Many years ago, when I first read about orgasm denial, my initial reaction was to furrow my brow and mutter “Okay … but why?”. Initially, I could not relate, I couldn’t get my head around why anyone would purposely not orgasm or be so cruel as to not allow their partner to come!
I was raised by a generation of women who asserted sexual liberation and autonomy in the social and political movements of the 60s and 70s. They had burned their bras in revolt and uprising against the systems and beliefs that kept people, especially women, small and quiet. The same systems and beliefs that expected women to not only barely participate in their own sexuality, but to prioritise their (mostly male) partners’ pleasure over their own. By the time I was of the age that I was having sex and orgasms. It had been well and truly ingrained in me that I, and I alone, was responsible for my orgasm. It was mine to have or not, to share or conceal, and mine to revel in. The idea that after all that had transpired historically, that I, or anyone of any gender, might give up this intimate pleasure to another seemed ludicrous! Until I tried it.
My personal experiences have been on both sides of the orgasm denial coin. Both as the controller and the controlled. Orgasm denial is exactly what it sounds like—a person controls the method and frequency of orgasm for themselves or a partner. The control can be physical, often with the use of a chastity device designed to prohibit contact with the genitals. It can also be psychological, where the control is exerted without the failsafe of having one’s bits under lock and key. In some cases, both tactics are employed. For many, the psychological aspect is as intense, if not more, than the physical. Like almost all things, given time, the body and mind are able to adjust. But why would anyone want to forego one of life’s most basic pleasures? Lots of reasons!
It’s a safe way to step off the vanilla path
Orgasm denial is a small and safe way to tip-toe into kink. It can be a great way to explore power dynamics and gain new vocabulary for desire. It may sound intimidating at first, but it’s an easier entrance into the world of non-traditional sex play than more inherently dangerous and intense activities like bondage or spanking that require practice and skill.
Orgasm denial and control doesn’t discriminate
You can be of any gender or orientation, age, body type or ability and participate in orgasm control. You can do it alone, with a partner or as part of a community. You needn’t identify any certain way (it doesn’t make you a sexual submissive, it’s not necessarily a Beta thing, you won’t be indelibly marked as a sadist or masochist). Also you definitely don’t need any prior kink experience to try it out.
It’s about more than denial
For some people, being denied and “suffering” at someone’s mercy is the yummiest part of orgasm control. For others it’s the sense of power/decision making and the ownership of someone’s pleasure. But denial isn’t the only incentive. Anticipation of orgasm and “earning” an orgasm can have strong influences on behaviour. For the competitively motivated, holding out until tomorrow/next week/next month, etc. can be a fun and stimulating challenge of mind over matter whether it’s self administered or the ruling of a partner. Likewise, forced orgasms (where someone is massively overstimulated to orgasm repeatedly without relief) and ruined orgasms, (where the necessary stimulation for orgasm is cut short just as orgasm begins and the recipient is left in a frustrated state) are also common means of orgasm control. Control refers to how, when and by whom the subject comes, not simply if they do.
Orgasm denial may sound like a draconian form of mental and physical torture, but it can be a heck of a lot of fun for everyone involved. Imagine it’s been a week since your partner came. They’ve pleased you, watched and heard your orgasms, yet remained unmoved in their resolve to wait for your permission. You could tease them, taunt them, drive them wild with desire. You could even ignore the elephant in the room and simply not acknowledge their flustered need until you say so and watch their eyes widen with gratitude and the intoxication of arousal. swoon
Likewise, perhaps it’s you that has relinquished control and autonomy. How might your relationship with your body change if the pleasure of orgasm was no longer yours to have at will? How would the intimacy and trust in your relationship be affected or intensified? How creative and playful would your interactions become if there was an implicit sexual tension between you?
It can be whatever you want it to be
As with all sex and relationship details there is no One True Way to be. The only rules that matter are the ones you (and your partner(s)) agree upon. Orgasm control and denial can be a one-off thing that lasts a few moments or minutes. It can be a bedroom-only activity, or it can be a full-time, 24/7 structure that is a major part of your relationship. You make and maintain the rules, whatever works for you is just fine.
For some, it is a challenge to reconcile ‘alternative’ sex play with their perceptions of sex and intimacy. Orgasm denial does generally fall outside of what many people consider common or mainstream. However for those who partake, whether they identify as kinksters or not, it can be an intimate and exhilarating part of a relationship with lots of opportunities for communication, fantasy fulfilment and exploration. Being into it doesn’t make you a freak. Not being into it doesn’t make you a prude; as with all things sex and adult sexuality, as long as you have risk-awareness and consent, the sky is the limit.
Orgasm denial can also include edging which we explored in a previous article – Take me to the Edge
By Violet Fawkes
Violet Fawkes is a freelance writer, erotic artist and sole author of Love, Violet, a sex, body, and kink positive blog focusing on BDSM and relationships. When not writing, Violet can be found consuming unholy amounts of coffee, flouncing about in lingerie, and testing and reviewing sex toys.