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Thursday, 10 November 2011

Love Shock, Baby ~ Kinklab Neon Wand

Out of all the things I love, pain and shiny things come fairly top of the heap. Electric play has always intrigued me, and violet wands in particular have been on my lusting-after list for quite a while. However, the olde stylee refurbished wands run into the hundreds, and to be honest, are so tricksy with the wiring that it's a bit of a gamble unless you know really well the person doing the restoration and their rep (and the good ones rarely have 'budget' lines!). Plus there's the additional costs of sourcing extra attachments, blah blah blah... It's a big outlay, and my wallet is a little on the undernourished side.  Enter the Kinklab Neon Wand.

I'd used some Kinklab products before, and they do seem to have a position of 'accessible kink', making things that are unlikely to satisfy the more extreme members of the BDSM scene, but are cheaper than most, very beginner-friendly, and the kind of thing that's not so 'newbie'-aimed as to be discarded if you're more than an idle dabbler.

One of the most important parts of the kit is actually the box. Honestly, it sounds silly, but when you think about how delicate the glass attachments are, you really do want to know that they're not just rattling around getting chipped and damaged. More so than most sex toys, as a chip here could be genuinely dangerous. Remember, gentle or not, this is still electricity we're talking about, and it's not really the kind of thing you want to take chances with! The case is satisfactory, shaped sponge with space for all the parts, and a magnet-lock on the lid. But it's not great, there's a good amount of wiggle room in the slots for the attachments, and the section for the wand itself doesn't really fit it and the plug all that easily. It's safe for storage, and it's so well packed that I wouldn't have any concerns about it post-delivery - but still be sure to give them a thorough check over, and make use of Lovehoney's awesome refund/exchange policy if there's any causes for concern! - but I do feel like if I was carting it around I'd need to pack it myself, if only for my own peace of mind.

Kinklab Neon Wand @ LoveHoney.co.uk
The wand handset itself is what they refer to as a 'solid state device'. Roughly translated, that means that it's securely packed, so there's no wires rattling around getting damaged or sending surges here and there. It's got a bit of weight to it, bit it fits comfortably in my hand and gives a sense of security that it's not going to break or explode or anything. There's very little to it: the cable comes out one end, the attachments slip neatly into the other, and there's the power dial at the cable end. I didn't like how the power dial has no settings as such, just a sliding scale - Off to Max - as it'd be nice to gauge exactly where someone's preferred level was and go back to that without faffing, but that's a minor issue. It did reassure me the way it 'clicks' on or off, so you can be sure that it's off and not just very very very low before plugging it in or changing attachments or what have you.

The attachments look incredibly flimsy, to the point that I was scared to touch them for fear they'd shatter! But, while they are glass and thus not to be kicked about the place, they're sturdy enough to withstand the pressure needed to slip them in or out of the handset. One thing that's mentioned in the booklet is the option of getting additional attachments, and while they refer to a Kinklab branded body contact attachment, I haven't been able to source one anywhere, not even on their own site. That may be in the works. If you are looking to get more attachments, they do tend to be standard sized, but do your homework first: there's a tiny difference between US and EU standard sizing, so small you will not be able to tell by looking (Kinklab do both versions, but LH are selling the EU one, so that's what you need to look for). There have also been reports of people selling inferior quality attachments on the internet. You should be perfectly safe sticking to the attachments in the kit - there's a decent variety - but if you are looking to move on, don't go blindly.

When using the wand, I tried first playing with it from a visual perspective, just to get comfy with it. Turning the power up and down was interesting, as both the hum and the glow kept pace. I have to say, neither was very impressive below the halfway mark, even in the dark in silence. But when on full throttle, it looked and sounded a little scary. The threat of it makes a partner/victim much more receptive to the shock, so playing about with it before zapping them should not be underestimated! It does make a nice little crackle when arching - again, only really noticeable on the upper half of the power dial - so there's no fear of it losing its intimidation factor too much before use. I know the first few times I went to zap myself, just the aural cue made me leap away as if bitten, even though I wasn't feeling any actual pain. 

It does mention that it "does not quite reach the sometimes painful levels that traditional electric ray wands can" in the brochure, and to be honest just from the price and the brand reputation I wasn't expecting it to be as intense as some of those I'd seen used with extreme pain in mind. I was still a little disappointed at just how gentle it was, but then both myself and my OH enjoy pain, so perhaps my standards are just a little off. At the lowest setting, it took several seconds of steady 'zapping' to get a tingling sensation, and at the highest, it was about as powerful as the standard static shock I'd often get from the car door or stairway railings. It also needed to be quite close to the skin to arch, which is a bit of an issue, as it removes the option of increasing intensity by increasing the distance of the 'jump' as with traditional wands, as well as making it incredibly easy to lose momentum as a slight squirm could make contact between the electrode and the skin, stopping it from arching.

The real beauty of the wand comes from what you do when you turn it off. Despite the lack of excessive pain from the zapping itself, the whole process does wake up all the nerves, and make the skin that has been affected extra sensitive. Using it before moving on to a session of spanking, or further sensory play, will make it all the more intense. At one point, having been rather enthusiastic using it on myself (I'm a firm believer of sauce for the goose being sauce for the gander, I like to know what I'm doing to someone else!), I gave my very tingly thigh a slap. It felt the same as if someone gave me a crack when I have pins and needles after lying on my leg wrong! So there is definite scope for pain, just it comes from combining the wand with 'mild discomfort' play. Stopping using the wand before the area becomes 'spiky' still means that sensations are intensified, so if pain's not your thing, using it before a massage or more sensory play could add a whole new dimension things. Personally, I'll be using it more as a build-up, almost a prep-tool, as between the psychological aspect of building fear, and the physiological intensifying whatever lies beyond, it's great for getting the most out of whatever I'd be doing normally. But in and of itself, it's rather underwhelming.

All in all, it's worth the price tag. Most of the time, you'd pay about the same for the attachments alone, and assuming you move on, then the fact that it can take the traditional attachments and use them with modern (safe) wiring, or the attachments from this kit used with a refurbished wand (assuming the correct voltage/sizing of course!), means it is more than a decent investment regardless of whether you'd want to move on or not.

Easy to use, with full instructions and plenty of suggestions
Safe, even with the need for a conversion plug in the UK
No need for additional bits, good to go as soon as you get it
Great for lighting up nerves before play
A bit weaker than I'd have liked

This toy was provided to me free by Lovehoney in exchange for a fair review.  I have received no payment and my opinions have not been influenced in any way.

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