Amping up your sex

Q: My boyfriend and I have Prince Alberts, enjoy sounding, and sometimes use Prince’s Wands. Recently, my boyfriend suggested that we try electro-stimulation, attaching electrodes to the ends of our sounds and butt plugs. But could we accidentally electrocute ourselves? Could the pleasure be so intense that it would spoil us for other things? —Enjoys Sex Toys in Me

A: Before I get to your questions, ESTIM, I need to define some terms for the numerous readers out there who don’t have the faintest idea what the fuck you’re talking about.

Prince Albert: A ring that enters the piss slit in a man’s penis and exits through a hole pierced in his urethra.

Sounding: Shoving a smooth lubed steel rod (aka a sound) into the piss slit in a man’s penis and right on up his urethra.

Prince’s Wand: An L-shaped sounding rod that’s designed to be locked into the penis. Once the long part of the wand is shoved into a man’s urethra, a separate bolt is screwed into the rod through the hole in the urethra created by a Prince Albert piercing. A padlock can then be slipped into the bolt and the top of the wand, locking the Prince’s Wand in place, and making it impossible for the man to have sex, come, or urinate. (Everyone who would rather be reading about obesity right now please raise your hands. I thought so.)

Electro-stimulation: The derivation of sexual pleasure through the administration of electric shocks to the genitals and anus. Not for the faint of heart. (Or Iraqi prisoners either, Mr. President.) Also known as “e-stim.”

I’m not an expert on e-stim, ESTIM, so I checked out the message boards at, “the fastest growing electro-stim community anywhere.” The best e-stim equipment available, according to numerous posts, are Eros Tek products, which are manufactured and distributed by a company called SexTek ( I sent an e-mail to SexTek asking for someone to get in touch with me, and David, the freakin’ genius behind Eros Tek’s products, called me right back.

David is a lifelong e-stim enthusiast. As a child, he enjoyed touching 9-volt batteries to his tongue. As a young adult, he began wiring himself up to inappropriate things. “There were quack medical devices from the ’50s that delivered interesting sensations,” David said. “There was a product that was supposed to promote hair growth by shocking scalps. Even today there are devices using e-stim for muscle stimulation as an alternative to exercise.” These devices don’t really do what their manufacturers claim — grow hair, tone abs — but work just fine on genitals. But they quickly become boring, David said, “because they don’t offer enough variety.”

David realized that digital microprocessors could allow for e-stim tailored for erotic use with such features as stimming to music, remote controls and a wide variety of sensations. Several years later, SexTek was selling his products to the world.

“E-stim isn’t like touching an electric fence or getting zapped by your toaster,” David explained. “It’s a totally different sensation. Some people compare the sensation to a pleasant internal vibrator. While others use it for SM play, creating intense sensations without doing physical harm.” (“Intense sensations” is BDSM politesse for “pain.”) But how’s it work exactly? “Erotic e-stim uses carefully controlled electrical currents to directly stimulate the nerves. The nerves are fooled into thinking the body is being physically stimulated, and, depending on the settings, those sensations can range from tingly pleasure to perceived pain.” Any orders coming into SexTek lately from the Pentagon? “No orders from the Pentagon,” David assured me. “We would hope these products are only used for consensual SM play.”

OK, ESTIM, on to your issues: Could you accidentally electrocute yourselves? Could the pleasure be so intense that it would spoil you guys for other things?

“It’s generally considered safe to use stainless-steel sounds, Prince’s Wands, and butt plugs for e-stim,” David said, “as long as you hook them up to something like a TENS unit or device made for erotic use and follow all the instructions. It’s NOT a good idea to use body piercings for e-stim, as the current is concentrated into too small an area.” Wire up your Prince Albert ring, ESTIM, and you could get a nasty burn on the head of your dick. You’re also not likely to electrocute yourselves if you use proper equipment. “Devices made for e-stim put out very controlled levels of electricity,” David said.

Finally, regarding e-stim spoiling regular sex, David offered, “For most people, oral sex doesn’t spoil intercourse. Like oral sex, e-stim is just another form of stimulation.”


Q: I’m interested in trying e-stim. I’m a little wary, however, as I don’t know if there would be any sexual dysfunctions caused by its use. If I get it on with a girl, I want to know whether my pecker would lose focus because it’s not wired. This stuff is expensive — beginner kits are like $400! — and I don’t want to spend the money if I’m going to regret it. —Zapped and Puzzled

A: “When e-stim is used in moderation,” David said, “we haven’t heard of anyone having troubles with more conventional sex. Like pornography or vibrators, it’s possible to get addicted to e-stim but it’s not common.” As for the expense, it’s true that high-end stuff like Eros Tek units start around $300. “But you can buy a TENS unit for around 100 bucks, which were originally designed for medical use. They’re a cheap way to try out simple e-stim.” But unlike Eros Tek products, TENS units don’t come with settings like “Stroke,” “Waves” and “Orgasm,” which sound like they might be worth the $300.


Q: I’m a nice girl from Nashville who moved to New York City and met a sweet-as-pie guy. He’s a keeper. But there’s a but: He’s just a big, old masochist. I don’t have the upper body strength to whip him as hard as he likes and the sweat I work up makes me feel less than ladylike. Other ways he’s suggested hurting him are too extreme. (Cutting? Needles? Blood? No thanks!) I guess I’m looking for pointers on how I can be a lazy, ladylike sadistic Southern belle without breaking a sweat or getting blood all over my sheets. —Southern and Dating Intriguingly Sweet Masochist

P.S. I wanted to tell that boy worried about pre-come that you were absolutely right. The more turned on a man is, the more he leaks. My boyfriend goes like a busted faucet hose when I indulge his masochistic tendencies.

A: “E-stim is perfect for you,” David said. “First, you don’t need any upper body strength to torture your boyfriend with e-stim. It also doesn’t leave marks or draw blood.” And if you want to be lazy about torturing your boyfriend, SADISM, the built-in microphone in an Eros Tek unit is definitely for you. “Depending on the settings, a very soft sound can cause considerable discomfort,” David said. Your boyfriend could be tied to a chair in the kitchen, his dick wired up, while you do the dishes or practice playing the spoons or blast the sound track of Avenue Q — basically anything you do that makes any noise at all will cause him to suffer. “In the right hands, at higher settings, e-stim is a masochist’s dream come true,” David said. “You might need a good gag, however, to keep him from scaring the neighbors.”

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About The Author

Dan Savage

Dan Savage is a sex-advice columnist, podcaster, and author, and has appeared on numerous television shows. His sex advice column “Savage Love” first appeared in The Stranger, Seattle’s alternative weekly, in 1991. The column is now syndicated across the United States and Canada. He has published six books...
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