Stick around social media long enough, and you'll learn all sorts of interesting things. It's a whole education. So, when the term orgasm denial recently started popping up in sex-positive videos on various platforms, it may have caught your attention. You probably wanted to learn more. Orgasms feel good; this much, you know. Why would you actively try to deny one? Well, what if denying yourself this pleasure would allow you to experience a different — some say more heightened — kind of pleasure? Such is the concept behind orgasm denial. And don't let the word denial turn you off immediately. As Lovehoney Sexologist Shamyra Howard, LCSW, tells Scary Mommy, this is definitely one of those "don't knock it until you try it" things that could very well bring some much-needed excitement to the bedroom.
"Orgasm denial is a practice that many people who engage in BDSM or Kink might be familiar with, as it's often a form of power play," she explains. "If you're not familiar with it, orgasm denial is when one person instructs or forbids their partner to orgasm until they grant them permission to do so! Yep! You can't come until your partner says you can, even during solo sex."
So, if you agree to give your partner erotic control over your orgasm, does that means you could be waiting a while? Sure, but that's sort of the point. Orgasm denial is a form of arousal in which the change of tempo — slowing down or stopping altogether — is the turn-on.
If you think this sounds hot and you're open to exploring it with your partner, here are some benefits of saying no to that big O.
The Benefits of Orgasm Denial
If you're not convinced about pulling the plug on your orgasm, Howard provides some reasons you might want to reconsider.
1. Orgasm denial helps you connect with your partner. "People often report that sex feels like a chore. Orgasm denial is erotic in that it positions couples to truly tune in to each other and be intentional about what's happening." We can all agree that presence is everything when it comes to physical intimacy (no pun intended) and is significantly more erotic when there's no rush to a destination (orgasm). So, send the kids to Grandma's for the weekend, and take your time.
2. It creates "good" risk. "Sexual relationships are especially good when there's a sense of risk or novelty involved," says Howard. Too often, sex can become dull and routine — parents who are busy, tired, and just trying to squeeze in some intimacy whenever they can know the deal. Orgasm denial certainly spices things up.
3. Orgasm denial provides increased arousal. It might sound ironic, but, says Howard, "Many people report increased arousal and more intense orgasms from being forbidden to orgasm." Tantric practices refer to this as orgasm control. While she says no known studies report the physical benefits of ejaculation retention, "Some spiritual and tantric practices believe that orgasm control, including orgasm denial, is the way to stimulate multiple orgasms in men." Who can say no to more and better orgasms?
4. It refocuses the intention of sex. "Many people think the goal of sex is to orgasm. This can make sex feel like pressure and performance is more important than pleasure. Orgasm denial helps couples to rethink ways sex can be pleasurable without orgasm." Doing so can help erase the stigma and pressure of reaching (or not) orgasm and can reframe what sex and intimacy means for you and your partner.
*It can also be extremely beneficial to practice orgasm denial alone. This can help you build a better sense of control and practice being in the moment of your pleasure. You'll then better understand how to direct your partner and which techniques make you finish faster. Think of it like this: If you can teach yourself how to enjoy the ride, you'll be better able to guide your partner on how to drive.
How to Introduce Orgasm Denial into Your Sex Routine
Even if it sounds like a good idea to you, Howard recommends always talking to your partner before engaging in orgasm denial. "It's probably not a good idea to read this and then go into the bedroom and say, Hey babe, tonight I'm forbidding you to orgasm until I say so!" she says. "Always have a conversation about what orgasm denial looks like in your relationship." She also stresses that you always have control over your own body even when you're participating in this type of sexual play. "You can always say no." Bottom line: Consent is crucial.
Howard also points out that orgasm denial isn't just reserved for those in relationships — you can deny yourself some pleasure while masturbating. "Next time you have a solo sex session, tell yourself you can't orgasm until [insert time that works for you]."
And to make it more fun? Howard recommends adding rewards. "Reward yourself and/or your partner for being able to hold on!" Orgasms and extra bonuses? Who could deny that?
Lovehoney Sexologist Shamyra Howard, LCSW
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