What’s Orgasm Control? Here’s How It Works & Why It’s So Hot
If you’ve ever said “please” while in bed with a partner, you might already have an inkling of the erotic potential of orgasm control. At times, sex can be a give-and-take that flows naturally, where the people involved are exquisitely tuned into the other person’s experience. Playing with orgasm control can enhance or even create these connected states.
What exactly is orgasm control? At its most basic, it’s exactly what it says on the tin: taking control of someone’s orgasm — whether a partner’s or your own. In the broadest sense, just about everyone who masturbates or has partnered sex has probably engaged in some kind of orgasm control. Have you ever changed how you were touching yourself because you wanted things to go faster or slower? Have you ever seen the look of pleasure on a partner’s face and slowed down what you were doing to draw the moment out? These are all forms of orgasm control.
“[Orgasm control] involves disrupting or constraining an orgasm with intimate partners or during solo play. One can bring themselves to the edge multiple times to prolong or make orgasms more intense, or deny themselves or their partner entirely,” says Mistress Viola Parker.
When we talk about orgasm control as a form of play or as a kink, it simply takes those elements and expands on them, or formalizes them. Once you’ve claimed something as a kink, you’re more likely to learn more about how to safely incorporate it into your life, and also to bring it up with partners ahead of time — but calling it a kink isn’t required. “[L]abels are most useful when we pick them up ourselves and then explain what we mean by them. If someone comes to my office and says ‘I’m not kinky’ and then describes a host of orgasm control or power exchange fantasies, that’s no problem.” Joli Hamilton, Ph.D, CSE, tells Elite Daily.
What Is The Appeal Of Orgasm Control?
In my sex coaching practice, I regularly hear from people who crave intense focus from their partners. In fact, this is what draws people to certain kinks. From rope bondage to sensual massage to orgasm control, putting someone’s body and mind at the center of attention can be intoxicating for everyone involved.
Hamilton helps explain this connection. “[O]rgasm control can elicit a feeling of omnipotence. The total control over another person’s orgasm, when combined with teasing and prolonged sensation building, creates a sense of attunement between the players. Anticipation induces an intensified experience — the payoff isn’t only in the orgasm-haver; the release after prolonged build-up becomes an energetic release for the controller, as well.”
When I run clients or students through fantasy exploration exercises, power and control are some of the most common themes that come up. The next step is to translate people’s turn-ons into things they can safely try at home. Orgasm control is one of the best (and often easiest) ways to tap into that kind of hotness.
“[O]rgasm control is a phenomenal way to experience surrender — an emotional and physical surrender to the authority of a trusted person in a negotiated relationship can feel incredibly powerful. Surrendering your sense of when and how orgasm will happen is a recipe for maddeningly delicious build-up,” says Hamilton.
What does a “negotiated relationship” mean? In the kink world, there are often negotiations that cover the relationship as a whole, and then specific negotiations for each instance of sex or kink play (called a ‘scene’.) Think of it this way: a scene negotiation is kind of like a safer sex talk, only more involved. In addition to checking in about consent, STI status, and (if applicable) birth control, you’re also discussing your likes, dislikes, boundaries, and safe words.
Another reason some people find orgasm control appealing is that it can be used to flip the typical sexual script. “For me, denying orgasm or controlling a play partner’s orgasm can bring an element of power exchange into a dynamic, and makes the whole experience far more intentional and intense,” Parker says. “You’re playing with energy and expectation. Because sex can often feel oppressively goal-oriented, playing with delaying ‘the goal’ or messing with it… can be super hot.”
Parker goes on to explain how, like so much of BDSM, orgasm control can be used to turn typical sexual dynamics on their heads. “As a dominatrix, I often play with heteronormative [cisgender] men who have been socialized most of their lives to have their orgasms prioritized over those of their partners,” says Parker. Thanks to orgasm control, she’s able to switch things up. “Playing with denial, control, and delay feels hot to me in a way that is subversive,” she adds.
How To Practice Orgasm Control On Yourself
As with most new sexual or kinky play, it can be best to start slow and practice on yourself first. One form of orgasm control that’s easy to try on your own is edging. The idea is simple: you get yourself close to orgasm and then you back off. You can repeat this process as many times as you want — or as many times as you can stand — before eventually allowing an orgasm, or not.
Orgasm control doesn’t have to end in an orgasm. You can also try orgasm denial, where you play with arousal or edging and then skip the climax entirely. For some people, this heightens the anticipation of a future orgasm even further.
How To Practice Orgasm Control With A Partner
With a partner, it’s helpful to include a lot of clear communication as you begin your orgasm control journey. “[T]ry using a vibrator, your mouth, or a toy on them and make them tell you, on a scale of one to 10, how close they are to orgasm. Bring them up in numbers until they are an eight or nine, then switch to nipple play or some other activity to snap them out of it, then bring them back up to eight or nine again. Repeat this as many times as you please until they are begging for release,” says Parker.
Parker also describes one of my favorite ways to play with orgasm control, by using a slow countdown. In this method, you wait until your partner is close and then begin counting down — and they’re not allowed to orgasm until you reach the number one. Or perhaps once you reach finish counting, they still need to ask permission.
As you experiment with all of these options, you’ll find the style that fits the dynamic of your relationship, from strict control to playful teasing.
Orgasm Control For Long-Distance Play
Over the last two years, far more people have discovered the joys of long-distance play and virtual sex dates. And orgasm control is an ideal activity to add to the mix. You can engage in orgasm control over the phone, by text, or on a computer screen — you can even engage in orgasm control by yourself, as an assignment to complete and report back on later.
In fact, these kinds of “assignments” can be especially helpful when trying to keep a long-distance relationship spicy. While there may be a limited time you can spend actively talking to each other, assignments draw out the amount of time you’re thinking about the other person, and can add some extra heat to your solo play.
“Another longer-term way to play with orgasm control is by making a masturbation schedule or requiring a partner to masturbate a certain number of times per day or week or not at all. They should let you know when they’ve done as you told them, I make my submissives thank me or report every time they have edged. Games can be incorporated where a partner must earn their orgasms by completing tasks, either sexual or domestic,” says Parker.
Orgasm Control Isn’t For Everyone (And That’s OK)
It’s all well and good to say that delaying the goal of orgasm can be hot — but for some people, that subject may be too sensitive to play with — at least at first.
From physical issues to emotional or relational factors, many people struggle with the ability to orgasm. According to the National Library of Medicine, as many as 15% of cis-women have never orgasmed at all, and up to 50% say they’re not satisfied with how often they orgasm.
And while you’ve probably heard of the orgasm gap, that doesn’t mean men automatically have it easy. According to a study published in Current Psychology Reports, roughly 30% of cis-men suffer from sexual dysfunction.
Which is all to say, like any kind of sex or kink, you need to communicate before you dive in and make sure orgasm control is a comfortable topic for everyone involved.
That said, if this does sound up your alley, orgasm control can help you explore new fantasies, new ways to build intimacy, and new heights of pleasure. Whether solo or with a partner, in-person or long-distance, go ahead and play — I’m giving you permission.
Mistress Viola Parker, Dominatrix, Dungeon Owner, and Event Host
Joli Hamilton, Ph.D., CSE