Recently, I was talking to a friend and fellow teacher about writing gigs, forthcoming work and the like. I told her about my new short story collection due out next year—she told me about her latest book tour and new novel she’s writing. Shop talk.

We are, as I say, friends, so I decided to be honest about another writing job.

“And,” I said. “I’ve been asked to do a column for S&M dot com.”

“Santa Monica dot com?” she said.

I explained, nope, not Santa Monica dot com. Something else. “They asked me to do a column on electrical play.”

“What’s that?” she said.

“Using electrical devices to enhance sexual pleasure,” I said, then briefly explained Electro Stimulation Devices, Violet Wands and a couple others. I didn’t want to go too deep into detail, but she seemed interested, not disgusted or scared (a pervert has to be sensitive to these potential reactions, after all), so I explained how Violet Wands made these cool sparks on your skin and how other devices manipulated your muscle contractions so that you had no control…standard stuff.

“Does it hurt?” she said.

“Sometimes,” I said. “Not always. It depends on what you want. What you’re trying to do. What you and your partner are into.”

She shook her head. “Wow. Sometimes I feel pretty out of it.”

Not wanting to come off as some know-it-all I’m-way-edgier-than-you hipster or to make her feel out of the alternative loop I added, “Well, vibrators are electrical play too. You use vibrators, don’t you?”

“Well, sure.”

“That’s electrical play,” I said.

“Cool…I’ve experimented with electrical play,” she said proudly. She smiled, and then eyed me suspiciously. “Why the hell did they ask you to do this column?”

I told her in some minor, albeit perverted circles, I was known as an electrical play enthusiast and, further, as the guy who fixed, restored and modified vintage quack medical devices for sexual/stimulation play.

“No shit?” she said.


“Who knew?” she said.

Who, indeed? Well, let’s see. My girlfriend obviously knew. Most of my friends know, including, now, my teaching colleague. And as of this moment, the readers of will know. In some ways, this column is a public coming out of sorts. But, what’s it all about anyway?

First things first: I’m not an expert, but, rather, someone with a passion an interest and some experience with electro stimulation and the various toys and implements associatedwith it.

It always surprises me how many people are uncomfortable with the notion of SM, yet I’ve rarely met an adult who hasn’t gotten off on some form of power exchange during sex? Blindfolds? A silk scarf here and there? Rough talk, rough play? Usually, when the mystique, myths and stereotypes are broken down, and the realities are explored, people are a lot more comfortable with their own sexual desires and more apt to act on those healthy drives. It’s my hope that this column helps to build an informative, supportive community for these same passions and interests.

The world of electrical play is tremendously varied, so it follows that this column will be equally diverse. Some of what gets covered here might be redundant to experienced players; some might be new and revelatory—the point is to make everyone comfortable, and explore this exciting form of play together. I envision this as a gathering place for people who dig exciting, smart, interesting, safe electric sex. So, welcome to my new column, Spark™. — Let’s start something.

Peace & fun,


rob robergeRob Roberge is the author of the neo-noir novels More Than They Could Chew (Perennial Dark Alley/Harper Collins, February 2005) and Drive (re-issue, Hollyridge Press, 2006). His stories have been featured in ZYZZYVA, Chelsea, Other Voices, Alaska Quarterly Review, and the Ten Writers Worth Knowing Issue of The Literary Review. His work has also been anthologized in Another City (City Lights, 2001) and It’s All Good (Manic D Press, 2004). Rob also teaches writing at a number of programs in the Los Angeles area, including the Antioch University Los Angeles, MFA in Creative Writing and the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, where he received the Outstanding Instructor Award in Creative Writing in 2003. In his spare time, he plays guitar and sings with the Los Angeles area garage/punk bands The Violet Rays, The Danbury Shakes and Chairs of Perception, and restores and rebuilds vintage amplifiers and quack medical devices.For more info, visit

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