What is edging and should you start doing it?

Words by Evangeline Polymeneas

On the edge of glory.

It can be easy to fall into a go-to sexual routine, opting for stress-free practices that you know and love. Climbing the same route up the mountain to orgasm with no issues, complications or unprecedented roadblocks. But sometimes it’s nice to have a change of scenery.

Spicing up your journey to orgasm can be exhilarating and worthwhile if you’re looking to take your sex life to the next level, or even just another level. So if you’re not familiar with the term edging, it’s time to acquaint yourself with it.

For more advice on spicing up your sex life, head to our Life section.

Edging is the process of getting yourself or your partner to the point of orgasm but just before the deed is complete, suddenly stopping everything that you’re doing. If it sounds like a pleasurable form of torture, well, it kind of is. To get a better idea of what edging is, I spoke to edging enthusiast and sex and pleasure coach, Clarke Rose.

“The first time I ever orgasmed from a partner was after he edged me,” Clarke says. This testimonial was enough to get me to text my boyfriend “we must try edging” to which he replied, “to the edge of what?”. So for those of you who (like my boyfriend) need more information, I prodded Clarke a bit further.  

“Mentally it’s nice, especially for people with vulvas, to know that there isn’t a time limit, and they don’t need to have an orgasm in two minutes, or fake one in three. They know that their partner is going to be down there for a super long time, so they can just relax into it and let their body enjoy it.”  

So what exactly is edging?

“Edging is what it sounds like. Essentially you get really close to the edge of an orgasm or you get somewhere along the scale of what an orgasm might be and then you stop and then you go again. For example, if zero is not aroused and 10 is an orgasm, you can start and get to a three and then stop, then start again until you reach a four or five and then you stop, and so on until you finally let yourself or your partner orgasm,” Clarke explains. 

According to Clarke, when the orgasm finally occurs it’s much more intense. Edging prolongs the experience you’re having, whether it’s solo or with a partner or partners, so it makes sense that you’ll feel a greater sense of relief when climax is finally reached. 

“The endorphins and hormones [from sex] are released throughout the experience. If you’re fooling around for longer and you’re edging and having fun, it’s probably going to make you happy and be a good experience,” says Clarke.

When I first heard about edging, I thought it sounded like a one-way ticket to blue balls. Ah, blue balls! Introduced to us in early adolescence, blue balls is reportedly a common penile experience that occurs when boys and men get too excited, and the pressure is not alleviated. Apparently, the pain is so unbearable that they simply must orgasm.

When I put this to Clarke her answer definitely made me question everything. “Blue balls isn’t real. When anyone gets aroused, whatever genitalia they have, blood rushes to the genitals and flares up the erectile tissue (which we all have). If all that blood is down there and you’re not orgasming, the blood stays there which can lead to a little bit of discomfort or a feeling of frustration maybe. 

“But again, that happens to everybody and all anatomies so that means that people with vulvas technically get blue vulva or blue bean all the time, especially because they’re not often cumming.” But Clarke reassures me that “the goal of edging is to have an orgasm at the end so it wouldn’t lead to blue anything for anyone”.

Introducing a new technique in the bedroom can be confronting, especially if you’re looking to prolong the experience. When I ask Clarke if she has any parting words of advice, she suggests those looking to experiment with edging start out with a timer. “If you’re going to do it with your partner say ‘I’m going to put a timer on for 10 minutes and you’re not allowed to cum until the 10 minutes is over’. Whenever they’re getting really aroused or they’re getting close, they squeeze your hand, and you stop pleasing them and allow the body to calm down and then you go back to it.”  

For more on edging, try this.

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