BDSM 101: E-Stim

TENS vs Shocks

There are two types of electric stimulation used for erotic pleasure and torture: TENS (short for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) and shocks. While shock devices like a violet wand or stun guns interacts with the skin, TENS units send electric stimulation through the body in order to stimulate the nerve endings. Both kinds of play have different safety and usage aspects to keep in mind when playing. This article is only about TENS units. While both kind of play are called e-stim I will use the term e-stim in this article as a synonym for TENS play.

 

Detail of the Inputs and Outputs of the ET232

Detail of the Inputs and Outputs of the Erostek ET232

How does E-Stim work?

In order to create a sensation you need at least two electrodes with different poles that don’t touch each other and are connected to one channel on a power unit. This unit generates electric impulses onto which usually wave patterns are modulated. These impulses travel from one electrode to another and stimulate the nerves in the area roughly around the electrode. Due to the way nerves are distributed throughout the body and the way they transmit information it is possible that the stimulation can be felt elsewhere, p.e. in your glans even though the electrodes are around the balls and the penis root. The sensation is felt stronger at the electrode with the lower the mass and/or the smaller contact area. If the difference between the electrodes is very large (p.e. using a big anal monopole and a small silicone loop) it is possible that the sensation is only felt at the smaller pole. Generally speaking it can be said the larger the mass and the surface area covered, the smoother the sensation feels yet the more power is needed to produce agonizing sensations.

 

Safety rules

Generally speaking E-Stim play is not more dangerous than any other form of BDSM as long as you stick to some basic safety rules:

  1. Do not use electric stimulation if you have any electronic medial device implanted like a pacemaker! The stimulating impulses of the e-stim box can cause male function or destroy the device which can be lethal!
  2. If you have any illnesses affecting your nerve system or heart, talk to your doctor where electro stimulation is possible.
  3. Use only devices which put out AC! There are power boxes out there for medical purposes which run on DC. They are only made to be used by experienced medical personal for medical purposes and NOT FOR PLEASURE! In a nut shell: The impulses of a DC currency will affect the cellular and molecular electrolysis. So the effects of letting DC run through your body are:
    • Denaturation of proteins
    • Destruction of cell membranes
    • Accumulation of metal salts in your body
    • Blood clotting at the anode, blood thinning at the cathode
    • Ultimately poisoning and necrosis
    • Unpleasant, burning sensation through static nerve stimulation
  4. PinWheelOverview

    E-Stim System Monopolar Pin Wheel

    Don’t let currency run over the chest! I am aware that this is a controversial topic because people claim it is safe as long as you use electrodes on the surface because currency always takes the shortest path. This assumption is dangerous! Currency always takes the path of the lowest resistance which usually is the shortest way but needn’t be necessarily. If through a form of day your skin transmits currency very badly yet there is a concentration of a very good conducting body fluid it will take this way even if your heart is in the way. Muscles are triggered by electric impulses and thus can also be affected by E-Stim. Your heart is one big muscle and exposing it to E-Stim can fatal! The effect needn’t occur instantly; cardiac dysrhythmia can occur days after your heart being exposed to E-Stim impulses! So I strongly advise you to ere on the side of caution and:

    • Play below the waist freely
    • Place both electrodes on the same arm when stimulating this body area
    • If interested in nipple play, use ONLY BIPOLAR electric clamps and use a box with COMPLETELY ISOLATED CHANNELS
  5. Only use toys there are in perfect condition and fully functional! This should be natural and apply to all toys used but especially when E-Stim malfunctions it can produce very nasty effect. If something doesn’t work as expected don’t try to fix it during the scene but do something else and investigate when you have time and are not horny anymore.
  6. Be aware of unintended results of the stimulation especially when triggering large muscles! As I have written above muscle functions are triggered by electric impulses. So stimulation can trigger an unexpected and hard muscle function; I have seen subs involuntary rip restraints apart so play with a bit of caution.
  7. I generally recommend only to use your power box on battery. This limits the bad effects when something goes wrong to the voltage of the battery (mostly 9V) which might be extremely unpleasant but not dangerous.
  8. As a top never touch the both poles at the same time when not wearing protective (= isolating) gear. Currency usually takes the path lowest resistance which most of the time is the shortest and thus will most of the time run through the sub. However, there are configurations possible where the top get shocked and if the heart is in the way he will get exposed to the dangerous described above!

 

How to play

Electro play is a delicate play where only a little further twist of the knob can mean the difference between agony and ecstasy. So here are some guide lines I found sticking to useful.

Both rings attached to the power box

Ready-to-Play Set-Up of an inexpensive E-Stim Device

When preparing a sub for play I attach the leads to the electrodes, than put the electrodes onto or into the sub. Than I make sure that all channels are completely turned off, connect the box with the power source and than check again if the channels are off again. After I that plug the leads into the power box. Just for security reasons I prefer to run the boxes just on (the internal) batteries because they are limited to 9V (resp. 12V with the ET312b’s internal battery). It is highly unlikely that the PSU will malfunction but I prefer to ere on the side of caution.

When starting the stimulation I would recommend slowly increasing the intensity until the sub starts feeling a slight tingle. Depending on the form of day (p.e. the amount of sweat on the skin), the electrode and power box used, the body area where the electrodes are put onto and the program selected the intensity level needed to create a recognizable sensation can vary. So there is no general rule from which intensity level to start with. The same applies for breaks: A level that brought out the grunting horny pain pig might be excruciating even after a short break because the body’s pain memory and processing system calm down quite quickly. So after every break ease the sub into the sensation and stimulation level again. While the area in the brain which transforms pain into pleasure forgets quickly your nerves don’t. Thus it is normal to feel some buzzing sensation in the area where the electrode was placed for quite some time even after the electrode has been removed. This sensation can last for minutes up to hours.

If something goes wrong DON’T FIDDLE WITH THE BOX! Just pull the leads out of the box! Once no currency flows anymore the sensation stops!

 

What do you need to play

In order to create a sensation, you need a power box that creates the impulses, leads for connecting the box to the electrode and at least two poles in form of electrodes.

Power boxes

The power box is an electrical device that converts the DC which comes out of the power adaptor or the battery into AC. Inside the box is an amplifier which creates a pulsed electric pulse; a continuous pulse is rarely used because you can’t feel the difference but the battery would get drained more quickly. Onto these pulses a wave form is modulated. These are the patterns which are called programs and are the basis for an interesting stimulation.

The Erostek ET232

The Erostek ET232, an analogue E-Stim Box with two channels

Good power boxes have an amplifier for each channel. I would always recommend getting a box with isolated channels because not only do you have the full power on each channel at your hand but if your box is not faulty there is no unintended interaction between the channels. This is especially important when the heart lies between the electrode pairs. Most boxes have two channels which I find the most useful because you can stimulate the ass and the dick p.e. at the same time. There are inexpensive boxes out there with only one channel which are a good compromise for beginners. There are also boxes out there with four channels but I would not recommend them because they are difficult to operate.

Power boxes come with analogue and digital wave form modulators. There is no general saying which is better. Due to the form factor of the boxes made for erotic stimulation digital boxes most of the time allow more and complex manipulations. Depending on their processor their waves can feel a bit chiseled because they are only able to create stairs-like wave patterns and boxes with little processor power create large “steps”. Having a digital generated wave pattern enables accordingly programmed power boxes to end the wave pattern after one wave has been produced. This comes in handy if you want to train someone by letting him experience only a single wave. However digital boxes tend to be more expensive, especially the ones with more sophisticated setup options like the Erostek 312b or E-Stim System 2b. So I would recommend starting out with an analogue box and if you start to feel the limitations of the box in your play upgrade to a bigger box.

Some power boxes come equipped with an additional interface. The most common ones are an audio interface either through a line-in and/or a microphone or a shock sensor. Especially in combination with another box you can create evil setup (p.e. the louder the sub screams from stimulation of one box the stronger fires the other one and he can only break out of the circle when he gets a grip on himself).

Connection systems

There are two major systems for connection leads: 2.5mm audio plug onto 2mm pin used p.e. by MyStim, Zeus, Rimba, P.E.S. and most medical devices for home usage and 3.5mm audio plug onto 4mm banana plug which is used by ErosTek and E-Stim Systems p.e.. When starting your E-Stim toy collection I would recommend choosing one system for which you buy your leads and use adapters to incorporate toys from the other system into your play setup. Theoretically it doesn’t matter which system you choose. Practically I would advice you to use 3.5mm audio onto 4mm banana plug because it is the professional industry standard used p.e. for lab equipment. So most pervertables and inexpensive leads, adapters and splitters are based on this system. If you have a box from the other system buy 2.5mm onto 3.5mm adapters.

Electrodes

Electrodes can be divided in two categories: Surface electrodes and insterable ones.

The HML Bi-Polar E-Stretcher

The HML Bi-Polar E-Stretcher

Surfaces Electrodes

This kind of electrodes are used on the skin. Nowadays nearly every sex or BDSM toy comes in an electrified variety so you can get paddels, chastity cages, clamps, pin wheels, restraints, gloves, penis sheaths, ball crusher, humbler, cock & glans rings and ball stretchers as electrodes. Besides these erotic toys pervertables like electro pads originally made for medical purposes, modified anti-static bands or my beloved conductive silicone loops fall into this category.

Most surface electrodes usually have a limited mass and contact area so they mostly create a stingy sensation. Keep this in mind when choosing your toys: Some might look that they are great for tingling sensation play but the effect might be agonizing. Another attribute the majority of surface electrodes share are that they are monopoles by design. So when incorporating them into your play use them in pairs or combine them with another electrode or a bipolar one using a tri-phase cable. When doing so keep in mind that the direct path mustn’t cross the heart!

Three E-Stim System Bi-Polar Electro Plugs

Three E-Stim System Bi-Polar Electro Plugs

Insertables

I call all electrodes which are designed to be put into the body insertables. They come in two varieties:

  1. Plugs and dildos: They are made to be shoved up the ass (and for the few female readers also the vagina). There are a few monopoles out there which require a second electrode in order to work. But most plugs and dildos are bi-poles which also come in two varieties: One where the two poles are separated horizontally. With the right program they can create a fucking sensation. The other variety has the poles separated vertically. I haven’t experienced a quality electrode of this kind yet (the one I had was so crappy I won’t take the sensation as a reference) so I can’t really tell how the sensation will be. If you want to provide me with a review sample I would be very happy.
  2. Sounds: Designed to be put into the sensitive urethral they create a very intense sensation. They come in a great number of varieties: Mostly they are monopoles but there are also bi-polare versions out there, some are smooth, others are structured for an additional stimulation. Like when playing with non-electrical sounds it is paramount that the sounds are disinfected before play and used with sterile water based lube! Do not use special conductive gel (see next paragraph!). Also the surface must be flawless in order to prevent injuries!

Conductive Lube

In order to transfer the stimulation from the electrode onto the body there has to be a conductive medium between the electrode and the nerves. Since the body consists of a quite high amount of salt conductivity inside the body is no problem. However on the skin there is only a limited amount of salt from sweat, etc. Since these accumulations of salt are usually very concentrated the currency will flow only in limited areas leading to a stingy and quite strong stimulation. In order to prevent this you can use conductive solutions. There are special electro gels out there which are in my opinion a waste of money. Every water based lube which contains glycerin will work perfectly. I have conducted a blind test between conductive gel, Swiss Navy water based lube, ID Glide water based lube, Elbow Grease H2O and Aqua Glide and none of the probands noticed a difference. There are special sticky conductive lubes out there for attaching surface electrodes to the body. They provide some level of adhesion but they are designed for still sitting patients. Since your sub is probably going to be a bit more active I recommend saving the money on these special products, use normal water based lube together with adhesive tape.

 

I hope I have covered the most interesting and burning questions when starting electro play. If you have any questions, additions or suggestions please send men an e-mail.

Don’t Inject Poppers!

Once in a while I get questions I think/ fear others might have and for the better for all kinksters I decide to post my reply publically. This poppers question is one of them:

Hey,

I really like poppers, it helps me take bigger things up my hole but the effect of the poppers is only so short-lived. Would it help to inject the poppers maybe directly into my anus to maximize the effect?

Short answer: No, it is even dangerous!

Long answer: Poppers is caustic, especially in delicate areas like muscous membranes (p.e. in your nose). There have been reports of death when swallowed. When you inject it directly into a muscle you “only” will win a trip to the emergency room and sever burns inside your muscles.  Injected into a vein it will be leathal! If you want to know more about poppers, listen to this great short episode of the NoSafeWord Show.

But there are a number of other options you can use in order to prepare your hole for some intense action:

  1.  Anal relaxation sprays: A combination of caring and relaxing botanicals like lavender or rosemary is sprayed on the anus and after a short time your anus will find putting stuff into yojr ass more easily. There are a number of different products on the market and not everyone works as well for everyone like poppers. Try some out. Sadly they are rather expensive.
  2. Special lube: There are numbening lubes out there which relax your anus and make it less sensitive so you can apply a bit (!) more force when pushing things inside your hole. My friend Drewlion developed a special lube also using botanicals like the sprays to facilitate relaxing. Since he uses essential oils they are technically not (latex) condom/ glove safe.
  3. Local anesthetics: In order to insert catheres or other medical device into untrained holes local anesthetics like Lidocain are used. They come in gel or spray forn and work great but have the downside that they will affect your feeling so the insertion sensation will be somewhat between different to nonexisting. More importantly: You will probably not feel if something goes wrong so be extra careful!
  4. „Poppers“ containing balm: Another medicine you can use are balms used to tread anal fissures. They contain Glyceryl trinitrate p.e., will relax your hole and will make you a bit dizzy like with a small poppers rush.

If you don’t want to apply anything to your hole and toys, hypnosis and self-suggestion can help loosening up your hole. You see, there are a lot of possibilities out there to make the anus extra soft but doing something very bad with poppers.

No Solo Breath Play EVER!

No Solo Breathplay Ever

I get several e-mails a week asking if I could recommend certain toys for a specific scene or kink and I am always glad to help if I know of something. Every couple of months I get an e-mail if I could recommend a toy for solo breath play. And the answer was and will always be: No! N-O! NO!!!

Ok, I wasn’t clear enough on that point.

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is no way of safe and secure solo breath play and will never be! No matter how smart you are and how well you have thought everything through eliminating every potential problem it is not safe. There is always something you haven’t thought of and eventually it will kill you! The kink scene has lost a lot of smart, nice, sympathetic, hot, kinky, perverted and experienced players who have thought that there would be a way to solo breath play. Believe me and many other kinksters: There is no way of safe and secure solo breath play! If you are into it look for a safe, sane, experienced top to live out your fantasies. It is the only way to have a long kinky live with lots of interesting breath play scenes!

BDSM Home Pharmacy

Even though all BDSM sessions should be RACK or SSC and thus shouldn’t harm the subs (or even the tops) body and soul there is always a slight chance that even in the most safe and controlled atmosphere something goes wrong. Here is a little selection of items I recommend to keep in the house to deal with the most common play related injuries.

But first, a word of warning: Most medicines which are used on the outside contain some form of oils so they can harm your rubber!

Medicine

I presume that every household has some form of basic painkiller like ASS at home. Besides that some form of magnesium is an essential especially after long and hard bondage to prevent cramps. Another way to prevent cramps, to deal with muscle problems or bruises are cooling and heating gels or cool and heat packs (p.e. a grain pillow). They are also handy for first treatment when you’ve got a fracture or got a dislocation.

Not really necessary but useful to minimize the post-session problems is some form of aluminum chloride mono compound solution for gargling after deep throating. If you have swallowed a lot of piss, spit or even nastier things make sure to have something at hand to calm your stomach. I use medicinal clay for it but others use artichoke or some form of tonic preparation. It takes some time to figure out what works best for you.

Bandages

Most BDSM related injuries can be taken care of with plasters. Some pharmacies sell especially thick ones. Have some of them at hand when your nipples are really sore and you have to work the next day.

But sometimes heavier wounds can occur p.e. after a heavy single tail whipping scene or when you have gotten a fracture or dislocation. Both things need immediate treatment from a doctor! But having some bandages at home for a first treatment is advisable.

Ointment

Most sessions end in some sore areas or abrasion. To make them heal more quickly a couple of different ointments are useful. When you have played really hard and the skin is already weeping or shows small scissures you should use some kind of panthenol ointment. If the skin is “just” red after spanking or flogging a salve with urea, tea tree oil and maybe some cooling additive compound like peppermint extract will do the job. Since peppermint extract is quite aggressive do not put a crème containing it on cracked skin!

Especially after anal play I recommend calendula lotion for the anus and the sphincter.

Mental Health

Most Kinkster underestimate the mental impact a session, especially a mental breakdown can have. So it is always wise to have some way to heal a sore soul. The easiest physical thing to brighten someone’s mood is candy, especially chocolate. Sometimes the top has driven the sub so far over the edge that his touch and presence is not comforting but scaring and thus makes the situation only worse. Most subs I have talked to prefer a firm pillow or a stuffed animal in that situation.

Miscellaneous

Just to make this article complete, here a list of items most of us have already at home:

–          Condoms

–          Disposable Gloves

–          Rope cutter

Rough and Safer Sex

On December 1st 1981 AIDS become an official illness. Since then the medical research, safer sex education and awareness for STDs has made great progress. However, still every year people get infected and still people are dying. Not only in poor countries like in Africa or Asia but as well in the so called developed western world.

When talking to people about HIV and STDs before and after my speeches on BDSM I often hear that safer sex isn’t a big issue in the pervert scene because “traditional” sex and thus traditional ways of infection are not as common as in the vanilla scene. This might be true to a certain extend but never the less: STDs and especially AIDS is something that effect everybody, especially gay people and especially the ones living a promiscuous life style. So I would like to honor the world AIDS day by not only asking you to think of the people living with this still incurable disease and remember all the dear friends and idols who have died in the last three decades but also give some advice on safer BDSM sex. This article’s intention is not to make you frightened but to raise awareness for the problem and show you that it is not so difficult to care for yourself and your sex partners.

1. Get tested!

This might sound trivial but it is the most important thing to do. Know your STD status! Get tested on a regular basis, at least once every half year. A test once in a blue moon to calm your conscious doesn’t do any good for anybody.

We are so anxious that our gear is in good shape that we sometimes forget this is not the only thing which can harm someone we at least care about to meet once. Knowing that you won’t harm your bottom when you deep throat him or let him lick the spit from your boots is not only a good feeling but shows that you are a caring master. And as a sub it should be natural that you keep your body in good shape and let your master know about any illnesses right away.

Also, getting a positive test result on any STD isn’t the end of the world and fun. Most STDs can be cured pretty quickly. And if you should get tested positive for the HI virus, it will be hard, but it is not a death sentence anymore. It is you only chance to survive!

2. Get informed and think about the risk you want to take

A doctor of mine told me once: All safer sex is ridiculous if it keeps you from having joyful sex. So get informed about ways of infection, think about what you like to do/ have done to you and where possible infections risks are. Than think about what risks you are willing to take and how to minimize the risks so you have a satisfying sex live without regrets.

3. Keep your toys cleaned!

This also should go without saying but it is worth to remind everyone that uncleaned toys can transfer STDs. Especially after harder sessions with bloody nipples, blood encrusted single tails or everything which enters the body like saliva dripping gags, dildos or dilatators it is vital to clean the toys thoroughly.

4. Be aware of infection risks when exchanging body fluids

Besides traditional vanilla sex like fucking and sucking all sorts of humiliation games involving rimming and consuming of body fluids cause a risk of getting STDs. So here is a short but not complete list of body fluids and some STDs they might carry.

Piss: Gonnorrhea, Chlamydia and Hepatitis B

Saliva and Snot: Usually no problem, but can transfer current illnesses like a flu or cold. If you have an acute infection in your mouth from Syphilis, Gonnorrhea or Chlamydia you can infect someone you give or blowjob or kiss very intensly.

Shit: Hepatitis A and Gonnorrhea or Chlamydia if you have an infection in your gut.

 5. Play Rough! Play dirty! Play safe!

There is no better way to keep your body and your mind healthy than having a good sex life. When you have no oppressed desires you will not engage in risks you would not take normally when you have the chance to live them out. So despite all the fear and insecurity STDs might produce, enjoy life. It is Saturday! Go out and have some fun – as safe as you need and want it.