Would you let an electric current flow through your genitals if it felt good or helped tighten your pelvic floor?
Didn’t think so – but never say never. Plenty of people are doing just that by experimenting with electro sex toys.
Given that lots of UK women are reluctant to use a vibrator that plugs into the mains (despite them being perfectly safe), it comes as no surprise to learn that sales of electro sex toys here are relatively modest.
But that may be about to change…
“It’s a niche market, but we have seen continued growth in the category across all our sites,” says Bonny Hall, Product Director of one of the world’s biggest online sex retailers, Lovehoney.
In fact, Bonny says that electro sex toy sales in the US were up over 100 per cent in the first half of 2017, with Australians also keen – and it seems like the Brits may follow.
For those who don’t know, ‘electro sex’ is a way of stimulating the genitals and erogenous zones with a safe amount of electrical energy (the human body is mostly water so it’s an excellent conductor).
The toy, or a conductive pad, is placed somewhere on your body (like your genitals) to allow electricity to pass through the nerve cells.
This makes you super sensitive to touch and creates sensations ranging from a prickle or a tingle to a strong pulsating feeling which causes the muscles to contract.
So, why would you do it? Because (apparently) it feels good. And because electro stimulators are reportedly brilliant for toning the pelvic floor muscles with minimum effort (and maximum pleasure, if you believe the growing number of fans).
IT’S NOT ABOUT PAIN
Contrary to what it sounds like, electro sex isn’t about pain (pleasurable or otherwise). Even so, it sounds scary – and the kit isn’t cheap. Starting level products are around £70, and the price goes up from there.
Reviews are mixed. Some people are instant devotees:
“I felt a beautiful pulsing current running through my pelvis and a deep tingling travelling into my labia…the orgasms are incredible.”
“Why haven’t I heard of this before? I’m addicted.“
While others are less enthusiastic:
“For me it was a cross between being flicked with a rubber band and a quick pinch. Not painful but odd.“
According to Bonny, unlike standard vibrating toys (which tend to feel pleasurable for most people) electro sex toys offer a “very unique experience that feels different for everyone“.
They’re in a very special class of their own – and I’m intrigued because I’m hearing more and more whispers of how amazing they are, and how different they are to other sex toys.
As your resident sex expert, I figured I’d better give them a whirl and report back!
THE FIRST ROAD TEST
Someone gave me an electro sex toy when they first appeared on the market but I was so busy, I took one look, decided it looked far too complicated to set up and shoved it to the back of the cupboard.
Turns out, setting up the products is join-the-dots type stuff – and I’m the most impatient, least practical person there is.
I unpacked Daring Danny (by Mystim), which looks like a rather large version of a rabbit style vibrator with a few more controls.
I turned on the vibration button – good and strong but nothing new there. So I clicked on the electro stimulation ‘impulse’ button to setting 1 and gingerly touched it to my arm, expecting a tingle.Nothing.
Hmmm. Maybe it wasn’t working? I turned it up a bit and still nothing, so I clicked the impulse button to full power and touched it to my arm again. Still nothing.
Why isn’t the damn thing working? I grabbed hold of the end of the vibe to see if I could feel anything that end – and jumped about 20 feet in the air! Holy s**t!
All the electro sex websites say the current doesn’t feel like an electric shock, but if you manage to accidentally complete an electric circuit like I did, that’s exactly what you’ll get!
Looking hastily at the instructions (first tip for electro sex beginners, read the instructions!), I saw in rather large, bold type that you’re not supposed to turn the impulse on until it’s inserted. My bad.
Still, there’s no way I was putting that anywhere near my whatnot now. I had a far better idea: I’d try it out on my husband.
THE HUSBAND’S ROAD TEST
My poor, long-suffering husband is no stranger to being a sexual guinea pig – I have two ranges of sex toys and test them all. But even he was a bit wary of something that delivers an electric current to his most precious part (particularly after hearing what happened to me).
It took much persuasion and bribery, but I finally talked him into trying out ElectraStim’s Electro-Sex Stimulator Multi-Pack.
It’s impressive unpacked: four self-adhesive pads, lots of cables, a remote, conductive gel, plastic loops that fit around the base of the penis, and a little plug that you insert vaginally or anally.
My husband took one look, went white, then said: ‘The only thing I’m trying is the pads on my nipples’.
Three minutes later, the poor sod’s sitting at the dining room table with lubed-up nipples, pads attached and wires attached to the remote. Ten minutes later, he was still asking me if I was sure this was safe so I was forced to actually read the instruction booklet out loud to him.
Then it was my turn to go white. NEVER USE ABOVE THE WAIST, in large, bold letters. For obvious reasons – the heart’s up there! Like I said, read the instructions before you unpack these things!
“Ummm, it says it doesn’t work on nipples”, I said, ripping off the pads as fast as I could and secretly thinking, Jesus Christ! I nearly killed my husband with an electro sex toy!
Research suggests I probably wouldn’t have done that, even if I had turned on the controls, but if he’d had a pacemaker it wouldn’t have been pretty!
A now even more suspicious husband eventually allowed the pads on a penis that has never looked more frightened, and proclaimed the feeling “just plain weird”.
But at least he was still alive.
THIRD TIME LUCKY
Days later, I’m still eyeing Daring Danny and feeling like I’m letting the side down by not giving it the old college try. I had ten minutes before my Ocado delivery was due, so I psyched myself up to give it a whirl.
Daring Danny is marketed as a pelvic floor toner as well as a pleasure device. According to Mystim, the electricity current stimulates the muscle fibres in the base of the pelvis, making them contract and strengthen which improves blood circulation and enhances orgasm.
You start on level one of a training program and move through ten levels.
Following that, there’s a bit in the leaflet with an almost apologetic explanation that electro-stimulation can drive you to ‘a state of ecstasy’.
With the I-was-nearly-killed-by-my-vibrator electric shock moment still foremost in my brain and the I-nearly-killed-my-husband-via-his-nipples in the other part, I did what you do with the shaft of a rabbit vibe and very tentatively pressed the impulse button. Nothing. I went up to the next level. Still nothing.
On the third level there was an odd pulsating feeling that felt strange but – who’d have thought? – kind of a nice strange.
It felt like nothing I’d ever felt before, and nothing remotely like the electric shock I gave my hand. (I stress for Mystim’s sake that it was definitely user error on my part that caused that!)
Using an electro sex toy is a bit like the first time you get your G-spot stimulated. At first you’re like, “Stop! That’s just, well, wrong and weird!” but then you relax into it and suddenly you’re saying, “Don’t stop!”
Had the buzzer not gone, heralding