Electro stimulation can cause tissue damage or even death if misused. The most common problems arising from electro stimulation tend to be burns from lack of lubrication or bad contact between the electrode and the skin's surface. Even at relatively low current and voltage, there is the risk for electrocution resulting in heart failure, and is higher for those who use an artificial pacemaker or similar device or who have heart conditions. Because of this, it is not advised to place the electrical contacts above waist level. Among people who engage in electro stimulation, newcomers are encouraged to research the hazards, limitations, and techniques of this practice and the devices used.
The concept of shock as a form of sex play evolved from the concept as electrocution as a form of entertainment, pioneered by the invention of the electric chair by a scientist at Thomas Edison's laboratory, who, after demonstrating the chair to the US government, would lead roadshows involving electrocuting animals to demonstrate the potentially deadly disadvantages of Nikola Tesla's alternating current. This idea was later adopted by the government which led to the introduction of the electric chair as a method of execution.
Electro stimulation first became recognised during the 1950s with the introduction of a device called the Relaxacisor, which was originally designed to stimulate the muscles of a person using electrical currents while relaxing (as a means of "passive exercise"). Such power sources are still in medical use today and are known as EMS (Electronic Muscle Stimulation) units.
Some people soon found alternative uses for the Relaxacisors by placing the contacts on sexual parts of the body. By the 1970s, medical TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) units were also being used for electro stimulation, too. However, neither the EMS or medical TENS units were ideal for erotic purposes, and in the 1980s the first devices manufactured specifically for erotic electro stimulation became available, two in particular, one called the Titillator and the other originally known as the Pleasure Box but later known as the PES Power Box.
Types of Power Sources
Medical Power Sources
Medical TENS units are designed to desensitize nerves (for pain management), and though they can be used for sexual electro stimulation purposes, most people don't find the sensation they produce especially erotic. Medical EMS (Electronic Muscle Stimulation) units are designed to cause muscle contraction and are also far from optimal for erotic use.
Body Toning & Massage Units
An increasing number of "body toner" or "electro massage"-type power sources are being marketed directly to consumers. Like medical units, these types of power sources were not designed as sexually-oriented equipment. They vary widely in quality and capabilities and most have the incorrect power and frequency output for erotic electro stimulation.
Homemade Power Sources
Some people may try to craft a "homemade" electro stimulation power sources, or adapt or modify commercial products (example: HiFi / DVD system) that were never intended for electro stimulation of the human body. These are dangerous practices; such improvised devices not specifically designed for use on the human body can easily cause injury.
On January 23rd, 2008, a woman in Lower Windsor Township (near York, PA) is alleged to have died from using a homemade electro stimulation power source. Her husband is being charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.
Erotic Electro Stimulation Power Sources
Erotic electro stimulation power sources are specifically designed and manufactured for erotic use on the human body. The first analog devices became popular during the mid-1980s, and during the late 1990s digital devices also became available. Both types usually allow for adjustments of frequency and power output levels. The set ups usually consist of a 'box' and electrodes connected by wiring. Many of the boxes are portable and can be powered by batteries.
There are also repackaged TENS units and EMS units marketed as erotic electro stimulation power sources.
There are other medical methods which gave place to patent filings, like Stuart Meloy which discovered that the installation of an electrode in the spinal cord caused feelings of pleasures among women. There are also various apparatuses: stimulative external or internal.
- Method for artificially inducing sexual excitation
- Method and pacemaker for stimulating penile erection
Other apparatuses use interferential currents with four surface electrodes to replace the internal electrodes.
An Electrode is the item used to deliver the actual electro stimulation to the body.
For Erotic Electro Stimulation, these are typically items designed to be applied to the genitals such as vaginal plugs and shields, anal plugs, cock rings, and other items for penile application. The pads for the TENS units are also used in the sexual application of electro stimulation. There are also electrified nipple and breast electrodes available but there is some controversy about the safety of the latter within the e-stim community.
The electrodes can be made of metals such as gold, silver, aluminum, and stainless steel. There are also electrodes made out of conductive silicone. Electrodes can also be created by modifying medical machinery, telephone magnetos and other devices which are electrical sources.
Lubrication plays an important role in the success of erotic electro stimulation since without it, there is a greater risk of high frequency epidermal burning. It is generally recommended to use a water-based lubricant, although olive oil is a popular lubricant because it doesn't dry out like water-based lubricants can. Typically it is recommended to avoid any lubricant that contains silicone since it is an insulator and hence reduces conductivity. Practitioners of electro stimulation select lubricants for compatibility with the material of the electrodes, as well as desirable conductive properties, which can maximize the strength and quality of the signal.
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