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Getting a Charge out of Sex

by Maris Lemieux


People are fond of saying things like "the sex was electrifying" and towards the end of the twentieth century, sex aficionados started taking this saying literally. They started by using those passive exercise devices designed to give a jolt to the muscles. The theory went that since muscles are operated by small electrical pulses, all you have to do is deliver these pulses to the muscles artificially, and over a relatively short period of time, the muscle will think its just had a good workout. Easy toning. Painless bulking. And from the 1950s people began "working out" with devices that delivered electrical charges to the muscle, based on this theory.

Well, science has since proven that the theory has not delivered on its promises. But not to let a good invention go to waste, ever-inventive sex fans put these devices and their grandchildren to good use. One of the grandchildren was the TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit. The TENS unit delivered its charge not on the muscle, but on the nerves. Somewhere in the mid 80s it was used medically, to trick the nervous system out of pain. Again, resourceful sexonauts saw great erotic potential. Theres a third way of delivering electricity to the body, and that is the violet wand. Giving off a violet glow which makes great special effects in the dark, the violet wand was adopted by couples who played kinky. The charge given off by the wand is related to static electricity, the stuff that happens to your hair when you pull a woolen sweater over your head. This electricity skates across the surface of the skin -- so while its great for "shock value" (and kinky people love the shock) its not so great for tingly sensations in your inner orgasmic zones.

In terms of the equipment available to generate electricity in small enough doses to be safe for humans, there was always a fine line between the erotic tingle and the kinky zap. And electro stimulation stayed pretty much in the domain of the handyman or tinkerer. A guy might get out his electrodes and wire his penis to the power unit, give himself a small charge. A bigger charge, he may have discovered, could make his penis jump to attention. Wee-hoo.

From about the early eighties to the late nineties, people experimented in their basements and bath rooms (not always the best place since water is a conductor and you could get more of a charge than you bargained for). Only the most devout masturbators or kinky dominants would go to the mail order catalogue or site or the medical supply store and get a TENS unit; then play with various electrodes or adaptors or even invent modifications. People looking for new sexual horizons experimented on themselves, and if they were lucky, their partners, and theyd pass along the information to a friend. So over time the idea grew.

Some of these basement wankers got good at dialing in very specific sensations, just the ones they or their partners needed in order to get off. It is from this pool of devoted electrophiles that new companies started springing up to design electro stimulation devices tailored to sex play. Within the last ten years, the power generators descended from the TENS unit (their current goes to the nerves), have become very versatile. Theyve created a whole generation of new erotic toys. They call it e-stim. [Look for our upcoming interview with Eric Forbes, the founder of the erotic e-stim toy company Sex Tek.]

Some people will find the whole business pretty un-sexy. If someone thinks of the bedroom as an organic sensual kind of place, they may not have much patience for the idea of inviting electrical banana clips, power generators, electrodes, and conductive gel into the boudoir. But its really only a few steps removed from the vibrator, which also requires either batteries or an outlet.

So what can you do with these toys short of fireworks? Well, older power units basically worked with two parameters. Intensity and pulse (a series of ons and offs). The latest generation of toys takes into account the erotic application right from the power generator. And these generators have become not only versatile but user friendly. Just like you can buy a musical keyboard that gives you sound options like "horns" or "bass" you can now buy a power generator that gives you sense options. Do you want waves? Tickles? Throbs? Flutters? Squeezes? Dial it in. You can hook up three electrodes to your body, each with its own sensation. Tingles to your clit, throbs to your cunt lips and tickles to your nips. Guys can dial up a hands-off come for themselves because the equipment can generate an evolving cycle of different sensations. A guy might work out a concert of sensations that will blow his load without him ever touching his dick. Free hands have other benefits as well. But it takes experimentation and timing and maybe even practice, but this could actually be part of what makes this new wave of toy appealing.

The possibilities dont stop at the end of an electrode stuck to the skin. Jump for joy: there are insertable toys. Shaped like regular butt plugs and bullet vibrators, these puppies are aluminum and conductive. You can pop a pulse in your pussy or pummel your prostate with a plug. And depending on the size and musculature of the opening and the setting of the device, the wonders of electro-stim will have these insertables riding in and out of an orifice all on their own.

SAFETY?: USE COMMON SENSE
What if all this doesnt sound too safe? After all, youre putting e-juice into your body. If you think about it, hard wiring the inside of your ass or strapping electrical zappers to your shaft is never going to be completely safe. And its true. People with pacemakers and heart issues and pregnancies should forget about it. And possible warnings to people who aren’t all that clever with technology. The web sites that sell such things will give you the warnings; and theres probably more on the packaging when the devices arrive in the mail. But the new wave of e-stim toys has definitely cut down on the safety problems that came with first-gen e-toys. And for someone with an overpowering love of sexual adventure and good bit of devil-may-care in their sexual stripe, theres probably going to be no stopping the e-stim rage.



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