If you’ve ever looked into BDSM toys, you’ve probably come across one: a Wartenberg wheel; one of those little wheels with a lot of pins attached to a handle. But what is it, why is it so popular, how do you use it and what should you pay attention to if you want to buy one?
What is a Wartenberg wheel?
A Wartenberg wheel, is also called a pinwheel or neurowheel. It was once invented by Robert Wartenberg (1887-1956) as a medical instrument to test nerve responses, by “riding” the instrument over the skin.
A Wartenberg wheel is usually made of stainless steel with a handle. Attached to the wheel are small sharp pins. There are also disposable versions made of plastic, for one-time use. You can also find it in craft stores and haberdashery stores. Then the wheel is intended to pierce holes in paper patterns, so that it can be easily torn off. These often have a wooden handle.
In addition to medical applications, the Wartenberg wheel is also used as a sex toy. Sometimes it is then attached to an eStim generator, releasing small electric shocks during use. This simple instrument is in many a bedroom and cannot be missed in a BDSM dungeon or the repertoire of a master or mistress.
Wartenberg instruments have only one wheel, but there are also those with several wheels placed side by side.
How do you use a Wartenberg Wheel?
You can play endlessly with a pinwheel. You can roll them over the skin of the arms, back, neck, legs and soles of the feet. This gives a gentle stimulation. Going a step further, you can have it roll over the penis, nipples, labia or clitoris. The person operating the instrument can easily vary the pressure. The person who undergoes it must wait and see whether it will hurt or tickle. This is precisely what makes it a very exciting thing.
You can also hold the wheel on its side. Then you can scratch the skin with it. There are also people who hit (softly) with it.
Electro-sex enthusiasts also often use a Wartenberg wheel. There are even special Wartenberg wheels that you can connect to an eStim power source. The electric shocks will be transmitted through the little pins on the wheel. Each time a pin (almost) touches the skin, a small shock will be transmitted. As you can imagine, this can be very intense for the receiving party.
Some people find a Wartenberg wheel most pleasurable when used after, say, a whip, a flogger, or a paddle. The skin is then well supplied with blood and sensitive to the more subtle touch of the pins.
You can also use a Wartenberg wheel very well for temperature play. Before use, put the instrument in the refrigerator or in a glass of ice water and then roll it over warm skin.
Aftercare and safety
A Wartenberg wheel is fairly harmless by itself. However, if you increase the pressure significantly, you can puncture the skin with it and then blood can be released. You can easily clean a steel wheel with toy cleaner and disinfect it by boiling it. Wartenberg wheels are generally not very expensive, so you can also buy a separate wheel for each partner.
After you have worked on your partner with a Wartenberg wheel, it is recommended to rub your fingers over the worked skin. The skin then relaxes again. Give a gentle massage to stimulate blood circulation. Apply some moisturizing cream or body lotion and massage it in gently.
Purchasing a Wartenberg Wheel?
If you’ve always wanted a Wartenberg wheel, but don’t know which one to buy, read on.
A single-wheel Wartenberg castor is available from about €10. Models that are entirely metal are easy to clean and disinfect. Most casters have about 20 to 30 needles. These are the original Wartenberg casters. They are excellent for some extra ‘stimulation’.
Pictured is the Fifty Shades Darker pinwheel (€16,95).
Then there are the Wartenberg wheels with three or five wheels. On one side the pressure is distributed more, but on the other side you cover a wider area of skin. By varying the pressure it can be a pleasure wheel for intimate massages, but also a pain wheel for the real sadists, if you know what I mean.
Pictured is the pinwheel van Sinner Gear (€18,95)