Spark™ – Safety First

Violet WandSafety is not the most scintillating topic in the world of electrical play. But, it is essential, as calling paramedics and having to explain why your lover has electric leads on his or her genitals (safe, by the way, so probably a bad example) is not one of the desired side effects.

First, let’s define our toys. Violet Wands/Violet Rays, TENS Units, EMS units are the most popular electrical play devices. But people also have plenty of totally safe fun with unusual items such as cattle prods, electric fly swatters, acupuncture electric pens, stun guns, and dog shock collars not originally intended for human sexual play.

For starters, let’s stick with two of the most common E-Stim toys you’ll see being used: Violet Wands and Electro Muscle Stimulation devices (in the most general definition, TENS units fall into this c, as do your typical high-end machines from Erostek, Folsom and PES, which are actually designed for sexual play,). For this column, we’ll focus on the Violet Wand, and next time around, we’ll talk about the slightly more complex (safety-wise) muscle devices.

So, you want to play with a Violet Wand. What do you need to know? For starters, what is it? The Violet Wand is a hand held (the new ones are one-piece; the vintage units a handle and separate power box) device used for the application of low current, high voltage (min 10kV to max 50kV typically), high frequency electricity to the body using a Tesla coil directly applied to the skin (usually via a glass attachment with a glowing excited purplish blue gas), it gives a warm, gentle sensation. Turned up, and lifted from the skin, so that the electricity arcs from glass to skin (creating a lovely little lightening bolt), it can cause anything from a mild tingle to a painful shock.

I’ve done a bunch of demos and this is the toy that usually gets the most questions and comments—probably because it’s the coolest toy there is, in many ways. It plays on all the senses except for taste (though you can use it on a tongue…cool) with its great buzzing noise, its beautiful violet or red/orange glow in the glass attachment (the colors depend on the gas being excite inside the tube), the awesome ozone smell and, of course, touch.

Let me save you some grief by outlining what you don’t need to know: how or why it works, how many volts or amps it uses and so on. For the technically curious, there are resources available on the web and at the library. (While I do restore vintage devices, I’m not an electrical engineer and it’s beyond the scope of this column to cover the exact mechanics of these devices. This is a column for people who want to use these toys—so the key thing to learn is how to expand your enjoyment, without harming yourself or your partner.)

The Violet Wand is ideal for beginners, because it is one of the safest electrical sex toys on the market , and one of the few you can use with confidence when playing above the waist or around the heart (unlike EMS units). As safe as it is, there are a few off-limit areas. The Violet Wand is not designed for penetration. Nor should one apply the Violet Wand around the eyes.

While there are some new Pyrex-type glass attachments available, the average glass attachment that comes with both vintage and contemporary Violet Wand devices are NOT strong enough to be inserted into the human body. Even though some of the vintage medical units such as the Violet Ray, which is roughly identical to the modern unit had vaginal and anal attachments, it is extremely unwise to put anything but the toughest glass inside your body.

But, the Violet Wand is very safe and very versatile in its applications. You may zap your partner(s) (or be zapped) around the mouth, the head, above the waist, and on the genitals. And depending on the setting and/or attachment being used, the Violet Wand offers an incredible range of sensations available for play.

It IS, however unsafe with pacemakers and the like. Therefore, it is essential that you communicate with your partners before proceeding, and ask if they have any heart condition and if they have a pacemaker or similar device.

Lastly, while it’s a wonderfully safe device, it’s important to know that a Violet Wand can destroy other electrical devices. For instance, a Violet Wand can wreck an Erostek or Folsom unit or the like when they are both in use near each other (and that’s a lot of coin and a very fun toy down the drain). So, be aware. If you want to use the Violet Wand along with an E-Stim toy at the same time, choose an older device like a Relax-A-Cizor (more on this fabulous vintage muscle stimulation unit in a future column).

Next month—the ways and means muscle stimulation devices. Until then—play hard, play safe and have 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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