Configuring High-End Electrical
by Officer Wes
I repeatedly tortured Rob Rasmussen with electricity in 1974. The dials and gauges allowed me to control the electricity exactly how I wanted. Rob hurt. I wore an impeccably sinister NAZI uniform while I did this to alarm Rob more.
I knew the basic principle: Electricity travels from A -> B. I set up electrical pathways through his balls, his cock.
I didn't yet know the basic safety rule: Never create an A -> B route that travels across the heart, as it can kill someone by interfering with the heart's own electrical system.
Rob was the ceaseless bully in my grade at age 11. He was one of several thugs throughout my childhood who figured out I was gay long before I could outwardly proclaim my desires. He harassed me constantly. I had a fort in our basement at home with a chalkboard, and on it I drew the dials and gauges. My imagination provided the rest: Rob was restrained and could do nothing about the payback torture. It was therapeutic. Powerful. Literally. Electricity=Power. I got never-ending satisfaction from electrical Topping just as puberty began and my hormones flared. And flared. And flared.
The retribution Rob Rasmussen endured in my imagination was unequivocally sadistic. But it would be nearly 30 years until I claimed the adjective sadist as true in addition to the other descriptors that I felt fit me. What made this self-acceptance difficult for me -- other than the generic societal taboo -- was that somehow I equated sadism with Random House' second definition, "any enjoyment in being cruel." I wasn't cruel as a Leatherman / Top / Master, so that didn't fit. But when I saw the psychiatric definition of "sexual gratification gained through causing pain or degradation to others" that certainly fit. I've found electricity is an SM tool that helps me enjoy different facets -- Leatherperson, bottom, Top, Daddy, Master, and sadist -- that make up my whole person; with Jungian overlap and interaction between these personae / facades and my animus / soul.
There was a flip side. Rob, and the others who followed, were the powerful guys who said not only painful things like "Faggot", but similar things I found intensely arousing. Things like "I bet you want to suck my dick." It was true. These were the only guys I knew who dangled my innermost desires in front of me. It was a dare. I fantasized about servicing them. Fear of the consequences held me back. But I saw it happen right before my eyes: A friend's hot, older, larger, stronger brother ordered him "Suck my dick!", then wrestled him to the carpet in their apartment. He was intensely verbal as he pinned my friend face up on the floor and forced his dick into the unwilling mouth below. "OPEN THAT MOUTH! YOU ARE GOING TO SUCK MY DICK! There's no use resisting. We both know it. Open that mouth!" The verbal and physical onslaught continued after successful entry, "That's it. Suck it. Suck my dick." I was spellbound. This was how guys had sex with each other.
I began writing about what it would be like to actually submit to this powerful man. "My fingers trembled as I dialed his phone number" was as far as I wrote, sensing that it was not safe to continue. Indeed, my mother ran across the paper and asked "What's this?" "A story for school" I lied. She accepted my answer, though I believe she felt something was afoot. It would be years before I again began committing my power exchange thoughts to paper. But I continued fantasizing about serving as the object of that hot, Dominant older brother.
I have a permanent enjoyment of electricity, and arousal from power imbalance situations.
Uniforms proclaim authority imbalance. By example, society gives police absolute power imbalance while working; from issuing a verbal warning, to capturing and restraining someone, all the way through the authority to take a human life. Seeing a stud cop riding a powerful motorcycle wearing tight riding breeches and glistening knee-high boots? Woof! It makes everything in me rev. Ultimately, I became that person in Leather life and took the moniker "Officer Wes". Has it attracted boys and girls and slaves and made my dick -- and their dicks and pussies -- drip? You bet. It also attracted Daddy Barry, the man I now serve as his Manboy. I am thankful. He does not yet embrace the extent of his power. I am encouraging him to claim it, just as slave dave gently encouraged me. The original attraction? He was a hot motorcycle riding Leatherman who was a Top, and I hadn't bottomed in a decade. But then in the course of the subsequent couple of years I learned that he was also smart, honest, reliable, and willing to communicate -- most of the building blocks of a relationship. The only thing that prevented me from surrendering to him was he wasn't also available. When that changed, I asked if he would be my Daddy. This was also something I'd fantasized about since I was eleven.
Another powerful theme arrived when I was eleven: A male cousin and I were having a sleep-over. We had been humping the bed covers side by side simply because it felt good. We paused and got toilet paper from the bathroom. We rolled the toilet paper around and around our intensely hard pubescent cocks and balls. Then we went back to the bed humping. The pressure from the papier mache-like mold at my nutsack hurt. That felt good, too. Then, during the humping with my molded cock and balls, in an instant something went seriously wrong. I was terrified. I ran to the bathroom. My cousin ran after me. We shut the door. I stood over the toilet looking at my cock which appeared to be twitching in pain. "What happened?" asked my cousin. "I broke my dick" I answered. We both stood anxiously at the toilet staring at my dick. The twitching subsided. I certainly didn't want to tell my parents. We went back to bed, relieved.
The memory of the terrifying, thrilling feeling seduced me. On another day, alone, I tried to see if I could re-create what had happened. I wrapped my cock and balls in an intense mold. I humped and humped. My nuts hurt. It happened again. But this time I knew something different: I'd just had an orgasm.
So, for quite some time, I thought that in order to have an orgasm my balls had to hurt a certain way.
I have a permanent link between pain and arousal.
I was 16 when the September 1979 Penthouse 10th Anniversary Issue mentioned "Leather Night" in a long article with lots of hot and sweaty pictures about a New York City dance club named Xenon. There, on page 163, was the first male/male photograph (right, credit Nigel Ballard) I'd ever seen: A hot man in a black executioner's hood, leather jeans, armband and boots was brandishing a whip while being carried on the shoulders of some unseen man. Other guys are in the fore and back. Only guys. I knew a place existed where men met. People like me. I jacked off to that image many, many times.
Combine these formative experiences and I have a natural passion for electricity, uniforms, power imbalance -- Master/slave and Daddy/boy relationships in particular -- and Leather. I get emotional satisfaction from inflicting pain and physical satisfaction from feeling pain. Spiritual satisfaction comes in part through any combination of these, in addition to other pathways.
A rugged SM Top took me home in 1988 and brought almost all this together. He sat down next to me and this deep baritone voice said "I don't like to waste words. I want to take you home, tie you up and work you over." What I heard come out of my mouth was "Sounds fun. Maybe another time." I couldn't fucking believe it. My inside voice said "FOOL!!!!! YOU'VE BEEN FANTASIZING ABOUT THIS FOR 10 YEARS AND YOU'VE JUST TURNED IT DOWN?!!!! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING?!!!!" But the man intuitively understood that my initial blow off was simply a fear response. He remained sitting next to me. That gave me the opportunity to ask questions that started popping up, such as "Would you stop if I asked you to?" He gave me an intriguing answer: "Yes, but I won't start again." Oooooooh. We talked for about 10 minutes, and then I said "Yes." My heart was in my throat. What was I getting into?
He went and got the keys to the nearby
Brotherhood of Pain dungeon from a club brother who was working the leather
shop in the bar. What the fuck am I getting myself into?!! What
indeed. The memory of a lifetime: In the course of the next four
hours Dan Kalin worked me over thoroughly.
I had stamina at 24 and Dan was having a great time with this first-timer he'd picked up. He became my Top for three years. (Dan is in my photo at left, holding one of the flags in the Ripcord leather bar's 50-state-flags 1990 Houston Gay Pride contingent.)
He had me restrained to a Christian cross most of the time, my arms largely immobile out to the sides. Somewhere around hour three he pulled out this diabolical contraption which lept electricity from it to whatever was nearby when he put it close to my skin. Including the head of my cock. And asshole.
Sinister. Thrilling. Painful. Glorious.
I was hooked.
I went to a local beauty supply store and ordered one of these "violet wands" under its formal name, "Master High Frequency Unit". When asked for my beautician's license -- they can be used to stimulate the scalp, among other things -- I stated that the order was for "personal use". That seemed to appease the clerk. In the many years since, this lower-powered unit remains my favorite. It has a range with much broader erotic uses, while the robust unit I bought from an SM retailer has distinctly sadistic/masochistic applications.
Also in the '80s, I saw ads
Leather magazine Drummer for
different electrical contraptions. These had a box that powered different
accessories such as a cockring, a buttplug,
or a urethral insert called "The Sparkler". (There's a great
overview of Drummer at the Leather
Archives and Museum site at www.leatherarchives.org/exhibits/deblase/drummer/drum.htm ) I was intrigued but each item described
was, by itself, expensive to me at the time. I didn't know if these
really worked or were a scam. But in 1992 my partner and I were in San Francisco
for Leather Pride Week. This was a week full of Leather events that led
up to the Mr. Drummer contest on Saturday night, followed by the Folsom Street
Fair the next day. At the time Alan Selby, the original "Mr. S"
of "Mr. S Leathers", online now at www.mr-s-leather.com, had just
sold his Leather business to current owner Richard Hunter and his then-partners.
And setting up shop just a block away across a grocery
store parking lot was a large new competitor: RoB of Amsterdam, also online now at www.rob.eu Owner Martijn Bakker had recently purchased Drummer from Tony DeBlase (left and
right, respectively, in photo to right, below, from The Leather Journal issue 39 circa 1992; photo likely taken by
publisher Dave Rhodes) and was in town to open the store and for the
contest. (In addition to his seminal -- what a great word -- Leather work with Drummer, the late Tony DeBlase will be
remembered for creating the Leather Pride Flag in 1989, among other
things.) I went to check out the RoB shop
before it officially opened, and Martijn Bakker helped me. There, on a pedestal near the
center of a room, behind a beautiful Plexiglass
display case, was the electrical gear I'd seen advertised in Drummer. I turned and asked
"Is this stuff really worth
it?" Without hesitation came an emphatic "Oh, YES! It's like
fucking yourself. Heaven." I had some
money that year and responded with "I'll take one of each" -- the
power box, three mono-pole acrylic cockrings of
small/medium/large diameter, three dual-pole acrylic cockrings,
three dual-pole Lexan buttplugs
and The Sparkler.
Thus began my journey into higher-end electrical.
This early setup was easy to configure and quick to get something going. By example, since electricity travels along an A -> B path, the dual-pole cockrings complete a path all by themselves. Here's how I work:
· (Optional: Put gloves on. This makes wiping lube off the Top's hands easier, later, before touching electronics.)
· Put the cockring on before the person is hard.
· Lubricate the contact area with something that helps conduct the electricity across the A -> B path. (Otherwise the electricity has an unpleasant biting sensation. For the conductive medium, ultrasound gel -- available online at SM retailers and also at medical supply stores -- is great. KY with a touch of salt mixed in will also work in a pinch but it seems to also have a small bite, perhaps because of the size of the salt granules.)
· Connect the red-tipped wire on one pole.
· Connect the black-tipped wire on the second pole.
· Wipe conductive gel off hands (or remove gloves).
· Connect the "power" end of the wire -- opposite the red and black tips -- into the power box.
· Turn on the box and have fun.
Configuring dual-pole buttplugs is also a snap since, again, the two poles provide a complete A -> B path. But they additionally have a fun visual. At a certain point, the presence of electricity across a muscle can force it to contract. (This principle is used in physical therapy to help reduce or prevent muscle atrophy in people who are temporarily paralyzed. This happened to me at age 15.) Since the "asshole" has sphincter / circular muscles, there comes a time when bringing up the power box juice "powers" the asshole muscles to contract involuntarily. The buttplugs have a narrowing section that helps keep them in place. When the contraction happens, the buttplug is pulled tight against the ass. The flat base prevents it from going in. The first time this involuntary contraction happens to every person I've ever worked with, they're invariably dumbfounded that their body is betraying them with this violation. I control their body. Psychically profound. Yummy.
I have learned to keep a fresh 9-volt battery in my gear bag in case one of these TENS-type power boxes goes weak. It's a great feeling to be able to continue something interesting, and even perhaps ramp it up a bit, with a replacement battery.
Many of the power box devices Leatherfolk might use look similar to a medical TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit. In some areas, such as the genitals, they can even be played with similarly. But they are fundamentally different in that they are FDA approved devices which can be used in areas where SM power boxes shouldn't. (For more information, check out the TENS page at www.officerwes.com/electrical/tens.htm ) Having said that, I can also attest that at least some SM power boxes generate a finer erotic sensation than a medical TENS. This baffled me for many years -- they were both literally black boxes -- until a Leatherman who was an electrical engineer apprenticed under me. He wanted to see what types of pulses these boxes were putting out. He brought over an oscilloscope, which displayed the electrical pulses/waves on-screen. It was telling. The medical TENS generated a simple on/off pulse. Sure, the intensity dial could make that on/off stronger or weaker, but it was still either ON or OFF. Which is exactly how they'd always felt to me -- a bit like riding on a consistently bumpy road. The SM power boxes were generating smoother waves. That is also how they'd always felt to me. Smoooother. But I don't sneer at medical TENS: They are now rather inexpensive, an important consideration for many of us, and my first I'm-not-doing-it orgasm was when a medical TENS unit was connected at the base and under the head of my cock. The A -> B configuration up my cockshaft made me cum. It was my first TENS experience, I was extremely excited, I was 25ish at the time -- and have never been able to re-create it. : (
I believe it's that jaggedness of TENS -- or the full-throttle intensity of the violet wands from SM shops -- that leads many to say "Someone tried electrical on me and I didn't care for it." I have always had great feedback using the smoother power box and the beauty-supply-shop violet wand.
If I were starting out today, knowing what I know now, I would begin with the following basic kit, using gear from Paradise Electro Stimulations, "PES":
· a PES Power Box
· a PES dual-pole buttplug
· two flexible one-pole cockrings if working with a guy, or a dual-pole vaginal plate if working with a gal
Why PES for the first
two? For power, a PES Power Box feels good and it's simpler /
more-intuitive than the main U.S. competition, Erostek.
For buttplugs, PES uses low-profile attachments that
make it possible to sit without
breaking off the leads.
Sometimes gear from different vendors can work interchangeably, sometimes there is an intermediate step required to make it work, and sometimes the gear is simply incompatible at present. This is caused in part by competitors sometimes using the same connections but not always. For example, Folsom Electric Company, which appears to have gone out of business in 2008, used banana plugs. PES uses the cool low-profile leads. An adapter can get around this specific incongruency. I have not, however, seen an adapter that makes the European-made Rimba box work with attachments from U.S. manufacturers ErosTek, PES, or Folsom. In short, if you buy a Rimba unit because it is competitively priced, know ahead of time that you can only use Rimba attachments with it, at least at present.
So what about that one-pole/mono-pole gear? Since it is only one part of an A -> B path, this gear requires an additional attachment to complete the path. Why bother? Because some interesting things can be done by creating custom paths using two different mono-pole attachments. Look at a sideways diagram of gal or guy genitalia. What could be done? Sending some current, however slight or intense, across the clitoris or prostate comes to mind. Indeed. Here's how I create this path:
· (Optional: Put gloves on.)
· Using the conductive gel as lubrication, slide a mono or dual-pole attachment inside the ass or pussy. (More below.)
· Using the conductive gel as lubrication, place a mono or dual-pole attachment around the base of a guy's cock or a gal's labia. (Again, more below.)
· Connect the red-tipped wire on one attachment.
· Connect the black-tipped wire on the second attachment.
· Wipe conductive gel off hands (or remove gloves).
· Connect the "power" end of the wire -- opposite the red and black tips -- into the power box.
· Turn on the box and have fun.
The inside attachment can be
a one-pole attachment specifically designed for this, such as a metal
"egg" with a lead that extends out. I have one with a flexible
lead that is gentle enough to bend, yet firm enough to be able to push and turn the egg so it can be placed just right. But much the same pathway can be created using a
dual-pole buttplug. How? Just because it has two poles on it doesn't mean they
have to be used together. So I
can insert the plug into the butt or pussy, and attach just one lead. The
path is completed by the other attachment near the cock or labia. And,
just like using just one pole on a dual-pole buttplug,
we could similarly use just one pole on a dual-pole attachment up front.
The variety of power boxes on the market changes slowly but consistently. The assortment of mono-pole and dual-pole attachments increases much more often. I keep a pretty current listing online at www.officerwes.com/electrical
Once the two Prime Directives are engrained in our work -- that one, electricity travels from A -> B; and two, never ever send electricity across the heart -- individual configuration options are as varied as our imaginations.
Remote control? It's available.
Audio? For years I thought "It would be cool to have gear that changed intensity based on sounds." I was thrilled when the ErosTek 312 came out in 2001 and had a microphone jack, an inexpensive external microphone, and also an audio jack for connecting audio gear. ErosTek has continued including audio input at some level in the gear that has come out since. By example, the small remote-control unit has a built-in microphone. Their intermediate sized unit has a built-in microphone and also an audio jack.
Power boxes with "routines" designed for specific functions such as orgasm, waves, and torment? ErosTek has 'em. A personal observation about these units that adjust settings by themselves as a given program runs: I find it frustrating when Topping with my advanced ErosTek box because the displays are not yet intuitive about what's going on in a program. So I don't know, for example, that the bottom is just about to experience something intense. So my first feedback is via the mouth of the person I'm working on going "OH OH OH OH OH!!!" I much prefer to know that I'm turning up the intensity this specific amount and therefore the bottom is going to go "OH OH OH OH OH ----- oooooooooooooh."
Programmabilty? ErosLink software by ErosTek can program all but their smallest power boxes to provide an I-can-program-the-experience-down-to-the-last-detail option.
Visuals? Even this. This is the most expensive, gear intensive electrical that I personally do, but it's way cool. (Paradise Electro Stimulations' "Auto Erotic Chair," previously listed at $4,000 but now shown as "call for price" is the most expensive erotic electrical gear I've ever seen.) The configuration is simple: I have music drive a power box with whatever attachments and a light/sound machine which has LED goggles and a headset. But implementing the configuration is not easy. See the High End Electrical presentation writeup at www.officerwes.com/electrical for an entire step-by-step process. The main contraindication: Epileptics, who might have an episode triggered by flashing lights.
Electricity also introduced my first slave to me. I was at a 15 Association dungeon party in San Francisco in September 1997. I'd done some work in the downstairs dungeon earlier but now it was hot and crowded there. For this next session, I moved upstairs to the kitchen because it had elbow room and an electrical outlet. I plugged a "Lightning Hands" attachment into the violet wand. This configuration works by connecting the Top to the violet wand via a long keychain-like chain which terminates in a metallic plate that the Top can place anywhere s/he'd like. Typically I'd put mine inside the waistband of my jeans, which left my hands free and also took the connection with me as I moved around. My keychain's length is about 10 feet, so I've got some pretty generous mobility. Configuring the electrical route from violet wand -> "Lightning Hands" type attachment -> keychain -> metal pad allows the electricity to travel from the violet wand and discharge across the surface of the Top's skin to the bottom. No bulb is used in the violet wand at all. This direct Top-to-bottom discharge can be extremely intimate; skin to skin, so soft at times it will simply raise hairs on the bottom like the whisper of a breeze. Very sensuous. With lots of juice, it can also be viciously intense and intimate; a raucous combination. Since I do move around with this configuration, however, it's important for me to not let the keychain behind me drag over any other electrical setups such as cords to/from TENS-type units, as that makes them at least temporarily loopy. I've seen one of my own units go from a steady rhythmic blinking LED light to a spastic throbbing LED as the chain went over its connection. That can't be good. I've also learned that it's helpful for me to bring a fairly long extension cord of either 15' or 25' in my gear bag as it is common in public dungeon spaces for the outlets to be a distance from where I want to work. I'll route mine along a wall so that nobody trips over it in the dim light. I keep a pair of small needle nose pliers in my gear bag as well, as sometimes after intense use the violet wand will have warmed and expanded and not want to release the Lightning Hands base.
I'd been working with the person in the kitchen area for some time. At some point I noticed that a crowd had gathered. I chose to directly include them. I encouraged them to put a hand on me and use the extended electrical connection that created to then touch someone else. Nipples were a favorite target. Everyone was having a good time. I also encouraged them to take turns, as extending the human contact chain does indeed work to extend the electrical discharge, but it also quickly dilutes its intensity to a level that's useless for WIITWD.
Later, after I'd wrapped up the kitchen scene, I went to a deck out back to cool down a bit before putting on my jacket and heading out. A curious young man named Dave came up to me and stated "I've never seen that gear before. Would you mind telling me about it?" I told him I was exhausted, but that I'd be happy to at another time. I gave him my card. "Write me." He wrote me after I returned to Texas. We began a pen-pal friendship. Many months later I started drafting a personals ad describing what I was looking for in a "boy". I asked my partner, who himself had started out as my leatherboy seven years prior, to take a look and give me feedback. He gave it one read and flatly declared, without judgment, "You don't want a boy. You want a slave." In an instant, as those words hit my brain, I also knew them to be true. In time, Dave became slave dave.
A crucial early growing opportunity for us was when I offered to let Dave serve me in Chicago for five days at International Mr. Leather in May 1998. That's us in the photo to the right. It was during that delightful trip years ago that I unknowingly configured an electrical connection wrongly and caused long-term nerve damage in my feet, forearms and hands. Electrical configuration mistakes are often fairly obvious: "The violet wand isn't working because this plug has a switch controlling it and I haven't turned it on yet." But that wasn't the case this time. It was covert. What happened was I'd hooded dave in our room and taken him into the LARGE lobby where leathermen were socializing. I'd brought a violet wand and the Lightning Hands. I set us up at a couch on the periphery since I had chosen to bring an electrical device that required an outlet for power. There was one on a lobby pole behind us. I connected things up and sat down, putting dave at my boots on the floor. I started taking things in, and describing them to hooded dave, passing sensation to him via my hands as I stroked him. Later, I slid off the couch and held him closer as I talked into the hood. We had an amazing time. The next day my feet were cold and remained so for a year and a half. It was incredibly disturbing, as the rest of my body could not feel warm when my feet were cold. What happened? I was pretty clear it had something to do with me, the violet wand, and the Lightning Hands, but beyond that I was clueless. I went through three rounds of physical therapy. One day, my physical therapist introduced me to another young guy who had had a similar experience: He used the Lightning Hands fine for quite some time, then BOOM, cold hands and feet. In time, his coldness went away. He decided to try the Lightning Hands again. BOOM. Both of us were on medications that predisposed us to nerve problems, so perhaps that was a factor. Or in my case someone suggested it was because I had dave on the floor, and also I sat on the floor, these I created a direct route to ground for the electricity. Whatever the case, I do not want anyone else to go through the hell I went through. It's one of those do-it-at-your-own-risk things. At the least I'd more strongly suggest not doing it for those who are predisposed to neuropathy, such as diabetics; and be careful to avoid creating a direct route to ground -- while the device is on wear boots (!) and don't sit on the floor.
Speaking of health issues, heart health is particularly important with electrical play. Neither Top nor bottom should have a pacemaker, as stray electrical current has the potential to disrupt it. Also, basic first aid information is helpful for any dungeon accidents that might occur. Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) skills are especially important for electrical play. I've learned both First Aid & CPR in a day, three times. Cost is nominal at the American Red Cross.
Bringing this full-circle: Electricity has been incredible throughout my Leather journey. And, properly configured, a great joy. As a kid I just knew electricity's potential as a torture device. Now I know it can provide torment, and can also provide amazing pleasures.
Sometimes both simultaneously.
Additional electrical information is available online at www.officerwes.com/electrical
© 2008 by Officer Wes