Seems a bit like torture doesn’t it? Preventing someone from having an orgasm? That's basically what edging is.
Edging, also known as a "prolonged orgasm," is a popular form of sexual performance in the BDSM community. And what's known as the "superior orgasm" by many in the kink community is a method in which an individual withholds their orgasm — by affirming control over the body, the individual can choose when to come, whether it’s up to their partner or themselves.
Edging takes place at the cusp of an orgasm right when you're about to come and then choose to stop yourself. As humans, we seek instant gratification, which may paint edging as a horrible experience. For many, it may come off as teasing or denying yourself the orgasm that you deserve. However, edging can create a prolonged orgasm if done correctly and over the course of several moments of withdrawal.
To begin experimenting with edging, it's recommended you start by practicing solo. Restraining oneself can seem torturous — it takes a great amount of control to compartmentalize the situation.
First, understand how important slow breathing is in the situation. Imagine your yoga technique and breathe in slowly while focusing on the inhale and breathing out in a long, drawn-out release. This breathing technique can help you focus on the moment and on masturbating successfully with an orgasm in mind.
Clinical sexologist Rena McDaniel says, "Often, we rush towards the supposed finish line of orgasm with little thought and even less attention to sustained pleasure. Edging is a great way slow down and enjoy the journey."
The point of no return
It takes women, on average, four minutes to reach an orgasm during masturbation (as noted in Sexual Behavior in the Human Female). While this is something that is celebrated (hell yeah for getting yourselves off), it's also something that should be avoided with edging. The key during edging is to slowly build yourself up as you utilize toys — finding the right one might take some experimentation — and test your limits.
Once you feel yourself getting ready to climax, drastically switch what you are doing to your body. Move your body or move your toy to another position in order to alter the pressure point. The point of no return is when arousal turns into an orgasm. The physiological responses to this moment include contractions and vibrations. Pay attention to signs that you are reaching your PNR. These can include shallow breaths, tightening of muscles, pleasure increase and a desire to push down.
McDaniel says edging "causes you to maintain sustained attention on pleasure, which signals your brain to increase blood flow to all of the important bits."
Becoming comfortable with your PNR should be practiced during masturbation. Edging isn't easy the first time you try it; it takes practice. That's why working on yourself is important before moving on to another human in the flesh. Once you understand your PNR, you can stop yourself from going beyond this point and properly edge.
Edging with a partner
When you're ready to play with someone else, make sure to find someone you're comfortable with sexually. Communication is huge when it comes to edging. Whether it's verbal or physical (i.e., moving their hand or sex organ away) communicating is the only way that your partner will know you’re about to be close to coming. Men and women can both edge, which makes the experience a suitable method to try out between partners. Edging can be a way for you to introduce dominance into the bedroom and control when and how your partner will orgasm. This form of control can also help your partner last longer, resulting in an orgasm that you can experience together.
Because edging takes some time, make sure to have your lubricant close by. The concept of edging may seem frustrating, and some people may take longer than others to achieve a successful prolonged orgasm. If you're someone who has a difficult time having an orgasm, edging may seem like a waste or a sexual privilege. Edging is paired with a form of sexual entitlement.
However, you deserve the most superior and most prolonged orgasm of your life. It takes practice. It takes time. It isn’t the easiest way to come, but once you achieve it, you’ll never look back.
A version of this article was originally published in May 2017.