It’s a Primal Desire for Men. Is It Worth the Risks?

The grassroots, no-holds-barred CareCure Community Relationship and Sexuality Forum is a thriving online resource for those with spinal cord injury. Rich with personal experience and trial-and-error anecdotes, the most active thread in the forum, with 347 replies and 22,730 views as I write this, is titled “Electro Nut Busting.” The conversation centers around “electro sex” — using electronic stimulators (relatively inexpensive, easy to find devices) — to evoke ejaculation in men with SCI.

Why such a strong interest in ejaculation? I call it the ejaculation affirmation, a term I coined while working on my research on pleasure and orgasm in people with spinal cord injuries. In that context, men in heterosexual relationships were telling me that their partners didn’t believe them when they said they were satisfied — because there was not the usual evidence. Their lovers needed to see the white with their own eyes. For most people who have sex with men, ejaculation provides the affirmation that they pleased their partner.

Glossary

TENS – Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is the use of low-voltage electrical current for pain relief. Using a small, battery-powered machine, users connect electrodes  from the machine to their skin at areas of pain or pressure points.

NMES – Neuromuscular electrical stimulation uses a device that sends electrical impulses to nerves. This input causes muscles to contract. The electrical stimulation can increase strength and range of motion, and offset the effects of disuse. It is often used to “re-train” or “re-educate” a muscle to function and to build strength after a surgery or period of disuse.

EMS – Electrical muscle stimulation is the use of electric impulses to cause muscle contractions. It is synonymous with neuromuscular electrical stimulation.

Ejaculation also affirms our manliness. After all, what’s more unique about male sexual pleasure? While ejaculation may be part of the female sexual experience, it’s usually the icing on the cake, not the defining moment of the typical orgasmic response. Ejaculation in men is associated with the feeling of completeness.

And ejaculation is primal; it is responsible for the survival of the species. Moreover, the loss of the ability to ejaculate strikes at the core of a man’s sexual identity. While the focus of my work with