“Move into the pose and find your edge,” the yoga instructor said, and I tried to control my muscles. “When you’ve found it, breathe there”. I struggled to keep my breath even. “Play with it. Dance there on the edge,” she continued, and that was it: I lost it.
I giggled. I tried to cover it up by pretending I was clearing my throat, but meanwhile I was glancing at all the faces of my fellow yogis; had I just outed myself as a pervert? It didn’t seem so — most people either hadn’t noticed my outburst or just looked puzzled, since what the teacher said wasn’t really that funny to anyone else but me.
Then I saw one woman in purple yoga pants and a loose shirt also grinning with an embarrassed smile. I looked away quickly, feeling relieved. I’m not the only one.
Finding the edge of Power Exchange
“Dance on that edge for me.” That had been exactly what I told my partner the night before as my fingers and her vibrator had brought her just to the point of orgasm. There are a lot of varieties of orgasm control in kink, and our particular protocol is different than the usual “cum on command.” There is no limit to how many times she can cum. However, she is required to ask for permission before she goes over the edge.
That’s the word: edge. It also works nicely as a verb, edging. I was edging myself and my partners long before I ever knew what the word meant, simply because I’d discovered through trial and error that the final orgasm felt even better if I backed off a few times before actually letting go and enjoying the waves of pleasure.
When I discovered the kink community I found out that the fantasy of orgasm control — or simply pleasure-as-torment — could become a reality. Edging was power, on both sides of the slash. Knowing how to keep myself on the brink of orgasm without going over gave me an extra measure of control over my supposedly voracious masculine sexual appetite. More sweet, though, was when I could slowly tease, stroke, suck and fuck my partners — intelligent, strong, powerful women — to the point of almost mindless need for release.
“Please, sir, let me cum!” is the most erotic thing I can hear my partner say. I know that I am not actually in control of their orgasm — she can rub one out without me in a matter of minutes. But I’m turned on by the sound of her begging, and she’s turned on by letting me control whether she gets to cum, and I’m turned on by the fact that she’s letting me, and so our desire resonates closer and closer to that edge.
And as the yoga teacher suggested: we dance there. We teeter precariously, because if you hold off too long, it can ruin the orgasm (an entirely legitimate, but different kink). Even worse, if she has the orgasm before I give permission, that loss of control can easily turn into a feeling of failure. We have to be careful with that, because the idea of being submissive to my will is core to her identity.
That’s why it’s an edge for me, as well. If I’m not paying attention to how close she is to going over, this kind of play can be far more painful than an accidental wrap from a single tail. That lash leaves a physical welt that will go away; the feeling that she’s disappointed me leaves bruises on her spirit that take a lot more care and time to heal.
Ass or asana, edging is edging
The yoga teacher was absolutely right to use that word, though. Edging in yoga is pretty much the same as edging in sex, usually with less lubricant. I suspect that most yoga instructors would disagree that their suggestion that I “find my edge” it has anything to do with the brink of orgasm. With respect, they’re wrong.
“Edging” in yoga — and yes, there are some instructors who use exactly that verb — has been described by yoga writer Laura Hegg as a place where “… you are mentally and physically challenged, but also able to find balance and ease.” She continues to describe it as a “ calm challenge, exploring your limits, stepping away from your comfort zone, and cultivating awareness of your mind and body.”
This kind of edge is very familiar to anyone who answers the call of “deliberate practice”. That’s doing a yoga routine that is just a little harder than what I’m used to.
In fact, I disagree with Ms. Hegg’s description of that feeling having anything like “calm” and “ease”. When I’m struggling to touch the floor without falling on my ass in half-moon pose I am not calm at all. My supporting leg during warrior three is making a million tiny adjustments to maintain balance as I listen to the instructor tell me again to “breathe.” If I’m lucky, I don’t quite fall over, but none of it is easy.
The rest of her definition of the yoga edge is interchangeable with the sexual edge. “Exploring limits, stepping away from your comfort zone…awareness of mind and body” sounds like it came straight out of any BDSM 101 book. The similarities don’t stop there.
There’s a kind of honor system involved in edging. There is no point to orgasm control with a partner who fakes arousal, and yoga without full intent and presence in each pose would be literally just going through the motions. When I do a deliberate yoga practice, I intentionally take myself to a place where my muscles are shaking and my body is teetering on the edge of failure. I am in a power exchange with myself: between my body and my perception of what my body can do.
The question I’m asking myself is the same question I ask my partner when she’s almost mad with the desire to cum: can you push it a little further without going over the edge? Is that really the edge, or can you go further? Have you really gone as far as you can without going over?
If my partner slips into an orgasm before she has permission, we are usually secure enough that we can just enjoy her orgasm and the “funishment” that might follow. If I push myself too far while I’m edging yoga, I can — and to be completely honest, usually do — injure myself. Edging is a skill. For a gung-ho results-oriented accomplish-the-mission-at-all-costs former jarhead like me, it’s a long learning curve. Usually there’s a moment when an oblique muscle or a wrist ligament suddenly twinges, and I have an expression like Wile E. Coyote as he runs off the cliff. I am regretting my life choices This is going to hurt.
Further, deeper, longer
The law of diminishing returns means that the edge, in both yoga and sex, is always moving. If the path to the limits of your control is familiar and easy, it’s not really the edge any more. Part of the continuous fun of orgasm control lies in exploring new ways to bring my partner to that point of pleading for release. I can feel my own edge move in yoga as I struggle to find stability and easier breath within each pose,.
It’s not always about going further or trying harder; dancing on the edge sometimes means sinking deeper into the body and the breath. Sometimes it’s simply holding that trembling in the muscles — whether from fatigue or arousal or both — a bit longer than the last time.
I am better at edging with my lover because I push myself to the edge with my yoga, and it works the other way around too. I can’t share openly in the non-kinky yoga classes, which is a shame, because I wish I could thank my instructors. For now, it’s enough to enjoy a slightly perverted smile and ask myself again: can you go just a bit further?
Then I take a breath, and move closer to the edge.