t be afraid to lather on the lube! Silicone lube is made to last and offers a silky smooth comfort, but water-based lube also rocks and is safe with all condoms and sex toys. 

How do you edge?

Everyone is different, and every edge is a unique experience depending on your needs and desires. If you are with a partner, it’s imperative to get consent so you are both on the same page before edging during sex. If you’re alone, release any tension and be grateful for your body.

Once intentions and consent are established, Bedard suggests this step-by-step guide (whether alone or with a partner), for orgasm control to achieve the ultimate edge. 

  1. Be mindful during your practice. 

Decide what kind or orgasm you want to have and the purpose of your session. 

  1. Make sure you feel safe.

Choose an environment where you are comfortable and safe. Let go of any shame or secrecy.

  1. Stimulate arousal.

Start to stimulate arousal, whether that be with your fingers or a toy. If you are with a partner, have them gently touch you where it feels best. Some sensual places to spark arousal include (but are not limited to): the inside of your thigh, outer genitalia, nape of the neck, or breasts. 

  1. Build pleasure.

Build pleasure by continuing to use a toy and touching yourself and/or your partner. 

  1. Be mindful.

Be mindful and recognize your body’s signs of orgasm or when you are getting near the climax. 

  1. Breathe.

Just before you get to the peak and release, slow down, pause, and/or stop the stimulation for a few minutes. Breathe deeply into the sensation. Regain control and resume your pleasure building.

  1. Repeat.

Repeat the process as many times as you wish (since edging can technically last hours, it may be helpful to set a timer if you want a limit). 

  1. Orgasm.

Finally, when and if you are ready, allow your orgasm to come, whether it includes ejaculation or not.

  1. Enjoy.

Bask in the pleasure and relaxation that you are feeling in your body, or with your partner. 

Whether you’re alone or with a partner, there’s no harm in exploring your body in a safe and fun environment, and edging is a great way to foster physical connection. All in all, edging is meant to be pleasurable, connecting, and empowering, so practice awareness, embrace the metaphorical “edge,” and tease your way to the finish line (thrilling sex toys optional).

Andi Breitowich is a Chicago-based freelance writer and graduate of Emory University where she majored in Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies and Sociology. She also recently graduated with her master’s from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. In addition to Pepper, her work has appeared in Women’s Health, POPSUGAR, Cosmopolitan, and elsewhere. She is a mass consumer of social media and cares about holistic wellness and non-stigmatizing reproductive care.

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