Violet wand

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A Violet Wand (or Violet Ray) is a device used for the application of low current, high frequency, high voltage electricity to the body using an arrangement similar to a Tesla coil. The purpose was originally for purposes of electrotherapy, though there were few or no identified therapeutic benefits. Violet Ray devices of this era (broadly, prior to WWII) are popular among collectors of "quack" medical devices. More recently, since the 1990s, the devices have become popular in the BDSM community for use in sexual stimulation (electrical play), where they are more commonly known as Violet Wands. The colour in the common used name is due to the colour of visible light generally produced when using glass electrodes.

In use, a violet wand typically produces a fine shower of electrical discharges (i.e., sparks, more or less) from the tip of a glowing glass "wand". The wand can be set to a range of intensities from very mild tickling to excruciating pain, and interchangeable glass or metal electrodes can be used to distribute the charge to the body in a variety of different ways.

Violet Wands cause sensations such as tickling or pain when the (small) electrical current impinges on the nerves, and by the (temporary) very high temperatures present in the electrical discharge to the skin. These temperatures, UV light emissions (generally low, but not always negligible), and the damage (and reaction to the damage to the skin) can produce skin reddening, similar to nettle rash, or to mild sunburn (the sparks emit UV light and should not be stared at), or even result in temporary or permanent branding if sufficient intensity is prolonged.

Risk Awareness

Circuit Breaking -- safety

Safe use of Violet Wands (VWs) will benefit from the use of a residual-current device (RCD) circuit breaker (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) in North America), especially if there is any danger of the cable from the wall socket to the wand generator being damaged, or of the generator or cable getting wet (NB: sweat, drool, soft drinks and urine all conduct electricity well). If this happens, the RCD will most likely prevent the generator or exposed cables from remaining live. However, it is essential that the bottom is further isolated from the generator and mains by means of electrical insulator between the bottom and the electrode in use. (High frequency violet wand signals are readily transmitted through thinnish insulators by capacitive coupling, but mains frequency current is not; this will help block any mains electricity attempting to pass from a fault within the generator through anyone, especially the bottom). For glass electrodes, the air gap present between the central electrode and the glass bulb or rod provides an insulator, but when using metal electrodes (for example, when passing the VW signal through the top to the bottom) the electrode plugged into the VW generator must include a plastic or ceramic insulating section.


All violet wand equipment, especially older ones, may overheat if used for extended periods of time, especially on high settings, because their capacitors will get warmer from whatever equivalent series resistance is present. Some older units were built using wax as a dielectric, and wax will melt at sufficiently high temperatures, causing perhaps dangerous conditions immediately or later. This is less of a problem for many modern violet wands; some can be used for as much as an hour at a time. When acquiring a wand, it is well to seek advice from knowledgeable practitioners about durability and deterioration issues.

Arcs and Sparks

The electrical discharge, being high frequency and so generally perfering to travel near the surface of materials, will preferentially follow routes involving metal conductors, and will arc to metal objects which may result in the top or the bottom receiving unexpected VW shocks from odd directions. Like all spark producers, a violet wand will ignite flammable liquids and gases. Never use one in the presence of flammable gases or liquids.

The sharper the electrode, the more intense the discharge and usually more intense the sensation; this should be borne in mind when planning a scene. (For example, if the bottom is restrained with metal cuffs, sharp corners on the cuffs may suddenly produce a much more intense discharge if the VW arcs to the metal.)



Doctors advise against electro play if you are on Cocaine or using any form of solvent (which includes poppers / amyl nitrate / hexane (ie, many glues)). Cocaine alone increases the risk of arrhythmias in the heart (North Americans will probably remember the basketball player Lenny Bias), and solvents generally render the heart muscle much more sensitive to the effects of physiologically released adrenaline, again putting receipients at risk of sudden stress induced arrhythmias.


Just as the static electricity from a rubbed balloon will not kill you, a Violet Wand stroked down a back (above the chest) is unlikely to cause a problem. Note the use of "unlikely" here. Little is certain when mixing biology and electricity; you must weigh the risks and benefits, just as when smoking or driving a car.

A violet wand should never be used on someone who has a pacemaker, insulin pump, or other electrically operated medical implant. And VW should not be used near other electronic devices, as the high voltage can damage electronic components.

Due to the very low current, most experts in the use of the Violet Wand agree that it can be used above the waist on a normal, healthy person - for example on the back, breasts and nipples. Some medical practitioners and some Safe, sane and consensual (SSC) proponents advice against use of any electrical toys on the torso or head, including the arms (especially against both arms at once).

All agree that Violet Wands should not be used on or near the eyes, nor on mucous membranes.

Like all electrical devices, the Violet Wand should be kept away from all conductive fluids (e.g., water or drinks, ...); thus VWs should not be used in connection with watersports.

The sparks from a violet wand can ignite flammable liquids and gases, including those from some fragrance burners, hand cleaners, alcohol, etc. VWs are entirely incompatible with fireplay using such liquids as alcohol.

Glass Fractures

Many violet wand attachments are similar in appearance to butt plugs and dildos; it can be tempting to use them as such. But there are several reasons not to do so. The glass used in the electrodes tends to be very fragile, and great care must be taken with it. Internal use is not great care. And when used internally, the discharge will be to mucous membranes which should be avoided. Many medical doctors and surgeons advise never using them internally due to the fragility of the thin glass used and the severity of injury possible.


If sufficient intensity is used, a blurred but permanent branding can occur, representing an electrical burn in miniature.

See Also

Other References

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