While there are many types of BDSM situations, ranging from whips and chains to feathers and water torture, a tricky but popular form is known as electric stimulation or electrosex. Though other types of BDSM play are often used in conjunction with e-stim, in itself, it is a viable sexual tool if used safely and properly. E-stim is implemented in many of the same ways as more traditional BDSM tools, and can be used with role-playing scenes and many of the tools associated with “kinky sex” and “scenes.” In fact, many of the accessories utilized in more widely practiced BDSM situations can be easily adapted to e-stim with a minimal amount of effort and a little imagination. Likewise, there are many toys available on the market that are created with e-stim specifically in mind.
Electric stimulation can be painful and even deadly if performed in an inappropriate or unsafe manner. Many people may wonder why partners or a group of partners would want to practice such a risky procedure in the first place. To begin with, the idea that a live electrical current will cause terrible pain has been instilled in most people since they were young. This deep seeded fear is one of the factors that makes e-stimulation so intriguing, since adrenaline levels will automatically raise in anticipation of the shock. Like any thrill-seeking activity, such as skydiving or bungee jumping, the inherent fear and possibility of pain makes the activity exciting. However, with e-stim, there is a physiological factor aside from the endorphin release that can make it pleasurable. Electricity has been often used in medicine to excite the nerves in the body, causing them to react in ways that people in the medical profession find beneficial. For example, electric stimulation may relax the muscles of a chiropractic patient so that pain is lessened or a technician is better able to perform an adjustment. This same theory applies to the nerves in the genital area, and the messages they send to the brain can create intense pleasure if applied appropriately.
When using electricity in sexual settings, there are many ways that it can be introduced. Role playing scenes involving torture are a common way to bring electricity into the bedroom. In this case, the electric stimulation will be seen as a form of punishment for the “criminal” or whatever subject is invented to fulfill the scene. How the electricity is introduced is another matter. An inventive person or one with a basic background in electricity can make a conductor of electrical current. However, it is easier and likely safer to purchase a “toy” that has been built for this purpose.
There are multitudes of toys featuring an electric current available on the market, but they come in two very basic forms. The first type of toy makes use of continuous current and is usually powered by a battery. These units are referred to as TENS units, which is merely a blanket term that describes toys with this specific power source, though there are many models available. The other basic blanket term for units that are powered by static electricity is the violet wand. Because they are weaker, violet wands tend to be used more commonly.
The TENS (Trancutaneous Electro-Neural Stimulation, as they are termed in the medical field) units are usually homemade and have been crafted to utilize a standard wall outlet as a power source. Occasionally, a medical version of a TENS device may be prescribed to a patient who uses electric stimulation for a muscle relaxant, but usually these are acquired through unverified sources and can be as suspect during use as a homemade model. They also tend to be more expensive than homemade toys or violet wands. An alternative to the TENS device is the EMS, which can be purchased at many fitness sites or home gyms. The EMS (Electro-Muscle Stimulation) is mainly used by professional body builders or hardcore athletes to enhance muscle growth. The EMS began its history as a dual-purpose tool in the 1950s with the invention of the Relaxacisor, which—like the modern EMS—used an electrical charge to stimulate muscles. Since they are designed to stimulate muscles and not deaden pain, as in the case of the TENS, the EMS can be a very effective form of sexual arousal. Because they are highly customizable, they can be used quite effectively as a sexual toy, with users able to change the frequency, pulses and waveforms. They are battery operated and, while they can deliver a considerable shock, they will not be powerful enough to do any serious damage if used correctly.
When using devices, such as a homemade shocker or a TENS, it is very important to consider the path the electricity is going to take when setting up the scene. There are usually two electrodes placed on the person and the electricity will flow between these two contact points. Selecting the conductor that will be placed on the person’s body is also something one must carefully consider. A frequent conductor is a handcuff or shackle that has been electrified with the TENS unit. Strong electrical surges through these restraints can cause burns. It is best to find or create the high carbon rubberized electrodes that are used with defibrillators or TENS devices. One can be made using plastic, moistened gauze or rubber as a buffer and thin wire or window screening as a conductor.
The contact points are more important, when considering safety. It is very important that a powerful electric device be used below the waist only. It should never be placed anywhere where the current may loop through the heart or brain, and the spine is also very dangerous. Leg to leg is the safest loop to make. The buttocks and even the stomach can deliver a powerful, but reasonably safe shock. Inventive sexual partners also make electrodes for “cock rings” that are placed around the base of the penis. While this is safer than shocking the heart or spine, it can deliver a very serious shock and also create burns. A general rule states that shocking devices should not be connected to body piercings, since the point of connection is very centralized. Handheld TENS devices, for this reason, should also never be used inside the vaginal or anal cavities, and should never be placed in the mouth or ear. If wires are used as a conductor, people must take care than the ends are folded back to insure that the sharp end does not inflict more damage than intended.
Using strong electrical currents in sexual play can create undesirable but permanent damage. In fact, most experts in the BDSM field suggest that these devices only be used with an experienced partner, at least for the first several instances. While some pain may be a desired outcome of using electricity in a sexual scene, heart attacks or impotency can occur if safety precautions are not followed. E-stim users must be mindful of pre-existing medical conditions that may be sensitive to shock. People with a history of heart conditions or are currently using a pacemaker should not take place in these activities, or even those with a weaker electrical charge. Nerve disorders or troubles with the spine that potentially effect large nerve bundles also disqualify people from this type of sexual play. While the disease itself does not effect electrical play, people with diabetes need to take care if they have use insulin pump. Epilepsy patients should carefully consider if e-stim is right for them, and women who are pregnant or possibly pregnant should avoid powerful electric shocks to the womb area as a precaution to the heartbeat of the fetus.
A somewhat safer avenue for people seeking an electrically based sexual thrill may be the violet wand. Rather than using a continuous current as a power source, the violet wand relies on static electricity, which is a much weaker but still viable, charge. The thrill of the violet wand is as much in its appearance as its capabilities. A small glass ball at the end of the wand will be charged with static electricity, and it often emits that crackling sound people are familiar with from such common activities as removing static electrified clothing from a dryer. Like the TENS unit, the shock is adjustable on most toys, and one can change the frequency and the intensity. The violet wand is able to spark many times in a second, producing a rapid series of intense shocks, or it can be slowed to a slower, more rhythmic tickling. Because of the weaker charge, violet wands are much safer to use above the waist, and are popular on the nipples and sometimes as insertion devices. This requires a great deal of caution and cooperation on the part of those involved. Violet wands are made of glass, and while their electrical capabilities are not terribly dangerous, broken glass inserted into a body cavity can greatly damage tissues and permanently impair sexual function. There are specialized heads and electrodes available for purchase that are made specifically for this function.
Violet wands can be applied in three basic manners, which also create a great number of attachments and heads for them. Direct application is the process where the subject is touched with the actual device. Indirect application will allow the electrical stimulation to affect more than one person, since the electricity is channeled from one person and into another. Chains of people are often created in group play, with electricity funneling through all of them. This is also a method that is frequently combined with oral sex. Other conductive toys can also be electrified through a user, such as whips, floggers, chains, shackles or anything the imagination can find, making indirect application even more versatile. The method of reverse application can be applied by attaching a contact pad to the subject and using the violet wand. When a metal object is then applied to the subject, the current will arc through the body to the object, shocking the person from the inside out. This method is most often used in torture scenes and more extreme types of play.
One of the greatest advantages of the violet wand is its accessibility. Many different designs are available on adult toy websites or in local shops around the world. They tend to come in classy and discreet cases or kits that contain the wand itself and a variety of accessories. These usually are in the form of different heads or electrodes, ranging from a light bulb adapter to differently shaped extensions for use on specific body parts or areas. Often, fingertip electrodes are included so one sexual partner can run the electrical current through his or her body and into the subject via the hands. Violet wands are portable, affordable, versatile and easy to care for. Again, experience and knowledge is very important for safety when using more powerful devices.
For people interested in experimenting in electrical sexual play, there are many resources available, both for purchasing sexual aids and for learning advanced safety measures about the practice. The choices are numerous and may be confusing to the beginning e-stim user. Some basic research will help clear up any misconceptions, but users should begin by asking themselves exactly what they are expecting from an e-stimulation device. They may be simply seeking the thrill of something new, a tickling sense of arousal or intense physical pain. The device chosen or manufactured will depend greatly on the desired result. A good resource for beginning e-stim users is www.blowfish.com, which offers a variety of electrified toys and does a good job of explaining their various uses. Toys are offered in a range of functions and at a variety of prices. www.erostek.com also offers some toys and www.violetwands.net offers some good beginners resources, as well as a shopping guide. There is an infinite amount of literature available for those looking for ideas or tips. Websites sell anything from power boxes, which can be used with toys for sale on site or with homemade toys, to electrodes, leads or pads.
As with all BDSM play, sexual partners in e-stim should be well educated in the methods they are using and should also follow some standard etiquette that is widely accepted in any BDSM play. It is recommended that partakers in any fetish activity recognize a predefined “safe” word, which stops any and all actions immediately during a scene. Recognizing one’s limitations, understanding their accessories, and learning safety precautions are essential in making e-stim an intensely gratifying and safe sexual experience.