People have long been fascinated with how electricity feels on the human body — remember those plasma balls that lined the shelves of every big box store in the early 2000s?
Even before then, inventors have been designing electrical devices for everything from pain management to getting your heart rhythm back on track. And, of course, for sex.
Electrosex — otherwise known as erotic eletrostimulation, electroplay, or e-stim — is a type of sex play that, you guessed it, involves electricity. It’s included in the broader category of sensation play.
Sensation Play: Any type of activity done for sexual gratification that specifically engages one’s heightened or diminished senses.
We’re not talking about the type of shock you’d get from an electrical fence, though. E-stim sensations can range from a pleasant tingling sensation to sharp sparks, and everything in between.
Erotic electrostimulation is often paired with other types of kink play, including medical play, impact play, and knife play, among others. To be clear, electrosex doesn’t involve sticking any of your body parts in an electrical socket or touching live wires (please don’t).
Electroplay is most commonly practiced using sex toys that are specifically designed for it, like certain TENS units and Violet Wands. Many toys designed for erotic electrostimulation have a wide variety of attachments available to stimulate different parts of the body and provide different sensations.
If you want to set sparks (metaphorically) flying, read on for some key tips before you get started.
5 Key Tips for Safer Electrosex
Like any type of sexual activity, there can be risks to practicing erotic electrostimulation. While you’ll never completely remove all risk (accidents happen!), you can be mindful of the potential for injury and take steps to mitigate it.
Remember, when we’re assessing risk and safety, communication is a huge factor. All partners must be fully informed of what we’re proposing, what the risks are, and should agree on a set of safe words and gestures.
If you’ve purchased a toy for electrosex, refer to the user manual for essential safety information, as tips will vary based on the product.
1. A note on cardiac health, pacemakers, and electrosex
Our hearts run off of electricity. Specifically, the heart uses a series of electrical impulses to pump blood through the body and keep you alive and functioning.
But that means that anything that affects that electrical process can stop your heart. Cardiac arrest happens when your heart’s electrical system is impeded in some way. If you already have known cardiac issues, or if you have a pacemaker, you shouldn’t practice erotic electrostimulation because you’re at higher risk for significant heart damage and even death.
If you have erectile issues that don’t have a clear cause (like spinal cord injury or certain medications), talk with your doctor. ED can be an early predictor of cardiovascular disease, and catching it early can help improve treatment options.
You should also avoid electrosex if you’re pregnant or if you have any type of implant that uses electricity (like an insulin pump).
2. Keep all electricity below the waist
This tip is directly tied to your heart, too. While it may seem enticing to stimulate the nipples using electricity, it’s widely considered unsafe to do so.
Using electrical stimulation on the chest can affect the heart’s electrical impulses (think of the defibrillator paddles you see in your favorite TV medical drama) so to avoid unintentional heart shocks, stay below the waist when applying any type of electrical stimulation.
Not sure where to start? Tease the inner thighs, give the buttocks a zap, and you can even give the genitals a jolt.
3. Don’t DIY your electroplay setup
Electrosex is kind of like butt stuff — if you’re going to do it, the tools you use should be specifically designed for that type of play.
Just because you can rig up an electrical current at home doesn’t mean you should. The currents will likely be much too strong and can hurt you or your partners! From electrical burns to cardiac arrest, DIY electrosex setups can be majorly risky, so save your homemade adventures for other types of kink play.
Instead, invest in toys specifically designed for electroplay, like the Violet Wand, KinkLab’s Neon Wand, or certain TENS units. These products are designed for use on the human body, so they’re the safer option — while still packing plenty of spark!
They also work in different ways, so before you invest in a product, think about what type of sensation you’re interested in. Do you want deeper muscle pulsations and contractions? A TENS unit will be your best bet. Do you want delicious, tingly skin-focused sensations? Then one of the wand options will get you there.
If you’re not sure what type of sensation you’re craving, a local sex toy shop or dungeon may have some sample toys that you can test before you make any big purchases.
4. Use lube to your advantage
The human body is already full of water, but when it comes to electrosex, having a little extra moisture can be helpful. Don’t go stand in the shower with your electrostim toys, though (seriously, don’t). Use a water-based lubricant instead!
Water-based lubricants help to amplify the electrical current and can reduce the risk of skin burns. While we all have our own preferences when it comes to lube materials, stick with water-based lubricant for electroplay — silicone doesn’t conduct electricity well and will diminish your sensations.
5. Start low and slow, then build
I’m clumsy, you’re clumsy, and you’re probably a little clumsier when you’re horny and holding an electrical device. To avoid unwanted shocks from bumping up against other conductors, make all connections (to the body and to the toy) while your toy is off.
Quick tip: To avoid unexpected jolts, remove any jewelry and have the person administering the electricity stand on carpet or wear shoes. That’ll help ensure that the electrical currents go where they’re supposed to.
Once you’re ready to power your toy on, I recommend starting with a lower intensity and building from there.
Your toy will have settings on it — either a dial, digital monitor, or buttons you can press — that will allow you to control the intensity of the electrical current. Start at the lowest setting and check in with your partner about how it feels for them. Then, when they’re ready, you can slowly increase the power.
Remember, electroplay should stay below the waist, and even there, I recommend starting with less sensitive areas (like the tops of your thighs) before moving to more sensitive areas (like the genitals).
When done correctly, electroplay can be a fun, thrilling, and even orgasmic experience! If you’re looking to nurture the spark in your sex life, electrosex may be just the thing you’ve been looking for.