Edging, or orgam control, is the practice of building and maintaining a state of sexual arousal while deliberately delaying the release of an orgasm. It can be practiced alone as a masturbation technique or with a partner. The intention behind controlling orgasmic release is to prolong sex by increasing sexual stamina, to increase pleasure, and to extend, enhance, or intensify the feeling of orgasm when eventual release is permitted.
Edging is a common orgasm control technique wherein the practitioner repeatedly brings themselves to the point of tension right before orgasm without allowing themselves to release, then taking a pause and starting the process over again. With every subsequent build, the tension and sensitivity increases, and the eventual orgasm will be more powerful.
The benefits of edging can be experienced by anyone regardless of their sex, gender, sexual orietnation, or genital configuration. The penis, clitoris, and any other erogenous zone that can potentially lead an individual to the “edge” of an orgasm, along with their corresponding nervous system functions, all respond to orgasm control methods in their own powerful ways.
Orgasm Control with a Partner
During any form of partnered sexual activity, one person provides stimulation to their partner until the partner is at a high level of sexual arousal, and stops or reduces stimulation before the partner reaches orgasm. This can be performed through internal stimulation (e.g. penetration with fingers, sex toys, a penis) or external stimulation (e.g. manual, oral, with sex toys).
With practice, orgasm control techniques can enhance sexual stamina and help extend a sex session with a partner. For people with penises, this is a common means of delaying ejaculation as well as orgasm. The refractory period following penis ejaculation can last a lot longer than that of a vulvar orgasm. Furthermore, it can take someone with a vulva on average three times longer to reach orgasm range of arousal than someone with a penis.
These factors can affect how long a partner session lasts and whether or not everyone involved will have the opportunity to reach orgasm. By controlling and delaying an orgasm, it gives people the opportunity to synchronize with the rhythms of their unique pleasure experiences with those of their partner. This will therefore enhance the sensitivity and pleasure of the edging person as well as prolong the experience with and for a partner, especially if one’s partner has a vulva and/or requires more time to reach a state of high arousal than they do.
Instead of adding more, harder, faster stimulation from the beginning of the session to the end and forcing the body to an orgasmic climax, edging encourages regular pauses for the nervous system to recalibrate and arousal to further disperse through the rest of the body. This then raises one’s overall pleasure potential and possible orgasm. As Kimberly Johnson notes in her book Call of the Wild: How We Heal Trauma, Awaken Our Power, and Use it for Good, “Edging helps you extend your orgasmic range.”
Edging for Masturbation
Orgasm control can be practiced alone for the purposes of self-pleasure as well as in anticipation of future partner experiences. Solo edging can be performed through manual stimulation, frottage, with sex toys, or by any other means that stimulates an erogenous zone which allows one to approach the brink of orgasm.
Because one of the goals of orgasm control is to make the whole experience last longer, an edging session will take much longer than a masturbation session where the goal is to orgasm as quickly as possible. As such, it gives one the opportunity to become more intimate with themselves, the pleasurable sensations in their body, and the heightened sensitivity which will lead to more satisfying and powerful orgasm.
Another common reason people start practicing orgasm control is for the express purpose of extending how long it takes for them to reach orgasm. The intention here being that they hope to have more sexual stamina when they have sex with a partner.
Regardless of the motivation, when one incorporates edging techniques into their masturbation practice, they have the opportunity to grow more familiar with the nuances of their body and how it responds to arousal, sensation, and different styles and degrees of stimulation. This greater understanding of one’s body helps to develop a more intimate relationship with oneself and ultimately experience great sexual satisfaction alone and with others.
The Mental Aspect of Orgasm Control
The physical techniques and effects of orgasm control are apparent: optimized physical pleasure through erotic phsyical stimulation of oneself or of a partner. However there is also a strong mental side to an edging practice. Because orgasm control methods demand that one pays close attention to any of the cues that their body gives them without surrendering to the temptation of letting go to a sexual climax, the less apparent components of edging are the mental ones.
Patience and discipline are required for the practice to be successful. As such, edging can and often is seen as a kind of sexual mindfulness technique, inviting one to remain present and practice being “in the moment” for best results. Breathing techniques can be incorporated into an edging practice to keep the mind from wandering and to enhance the nervous system response to the sensations being built through subsequent edging cycles.
Orgasm Control and Denial as a Kink
Orgasm denial is an exaggerated form of orgasm control where someone has control over when and how their partner is allowed to orgasm. This style of orgasm control is a kind of kink play common to BDSM dynamics and relationships.
The more dominant person in control may restrict the submissive partner’s ability to reach orgasm by physically restraining them (e.g. handcuffs, bondage, shibari) to keep them from being able to pleasure themselves.
They may use psychological controls such as set rules and the threat of erotic “punishment” if the rules are broken. Orgasms may be delayed for the duration of a scene of much longer – days, weeks, even months.