Have you ever been in bed with your partner and they just can’t, well, finish? Or, even worse, you strongly suspect they're faking it? It seems nothing is as big a blow to a guy’s self-esteem as failing to get someone off.
But we're going to let you in on a little secret: sex is...wait for it...about more than just orgasms. Even though our culture tends to view orgasm as the be-all end-all of sex, really, really good sex is not about the destination — it’s about the journey.
What is edging?
Edging is essentially the ultimate tease: it’s taking you right to the “edge” of orgasm, then stopping, resting, and repeating. “Edging can be a personal practice and also a therapeutic tool,” says Dr. Holly Richmond, psychologist and licensed sex therapist. “What it is is stroking the penis like you might normally during masturbation, but slower and more mindfully.”
The term “mindful” is key here. These days, mindfulness is a buzzword used to describe everything, from our overall wellness to our diets to how we design our apartments and our closets. Mindfulness extends to sex as well, and edging is just one example of a way that people are looking to have orgasms with intent.
In short, edging is about reducing performance anxiety and paying attention to what you’re doing right now. “The focus is not on the orgasm,” Richmond says, “but pleasure in the moment.”
Wait, seriously? You want me to delay my orgasm? Uh, why would I do that?
OK, hear us out for a second.
“Viewing sex as all about the orgasm is a response to a lot of the media we have out there, from pornography to mainstream television” says Stephanie Alys, founder and CEO of the sex toy company MysteryVibe. “[People] always refer to sex as penetration. But that definition of sex can be very limiting.”
For starters, emphasising orgasm over everything else is a pretty heteronormative view of sex (meaning that it’s restricted to penis-in-vagina intercourse — and guess what, not everyone has sex that way.) It also ignores the crucial fact that sex is pretty fun overall — and that applies to the moments leading up to orgasm as well.
“If men don't have an orgasm, they call 911 and think the world is coming to an end," says Richmond. "[But] sex can just be about pleasure, and not that great prize at the end. Edging is a fantastic tool to get men out of their heads and into their bodies."
How Does Edging Work?
Edging serves a few different purposes. As a training tool, you can try it by yourself to help build up sexual stamina and endurance, which will ultimately lead to stronger and better orgasms. This is particularly helpful if you’re one of the 20-30% of men who struggle with premature ejaculation.
If you want to learn how to last longer in bed, Richmond suggests practicing edging on your own. Rate your pleasure on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being “going over the edge to orgasm,” says Richmond. "On Day 1, stroke yourself, or have your partner stroke you, until you reach a 4, and bring yourself down. Let your penis be flaccid for 30 seconds, or a minute, and then go again."
You can also use edging as a form of foreplay. If your partner is giving you oral sex or stroking your penis, tell them to stop and start at their discretion. Giving your partner the power to control your orgasm can be incredibly hot, both for them and for you. "It's a perfect balance between being in control, and relinquishing that control to be in the moment," Richmond says.
Should I try edging?
Even if you don’t struggle with premature ejaculation, edging can yield some serious benefits. It helps you become more acquainted with your own body and desires, and it can be a major turn-on for your partner as well.
"Creating a connection is something couples don't do much these days," says Alys. "Edging is a really great practice that we encourage, and being able to take control of your partner's experience and pleasure can create exciting, connected, mindful sessions of pleasure."
This article originally appeared on Men's Health