I stare at Mr. Binky’s, at 107 Chartres, from the outside. I’m confused–is it a sex shop or a Halloween store? Both of them have their appeal, although, in all honesty, I’d ordinarily much rather look at decorations than dildos. I might be in the minority here. The answer to my query is slightly surprising, because it is, in fact, both. It’s not just Mr. Binky’s. It’s actually, Nikki’s Halloween Store & Mr. Binky’s Boutique.
Sex shops are fun, but awkward, for me. Fun because I like looking at the whips and handcuffs, and awkward because of what I always ending up staring at, and I don’t yet know the term for-these seeming railroad spikes you insert into your urethra. Those things, they make me nervous, right down to deep in my pee hole. Just looking at them brings back memories of the worst STD test I ever had, which involved the same area and a Q-tip. Even now, I’m not entirely sure it was a real test or just a good way of causing me agonizing pain, perhaps an encouragement to abstain from sex. Forever.
So, besides trauma, and my innate shyness, sex shops are loads of fun. You know, minus those two details. The staff is delightfully friendly, especially Nicole the Nose, as she calls herself. There are two Nicoles, and she’s the nose.
I didn’t know what wands were. Let’s get that out of the way first–I only know so much about what I’m talking about, ever. Like, I have no clue most of the time. That doesn’t stop me, but it certainly makes everything both far more exciting and confusing.
To say I was nervous touching the violet wand would be an understatement. In the end, I’m kind of a wuss, but a wuss who has been electrocuted in the past. Hell, just be jolted by a Walmart shopping cart (I thought I was the only one this happened to, but apparently, it’s a thing) was enough of an unpleasant experience. These thoughts raced through my mind, as Nikki, employee of Mr. Binky’s and all-around sex toy knowledge encyclopedia, pressed the glass attachment towards me.
I had two big questions—How? Why?
In a big silver box, on the store counter, lay the Neon Wand with its various accessories inside, including a small lightbulb, a silver beaded flogging crop, a glass comb, and a glass attachment that looks like a stethoscope, but for nipples. The wand itself is just a big black cylindrical device, similar in shape to a hair curling iron. Or the world’s scariest super-charged vibrator.
“So, this is the glass probe part and it’s not as strong or abrasive (as the metal pad.)” Nikki introduces me to the “Neon Wand,” which, to be honest, I’m afraid of. With an electrical whirring sound, it comes on, seemingly ready to destroy my happy places.
She puts it to my hand. What had been a loud buzzing becomes a zapping sound. Rather than feeling as though I’m being tased, I say, “That’s not bad. That’s kind of relaxing.”
“That’s on medium.” Nikki says, “But as I go up on the voltage of it, “It becomes more intense. Whereas the pad-”
The pad is exciting and horrifying all in one.
“Way stronger.” The pad can be relaxing, or it can be ‘intense’. The kit even comes with a metal beaded flogger. You can step on the pad, and with the flogger, gently (or not I suppose) brush them with the flogger, and each little bead will give a small electric jolt.
“It’s fun,” she says. “It’s something that you can try. I would tell you, first, read up on it a lot more.” Adding, “And if you’re interested in doing it, do it little by little. And don’t set the electric metal pad to full blast. Or at least I wouldn’t. I would tell you to start off like with one of the thinner (items), the comb, or the bulb, or the probe…something that’s lighter; not to go straight to the pad, and be like, ‘Oh, no, that’s too much. I can’t deal with it.’ Something lighter.”
In case it’s not obvious, erotic electrostimulation is using an electric device, either manufactured or homemade (which I cannot emphasize enough I do not recommend) to create an electrical charge, often used on the genitals to create pleasure.
But while the wand is just one device, there are so many others, and in fact, Mr. Binky’s has a whole section of various electrical devices. Ranging from TENs (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) units to something called the butterfly slim, which goes directly on the clitoris. Shock cuffs, because there just has to be handcuffs involved in this, and these items, mostly use small batteries, unlike the Neon Wand she showed me, so if I was nervous-which I was-I’d feel far safer than with the wands, which have to actually be plugged in.
And then there was my favorite nightmare, the Pleasure Probe, “This is used anally.” Nikki explains to me, “So you can also have pleasure anally from a shock. But it’s not as invasive or as strong as the pad itself would be. It’s soft. It’s gentle. But you can turn up the intensity if you need more.”
But first, let’s back up (ahem) to a brief history lesson because I know history is why you all read these articles:
What I believed to be a recent phenomenon actually can be traced all the way back to the 1740s, and by the 1800s, they had electric devices that were sack shaped as a cure for impotence. But it’s when we hit the 19th century that various devices are more obviously used for masturbation, including speaker wire, and playing with sounds to cause stimulation.
“See, these items, like many other electrical devices, have had various purposes throughout history. Gesturing to the comb, Nikki says, “Back in the 90s people used the comb for treating hair loss.”
Yet there is still something of a taboo surrounding wands. They have yet to go mainstream. It’s not like a vibrator where “Skinemax” is showing them off and Seth McFarland, Seth Rogin (one of those Seth guys) or someone like that is incorporating them into their shows, and every “bad girl” has one in her drawer, hidden between her socks and panties.
For at least two of the people I spoke to, Sam and Pamela, acquiring one was something more of a romantic impulse.
Meet Sam, a beautiful redhead, who runs, a Facebook page for submissives. She’s frankly one of my favorite people to talk to and a damn good writer. As she tells it, a guy got her into it: “It was suggested to me by someone I had a HUGE desire for.” So, I was working in security and I saw him walk in. Dark hair, shocking blue eyes that seemed to look through me… Right to my desire.” The relationship grew. “Flirting. Sending pictures. I confided in him that I had desires that not everyone understands. As it turned out, so did he. I told him that I was a submissive and that soft and gentle just didn’t work for me. It didn’t ever get me to climax.”
He told Sam about a glove that provided electric stimulation that came from the fingertips. She was intrigued. “Sadly, I wasn’t able to use the E-Stim with him. We never even had sex. Not even vanilla sex. “He moved away to follow another career. Happy for him, sucked for me.
“I never did find that glove he talked about, but after meeting Seth and building the base/foundation that we built and I was comfortable enough, I talked to him about E-Stim. He was very new to the BDSM lifestyle.”
Seth found the violet wand. “The wand needs a constant power source. It isn’t like my other toys that run on battery. The wand needs to be plugged in. That is one of the reasons I suggest this toy be used in sensation play because a long orange extension cord doesn’t really say “sexy time,” she laughs.
“The first time he used it, he had given me a bath (normal before play routine because I like to shave and… Let’s just say I like to be made clean before being made dirty) and after the bath, he made sure I was completely dried off and laid me on the bed with a blindfold.
“When the toy is turned on, it emits a slight buzzing sound, like a running freezer in an otherwise silent room. He started at the soles of my feet. It felt like a jolt just a bit stronger than an electric shock. It didn’t hurt. It was more just unexpected and that made it feel good.
“It was the lowest setting. He slowly traced up the curve of my left calf. My left side is more sensitive than the right. I was feeling a little chilly, or maybe I thought I was, so I was getting goosebumps. The back of the knee is a sensitive spot for me so when he hit that spot, the arousal made me arch my back.
“The closer to my body he was with the wand, the softer the shock. The further he would pull away, the deeper the shock (and as I found out later, the more of an electric arch the wand would create.) He followed my leg up to my inner thigh, purposely avoiding my princess parts. I could feel the heat and the reverberating shock though.
“He increased the level of the shock before dragging the wand across my freshly shaved belly still avoiding anything too sensitive. He traced down to my right inner thigh and moved in circles before moving to my right hip and then up the right side of my torso. This is where I add in my cautionary warnings: most people will say not to use E-Stim above the waist but it seems that on a lower setting and a lot of communication, it can be safe.
“He glided the wand along the outer curve of my right breast (with the same enticing heat and reverberating shock).
“He followed around under my right breast, up the middle of my chest, then down the outer curve of my left breast. The goosebumps fluttered over my entire body as he let the electricity dance over my skin. He had me turn over and lay on my belly. I was both nervous and intrigued because my back, especially along my spine, is the most sensitive part of my erogenous zones.
“He pulled my hair to the side, leaving my back completely exposed… vulnerable…it felt like he danced a zigzag pattern down my spine starting at the base of my neck and ending at the small of my back. It was nearly impossible to lay still and I couldn’t help but wiggle, squirm and moan.
“I swore I could still feel all of the lines he ‘drew’ into my skin with the wand. By the time he turned me back over, I was as wet as a fully ripened peach in Georgia.”
In the case of Pamela, a writer as well, she explains, “Okay, so, long story short – I read a series of books by an author named Red Phoenix. Her stories mostly revolve around a character named Brie, who ends up attending an academy for women who want to become submissives. Like, not professionally – but personally. The books have become somewhat known as a sort of ‘primer’ for couples looking to learn about BDSM and living it as a lifestyle, rather than just having kinky sex. Anyway, there are a few scenes with what she calls the violet wand, and my interest was piqued. I shared them with my husband, and he mentioned they had one at work. I went to the store, had it demonstrated on my inner arm/elbow, and enjoyed it, so we bought it and brought it home.”
“My husband and I aren’t masochists or sadists, so we stick to the glass attachments. Basically, it’s a great way to sensitize the skin, build anticipation, and heighten arousal.
“It can help relax muscles, sensitize nerve endings making your partner more sensitive to light touches, and also deliver a bit of a bite now and then similar to a love nip or fingernails down the back.”
“It’s not like being tased!” Pamela tells me once again. But I didn’t believe her for a second. I figured that there was a good chance touching any of these items would kill me. Why would I risk my manly parts still remained my biggest question.
When I explained my fears, she replied, “Well, sometimes something being somewhat scary is the point, isn’t it? Why do people jump out of airplanes or ride roller coasters, or watch horror movies? There’s something inside us that likes being scared. Don’t count it out just based on that. If you’re intrigued by the idea, call up your local sex shop and ask if they’ll let you try one – most have a tester available that they’ll let you try there in the store. And don’t be afraid to give various attachments a try, either – the sensations are different with each one. The metal ones aren’t my thing, but plenty of people out there really enjoy them.”
Nikki “Nose” concurs. “What people misconstrue with it, is that it’s just being harsh or violent. Or pertains to violence some kind of way. No, it doesn’t.” I will say that the pad is incredibly intense at its full setting, going from feeling like a relaxing buzz to a genuine shocking experience.
The most important advice, which she continually reiterates, is that “It’s safe, but don’t use it around water.”
So yes, do not use this with water, and do not use this with the self-made lubrication many of you will experience using this device. Lastly, when you’re not using it, “Make sure everything is turned off, unplugged, no batteries in it, when cleaning the product.”
“Electrostimulation, in general, can cause tissue damage or even death if misused.” Wikipedia will warn you.
But it might be worth it, because there’s something about erotic-electrostimulation that I just find fascinating. I know for some people it’s about stimulation, but for me, it’s the danger. Danger always entices me.
Michael David Raso has worked as a writer, editor, and journalist for several different publications since graduating from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. If you like this piece, you can read more of his work here.