Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
When it comes to sex, we’ll take any chance we can get to keep the good times rolling. And of all the methods out there, edging might possibly be our favorite. The buildup of anticipation, the starting and stopping, the teasing — whew! Talk about hot and bothered.
Proponents of edging claim stronger orgasms and an increased ability to control when you ejaculate. It’s a rockstar sexual activity for performance, and you don’t even need to be a rockstar to do it.
While there’s relatively little scientific research available on the benefits of this tantric tool and its benefits for sexual performance, the stuff that’s out there is definitely enough to raise an eyebrow or two.
Below, we’ve covered these topics and more, including:
What edging is
How it works
The benefits it may offer
How you can use edging to delay orgasm and last longer
Other science-based options to increase your stamina in the bedroom
Before we get to solutions, though, here’s the 101:
Edging involves sexual stimulation almost to the point of orgasm, and then putting on the brakes. When you approach the “edge,” or point of orgasm, you stop, allowing you to get close to the edge just before reaching climax.
You can practice edging yourself through masturbation or during sexual intercourse by slowing down your movement as you’re about to pop the bubbly, so to speak.
While voluntary blue balls might seem like a modern invention for the modern sex life, the reality is that it’s a variation of the stop-start technique — an old-fashioned technique for preventing premature ejaculation.
Just like edging, the stop-start technique involves stimulating the penis until just before orgasm, then stopping until the urge to ejaculate gradually fades away.
Edging during sex or masturbation offers several purported benefits, the biggest of which is being able to delay orgasm and have sex for longer. Other benefits of edging include:
Increased orgasm control
Better, more pleasurable sex and more intense orgasm
Let’s look at why.
Although there’s no reputable research on this topic, some proponents of edging believe that it can improve the psychological side of orgasm control.
If you have issues with premature ejaculation, techniques like edging (and the stop-start and squeeze methods) might allow you to have sex for a longer amount of time before you reach orgasm and ejaculate.
Research suggests that the stop-start and squeeze techniques are often effective at increasing sexual stamina in the short term.
This increase in sexual stamina can do wonders to improve your sexual self-confidence which has all sorts of ripple effects in the bedroom.
Fans of edging (We almost jokingly called them “edge lords” but decided to go with our better judgment — just this once) claim it results in more pleasurable sex or masturbation by making their eventual orgasm more intense and pleasurable.
While there’s little research to corroborate those claims, delaying your orgasm through edging could make sense. The psychological side of delaying your orgasm may also make the eventual moment more significant and, dare we say, special.
Since edging allows penetrative sex to last for longer, it may also increase sexual pleasure for your partner.
Edging is simple in theory: get close to orgasm, then slow down and don’t finish — on purpose. Obviously, there’s some discrepancy between theory and practice. So, here are a few tips to handle things (well, your thing) better.
If you want to use edging during sex to last longer, it may be helpful to practice solo and work out when your cutoff point is. To perform edging during masturbation:
Masturbate just before you reach orgasm.
Stop and wait until you no longer feel like you’re about to finish.
Gradually start stroking again and, if you want, repeat the process.
Pro Tip: you can also use the stop-start or squeeze methods while edging to control your orgasm and avoid ejaculating too early.
Okay so, same basic concept, except there’s another person there. But this is no time for stage fright. To perform edging during sex:
Have sex (the best part) with your partner.
Before you reach orgasm, slow down or pull out.
Wait for the risk of reaching orgasm to pass (think about baseball if you wish).
Get back in there and do it all over again.
Try to have slow sex the first time you practice edging so that the urge to finish doesn’t hit you (and your partner) all at once.
Pro Tip: Make sure that you let your partner know that you’re going to edge before you start having sex and agree together on the plan. This way, they’ll be able to slow down at the same time and help you avoid orgasm and ejaculation (and no one will be left unsatisfied and waiting for a towel).
Currently, there’s no research to show that edging, the stop-start technique or similar methods of delaying orgasm and improving sexual stamina are bad for your health.
And regardless of the complaints of blue balled TV characters and that Reddit post you found about a guy’s balls exploding, edging doesn’t cause semen to “build up.”
Orgasm and ejaculation is a complex, multiple-step process that involves multiple parts of your body, including your nervous system, cardiovascular system and reproductive system. Until you get to the point of no return, your reproductive system won’t actually load the torpedo tubes.
In the event that you don’t reach orgasm and ejaculate after edging during sex or masturbation, any unused sperm is simply absorbed by your body or washed away in your urine.
Edging is a good way to improve your sexual performance and last longer in bed, especially if your train routinely leaves the station a little early.
But it’s definitely not the only option out there. If you’d like to last longer in bed, you can try changing positions, adding additional foreplay to the roster or introducing a sex toy (like a vibrator) into the mix to offer your partner a little additional stimulation.
You may also want to try the following treatment options:
Premature ejaculation spray. Our Premature Ejaculation Spray uses lidocaine to alter the sensitivity of your penis and help you last longer before reaching orgasm. Applying it is easy — simply spray it on the tip of your penis five to 10 minutes before sex. Research shows that both partners can see better physical sensations and satisfaction.
Our guide to lidocaine spray for premature ejaculation goes into more detail about how it works, how to use it, its effectiveness and more.
Sertraline and other SSRIs. Believe it or not, aside from treating the symptoms of depression, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) like sertraline are also used off-label to treat the symptoms of premature ejaculation. As it turns out, delayed ejaculation is one of the most common symptoms of SSRIs. You know what they say: one man’s bug is another man’s feature.
Edging can add fun to a sexual experience, increase your confidence and potentially increase the length of your legendary sex stories. But, like most men getting their penile measurements, the data may be a bit of a stretch.
Edging is not sexual medicine, and telling you to hold off on finishing isn’t medical advice. But it may work. Here’s what we know about edging and PE:
Edging is safe, simple and relatively effective in increasing your sexual stamina and preventing an early orgasm.
There’s little science to prove that edging is dangerous or bad for your sexual health in any way.
Edging works best with a partner when you communicate. If you’re by yourself, you probably know the person you’re having sex with pretty well.
There are other ways to handle PE, like SSRIs, numbing sprays and creams, and distracting yourself with thoughts of your own father in the middle of edging.
If you have more questions about PE and want to get rid of that mental image, why not try a premature ejaculation consultation to get more information and answers?