25 May 2014

ElectraStim Flick Duo EM80-E


This month the lovely Hella from ElectraStim (whose name I find myself wanting to yell out in the manner of Stanley Kowalski from Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire") got in touch with me and asked if I'd care to review one of their products, and of course I jumped at the chance, never being one to turn down the opportunity for a new experience.

Electro-stimulation devices have been something that I've been aware of for a while, but up until now I've never tried one because they've always seemed to be something of a niche product in a market dominated by all things vibrating. Without wanting to give away too much too soon, now that I've tried one I have to say that that's a notion which really needs to change.

ElectraStim kits come in a variety of different configurations and with different accessories, all depending on your preferences and budget. The bundle I was sent contained all the bits and pieces shown in the image above, including the Flick Duo base unit, four conductive adhesive pads, and two conductive rubber cock loops which are usually sold separately. I'll start with an overview of the unit itself, then go into detail about how it performs with the pads and loops

The Flick Duo is a compact, portable, rechargeable ElectraStim unit, and all of those qualities came as a complete surprise to me. For some reason when I had envisioned the equipment for this type of play, the picture I had in my mind was of a big bulky unit which plugged into the mains, the likes of which you'd use at school for building circuits, rather than something which comes packed up in a sleek black presentation box, with its own cloth pouch, and is charged by USB. The unit itself has a small lightweight profile, and incorporates a sleek, retro, and almost industrial design which feels refreshingly authentic. Rather than being overly modernist and adopting some nondescript white shell, the EM80 is black and grey with shiny metallic accents, features red and orange glowing LCD displays, alongside orange and green LEDs, and it has real buttons which make a satisfying click when you push them. In all it wouldn't look out of place as part of a control panel on the original 1960s starship Enterprise, and I like that. Even the cables for the accessories have red and black plugs and wires, giving it that real feeling of electrical equipment.

The Flick Duo is a dual-channel device, which in layman's terms means that you can connect two different accessories to it simultaneously and control them independently via the buttons on either side of the panel. There are some accessories, however, which require the use of both channels at once, but they won't be the subject of this review. Each channel has 25 different intensity settings which can be adjusted incrementally using the up and down arrows, and which is indicated by a number in a small display located above the buttons. These range from a mild tingling down at setting 1, to quite a powerful jolt at 25, meaning you can use the unit for pleasure, but also pain in a BDSM scenario if desired. In addition to the 25 intensity settings there are 8 different patterns to choose from during use, with 1 being a constant flow of electricity, and 2-8 being a selection of pulses occurring at differing speeds and intervals. These are cycled through using a button in the centre of the panel, and as well as a small display indicating which pattern number is currently selected, 2 orange LEDs flash in time with the pulses to give a visual indication of what's happening.

The unit requires charging prior to use and a full charge should last for 3 hours. I found that the initial charge was quite fast, taking less than 2 hours in total, and handily there is an LED on the display which goes out as soon as the charge is complete.

The other feature of the Flick Duo which is included in the name is the "flick" function. If you hold down the pattern select button on the device you can put it into flick mode, which makes the whole unit motion sensitive. Once you've set the power level for the channel(s) you're using, a flick of the wrist whilst holding the unit will cause a brief spike in intensity. The harder you shake it the stronger the jolt will be, and a little glowing indicator in middle flashes depending on how much force you use. This is a bit of a fun feature, but not one I really use much myself. I imagine it would be more interesting in conjunction with a partner, and taking it in turns to give each other little jolts.

Adhesive Pads
The adhesive pads which come with the EM80 kit will look immediately familiar to anyone who's ever had an ECG in hospital, or owned a TENS machine. You get four in total and they're used in pairs, one pair for each channel of the base unit, though in my experience one pair at a time is probably enough when you're using the device by yourself. The pads all come with a clear plastic backing which is used to protect the sticky surface from dust when they're not in use, as they're completely reusable provided you take a reasonable amount of care with them. Once you peel off the plastic backing you'll realise that the surface is incredibly sticky, and this helps them to adhere very firmly to wherever on the body you attach them. For me the obvious place to attach the pads is along the perineum, though it's worth mentioning that it's preferable to have shaved the area first, else you're in for some uncomfortable hair pulling when you try to remove the sticky pads afterwards. Alternatively you could try attaching them to either side of the head of the penis, or wherever you find sufficient room to place them along the shaft. Once you have the pads in place you need to connect them to one of the supplied wires. The red end goes on one pad and the black on the other, then you plug it into the base unit and you're good to go.

When you turn on the unit and set it to the 1st intensity you begin to experience a mild tingling all over the skin beneath the pad, and then as you increase the power it starts to subtly change. The tingling increases, but then it becomes peripheral, secondary to some other sensation emanating from the pad. The interesting thing about the pads is that they have to deliver the strongest sensation that I've felt from the accessories I've tried, such as the loops that I'll discuss below. They're very conductive, and they have a wide surface area, so they really transmit the electric current into the tissue, and the impact can be felt significantly. The first time you try it you're liable to be quite amazed by what you feel, because there's just this sensation that's happening and it's so unique that it's almost indescribable. It's like a feeling of some unknown force being applied within the body. It's strange, and it's different, but it's good, it's really good. Whatever this force is, it's gripping you around the perineum, almost feeling as though pressure is being applied for a perineum massage, yet it's travelling deeper into the pelvic floor muscles. It's partly sexual, but there's also something relaxing and therapeutic about it, as if it puts your body at ease. I feel as though I could happily walk around all day experiencing it, but once you pair it with masturbation that's where you really feel its effects. When you're slowly edging and you feel your body contract the pelvic floor muscles in response, having that sensation of the ElectraStim on top just intensifies it and makes it feel all the better. It's like supercharging your own body in preparation for an explosive orgasm.

ElectraLoops
The ElectraLoops are probably one of my favourite accessories to use with the ElectraStim device. In essence they're just a pair of a adjustable cock rings, the sort of which I've reviewed in the past, with the only difference being that they're made from a highly conductive rubber. I know, I wasn't aware that such a material existed either. Each loop consists of a hollow rubber tube which is curved around and secured together using a plastic toggle, allowing you to adjust the size of the loop by sliding it up and down. The loops come in a pair and this is how they need to be used, though exactly where you place them is a matter of preference. You can situate one around the base of the shaft behind the testicles, one around the testicles alone, one around the base of the shaft in front of the testicles, or one just behind the head of the penis, and mixing and matching with different combinations of these is part of the fun of discovering what works best for you. With the help of my Dolph Lambert stunt cock I've demonstrated a possible configuration in the photo to the right. Before putting on the loops it's recommended that you first loosen them and apply a little conductive gel to the inside of them, then use the plastic toggle to secure them snugly once they're in place. To connect the loops to the ElectraStim unit you need only one of the cables, and to use one of the channels. Each loop has two open ends in the rubber tubing, but you need to use only one of these in each. You plug the red cable into one end of one loop, and the black cable into one end of the other loop. If you make the mistake of plugging both cables into one loop then it simply won't do anything.

When you turn on the device at first you start to get that mild tingling feeling that I described earlier, but as you up the intensity the sensation stays very much in the realm of tingling. The feeling from the loops is quite different to that from the pads, and it's almost comparable to a vibrating sensation being felt in the surface of the skin, and it's quite pleasurable. The sensations can vary somewhat depending on whereabouts on the penis you place the loops. You'll find that you can only really detect the sensations coming from the loop touching the more sensitive parts of skin. For example, if you place one loop at the base of the shaft, and one below the head, then you'll feel a lot of tingling in the delicate mucous membranes of the head and inner foreskin, but little to nothing down at the base. This makes it all the more interesting to play around with the loop positions. If you place two loops near to each other at the base of the shaft then you can feel a tingling sensation moving along the full length of the penis towards the tip. It seems to travel along the urethra, presumably the electricity being conducted by the slight moisture within it, though at other times I've adjusted the loops slightly and the electricity has seemed to take another route, possibly along a vein or nerve, and again completely changing the feeling. Having the loops placed further down the shaft makes it easier to masturbate whilst using the ElectraStim, and that feels quite satisfying as it adds another layer of sensation to the usual feelings involved when approaching climax, but my favourite method has to be with one of the loops placed below the head and with minimal touching. In this configuration you really get that vibrating sensation below the head, though oddly it seems to concentrate around the corona of the glans, rather than down the frenulum. You can get quite a strong and powerful sensation going if you ramp up the intensity, really mimicking vibrations, though there's limit to how far you can go with this, as set the intensity too high and you start to get a prickling sensation in the skin, almost like pins and needles, which can throw you out of the moment. When you have the setting just right then that sensation alone can feel pretty amazing, though if you were hoping to orgasm from just that then unfortunately it does feel like a little something's missing. All the sensation which is building in the head doesn't seem to go anywhere, which is what would ordinarily happen from sexual stimulation, as after all an orgasm involves more of the body than just the tip of the penis, so you're left wanting for something, which is a convenient segue into my next point.


The advantage of having a selection of accessories is that you can mix and match them, and that brings even more fun. A conductive pad on the perineum and an ElectraLoop beneath the head of the penis has to be the ultimate combination as far as I'm concerned, as you get stimulation in all the key orgasmic regions of the genitalia. The pad provides deep stimulation to the muscles which tense and contract during climax, while the loop delivers surface stimulation to all the sensitive nerve endings around the head of the penis. Using them in tandem almost brought me to the point where I thought I might achieve a handsfree orgasm, which is now the goal I've set my sights on. Having a dual-channel unit means that you can attach more accessories and control the intensity of them independently, so you might choose to attach two pads to the perineum on the left channel and set that to a strong intensity, and connect the pair of ElectraLoops to the right channel and set that lower. Having the freedom to calibrate it so much means that you can tailor the perfect individual experience for you, and set the tolerances to align precisely with your orgasmic response, almost guaranteeing a heightened climax.

The other advantage is when it comes to partner play, though I'm afraid I can only speak hypothetically here. During intercourse it's quite possible for the active partner to wear an ElectraLoop around the base of his penis, while the receptive partner has a conductive pad affixed to a buttock etc, allowing the current to flow through both bodies when they touch.


One of the best features of the Flick Duo is something which I mentioned very briefly at the start, and that has to be the selection of different patterns available to be activated during use. The constant sensation of the electricity feels good by itself, but no matter what accessories you're using with the unit, it feels better when there are patterns involved. The available patterns range from quite slow pulses to rather rapid ones, ones which are rhythmic and others more erratic, and ones which follow a complex sequence of speeding up and slowing down. Whether you're stimulating the perineum or the penis, or both at once, the patterns make it all the more interesting. The lulls in between titillate you as you wait for the next surge of sensation, and when it hits at just the right moment your muscles reflexively contract in response. In the perineum region it's especially effective because the throbbing sensation of the pulses is like a deep tissue massage reaching in there and rubbing you firmly to maximum effect. In the penis the pulses are more akin to the up/down strokes of masturbation, providing a familiar rhythm and increasing pleasure. It really is a fantastic sensation, and you can keep cycling through the different patterns should you ever become too accustomed to one.


I have to say, I really am a complete convert to this ElectraStim business. There's just nothing out there like it: it's so unique, so different, and frankly so amazing. All I'm thinking about now is that if it feels so great on all of these places on the outside of the body, then imagine how it's going to feel on the inside. It's practically crying out for me to try it out with insertables, and if you're wondering about that too then head over to my review of the brand new Silicone Noir Sirius prostate massager attachment.

I never thought that this review would be so long, but I think that's testament in itself to how much I like the ElectraStim. Would I recommend it? Most certainly. It's a device which really has to be experienced first hand; until you've felt that flow of power through your groin you won't know what you've been missing.

Thanks to ElectraStim for providing me with the product to review, and if you'd like to buy one then they're available directly from their website, or from these fine retailers:

UK & Europe: SexToys.co.uk and Lovehoney UK.

North America: Lovehoney USA.

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