Here at Kink Weekly we aim to spotlight different forms of BDSM play. Not only will this prevent boredom – which can happen no matter how adventurous you are – but this will also expose you to different forms of play you might have overlooked. This week we will spotlight electrical play using the TENS unit.
One of the most popular of the electrical toys we use, TENS is an acronym that stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. A “TENS unit” is a portable, battery-operated device that sends electrical impulses to selected parts of the body. It was originally developed for medical purposes and is used in chiropractic to this day. The electrical pulses it generates block the body’s pain signals and can be used for pain relief. However, the pervs in the BDSM world seized upon this relatively inexpensive device as a passport to BDSM pleasure.
(Lately Shaquille O’Neal has been touting a home Icy Hot version of the TENS unit. Since it has no adjustable pads, it has limited use for BDSM play. Besides, it looks super lame – imagine bringing it to a dungeon! – and costs almost as much as the real thing which is available online at medical wholesale houses like allegromedical.com.)
With this device, there is a relatively shallow learning curve. The basic TENS unit, which can cost anywhere from about thirty-five to ninety dollars, is easy to use. It usually comes with conducting adhesive pads (but not the battery!), which are attached to the skin in two proximate places to form an arc. Although it is hard to electrocute someone with the relatively mild currents produced in a typical TENS unit (this is not a stun gun by any means), there are a few aspects of its use you should master and you are good to go.
A TENS unit has a number of rotary controls which manage its functions. You should familiarize yourself with all of them. The most important one is the intensity knob. You should attach the two pads to your own arm to get an idea of the range of your particular unit. This is the best way to learn its use. Make sure you have a good idea of the way the unit responds to the dial before you use it on someone else. The other controls, which usually regulate the pulse width and frequency, are more of the “trial and error” type. As you use the unit on your submissive, you will vary these two aspects and see how he/she responds.
Now for the usual cautionary words. One must completely avoid the heart and chest areas. As inviting and it is to put one pad on one nipple and one on the other one, don’t. The electric current can have a dangerous effect on the heart. It goes without saying that you should not use it on your head. And, don’t forget the safe word. Now, onto its use.
Most players attach the pads to the left and the right of the genitalia. Used with care, it produces incredible sensations. Start at “1” on the current dial and gradually increase it until you get the desired results – which is usually a mixture of pain and pleasure in the submissive. It also has the effect of making the area super-sensitive. This is great when you get to the pleasure side of your play. It is best to start out slowly and treat the TENS unit with respect. Don’t just go crazy with the dial and try to immediately hit “11.” Combining it with light spanking/flogging (so you don’t detach the pads) can bring a mix of pleasure and pain that is quite intense. Just use your imagination and creativity!
Once you become proficient with the basic TENS unit, you can graduate to the more advanced (and significantly pricier) Violet Wand — which (tease) we will cover in a subsequent article!
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary bondage.com, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.