Carl’s story: edging training awkwardness
Carl was on a mission to build up his stamina. As a 27 year old runner and gym-goer, he had no problems in the fitness department but always wished he could last longer in bed.
He’d consulted Dr Google and read about the power of edging as a form of self-training. Carl had been diligently working on this for two months. He didn’t lack determination.
When Carl masturbated, he tried to take his time. When he felt himself approaching orgasm, he would release his grip and count to 20. He’d try to relax as much as possible during the break and then go again.
With an eye on the clock, he would repeat this as many times as necessary to reach his target time. His dream goal was 30 minutes, but there was a long way to go.
Carl’s penis didn’t always want to cooperate with this training routine. So he did what any resourceful guy would do: he watched porn on his phone to get hard.
This had the desired effect, but as the edging sessions went on he depended on the porn tube sites to keep going.
Carl would scroll through thumbnails to find the scene and forward through videos to get to the best bits. The algorithm would suggest more clips, more niches to check out.
On a good day, Carl could edge like this for quite a while. But it felt more like a porn session than a training session. He couldn’t help feeling distracted and a bit disconnected.
If his girlfriend was in the house, he would also find it really difficult to relax. He couldn’t say why, but this ritual felt like something he had to keep secret. His girlfriend once said she was cool with porn, but he felt embarrassed nonetheless.
When Carl had sex with his girlfriend, there was no telling whether the edging training was helping or not. Maybe he was lasting a bit longer, but sex didn’t feel noticeably more satisfying for either of them.
What’s going on?
Yes, edging training can be helpful in overcoming PE.
It helps us build awareness of how our sexual excitement feels both physiologically and cognitively. It joins up these elements, so we can pause stroking when we detect our point of no return and know when we’re sufficiently cooled down.
In effect, we’re training our neurology to enjoy the journey to orgasm and get used to delayed gratification. And there are broader benefits to masturbation too. Jerking off relieves stress and helps reset the clock in between having sex with our partners.
So why wasn’t it working out for Carl? Or indeed, for so many guys who try edging to fix their PE?
Edging training vs mindful masturbation
Part of the problem is in the name. The term edging is often used to describe a sensual form of teasing, where a guy (solo or with his partner) is brought right to the edge of ejaculation and then denied. This is repeated until he can’t hold out any longer, leading to an intense orgasm.
When sex therapists recommend edging to help with PE, this isn’t quite what they have in mind. They are referring to a form of mindful masturbation: an exercise in self-awareness, muscle relaxation and learning to absorb sensations of pleasure.
Think of a 1 to 10 scale of sexual excitement. 1 is an initial thought or feeling, 2 is a semi-erection, all the way to orgasm and ejaculation at 10.
When guys edge themselves for the tantalising build up of intensity, they keep themselves on the edge. They’ll reach 9 before cooling down to an 8, then repeat.
Inadvertently, Carl was doing this too. A count of 20 is not very long. He was briefly pausing, getting down to 8, then ramping back up to 9 again.
Guys tend to find themselves hovering in this zone during sex too.
They use the stop-start technique, pulling out or keeping still when they’re on the brink of orgasm.
Done right, stop-start is a natural and effective way to prolong intercourse. Done as a form of edging, it’s damned frustrating for everyone involved.
But back to training and masturbation. To edge in any beneficial way, get used to going all the way down to 5. Still aroused, a little less erect maybe and much, much cooler.
Then resume the action and enjoy taking longer to reach 8 or 9 again. Witness the easy return of your rock-solid erection. Rebuild that bond of trust with your penis.
Now this will require a longer pause, especially when you’re starting out. You might need to be hands-off for a minute or more.
The key skill is knowing when you are sufficiently cool, when you’re down to 5 and good to go. If you wait too long and lose the momentum, that’s fine. These things happen in training.
This calls for increased body awareness and less distraction. Which neatly brings us to porn.
Edging training to all the porn
If the prospect of a softening erection fills you with unease, you’re not alone. Guys tend to fixate on staying hard.
I get it. Once we’re past our teens, getting turned on by our own hand and imagination feels like a real effort. We need stimulation, and porn comes to the rescue.
That endless supply of sweating, heaving, high-definition eyecandy. Penis in one hand, phone in the other. It feels trancelike and we’ve all been there.
I’m not porn-shaming or blaming here. But it does get in the way of training. With our eyes locked onto porn, we’re not in touch with our internal experience. Hence the strange combination of tension and numbness that Carl experienced.
When this becomes habitual, we risk conditioning ourselves to be dependent on the visual stimulation of porn for maintaining an erection. This isn’t going to go well for real sex with our partners.
Dialling down the porn
If you want your edging training to really work, make it a pleasurable, conflict-of-attention-free experience.
I recommend tapering off. Maybe start out with some porn to get in the mood, then put your phone down and fire up your imagination.
Top tip: consider going back to basics and viewing softer porn. All that relentless gagging and banging is over-stimulating. A less is more approach will help your imagination make the shift to real-life sexual experience.
Whichever way, we need to refocus on how our body feels and responds. By dialling down the porn, we can enjoy deeper sensation: slower breathing, noticing tensions around the pelvis, the contraction of the PC muscle, movement variations and riding out those waves of pleasure.
All of this can be practised through masturbation, laying the foundations for our own sexual potential.
This way, we’re not making unhelpful comparisons between ourselves and the performers on the screen. Or failing to notice that we’re using the death grip to maintain some form of reluctant hard-on.
Tackling awkward feelings around masturbation
Carl also experienced flashbacks to early masturbation shame. It’s difficult to relax while reliving old fears of getting caught wanking to porn.
Gone are the days when we had to get off as quickly as possible before mum came up the stairs. But for so many guys, these old instincts stick around. Again, this isn’t helping our confidence in adult sexual relationships.
Top tip: if your partner is up for it, masturbate (both mutually and solo) together sometime. Communicate with your partner, keep it fun and get over that embarrassment about touching yourself in front of her.
Sharing in this way will work wonders for your relaxation and body confidence, both key elements for lasting longer.
Building your sexual skillset
With a bit more focus, edging training and start-stop masturbation can really work. Incorporate it into your routine. And remember, don’t become too fixated on the clock.
Sure, lasting longer gives us more penis-in-vagina time. But great sex requires connection and creativity. Guys who can last for hours are not necessarily fantastic sexual partners – any woman will vouch for this.
My objective is to steer guys towards fun, pleasure and discovery. Dealing with any timing issues is just one of a multitude of skills we can develop on this journey.
Carl continued to edge btw, with some adjustments. This took some getting used to, but he learned how to breathe out tensions that he’d never even noticed before.
He finally got to experience physiological relaxation and arousal at the same time. That’s a valuable skill to have in the bedroom and beyond.