Edging involves sexual stimulation to the point just before orgasm, before slowing down again. It is generally a safe practice and unlikely to have any detrimental health effects.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
Individuals, couples, or groups might practice edging.
A person can use the technique as a way to extend the duration of sexual activity, increase its intensity, or explore a different sexual activity.
This article will discuss what edging is and any possible risks relating to it.
Edging involves cycles of increasing sexual stimulation and then stopping just before the point of orgasm. People can perform edging alone or with others.
The “edge” is the point just before orgasm. Individuals practice edging to reach this point multiple times during sexual activity.
Anyone can engage in edging, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.
Edging can serve different purposes for different people. It might also depend on whether someone is performing edging with others or on their own.
Anyone can use edging to increase the intensity of an orgasm or sexual experience. Others may practice it to make their sexual activities last longer.
Some people may use edging to build confidence while engaging in sexual activity with others. It might help them learn about another person’s body and explore new things.
Edging is generally safe and unlikely to cause any lasting side effects.
Considerations for females
One consideration regarding female edging is that a person may wish to know how long they can pause just before orgasm without losing arousal.
In Emily Nagoski’s book “Come as You Are,” Nagoski describes how every person’s sexual desire has both an accelerator and a brake. The accelerator helps an individual want to have sex, while the brake counteracts this. Every person has different accelerators and brakes.
Dr. Jennifer Litner, sexologist and founder of Embrace Sexual Wellness, explains how edging may influence someone’s desire for sex. Dr. Litner explains, “If edging enhances pleasurable sensations, it could increase a person’s motivation for sex (an accelerator). However, if edging leads someone to experience a loss of arousal, which is unpleasant, it could decrease their motivation for sex (a brake).”
For some females, stopping just before orgasm could cause them to lose their arousal or prevent orgasm. For these individuals, edging might not be a good fit. However, not every person considers orgasming the ultimate goal of sex. If the purpose is a prolonged pleasure regardless of orgasm, then edging may be a suitable way of achieving that.
Considerations for males
Some potential causes of this condition include medical conditions, certain medications, and psychological or emotional issues.
Edging is also unlikely to cause ejaculation problems such as retrograde ejaculation or weak ejaculation. Some people may experience delayed or early ejaculation, but the causes of these issues are usually psychological or emotional.
Edging may benefit people practicing on their own and people who practice with others.
The International Society for Sexual Medicine suggests that edging can intensify sexual activity for some people. The cycles of edging can increase excitement and lead to a more satisfying climax.
Edging can also extend the duration of sexual activities. Individuals who experience premature ejaculation may try this technique to prevent this.
Couples may also use edging to build confidence in the bedroom. This may be particularly beneficial for new couples who might be nervous about engaging in sexual activity.
Edging might also be useful for learning about someone’s sexual interests. By repeating cycles of edging, people can learn about sexual triggers and explore new activities.
Edging, either with a partner or alone, typically involves:
- starting sexual stimulation
- changing the intensity or stopping just before orgasm
- starting to increase intensity again after a small delay
- repeating these steps in cycles
If practicing edging with a partner, a person should always discuss it before trying it and ensure that there is enthusiastic consent.
Edging in females
Females can practice edging by paying attention to how their body feels during sexual activity.
When they feel an orgasm is about to happen, they, their partner, or partners can stop stimulation or reduce its intensity for several seconds. Another way to do this is to take this moment to change positions or switch to a different sexual activity.
This allows a person to “come down” from the edge of orgasm. They can then resume stimulation and repeat this process until they are ready to reach orgasm.
Edging in males
The practice of edging can take many forms. For example, some males practice the “squeeze method” when edging during masturbation.
To do this, they will squeeze the top of the penis and stop stimulation for 30 seconds to prevent ejaculation.
Edging might not be for everyone, but it is generally safe and has several benefits.
People looking to try edging with others should discuss it with them first. This will help determine whether or not the person is comfortable and interested in trying it.
Some people may wish to consider exploring edging on their own first. This can help them decide if they also wish to try it with others.
The following are answers to some common questions about edging:
How does edging differ from anorgasmia?
People who actively engage in edging can delay orgasms for a purpose. In contrast, those with anorgasmia cannot choose whether they have a delayed orgasm or not. Anorgasmia is a common issue in females but can also affect males. People with this condition experience long delays in reaching an orgasm. And while some individuals have lifelong anorgasmia, others may develop the condition in later life or in specific situations.
How long should I edge myself?
There are no rules on how long a person should practice edging. Typically, people stop stimulation before reaching orgasm for about 30 seconds. They can stop the edging cycle whenever they feel ready to have an orgasm.
Edging is safe and unlikely to cause lasting side effects. Some people may benefit from incorporating the technique into their sexual activities. For example, individuals who experience premature ejaculation may use edging to avoid this.
People can practice edging alone or with others. Some may enjoy the practice, while others may not have any interest in it or do not enjoy it.
Those practicing edging with others should discuss it with them first and only attempt it if all partners consent.