Electro Sex 101: Everything You Need to Know About Electro Sex
Add a little zing to your sex life with electro sex. Dial up the pleasure with e-stim toys and a little creativity.
I know you might have just stumbled onto the idea of electro sex, but what if I told you that electro sex stimulation has been around for hundreds of years? While the devices of today are much more reliable (and much prettier!) than the devices of yesteryear, electricity has been partnered with sex (and medical treatment) for much, much longer. In fact, reading about the history of the Neon Wand is some fascinating reading!
Luckily for all of us, with the proliferation of electric devices in our everyday life, electro sex toys have become affordable enough and safe enough to become bedroom toys. In fact, the TENS Unit (which is the basis of power boxes) has been used sexually since the 1950s.
While the devices have become more beginner-friendly and nice to look at, the tech (and the bedroom applications) have been around for a while.
So when the idea of electro sex stimulation piques your interest, don't worry: you're not alone in your interest. (In fact, toys for electro sex for couples is one of our most-asked questions.)
What Is Electric Sex?
As the most basic description, electro sex is the inclusion of electricity—specifically electric impulses—during sexual activity. Obviously, that isn't the sexiest of descriptions, but at its base, that's exactly what electro sex is. You're using electricity, through safe devices, to elicit sexual arousal and sexual enjoyment.
So, what exactly does electro sex feel like? Does electro sex hurt? The answer is no—and yes. Electro sex toys especially designed for sexual purposes are intentionally dialed down in their intensity to ensure a safe, sexual, and fun experience—even for people who are brand new to e-stimulation and have no idea what they're doing.
To this end, electro sex toys are designed to provide a range of sensations—from the softest tickle all the way up to a current that will make you jump. The intensity level you choose to play with is entirely up to you. You can use the softest levels of electro sex toys for a gentle experience, or, as you get experienced, you can add more power for sensations that can border on painful.
Do electric sex toys get people off? The answer is, most definitely "yes"! When playing with an electro sex toy like a TENS Unit, you can physically force your body into orgasm through the electric spasms. Even if you don't turn it up to that intensity, the muscle contractions near the genital area can be downright arousing!
Some electro sex toys, like the Neon Wand from Kinklab, can be a way to explore new foreplay sensations leading up to the big event. (In fact, this Vice writer had a downright amazing time! Hint: We sell those toys at the Kinkly Shop! )
Are Electric Sex Toys Safe?
Especially designed for household use even for newbies to electro stimulation, electro sex toys are designed to be as safe as possible. That being said, safety is always in the hands of the beholder. Regardless of how safe the toy itself is, if you misuse it, it can become dangerous—especially when electricity is involved.
The first rule of electro sex safety is to keep your playtime below-the-belt and far away from the face or heart. The heart and many facial areas are easiest to damage with electricity while the thighs and genitals are hardier (and probably where you're looking for that pleasure anyway!)
You can be a little freer with a Neon Wand (and get the arms involved), but a TENS Unit device should never be used above the beltline. A TENS Unit's electricity will always travel the shortest distance between the two (or more) contact points that you've placed on your partner, so always keep that in mind while using it.
Electro sex is safe for many couples, but there are some cases where you'll want to approach with caution—or choose not to approach at all. You should avoid electro sex play if you're pregnant or have any heart arrhythmias or abnormalities. You should also stay away from electro sex stimulation if you have a pacemaker, insulin pump, or any other medical implant within your body that uses electricity.
In addition, you'll need to consider what's physically on your person before you begin your electro sex play session. Piercings can be wonderful conductors of electricity—which can lead to very intense, unintended pain if you aren't careful. Remove your watches, cell phones, and any other electrical device from your body before playing as well.
Birth control implants in the upper arm should also be avoided with the Neon Wand in addition to avoiding any broken skin or rashes. For insertable toys, you may also want to be careful about interactions with an IUD if you have one.
More safety information is always better than less safety information. After this article, read 9 Things to Check Before Playing with Electro Sex.
More technical details about how to practice electro sex like a pro are also out there, just know there are a lot more electro sex options out there since that story was originally published.
Types of Electro Sex Toys
Electro sex toys are divided into two very specific categories. How you choose to play will depend on your preferences, health concerns, and what sensations you're looking to elicit. You can play with surface electro sex toys or under-the-skin electro sex toys.
Surface electro sex toys include violet wands, and its cousin, the Neon Wand. We highly recommend these types of toys for beginners to electro sex—mostly because they're much more approachable in both design and cost.
Surface electro sex toys only apply electricity where the toy is touched and only for the duration of being touched to the skin. With no excess cords to worry about and a "plug-and-play" design, Neon Wands are a fantastic way to get into electro sex stimulation. (There are other beginner-friendly electro sex toys out there too )
Under-the-skin electro sex toys include all of the e-stim insertables and TENS Units. Essentially, these toys operate by connecting two (or more) points of electricity. When using a TENS Unit, you'll see little squares called "electrode pads". Since electricity flows between the pads, it's even more important to ensure that your TENS Unit play stays below the waist and in the genital area. You do not want any of these currents to find their way to the chest. (We always recommend learning more about the basics of TENS Units.)
Specific “electro sex toys” is where a lot of beginners get lost. Most electro sex brands have their own line of toys that are designed to work with the electricity levels and design of their own TENS Unit.
When using a TENS Unit to power these electro sex toys, we call that TENS Unit a "powerbox"—because it's a box-shaped object that powers the rest of the toys. Using the TENS Unit to power those electro sex toys allows manufacturers to keep prices low on the toys.
After all, each toy doesn't need to have its own electricity-producing capabilities; it just needs to be able to handle the powerbox-provided electricity. (And that's just the basics of TENS Units for sex. This Bold Pleasures article has even more helpful information about the basics. )
Do Electric Sex Toys Get People Off?
Surface electro sex toys, like the Neon Wand, produce a very different type of sensation from an under-the-skin electro sex toy like a TENS Units. Neon Wands provide a surface sensation that, on lighter settings, feels like the sensual feel of a lover's fingernails dragging along your skin. A Mystim Tension Lover E-Stim Unit (which is a TENS Unit), however, will produce electric currents that stimulate muscles. If you stop and think about it, most people can isolate (and clench) any muscle by focusing on it.
A TENS Unit does that automatically. Since arousal, sexual pleasure, and orgasm is facilitated by the clenching and relaxing of your pelvic floor and associated muscles, you can see how this could quickly translate into an orgasmic experience.
So, to sum things up, properly-placed TENS Unit electro pads (and electro sex toys) can cause an orgasm in some people while Neon Wand sensations are usually used as an erotic form of foreplay—but are not usually orgasmic in their own right.
How Are Electro Sex Toys Used?
Let's start with the Neon Wand. Here's how to use the Neon Wand:
- Remove the Neon Wand from the box. While unplugged and turned off, slide the glass electrode into the top of the wand.
- Plug the wand into an electrical outlet. Ensure the Neon Wand is off while you do this.
- Once you have the wand plugged in, you can gently twist the dial at the base to turn on the Neon Wand.
- With the Wand on, you may hear a gentle electricity buzzing sound. We recommend pressing the wand to your own bare skin (forearm or thigh) to get a good initial test of the power level you have it on.
- From there, you can gently hover the glass electrode over your partner's skin where you'd like the sensation to happen. The electricity will "jump" the gap between the glass electrode and your partner's skin for a little bit of visible electricity (along with the sensation)
- Ask your partner how that was. If they respond positively, you can continue. If they respond negatively, you may want to turn down the wand or cease the activity.
You also may want to change your electrode (the glass tip) while playing with the Neon Wand. Here's how to change the glass electrode on a Neon Wand:
- Turn off the Neon Wand entirely.
- For safety, unplug the Neon Wand from the wall outlet.
- Tap the glass electrode to ensure it isn't hot. If it isn't, gently tug it out of the top of the Neon Wand.
- Slide the new glass electrode in.
- Ensuring the Neon Wand is off, plug the Neon Wand back in.
- Gently turn the dial to turn on the Neon Wand again.
Like we've mentioned before, using a Neon Wand is designed to be easier than using a TENS Unit for electro sex stimulation. However, you can use a TENS Unit too. Here's how to use a TENS Unit (aka the electro sex powerbox itself):