No matter how mind-blowing your sex life is, a little experimentation never hurt nobody. Enter edging. Whether you're an jack of all trades in the bedroom or tend not to wander too far outside your sexual comfort zone, edging — also known as the start-stop method — does not require any additional accessories and is only reliant on the two partners involved, making it something anyone could try. Ever found yourself wishing for a more intense orgasm? Read on.
What Is Edging?
So, what exactly is edging and why should you try it? In the most basic sense, edging is taking yourself or your partner to the brink of having an orgasm — the "edge" — then backing off and repeating the process over and over again. The reason? Delaying an orgasm for as long as possible can result in one that's significantly more intense as well as an overall more erotic sexual experience.
"Really memorable sex usually comes from sustained high-intensity arousal. If you can keep from having an orgasm, that can keep the high-intensity arousal going," notes Stephen Snyder, M.D., New York City sex therapist and author of "Love Worth Making: How to Have Ridiculously Great Sex in a Long-Lasting Relationship." "It's akin to taking another circuit on the roller coaster, rather than having to get off the ride after one time around. Plus, the teasing itself can be erotic for some people," Snyder explains.
If memorable sex doesn't peek your interest, consider this: Practicing edging can also be beneficial to your health. According to research, edging can intensify orgasms for both men and women. But in terms of pleasure, the technique tends to have the biggest impact on the latter. OMGYes, a website dedicated to bringing more attention to the female orgasm, reports that 65.5 percent of women have longer, more intense orgasms when they approach their climax and then ease away — and Dr. Snyder has seen similar results in his practice.
"Many people report that edging makes orgasms more intense, which makes sense because the intensity of orgasm is usually dependent on the duration and intensity of the arousal that preceded it," he says. "That said, it's my impression that most women can derive more pleasure from edging than most men can. Their orgasm thresholds are often higher, which means they can really rock arousal to a higher level. Also, I think women tend to be more able to sustain sexual arousal over a long period of time without losing the intensity."
Unlike some forms of sex play, the process can be done with or without a partner. In fact, trying your hand (literally!) at edging during masturbation is an ideal way to familiarize yourself with it and figure out exactly what brings you to your brink.
Whether you're having sex with a partner or engaging in solo play, there are many different ways to learn about edging — and even more ways to execute it. That said, one general rule applies, regardless of who's involved: Practice makes perfect. Becoming intimately familiar with your body's impending orgasm sensations as well as your partner's cues is crucial in getting edging right. Here is how to master the process — no matter how you choose to go about it.
What Are the Benefits of Edging?
The good news about edging? No matter the participant's sex, edging can provide an array of benefits. Why would anyone want the longer, more intense orgasms provided by edging? For women, a 2005 study found that when females experience an orgasm, the amygdala and the hippocampus (the parts of the brain associated with fear and anxiety) show little to no activity.
In men, the practice can help with premature ejaculation. "There are multiple techniques for men with premature ejaculation that can help delay orgasm, and the stop-start method — or edging — is one of them," notes New York City-based urologist Stacy Loeb, M.D. "Getting some control over premature ejaculation is important for men because it can cause distress for both them and their partners. Learning to successfully manage it, through edging or other techniques, can lead to improved self-confidence, sexual satisfaction, relationship dynamics and overall quality of life."
Loeb also notes that when men have more sexual confidence, and in turn ejaculate more often, it can impact their long-term health. "There are numerous studies on the health benefits of ejaculation, including a recent one that shows that men who ejaculated more frequently had a lower risk of prostate cancer as well as a follow-up study suggesting that ejaculation may affect gene expression in the prostate," she says. (Gene expression, according to Your Genome, is the process "by which the instructions in our DNA are converted into a functional product, such as a protein." So, yeah. It's important.)
How to Master Edging Solo
You may be wondering what edging means in terms of masturbation. Well, the process is fairly straightforward: You bring yourself as close to climaxing as you can without actually doing so, and then you stop. However, you don't want to stop for so long that you lose interest or your sexual sensations wane completely. The point is to remain aroused, become stimulated again and continue the process for as long as you'd like until you climax. In the end, it's all about the timing. In order to get there, a few tips and tricks are in order.
Men can use the "squeeze method," which involves stopping stimulation and gently squeezing the tip of the penis for 30 seconds when ejaculation is close, then resuming. For women, slowing down breath and paying close attention to the physical sensations of sex and foreplay can be helpful when trying to control an orgasm. When a woman is close to climaxing, she or her partner should either stop stimulation completely or drastically reduce the intensity of it.
Both men and women can do Kegel exercises to help strengthen their pelvic floor, which can better equip them for controlling when they climax. (Wondering how to do a Kegel? Stop urinating mid-flow for a few seconds and then resume. Yep, it's that easy.) The stronger your pelvic floor muscles are, the more control you'll have down there during sex. In other words, you may be able to give yourself a little internal squeeze during stimulation in order to stop an orgasm in its tracks. Whether you're a man or a woman or flying solo or with a partner, the result of edging should be a sexual experience that's both prolonged and more enjoyable along with a more intense finale.
How to Master Edging With a Partner
When edging with a partner, communication is a key aspect — and it will help develop a keen sense for how close your partner is to climaxing as well as learning where their threshold lies. You don't want to bring them too close to the edge, because once they hit a certain point, it may be hard to stop them from climaxing. As Snyder notes, it's all about balance when it comes to the start-stop method.
"Ideally, you want to decrease stimulation at the earliest sign of impending orgasm," he says. "I tell my clients in Manhattan to imagine they're on a subway platform, and the train they're waiting for is the orgasm. The first sign of the train approaching might be a subtle shift in the air or a light on the subway tracks. That's your cue to slow down or stop stimulation. In other words, it's usually best to act before the train is actually barreling into the station."
When edging with a partner, the International Society for Sexual Medicine notes, it's important to make sure distinct expectations are laid out (i.e., discussing how long you want sex to last). "Partners should be willing to compromise," it reads on its website. "One partner may want to edge for a long time, which can become tedious for the other partner. Knowing each other's expectations can make edging more satisfying for both."
Is Edging for You?
At the end of the day, your sexual proclivities are up to you and no one else, and what works for you may not work for your partner. But keep this in mind: Edging is a great way to push the envelope in the bedroom while not straying too far from the edge. (See what we did there?)