What Is Edging? This BDSM Term Makes Finishing Worth The Wait

If the term "edging" makes you think of Lady Gaga's banger "Edge Of Glory" — you're not alone. But 2011 radio hits aside, you may be wondering: What is edging? Is it something you can try at home? "Edging is the method of bringing yourself (or your partner) to the brink of orgasm, then backing away just before it happens, and repeating the process over and over again until you finally reach climax," Dominique Karetsos, resident sex expert at MysteryVibe, tells Elite Daily. Part sex move and part sexual preference, "edging" is a term for intentionally prolonging finishing, in hopes of making the eventual orgasm more intense.

The term may have its roots within the BDSM community, but Karetsos, says that prolonged orgasms can be incorporated into all types of sexual encounters. "Edging can be for anyone," Karetsos says. "In the BDSM community, the act of preventing yourself or your partner from orgasming can be incorporated into power play. But edging does not have to be about doms and subs — it can be a solo or partnered exercise that allows you to play with arousal and patience."

Although edging is primarily a method for making orgasms longer or more intense, according to Karetsos, edging truly is an emphasis around the journey to finish, not just the grand finale. "The art of edging centers around getting yourself or your partner to the 'approach' stage of the orgasm, which is when the orgasm is starting to sizzle, but isn't at the point where its pleasure erupts," Karetsos says. "For many, the idea is to intensify your eventual orgasm, prolongate orgasm with a partner, and for people with penises, increase the amount and trajectory of ejaculate." Edging, or prolonged orgasms, means taking it slow and steady, building on almost-orgasms in an effort to create a major #omg moment. Although Miley would say, "It's all about the climb," when it comes to edging — it's all about the approach.

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If you're looking to prolong your orgasms while getting it on with yourself, check in about what you're feeling and what you're comfortable trying out. Like anything in sex, edging can look different for everyone and doesn't always mean the same thing to every partner.

"If you and your partner(s) are thinking about edging, it’s important to discuss what that looks like for both of you," Karetsos says. "For some, edging may be a one-time experiment, but for others, the act is something they want to repeat. Having a conversation before you engage in any sexual play is important." In addition to baseline consent and boundary discussions, a conversation about trying edging ideally should include a sort of "hopes and dreams" type of discourse. "Knowing how your partner conceptualizes the act of edging and what they hope to get from it (more intense orgasm, longer arousal time, etc.), will inform how you both approach this type of play," Karetsos says.

Experimenting with edging means getting clear on what you're excited and willing to try, what you're not super into, and what you never want to do. Getting on the same page before the sexy stuff starts can ensure that everyone feels safe and comfortable when things start to heat up.

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Whether you're using your hands, a vibrator, or other toys, experimenting with edging can be a fun and sexy way to get in tune with your own body. "During masturbation, try taking your hand or vibrator away right as you feel yourself reaching climax. It takes some self-control, but the sensations will be incredibly strong as you build up the second time around," Karetsos says. If you're trying to bring some extended O's into partner(s) sex, after checking in with consent and boundaries, there are many ways to try to edge. "During partnered sex, you can bring your partner to a significant level of arousal and then stop," Karetsos says. This can be done orally, by fingering, through penetrative sex, by using vibrators or toys on your parter, or any other consensual activity you and your partner(s) enjoy.

Karetsos shares that edging may have some surprising educational value as well. "One exercise is to try to edge yourself with your partner watching. They will be more attentive to your breath, where and how you respond to being touched — it’s a great education in navigating your body with the thrill included," Karetsos says. In a sort of sexy show and tell, edging in front of a partner can show them the best ways to interact with your body.

If coming to orgasm tends to be a tricky process for you or your partners, karetsos says that a method like edging may not be the right fit. "In order to edge, you need to be able to reach orgasm regularly," Karetsos says. If you or your partner(s) are not frequently reaching climax, edging could apply some unwanted pressure between the sheets. "Nothing kills an orgasm faster than feeling stressed out about having one. Asking a partner to tell you when they’re close can sometimes put psychological pressure on them and actually prevent the orgasm," Karetsos says.

If you're trying to prolong orgasm with others, communicating before getting physical can help everyone be on the same page along the way. Though it may feel frustrating or tiresome to figure out what feels best for your body — giving yourself some major TLC and tending to your own needs is super important. You are a flawless butterfly, and your body is perfect the way it is. There's no need to stress about finishing or making your partner(s) finish.

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Like rolling your tongue or raising one eyebrow at a time — not everyone can edge. And even if you can edge, you may not enjoy the sensation. If you're finding that prolonged orgasms aren't for you and you're feeling a little annoyed, Karetsos shares the importance of letting go and trying something else. "There's no reason to keep trying a technique that's just not working," Karetsos says. "Some people can't rebuild to orgasm, no matter how many attempts. Some just straight up don't like how edging feels and find it frustrating. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with either of you. It just means that it's time to discover new pleasures." If you're trying to edge and it doesn't seem to be working for you, there are plenty of other sexy things to try, alone or with others. Like a good book, edging is something you can put down and pick up again later.

If prolonged orgasms sound like they may be up your alley, coming to the brink and pulling away may send your sex life over the edge. Experimenting with edging isn't necessarily everyone's cup of tea, and if extending your O's doesn't feel like a good fit, it's OK to pass. But if you orgasm regularly and have talked to your partner(s) about experimenting with this BDSM practice, you may find that bringing edging into your bedroom can make your orgasms worth the wait.