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What is edging and are there any harmful effects from doing it?


This is a great question because in my experience there are two types of edging. Our typical understanding of edging is the deliberate practice of genital stimulation to the point of almost climaxing, before stopping and starting again.

The second type of edging that occurs is less intentional and is more the result of video-hopping while watching porn. The person starts masturbating, then stops to look and change videos, and repeats the cycle. While one is deliberate and the other less so, both can affect your sexual performance, be that solo sex or with another person/s.

There are a few things that can happen with edging that has a knock-on effect:

  1. The first, and probably the one that can cause distress, is if someone engages in edging (for some that might be a 30-minute wank, for others it might be 13 hours) and it becomes the only way that they can achieve sexual satisfaction. This is a form of idiosyncratic masturbation.
  2. For guys who are edging they're most likely using their hand, which is nothing like a mouth, vagina or anus. So when it comes to the individual engaging with a real-world person, they may find that they don’t get the same pleasure or stimulation, or they lose their erection because it's such a different sensation.
  3. Because they're using their hand and most likely not using a masturbation sleeve (which protects the penis), every time they're edging they tighten their grip to achieve the same level of stimulation, sometimes resulting in the person having to hold on very tight just to climax. This is known as death gripping.
  4. For those who don’t experience erectile issues and are able to maintain an erection, edging may cause them to experience delayed ejaculation. This can be distressing during sex with another person as they might feel the 'edger' isn’t attracted to them, and it can also lead to frustration and sexual dissatisfaction.
  5. Depending on how they engage in the activity, the individual may also have issues related to porn misuse. Porn misuse can and does affect sexual function, which you can read more about here.

These are but a few of the issues that can arise from edging, however, I want to stress that like all fun things in life, masturbation in moderation can be a fun and enjoyable experience with positive health benefits.

Christopher Brett-Renes
Christopher Brett-Renes

Christopher Brett-Renes is an experienced psychosexual therapist who specialises in treating anxiety and depression, PTSD and trauma, grief and loss, relationship and couples counselling, sex therapy, coming out and transitioning support, porn and sex addiction, stress management and HIV/STI counselling. 

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