Updated: APRIL 29, 2024
Electrosex is the use of electricity for erotic pleasure. It stimulates the body’s nervous system to produce intense sensations. It’s typically practiced with sex toys specifically designed for this kind of play. Electrosex is sometimes called erotic electrostimulation (e-stim) or electroplay.

What does electrosex feel like?

Electrosex gives practitioners distinctive tingly, tickly sensations that differ greatly from the sensations achieved with common battery-powered sex toys like vibrators. It taps into the electrical signals that course through the body’s human nervous system, stimulating them to create even more powerful sensory reactions. Since the human body is mostly water, it is an excellent conductor of electricity. This means that directly stimulating one part of the body through electrosex can stimulate the entire body. "Violet wands [a common device for electrosex] can produce an incredible amount of sensations. There are settings and electrodes that feel like soda or champagne bubbles or tiny pinpricks. It can be used to produce the feeling of snapping rubber bands, small stingy zaps, or tiny static points," explained Amy Julia Cheyfitz, an AASECT-certified sex therapist and BDSM educator. "Using it with metal can feel like burning or searing cuts; you can create a thrumming feeling with your fingers and hands, and a huge number of other sensations depending on the technique, attachment, setting, etc." The sensations aren't for everyone, though. "I did once use an e-stim toy called the Mystim Tickling Truman E-Stim USB Rechargeable Realistic Dildo Vibrator. It felt, as one might expect, like a series of electrical shocks inside my vagina," recalled Suzannah Weiss, an AASECT-certified sex educator and sexologist at BedBible. "It was too intense for me, but I can see how it might appeal to someone who likes very intense stimulation and/or pain.

Why are people into electrosex?

People have various reasons for enjoying electrosex. The unique sensations of electrical stimulation can be arousing for some people. E-stim devices can create a range of sensations, from gentle and tingly to sharper and more intense, so they can appeal to people into pleasure and pain. "It is possible to orgasm solely through electrical stimulation," added Weiss. "Electrical shocks to the genitals can stimulate genital contractions that lead to an orgasm." Some people also find the electrical sensations relaxing. For these people, electrosex can be a form of stress relief. Electroplay can also be visually appealing. Some people love the look of electrical sparks and the glow of electric stimulation wands. Many e-stim devices have a medical look, which can appeal to people with medical fetishes or an interest in medical roleplay.

Is electrosex dangerous?

Any activity involving electricity, including electrosex, is potentially dangerous. Any electric devices that generate heat can cause burns, heart arrhythmia, muscle damage, and even death. Writing for Lascivity, Kristian X also said most people don’t fully understand electricity either. A lack of knowledge increases the risks of electrosex.

While electrosex can be dangerous, anecdotal evidence suggests it is not painful or risky when practitioners take the right precautions. However, as with anything concerning electricity, practitioners should play with caution. Especially in terms of heart devices, implants, pregnancy, and similar circumstances. "A lot of people love the sensations and feelings of the wand, or electrical play in general, and that is the main appeal. But for others the potential danger, or just the interaction with electricity (which we usually have a healthy respect for) adds risk and adrenaline that enhances the experience," Cheyfitz confirmed.

The look and sound of the devices can certainly be intimidating. The emotions electroplay stirs up can trigger the flight or fight response, which floods the body with adrenaline and hormones. The heart beats faster, muscles tense up, and breathing becomes shallower. This is very similar to the body’s response to sexual arousal, so there can be a great overlap between feeling anxious or frightened and being turned on for some people.

Related Terms

Some of the terms related to electrosex include:
  • Electro play: Any sexual play involving electricity

  • Electric sex: A variation of electrosex.

  • E-stim: Short for electrical stimulation, this term may be used for electro-play or non-sexual physical therapy.

History of Electrosex

E-stimulation for a sexual purpose originated in the Victorian era when doctors believed vibrating electric belts could treat male impotence. In the 1950s, electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) units were sold as easy weight loss and fitness solutions, but there were soon reports of people placing their electrodes on different parts of their bodies for sexual pleasure. The same thing happened in the 1980s when transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machines meant for pain relief were repurposed for sexual gratification. In the 1990s, electrosex became a mainstay of the BDSM community, where practitioners used electrosex toys, TENS units in particular, during medical and pain play scenes.

However, electrosex is now becoming widespread among vanilla couples looking to spice up their sex lives.

Electrosex Toys and Devices

A variety of high-tech sex toys are designed for electrosex, including:
  • E-Stim Toys such as Violet wands: Electrified wands with attachments meant for external and internal use

  • Butt plugs: Electrified plugs for anal play

  • Masturbatory sleeves: Electrified sleeves made to stimulate penises and vulvas

  • Cock rings: Metal rings worn on the penis that can connect to other electrosex toys

  • Eggs: Internal electrosex toys held inside the vagina and controlled remotely by a partner

  • Kegel balls: Internal electrosex toys held inside the vagina for stimulation and to build Kegel strength

  • G-spot probes: Internal toys designed to electrically stimulate the G-spot

  • Nipple clamps: Clamps attached to an electric host box designed to electrically stimulate the nipples.

  • Ball electrodes: Electrodes that attach or wrap around the scrotum to electrically stimulate the testicles

  • TENS and EMS machines: Units with electrodes and sticky pads that turn people into part of an electrical circuit. Users can enjoy the sensations solo or use their skin as conductors to transmit electrical sensations to their partners.

  • Electrified urethral sounds: Probes that transmit electrical currents inside the penis

  • E-stim kits: This term can refer to products that bundle a selection of electrosex toys together or electrode machines that are similar to TENS and EMS machines but designed for electrosex.

Electrosex toys are becoming more popular as manufacturers shift from daunting and complex metal toys to less intimidating and more user-friendly silicone ones. Some people are bypassing commercial options and using conductive metallic tape to turn their existing sex toys into electro-sex ones.

How to Explore Electrosex

Cheyfitz encourages people interested in electrosex to get as much information as they can before diving in. "Try with an experienced person (if you can) and ask a lot of questions. Even if you and a partner are both trying it for the first time, think about going to a store or event where someone who is educated about the violet wand can give you a good introduction and explanation of safety measures," she suggests. "Make sure that you know the risks, what medical/body conditions may be dangerous, how to properly use your equipment, aftercare, and how your body and skin might react, etc. Discuss what you want to try and the other things you would typically talk about during any kink scene negotiation, and if you’re trying something new, I always suggest starting slowly and doing a lot of check-ins." Monopolar e-stim kits with electrodes and violet wands with broad attachments, which provide less concentrated stimulation than pointed attachments, are good beginner’s toys. The buttocks and inner thighs are good areas for early e-stim exploration, as they are far from the heart and common erogenous zones, yet not as sensitive as the genitals. Lubricants can help stop the skin from becoming tender and make it more sensitive to electroplay. Use a water-based lubricant for internal attachments and an electro-conductive gel for toys used externally. Avoid silicone lubes, which may degrade the toys and decrease conductivity.

Electrosex Safety

Any electroplay should start with an open discussion about consent, preferences, and limits. All parties should give their consent, even if e-stimulation is being used as a BDSM punishment. Consent should always be informed, so both parties should ask questions and conduct independent research until they feel they understand electroplay. For the best electroplay experience, practitioners should start slowly and use low currents until they determine how much electrical stimulation they can handle. Inserting or applying devices to the skin while they’re turned off reduces the risk of creating an electrical pathway to the heart or head. Electrosex devices are safest when used below the waist, as these locations are far from the heart and eyes. Some toys, such as e-stim nipples clamps, are designed for use above the waist. However, due to the increased risk, these are best used by very experienced practitioners, if at all. These clamps should have fully isolated outputs to prevent electricity from running between them and through the heart. E-stim devices can also irritate rashes, cuts, and sunburn, so they’re best used on healthy skin. People who are pregnant, have heart problems, or have electrical medical devices such as pacemakers shouldn’t try electrosex due to their increased risks. Practitioners should also avoid electrosex when they’re unwell, fatigued, or under the influence of drugs and alcohol as this activity requires focus and sound judgment. As with all sex toys, electro-sex toys require cleaning with antibacterial soap or sex toy cleaner and water after use to prevent bacterial growth. Leave them to dry thoroughly before storage and reuse.

Read our Electrosex: The Ultimate Guide for more information about electrosex.


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