Ben Wa Balls have a varied history, their origin and method of construction changing drastically depending on where you look. Most information concerning Ben Wa Balls is vague and probably apocryphal. Regardless of their origin, which we'll come to in a moment, Ben-Wa Balls are hollow spheres containing a smaller, free-moving weight. They are inserted into either the vagina or the anus (for the more adventurous, or at least those who aren't equipped with a vagina) upon which the smaller weight moves around inside the hollow sphere, producing vibrations in the process. As anyone who's watched even five minutes of cheap porn knows, genitalia and vibration equals pleasure. In theory at least.
Origins Of Ben Wa Balls: A Complex And Possibly Apocryphal Story
Ben Wa Balls, originally called Rin No Tama originated in Japan. Consisting of three metal-covered balls linked by a delicate chain and silk thread for retrieval, the spheres were inserted into the vagina by Japanese sexpots who could enjoy the subtle sensations as they went about their daily lives.
Women in ancient China would insert egg-shaped hollow balls carved from ivory, then spend hours rocking gently backwards and forwards, eventually reaching a 'subtle-yet-crashing' orgasm.
These are just two of many sources which claim to know the origins of Ben Wa Balls, telling of wooden balls, metal balls, ivory or stone balls, all filled with an amazing range of substances, including mercury or metal spheres. Even stalwart sexpert Brenda Love, in her classic reference work The Encyclopedia Of Unusual Sex Practices, fails to mention Ben-Wa Balls except for a couple of sentences, buried amongst an entry on anal inserts. A follower of the mercury-filled school, Brenda also states that Ben-Wa balls were gold or chrome plated and mentions special musical versions, designed to resonate during sex.
What to believe about the mysterious origins of Ben Wa Balls? Well, all sources seem to agree on an Eastern influence, and an overwhelming majority of these sources abound with images of women brought to the very brink of orgasm by these magical devices, rattling away inside their most intimate crevices. Aside from that, it's hardly important. Indeed, far more important are recounts of their effectiveness, for sadly, if a significant and sober minority of sources are to be believed, Ben Wa Balls aren't all they're cracked up to be.
The pleasure of Ben Wa Balls comes in two distinct varieties:
Vibrations: The debate about Ben Wa Balls centres on their actual effect. While the idea of a couple of balls knocking about inside you is either terribly scary or wickedly thrilling, the reality is that those spheres aren't knocking about anywhere. Your vagina is not as large as you imagine. Once inserted, the Ben Wa Balls are held in place rather well, leaving any vibrations to come from the smaller sphere moving about inside. Anyone who's played with those plastic jumping bean toys with a ball bearing inside will know that there's precious little vibration coming from one of those, and so anyone who's after anything more than the most subtle sensation is in for a disappointment.
It's obvious, really, that a great deal of pleasure can be derived from knowing that even while you're chatting to the boss about something perfectly mundane, your vagina is home to several jiggling little Ben Wa Balls. Every bump on the bus back home is fantastic, mainly because the chap sitting next to you has no idea why you're smiling. It's a bit of a thrill, and if that's what you're after then why not?
And of course, Ben Wa Balls must have something going for them - they've been around for a while and modern variants are coming out all the time. Fancy four balls instead of two? How about balls in rainbow colours, made of non-porous materials so they can stay in for longer without risk of nasty infections? The choice is yours.
But will Ben Wa Balls get stuck?
Will they make clanking noises when I bend over near the photocopier?
Will they somehow migrate and uncomfortably nuzzle my ovaries?
Worse still, will they fall out in the middle of the supermarket and roll gently to a halt next to a psychiatrist who's just popped in for milk?
Calm down! As sex toys go, Ben Wa Ballss are safe, gentle, non-phallic and as long as you get some with a string to facilitate removal you can't go wrong. If you're used to the twelve-speed, mains-powered Vaginatron you'll probably find them pretty tame, but for many a pair of Ben Wa Balls are an excellent addition to anyone's under-the-mattress treasure chest.