Despite what you may have heard, edging — deliberately delaying your orgasm — isn’t harmful.

This technique is also known as orgasm control. Although it’s more common among people who have a penis, anyone can benefit from it.

Curious? Read on to learn how it works, tips to try, and more.

People who practice edging bring themselves to the brink, or edge, of climax, then back off for several seconds or minutes.

You can choose to climax at this point, or you may back off yet again. The number of times you stop an ejaculation is up to you.

The goal is to maintain masturbation or partner sex for a longer period of time. You may also choose to delay your orgasm until your partner is ready to climax.

Edging is just one way to make masturbation or partner sex last longer.

While not true for everyone, people who have a penis often reach climax more easily than people who have a vagina.

In some cases, climax may occur within a few minutes of penetration. This includes oral, anal, and vaginal sex.

Edging is a way to naturally extend sexual activity.

Edging can allow you to exert more control over your own orgasm. This may allow you to prolong solo or partner play, help prevent premature ejaculation, and more.

Edging may be used more in sexual play, as it invites a great deal of suspense and fun into the bedroom. But the practice has its origins in helping individuals treat or prevent premature ejaculation.

Many people who have a penis are able to climax in a short period of time. People who experience premature orgasm, however, reach climax before they wish to.

Edging, or purposefully stopping thrusting or rubbing in order to prevent climax, can prevent you from reaching the sudden pinnacle of sexual sensation.

People who have a vagina may also experience premature orgasms, though this is less common.

Another benefit of sexual edging is a more intense orgasm. The delayed gratification aspect of edging may make your eventual climax feel more powerful.

For some people, this is the entire purpose of edging — pushing their orgasm to the brink once or several times so that the overall sensation is stronger.

Edging is different from delayed ejaculation (DE) or anorgasmia.

DE is a medical condition in which a person with a penis can’t ejaculate. If they can ejaculate, they may need more than 30 minutes of sexual stimulation in order to reach orgasm.

Many people experience occasional episodes of DE.

If you find that it regularly takes more than 30 minutes to ejaculate, or that you’re unable to ejaculate at all, you may be experiencing an underlying condition.

DE may be caused by a number of different physical and psychological conditions, so consider making an appointment with a doctor or other healthcare provider.

They can assess your symptoms and make a diagnosis, if needed. In many cases, medications or psychotherapy can help restore healthy ejaculation.

Edging can’t cause semen or ejaculate to back up into your body in any way.

Ejaculate won’t expel into your bladder, kidneys, or elsewhere if you don’t release the fluid during climax.

Once you stop edging and reach climax, any semen or ejaculate your body created will be released.

If you don’t ejaculate, your body will break down the ejaculate and recycle its different components.

Retrograde ejaculation is a condition in which semen enters your bladder instead of exiting through the urethra during an orgasm. Edging doesn’t cause retrograde ejaculation.

Instead, this condition may be caused by physical issues, such as an injury, or other medical condition, including diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

Whether you’re edging to control your own orgasm or to make your climax more intense, these tips can help you try the sexual activity for the first time.

Masturbate to the brink

Manually stimulate yourself at a pace and pressure that will get you to climax. As you near the point of orgasm, slow down and ease the pressure.

After a few seconds or minutes, return to the more intense pressure and speed. Bring yourself to the edge of climax again.

You can repeat this cycle until you’re prepared to reach orgasm.

Slow penetrative sex

Penetration occurs during oral, anal, and vaginal sex. In whatever form you choose, bring yourself to the point of orgasm, then stop.

When you’re ready, begin penetration again. Repeat the cycle until you want to orgasm.

People who have a vagina can benefit from edging in much the same way as people who have a penis. You just have different techniques you can use.

For example, you can ask your partner to stop thrusting as you near orgasm. Then, after a short break, they can begin thrusting again.

Mix it up

Engage in oral, anal, or vaginal sex until you’ve nearly reached orgasm. Then, stop or slow down.

Change positions, or switch to erogenous stimulation from masturbation or with a partner.

The differences in sensation and pressure may help you prolong your orgasm. You can keep changing methods, positions, or the level of pressure until you’re ready to climax.

If you have a vagina, you may find it helpful to switch between vaginal penetration and clitoral stimulation. The different pressure and sensation may help you prolong your eventual orgasm.

Whether you decide to do it alone or with your partner, edging is a safe and potentially exciting way to prolong your orgasm and experience a more intense one in the process.

If you want to try it with a partner, be sure to talk about it beforehand. Explain why you think you might enjoy it and why you think your partner could benefit from it too.

You may also want to discuss timing. Prolonged edging may become tedious or frustrating for one partner. You want to make sure you set expectations before you begin.