What is Edging in Sex?

Medically Reviewed by Carmelita Swiner, MD on July 07, 2023
4 min read

Edging is a method of stretching out how long it takes to reach orgasm during sex. Partners learn to communicate and stop sexual stimulation before orgasm. They can explore other ways to touch one another, allowing themselves to cool down before continuing. This not only delays climax but can make orgasms more intense when they finally happen.

If you want to explore edging during sex, communication with your partner is key. Knowing how many cycles of teasing they can handle and how to touch them during a cool-down phase is vital to success. 

A common myth about edging is that it's only for people with a penis. But everyone can enjoy edging. Another myth is that edging is bad for you and can cause sexual problems like delayed orgasm or trouble getting an erection. And edging won't cause semen to back up into your body. There is no evidence to support any claims about negative effects of edging.

Edging has many benefits. It can:

  • Add variety to your sex life
  • Bring you closer with your partner
  • Increase satisfaction from sex
  • Delay orgasm
  • Make sex last longer
  • Help with premature ejaculation
  • Increase the intensity of orgasms


Edging isn't harmful. It's possible that it could cause epididymal hypertension, commonly know as "blue balls." This happens when blood builds up in the testes due to a long period of being aroused without ejaculating. But it's not a harmful condition and will pass on its own.

Edging with a partner can involve hands, mouths, sex organs, and toys. Talk about how to signal when one of you needs a break. It can be a word or a gesture, whatever works best. Experiment with changing positions or intensity when one of you gets close to orgasm. Switch from penetrative sex to touch, or from oral stimulation to using a toy. You can start with a couple of edging cycles, then work your way up to as many as you want. Use sensual massage on one another during breaks. The more cycles you go through, the more blood will flow into your pelvic area. This helps build excitement and can lead to more powerful orgasms.

Edging allows you to explore new areas of your relationship, find new ways to please yourself and your partner, and gives you more powerful orgasms. Letting yourself relax into the sensations of sex – instead of simply working toward orgasm – can open the door to a more playful, spontaneous relationship; bring you closer, emotionally, to your partner; and help you become a better lover. 

First, decide whether you want to try edging alone or with a partner. Whichever way you want to try it, remember that getting to know your body is always a good thing. More intense orgasms are the icing on the cake. 

Edging by yourself

You don't need a partner to explore edging. You can do it during masturbation. Use your hands or toys and move slowly and deliberately, paying close attention to your body’s signals. When you feel like you’re close to orgasm, that’s your cue to slow down or stop completely. The next step is to cool down and rest to a point where your orgasm won't take over. Try breathing deeply or running your hands over your skin. Let your body simply enjoy a different form of touch. Think about what brought you close to orgasm, and note how your body feels. When you’re ready, you can start again and go through as many cycles as you like.


There isn't any limit on how long edging should last. It's up to you and your partner. You could do it for 15 minutes, an hour, a few hours, or more. It depends on how many cycles of stimulation and rest you can handle. Some people report on the internet masturbating or having sex several times over several days without orgasm.

Edging is a sexual technique for delaying orgasm, by bringing yourself or your partner to the edge, and then cooling down for a while before starting again. It's a way to extend the pleasure of sex or masturbation and add variety to your sex life. 

How do you know if you're edging?

You're edging if you're coming almost to orgasm but then stopping to cool off. Then you start again.

Can I edge for days?

You can edge for several days by avoiding orgasm during sex or masturbation. It's not the same as edging in one continuous session, and it may not bring you the same results of more powerful orgasms. 

Does edging count as climax?

Edging is a way of delaying climax.

What happens if you block sperm from coming out?

If you block semen and sperm from coming out, semen gets reabsorbed into your body. There's no evidence that it's harmful.