10 Things to Know About TENS Units

Published: AUGUST 31, 2017 | Updated: FEBRUARY 2, 2022
Playing with electrosex can be fun, kinky and lead to hands-free orgasms. What's not to love?

Have you ever been really turned on, as if something flipped a switch and erotic energy coursed through your body? Do you wish you could make that happen anytime? It is time to explore electrosex with a TENS unit!


TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Through the use of positive and negative electrode pads attached to the skin, electrical current is passed back and forth through muscle to bring both pain relief and sexual stimulation. Completely safe and very versatile, TENS units can provide a wide range of sexytime fun, from low-rumble vibration to intense pain.

Interested in learning more about using a TENS unit? Here are ten things to consider as you explore electrosex. (And you can buy all the supplies you need to play in our Kinkly Shop!)

Read: Electro Sex 101: Everything You Need to Know


Electricity: Sexy and Beneficial

It's hard to believe that a device that provides such delight wasn’t originally intended to be a sex toy. TENS units are designed to manage pain and provide relief. The electrodes can be placed in a circle around the painful area and, when turned on, the pulses “trick” the affected nerve cells into not sending ouchy signals to the brain. They also stimulate the release of endorphins. The different intensity settings TENS units have can be very effective in helping folks deal with different levels of pain, from chronic to acute.

Shop Tens Units and electrosex in Kinkly Shp

You Must Play Safe

Even though the thought of playing with electricity in any way can frighten even the kinkiest of players, TENS units are very safe. However, it should be noted that they should not be used on the head or across the chest. Some will advise not using them above the waist at all. There is a risk of disrupting the heart’s rhythm with the electrical pulse, making attaching an electrode to each nipple a very bad idea. If you are intrigued to try nipple stimulation with your TENS, attach one electrode up top and the other somewhere down below.

Read: 9 Things to Check Before Playing With Electrosex


You Might Consider Shaving

One of the minor-to-major annoyances of many sex toys is how they can sometimes be difficult to keep in just the right spot for just the right amount of time without causing a cramp. TENS units solve this problem by being really sticky. The electrodes stick directly to the skin and aren’t going to move until you want them to. They are super sticky! Which begs the question: to shave or not to shave? Ideally, the electrodes need as much skin as possible to transmit the electricity. So, if you want to adhere them in your pubic area but have a great big bush, you should probably trim. But if your favorite spot has light hair, you’ll be fine. That said, there is the chance some hair could get removed when you take the electrodes off. You've been warned!

You Can Use TENS Units on Vulvas

The vulva is a great place to take advantage of the hands-free capabilities of a TENS unit. For those interested in external stimulation, the electrode pads can be placed on either side of the vaginal opening or either side of the clitoris. Or mix and match! Given the general sensitivity of the clitoris, it is really up to the user to decide if that level of stimulation is desirable. Remember, even on low settings, these devices provide intense stimulation. If you are particularly sensitive, it is best to start off on the lowest settings and very slowly increase the intensity. Or not increase it - many people report the lower settings are the most vibrating and rumbly.

You Can Use TENS Units on Penises

The penis and surrounding areas also offer many great possibilities for pleasure. Electrodes can be placed anywhere along the shaft, but one premium position is right on the frenulum. Much like the clitoris, this spot is very sensitive and this use is definitely not for everyone. Some folks will prefer to stick the electrodes to their scrotums for testicular teasing. One more spot offers a different world of pleasure: the prostate. If you’re not experienced with prostate play, you might not know that the prostate can be stimulated through the perineum. It is not as intense as interior touch, but a TENS unit will definitely send some sensation right that way.


Read: Sex Toy Review: Mystim Pure Vibes Nervstimulator

You Can Use TENS Units on Lots of Other Places Too

Other than the previously mentioned no-zap zones, a TENS unit is a very versatile pleasure product. Put those electrodes in place and see if you like it! Beyond the front bits, some of the favorites folks report are the inner thighs and anus. It is easy to forget how sensitive the skin between your legs (but not quite there) really is. Putting the electrodes and current so close to your genitals is a subtle, yet delightful, tease. And as for the anus, well, if you enjoy ass play, chances are you’re going to love what a TENS unit can do to your bum. You may need to heed the advice on shaving or trimming, but one electrode on either side of your backdoor could be quite the thrill! Imagine taking rimming up 500% in intensity!

You Can Attach Them to Other Sex Toys

The electrodes that come with a TENS unit are absolutely, positively for exterior use ONLY. Do not try to put them inside of you in any way. Honestly, with how sticky they are, I don’t even know how that would work. That said, there are toys and attachments you can add to your TENS unit to bring those erotic electrical sensations inside you. Dildos and butt plugs can be used with TENS units to provide a truly unique experience. We usually associate a course of electricity through the body with an involuntary spasm. Well, the low intensity, safe currents of a TENS attached to a toy can cause those types of spasms in the vagina or anus, potentially leading to orgasm! Some folks even use these good vibrations to exercise Kegel muscles - a definite sexual health benefit.


TENS Units Can Help You Take BDSM Play to the Next Level

The thought of playing with electrical power is a scary thought for some, which is why this guide has focused on the safety of TENS units. But what if you don’t want to be all that safe? What if you really want to play with power of another sort? A TENS unit can be a fantastic addition to BDSM-themed scenes, particularly when power imbalance is desired. Attaching the electrodes to a submissive or slave can give a Dominant control like you’ve never imagined. Whether it be a quick jolt as punishment for impudence or a slow ramping up to sustained pain, the possibilities are endless. However, it is advised that both Top and bottom experiment with the unit beforehand to understand the controls and find the tolerance threshold.

TENS Units Can Help You and Your Partner Connect

There are different types of TENS units, but almost all will allow you and a partner to play together. Hopefully there are enough electrodes to go around for a shocking good time. You can attach to similar bits at the same time or go for something completely different. It might be hard to find a setting that works perfectly for both of you, but a TENS unit can be a fantastic addition to mutual masturbation. Or, just try to picture the potential of simultaneous, hands-free orgasms. We’re getting into fantastic territory here, but there’s nothing that says it can’t happen!

You Can Use TENS Units to Enjoy Hands-Free Orgasms

Many different sexual products claim to offer hands-free orgasms, but not many actually deliver. This probably has less to do with the actual products and more to do with the widely varying stimulation and erotic needs of each of us as individuals. However, a TENS unit is one of the few toys that does offer a more significant chance of you climaxing from electrosex only. It might be a little more challenging for people with penises who are accustomed to enjoying pleasure through stroking motions, but it is definitely possible. No other products offer such a range of stimulation, all with the twisting of a few knobs. You’ll be able to take yourself from pleasure to plain and somewhere in between until you find just the right spot.


Jon Pressick

Jon Pressick is a sex-related media gadabout. For more than 20 years, Jon has been putting sex into our daily conversations at his long-running site SexInWords—as a writer, editor, publisher, sex toy reviewer, radio host, workshop facilitator, event producer and more. These days, he focuses on writing for Kinkly, GetMeGiddy, The Buzz and PinkPlayMags and editing Jason Armstrong's series of Solosexual books. In 2015, Jon edited Cleis Press' Best Sex Writing of the...

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