We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions will remain anonymous. Now, onto this week’s topic: how to try orgasm control.
Q: “Hi, so I read in one of your last columns that orgasm control can be a hot way to dominate your partner. I've vaguely heard of it before, but I don't know how it actually works. I would love step-by-step instructions for how to try orgasm control for the first time. Does it work any differently for men as opposed to women? My partner and I both want to try it on each other. Thanks!”
A: Thanks for the question! First, let’s go over the basics. Orgasm control means exactly what it sounds like — controlling and prolonging the timing of your orgasm. Typically, it’s done by getting to the brink of orgasm, then stopping, slowing down, or lessening stimulation until your arousal levels drop. Then you get back to the edge of orgasm, and repeat as many times as you want/ can stand.
The basic process of orgasm control can help your sexual interactions last longer. You can also use orgasm control to incorporate power play dynamics into your sex, by having one person be in control of the other partner’s orgasm. You can practice orgasm control alone, which is typically called "edging." Or you can practice it with a partner.
Practicing orgasm control can have a lot of great benefits. It usually leads to much stronger orgasms, since all of that built-up tension makes the orgasm feel incredibly powerful. People who practice orgasm control can learn how to last longer in the bedroom. It can also be really hot to put another trusted person in complete control of your orgasm.
Of course, before trying any of this, it's important to discuss and clearly establish your boundaries with your partner — including what each of you are and aren't interested in exploring, how you'll each communicate if you don't want to engage in a specific activity, and how to honor each other's limits.
Now, let’s go over the steps for learning orgasm control.
Practice On Your Own
First, I recommend getting started on your own. Most people tend to masturbate in a pretty linear way, trying to orgasm as quickly and efficiently as possible. But if you want to be able to stop yourself (or be stopped by a partner) before reaching orgasm, you have to learn when to stop yourself. Most people have what’s called a “point of no return.” Once you hit that point, you can’t stop your orgasm, no matter what you do. In order to even attempt orgasmic control, you have to learn to recognize the signs of your “point of no return.”
As you masturbate, try to get a sense of what your body feels like as you’re starting to approach orgasm. Do your toes start to curl? Does your breathing pick up? Try stopping yourself as you get close, and letting your arousal levels fall. Then start up again, and get yourself close to orgasm again. Repeat the whole process as many times as you’d like.
Show Your Partner
Next, you and your partner can try edging yourselves in front of each other, one at a time. Let your partner watch as you get yourself close to orgasm. This helps your partner get more familiar with your orgasm, and learn what the signs of your point of no return are. You can also talk to your partner about what you’ve noticed during your own explorations with orgasm control.
I recommend this step because it can take a while to learn how to learn orgasm control with your partner. When you’re doing it with a partner, you have to rely on your partner to tell you when they’re getting close. That might sound easy enough — but when you’re the partner being denied the orgasm, it’s all too easy to slip up and not tell your partner that you’re close. So it helps if you’re familiar with how your partner responds as they approach their point of no return. You can know when to stop instead of having to rely solely on them to tell you when to stop.
Take Control Of Your Partner’s Masturbation
At this point, it’s time to start taking over control of your partner’s orgasm. Have your partner start masturbating in front of you. Tell them that they have to obey your commands (of course, this will be something that you two have previously agreed to during your boundaries conversation). When you notice them start to get really aroused, tell them to stop.
You can also ask them to tell you when they’re getting too close, or even to give you a signal (like raising a finger) when they’re approaching orgasm. Give them about 30 seconds to a minute of break time, then tell them to start up again. Repeat this about three times, then tell them they have permission to make themselves come.
You can switch roles right away, or the next time. As you continue playing with orgasm control, you can increase the number of times you make each other stop and start again.
Practice Orgasm Controlling Your Partner Yourself
Next, you can try being the one to stimulate your partner, while still controlling their orgasm. You can give them a give them a hand job, oral sex, or have intercourse. Tell them to let you know when they’re getting too close, or to give a signal. You can also practice getting more in tune with knowing when to stop.
Add The Power Play
Once you’re familiar with the basics, you can add more of the power play dynamics if you’d like. Before starting any particular hook-up, pick which one of you is going to be in control. Have that person tell the other person that they’re not allowed to come unless they have explicit permission.
You can also play up the dynamic by offering reminders while you’re being intimate. Say things like, “You better not be getting too close” or “You’re going to be in trouble if you come before I give you permission.” Or taunt them with things like, “I bet you want to come, don’t you?” Make them beg you for permission.
Take It To The Next Level
There are lots of fun ways to keep playing with orgasm control together. You can create punishments for when one partner orgasms before they were supposed to. For example, maybe they’re not allowed to orgasm the next time the two of you are intimate. Or maybe they have to do the dishes for a week.
You can also try incorporating restraints, like the Sportsheets Under The Bed Restraint system, to tie one partner up. You’ll create an impossibly high level of sexual frustration.
Another trick is to try orgasm control over an extended period of time. Put one partner in control over all of the other partner’s orgasms for a few days, or even a week. The partner in control can’t even masturbate unless given permission.
This post was originally published on December 7, 2016. It was updated on September 10, 2019.