Erotic sexual denial is the practice of refraining from sexual experiences in order to increase erotic arousal and/or tension. The prohibited experience can be narrowly or broadly defined and banned for a specific or indeterminate length of time depending on the practitioner. The experience withheld can be any favored or desired sexual activities, such as specific acts or positions, provided it is something the practitioner wants. Erotic sexual denial is commonly used as sex play between intimate partners, but it can also be indulged in as an individual practice.
Orgasm control practices like edging are well-known varieties of erotic sexual denial in which a person is kept in a heightened state of sexual arousal for an extended length of time without orgasm. Another form of erotic sexual denial is the reduction or deprivation of all genital stimulation, often ensured by use a chastity device or other physical barrier to genital touch or full erection. Another frequently mentioned variety is the use of dice or other games of chance by couples to determine how long a person to be withheld oral and/or penetrative sex, etc. from their partner. Erotic sexual denial is commonly, but not exclusively, practiced in association with BDSM and sexual bondage.
To be able to control an orgasm of a partner in such sex games, physical restraints are commonly used. Situations involving bondage are typically called "tie and tease" and can be thought of as extended tease and denial games. This practice is often an integral part of erotic denial. It is notable that in discussions between BDSM partners, negotiation usually focuses on the activities which may or may not be agreed to. Tie and tease activities are physically as well as psychologically intense, because the strong feelings of sexual frustration are escalated by the sensation of helplessness induced by bondage.
Tease and denial is a situation where a person is stimulated until they are close to orgasm, then stimulation is stopped, keeping the person on the brink of orgasm. It is sometimes referred to as "edging", or "edge play". This is similar to orgasm control, but without the promise of orgasm at the end.
If orgasm still occurs after removal of stimulation, it typically brings less pleasure than usual, and is considered a "ruined orgasm", as opposed to being a "denied orgasm" (which can sometimes lead to "blue balls" for both men and women). Alternatively (for men), the release of semen during the emission phase of ejaculation might be prevented by some sort of constriction ("blocked orgasm"). Depending on the relationship, subjects might be repeatedly teased to the point of orgasm several times, but without actual orgasm, causing feelings of intense arousal and psychological need.
The practice of total sexual denial usually includes total avoidance of genital stimulation to the penis or vulva. This often involves the use of a physical barrier or device such as a chastity belt. Chastity belts or similar locking devices are available for both men and women. Depending on the situation, sexual arousal may still be possible regardless of physical barriers to genital stimulation. This, however, depends on the belt used.
A strap-on dildo may be worn by a male to still allow penetrative vaginal sex to the female while denying the male partner the ability to orgasm, and the male then may also wear a chastity belt. This is distinct from pegging, as the strap-on in this case replaces the penis of the male. This can be seen as a form of total denial if the strap-on replaces the penis throughout the whole duration of the play, or as a form of teasing if the strap-on is only used during foreplay. In the last case, the strap-on can be used to prolong penetrative sex and thus sexually satisfy the female partner in case the male suffers from premature ejaculation.
Erotic sexual denial is sometimes used by a dominant to increase their control over a submissive. Because the submissive is kept in a state of sexual need and vulnerability, they are more likely to take a compliant stance with the dominant; failure to comply can result in additional teasing or an extended period of denial, among other punishments.
Orgasm denial practices can allow the dominant to exercise control over many aspects of the submissive's life. As such, they are often (though not always) practiced as an extension or enhancement of a broader BDSM relationship, or as a means of establishing one. They can allow the dominant to experience enjoyable and sometimes intensely craved feelings of sexual control and erotic power, and the submissive can enjoy intense feelings of sexual objectification and submission to the dominant.
Orgasm denial can also be used to increase a submissive's tolerance for physical stimulation, as training in holding back an orgasm, or to allow the submissive to orgasm on command; as a way to maintain a heightened state of sexual arousal in the submissive, or as a means of erotic humiliation desired by either the submissive or the dominant.
Erotic humiliation can also help enforce the dominant's position in the relationship. Orgasm denial is often accompanied by other forms of erotic humiliation such as forcing the submissive to do chores, crossdress, or consume bodily fluids. These can be used as punishments, as conditions for release, or simply at the discretion of the dominant.