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Premature ejaculation (PE) is a common sexual problem that can keep you from satisfying sex. The good news is there are many non-medical tactics you can use to avoid PE—edging is a popular one. Read on to learn more about edging and how it can help improve your sex life.
What is edging?
For many men, premature ejaculation (PE)—ejaculating sooner than you or your partner would like—gets in the way of enjoying a good sex life. This experience can lead to a loss of confidence and maybe even the desire to avoid intimacy altogether.
Edging is a technique some use to manage their PE.
Also called “surfing,” “peaking,” “teasing,” or “orgasm control,” edging involves bringing yourself right to the brink of climax (without going over), pausing until the urge to ejaculate subsides, then resuming stimulation. With practice, you learn to recognize when you’re approaching “the point of no return,” allowing you to extend intercourse (Raveendran, 2021).
You don’t have to do it for an hour. In fact, the average duration of penis-in-vagina sex is 5.4 minutes, and most women who have sex with men say their desired duration of penetration is 7–13 minutes (Waldinger, 2005). The goal of edging sex is just to prolong things a bit and increase your sexual stamina.
How does edging work?
When edging, you stimulate yourself nearly to the “point of no return,” otherwise known as the end of the “plateau phase” of orgasmic response. The plateau phase is a pretty brief period of the sexual response cycle: It’s the point where, if sexual stimulation continues, you’re pretty sure you’re going to come. It extends right to the point when ejaculating is inevitable (Guiliano, 2012).
During an edging session, you stimulate yourself (or have a partner stimulate you). Before reaching the point of no return, you back off before letting yourself climax. You might downshift gears, so to speak, slowing down or altering stimulation. Or pause and rest. Then you repeat the process if you’d like.
Types of edging
There are a few popular types of edging you can practice. If you’ve been dealing with PE for a while, try to be patient as you practice these. It will take time to find the technique that will work best for you, and it may not work every time. The goal is to increase your sexual satisfaction overall.
The stop-start method is something you can practice with a partner or solo as you masturbate. When you’re stimulating yourself and feel like you’re about to come, back off and pause completely until the urge to ejaculate passes, then continue stimulation.
You can do this as many times as you’d like in one session. Over time, you’ll learn to recognize when you’re approaching “the point of no return,” so you can take a time-out to regroup, then continue—and extend—sexual activity.
In this commonly recommended therapy for PE, you begin sexual activity as usual until you feel almost ready to ejaculate. Then, have your partner squeeze the end of your penis at the point where the head (glans) joins the shaft. Hold the squeeze for several seconds until the urge to come retreats. You can do this several times in one session. Make sure you have a satisfying orgasm at the end if possible.
“Ballooning” is a form of edging that incorporates kegel exercises, which are intended to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. If those muscles are weak, they might impair your ability to delay ejaculation. Having stronger pelvic floor muscles can also improve the quality of your orgasms.
To identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream. To practice Kegels, tighten these same muscles, hold the contraction, then relax.
When ballooning, you stimulate yourself to just before the point of no return. Then, as you back off, you perform Kegels and allow your erection to subside—or deflate if you will. Then, you stimulate yourself back to full arousal and repeat the process.
Benefits of edging
Edging can help deal with premature ejaculation (PE). When you practice edging to treat PE, you’re retraining your body to have sex in a more pleasurable way and improving your sexual health—you’re getting to know your body better. The point is to recognize what it feels like when you’re about to come, so you can slow down, back off, resume foreplay, have a light snack—whatever will delay your ejaculation until you and your partner are sexually satisfied.
Risks of edging
While many people find edging beneficial in improving or avoiding PE, it may not be for everyone. Some people find edging too mechanical, focusing too much on the physiology of orgasm. It could be argued that it interrupts sex and does not do much to promote intimacy and eroticism. Edging also neglects the communication and psychological aspects of intercourse (de Carufel, 2006).
Other treatment options for PE
While edging is a great technique for managing PE, there are other treatments available. You can use edging on its own or along with any of these other treatments.
Therapy and medications
Psychotherapy can help manage anxiety and stress associated with PE. A trained therapist can give you some techniques to use before, during, and after a sexual encounter to help you manage your symptoms.
While there are no FDA-approved prescription medications for treating PE, some antidepressants known as SSRIs (or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) have the side effect of delaying ejaculation. As the acronym suggests, these medications prevent the brain from absorbing serotonin, the “feel-good” brain chemical. The more serotonin is present in your brain, the longer it can take for you to come. Some common SSRIs include sertraline (Zoloft; see Important Safety Information), paroxetine (Paxil), and fluoxetine (Prozac; see Important Safety Information) (Crowdis, 2021).
To reduce sensitivity in your penis, enabling you to delay ejaculation, you can apply a product containing the numbing agents lidocaine or benzocaine—such as a cream, gel, or single-packet wipe—to your penis before you practice edging or have sexual intercourse (Crowdis, 2021).
Vibrators or sex toys
You can incorporate a vibrator or sex toy into edging. You and your partner could use sex toys on each other or watch each other use them as you stimulate yourselves. This can make practice a bit more fun (and seem less like work), ensure you stay aroused, and help you respond to varying types of stimulation.
Edging is also something you can perform on a partner who doesn’t have orgasm difficulties; building tension with extended foreplay, then repeatedly backing off before orgasm, can increase the intensity of the ultimate climax.
- Crowdis, M. & Nazir, S. (2021). Premature ejaculation. [Updated Jul 1, 2021]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK546701/
- de Carufel, F. & Trudel, G. (2006). Effects of a new functional-sexological treatment for premature ejaculation. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 32(2), 97–114. doi: 10.1080/00926230500442292. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16418103/
- Giuliano, F. & Clèment, P. (2012). Pharmacology for the treatment of premature ejaculation. Pharmacological Reviews, 64(3), 621–644. doi: 10.1124/pr.111.004952. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22679220/
- Raveendran, A. V. & Agarwal, A. (2021). Premature ejaculation – current concepts in the management: A narrative review. International Journal of Reproductive Biomedicine, 19(1), 5–22. doi: 10.18502/ijrm.v19i1.8176. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7851481/
Dr. Mike is a licensed physician and the Director, Medical Content & Education at Ro.