REVIEW: Electro-Stimulation with The Nexus iSTIM

When my friends over at Va-Va-Voom contacted me about testing the Nexus iSTIM I was elated since electro-stimulation is so, well, stimulating. The thought of shocking people brings-out the sadist in me faster than you can say “electron flow”. So Va-Va-Voom sent me the Nexus iSTIM kit, the Nexus Glide plug/prostate massager, the Nexus iSTIM Attachments for use with the Glide (and other plugs and toys) and the Nexus C-Ring cock ring.

For those unfamiliar with the Nexus iSTIM, it is a TENS unit, a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator which stimulates the nerves with electrical impulses. The iSTIM is more to the point an erotic electro-stimulation device, also known as e-stim or electrosex. TENS units are non-invasive, safe nerve stimulation devices.


Not really Scribonius Largus because they didn't have cameras in 63 CE, but we'll pretend for this article, okay?

Using electrical current for pleasure (more to the point the reduction of pain) goes back to 63 CE and my ancient uncle and court physician to the Roman emperor Claudius, Scribonius Largus (not intended to be a factual statement since I couldn’t find anything on Uncle Scribonius discovered that pain relief, and thus pleasure, could be had by standing on an electrical fish at the seashore.

The first recorded uses of electric stimulation devices being used for sexual stimulation and pleasure occur in the 1740’s and by the late 1800’s electric current belts were being advertised as cures for impotence. In the 1920’s the American Medical Association investigated electrical stimulation devices and concluded that they were “more or less mechanical masturbation” (Author’s note: Sounds like a good thing to me). Modern electro-stimulation devices became more mainstream by the 1950’s being advertised to stimulate and relax muscles to relieve back and other areas of pain (isn’t that how vibrators got  their start, also?).

By the 1970’s ingenious kinks were making their own electro-stimulation devices by playing music on a phonograph and applying bare speaker wires to their genitals and other body parts, producing electrical impulses with the music (Author’s note: Rumor had it that The Who was the favorite of 8 out of 10 kinky hippies). More sophisticated kinksters (those that went to vocational schools) were making machines with copper plumbing parts and other metal bits and pieces, while using resistors to control the current being applied to the skin. With portable medical TENS units becoming available by the mid to late 1970’s, using electricity for erotic electrical stimulation became a much easier and more precise form of kink play.

On to the Nexus iSTIM itself.

Nexus iSTIM Base Kit

Nexus iSTIM Base Kit

The case the Nexus iSTIM comes in is fantastic. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sex-oriented device packaged in such an uptown way. The hard plastic case has slide-locks to keep it closed and can withstand the weight of H2 Hummer (also not intended as a factual statement since I didn’t have access to a Hummer to test this theory). The base kit includes the iSTIM unit, a 9-volt battery, sticky electro-pads, leads and a snap connector that attaches the red lead to the Nexus C-Ring cock ring. From there, you can buy any number of attachments, plugs and dildos to use your Nexus iSTIM with. As mentioned, Va-Va-Voom sent me the Nexus Glide butt plug and Nexus C-Ring cock ring.

Intensity Controls on iSTIM

Nexus iSTIM Impluse Intensity Controls

The instructions have a very good overview of all the different functions of the iSTIM, such as how adjusting intensity (“bite” of the impulse), frequency (the length of time between impulses) and width (controls the size of the area that you feel the impulse) of the electrical pulses. The iSTIM has six pre-loaded stimulation programs as well as a full manual mode. Intensity and frequency of the electrical impulses can be fine-tuned with the preset programs also. The instructions are very good in this respect. But, the instructions are lacking respect to the actual use of the unit and it’s accessories. Rummaging around online I discovered that I was not the only one who thought so, either. But, with a basic knowledge of electricity it was not difficult to figure-out.

Nexus iSTIM with Glide Plugg/Prostate Stimulator

Nexus iSTIM Contacts Connected to Electrode Pads and Glide Prostate Stimulator

Always remember, all electrical connections need power and a ground. So two electrode pads or an electrode pad and the accessory will always be needed. For instance, if you are using the Glide butt plug you will need to attach the power lead (red) to the butt plug and the ground lead (black) to an electrode pad stuck to your butt cheek or thigh. When using the Nexus C-Ring cock ring the red lead goes to the cock ring and the black lead to an electrode pad attached to your thigh or pubic area.

My partner, Liquid Jade, and I started testing the iSTIM on her (of course because she’s a masochist and I’m a bit of a sadist). We first applied four pad as shown in the instructions on each of her inner thighs and began by letting the machine do it’s thing with the pre-installed programs and then messing around with the intensity and frequency of the electricity. Depending on the intensity the width, Liquid Jade compared the sensation ranging anywhere from a warm vibration to a feeling akin to being lightly tattooed in more sensitive areas (and she is heavily tattooed over much of her body). Although producing some pretty intense stimulation it wasn’t doing much for her arousal, so we moved the electrodes up to her pubic area, placing them on both sides and just above her clit. That did the trick and we were now on our way toward orgasm.

Nexus iSTIM Adjustments

Nexus iSTIM Adjustments for Mode, Time, Impulse Width and Impulse Rate

We messed around with the settings until we found the frequency, intensity (about 6 on the dial) and width settings that was moving her closer to orgasm, but after quite a while it just didn’t happen (author’s note: Liquid Jade is not a woman who cums on card tricks and it takes a while to bring her to orgasm in any situation). So out came the Hitachi Magic Wand.

The Hitachi directly on her clit working with the electrical impluses from the Nexus iSTIM produced a mind-blowing orgasm within minutes. The sensations of the rythmic pulsing of the iSTIM combined with the direct clitoral stimulation gave her an orgasm unlike one she’d experienced up to this point. Was it better than other orgasms? Not necessarily. As she put it: It was different and awesome in it’s own way. It was not at all like orgasms from other toys or methods. An orgasm she wants to experience over an over again. The Nexus iSTIM definitely added intensity as well as a new dimension to my Liquid Jade’s orgasms. The trick is finding which combination of intensity, rate and width really do it for you. I’m sure there is one or more that will work for Liquid Jade, but it will take more time to find it, and getting there is half the fun, right?

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our review where we try the Nexus C-Ring cock ring and the Nexus Glide butt plug/prostate stimulator.