Imagine for a moment that you and your partner have decided to try playing with wax in the bedroom for the first time. There you are, laying naked on the bed sheets. Your lover enters the room, candle holder in hand, lit candle flaming in the dim light. You wiggle a little in the grip of the handcuffs that are securing you to the bed. You look up at them and nod enthusiastically when asked if you are ready to begin. Then, just as your lover begins to tip their candle over your chest the thought enters your mind: Did we forget anything, are we doing this right?
I am glad you asked, dearest readers, because wax play, the practise of applying warm wax to your partner's skin, is a fun and exciting experience. Having warm wax dripped onto your body can be both erotic and, surprisingly enough, relaxing. It's a great form of sensation play that many people find pleasurable. However, like many erotic activities, it's important to make safety a priority. In the opening paragraph I described the beginning of a common wax play fantasy. In it I placed four safety mistakes people can easily overlook. Today I would like to share some pointers for getting started with wax play and cover a few safety tips to help people avoid common pitfalls.
Types of wax play
The first thing to consider when discussing wax play is there are two main approaches. The first is the one typically portrayed on television and in movies, along with the introduction to this post. One person uses a lit candle to melt wax to a liquid and then the warm wax is dripped onto the other person. This approach is fairly straight forward (it doesn't take much time or preparation to light a candle and tip it over). Fire adds a certain exciting mystique to the experience and the necessary supplies are easy to get since candles can be purchased from many locations.
There are complications to this first type of wax play and I'll talk later about how to work around them, so stay tuned! One is that it is difficult to predict how hot the wax from a new candle will be before it hits your skin. Candles left to burn and pool will heat their wax further, making them even hotter, while candles used steadily will stay comparatively cool. This means the temperature of the wax you are using can rise and fall over the course of your session, making the experience less predictable. Of course, as with any candle-related scene, there are risks associated with open flames. You don't want to get the candle too close to your lover's hair, or pillow, or accidentally drop it anywhere. When working with lit candles it is important to stay focused and have a way to put out accidental sparks.
The second approach to wax play uses pots of liquid wax that have been melted prior to the scene. Pots of colourful wax can be purchased from a variety of locations. A thermometer can be inserted into the wax to check its exact temperature, avoiding any surprises. The pot of wax can then be spooned, ladled, dripped, or even painted onto a person's skin. This approach tends to be safer as the temperature is more easily controlled and there is no need for open flames. It is also easier to apply the wax to your partner precisely as opposed to a candle where the drips happen irregularly.
The downsides to using pots of pre-melted wax are mostly a matter of convenience. It can be harder to find pots of wax - most drug stores and dollar stores don't sell them - and melting the wax takes more time, which makes melted pots of wax less spontaneous.
I don't have a strong recommendation for one approach over the other. Lit candles are typically more convenient while pots of melted wax can add a layer of safety with regards to temperature and their lack of fire.
Types of wax
When walking through the candle section of your local corner store it probably looks as though one candle is about the same as any other. However, candles can be made out of different types of wax and similar-looking candles will burn at quite different temperatures.
Soy candles, for instance, tend to burn at a lower temperature. Most soy candles are a good starting point to wax play because they are unlikely to be too hot and their will merely feel pleasantly warm to most people. The one downside to soy candles is their wax often remains sticky once it has been applied to the skin. The wax doesn't harden and leaves behind an oily residue. This makes clean-up after using soy candles a little more challenging and will almost certainly require a shower.
At the far end of the temperature scale are beeswax candles. Beeswax is popular for its smell and is often a favourite at farmers' markets. However, beeswax candles burn hot, compared to most other types of candles, and can leave burns on the skin. I would not recommend beeswax candles to most people, unless they have tried other types of wax play and want something much hotter.
The third common type of candles are made of paraffin. These are probably the most common types of candles you are likely to encounter. Tealight candles at the dollar store, taper candles at the grocery shop, and scented candles at the drug store all fall into this category. This family of candles covers a wide range of temperatures and colours and it is worth while experimenting with an array of different types.
For example, tealight candles tend to burn fairly cool. Long, thin tapered candles tend to fit into a wide middle range with some hot ones and some cooler ones. I've found candles with a gimmick such a strong scents, flecks of shiny metal, or coloured flames tend to burn the hottest and are most likely to leave burns on the skin. If it smells strongly, is shiny, or turns the candle flame odd colours then chances are the candle contains some chemical that will make it hotter than usual.
Something else I've discovered through trial and error is that red candles tend to burn cooler than the same style of candle in other colours, such as green or blue. I suspect the dyes commonly used in candles affect their melting temperature. In other words, a red tealight is usually cooler than a green one. And a blue taper candle at your local pharmacist will usually burn hotter than the similar red candle on the next shelf.
For beginners I typically recommend trying an unscented soy candle or white tealight candles. Tealights often come in large bags of 50 or 100 for a few dollars and have their own metal base which is easy to hold.
Safety tips to consider before you get started
Now you have some candles or some wax and you are eager to get started. There are a few things are can do before heating up the wax or lighting the candles that will go a long way toward making sure your experience goes well.
- Have a cup or bowl of water on hand if you are using lit candles in wax play. If a candle tips over or if wax falls on your fingers causing you to drop a candle on the floor, you can pour a little water on it to put out any sparks.
- Test the wax on yourself before dripping it on another person. I like to place a few drops of wax on my inner forearm, just below the elbow. This area is fairly sensitive. If it feels too hot for you there, it's going to be too hot for your partner. Let the wax cool down or get another candle with a lower melting point.
- I recommend putting down an old blanket or sheet for the person receiving wax can lay on. Wax can be runny or splatter. Later, when you're cleaning up, the little flecks of wax will go everywhere. To avoid a mess and wax trapped in your bed sheets, put something down under your partner to catch the bits of wax that will fall off them.
- Find something to remove the wax. Soy and paraffin wax can be sticky, you may want something to help you remove it after it has hardened on your partner. A dull knife, the edge of a credit card, or the edge of a ruler can help scrape off the wax.
- Eye protection. As I will discuss later, wax should never be poured on a person's face or other parts of their head. Many people though like to have wax dripped on their chest. When doing this droplets of wax can fly around as the drips land on your partner. To avoid getting wax in their eyes, I recommend getting the person receiving the warm wax to wear something over their eyes. It could be glasses, a blindfold, cool cucumber slices, swimming goggles... Anything to keep the stray droplets of wax from getting in their eyes.
No peeking, I'm going to go light the candles
- Make sure you have someplace to put the wax after you remove it from your partner. A bag or trash can would be fine. You could even just scrape all the wax onto your old blanket and then shake it into a garbage bag. Just so long as you have somewhere to put the used wax.
Basically, for most wax scenes you are going to want, apart from the wax itself (and perhaps some matches to light the candle), the following items: an old blanket, water, eye protection or blindfold, something with a dull edge to scrape off the wax. Having something to put the removed wax into, such as a trash can, would be a good idea too.
Safety tips for once you get started
Now let's assume you've got water on hand, a spare blanket on the bed. Your partner has their eye protection, and you are ready for action. You have tested the heat of the wax on your arm and it feels fine. What's next?
- In the introduction I mentioned a scenario in which the person receiving wax was handcuffed to the bed. While using rope or handcuffs during wax play is a common media cliche, it is not one I suggest practising, at least when your hot wax is coming from lit candles. It's not safe to tie someone up when you are using fire around them. I recommend saving the bondage for another time.
- Next, find out where your partner wants to have wax applied to their skin. If they are not sure, I recommend starting with their upper back. The upper half of the back is relatively tolerant of heat. The lower back and thighs are typically more sensitive. Many people also like having wax applied to their chest, though the back is probably a better starting point.
This is a good starting position for both wax play and naps
- It is important to avoid dripping or pouring wax onto a person's head, especially their face. Hot wax can burn the eyes and cooling wax that gets into the nose can block airways. It's also difficult to wash wax out of one's hair. In short, keep wax play below the neck and shoulders.
- In the introduction I envisioned a scenario where the person dripping wax on their partner had a candle holder in their hand. It is common to keep taper candles in a holder as they do not stand up on their own. When using candles, hold on to both the candle itself and the candle holder. Taper candles often come loose in their holders and tipping them over can cause them to fall. In this case the candle would fall onto your partner, burning them. Pinching the candle between a finger and thumb while using the remaining fingers to hold the base of the candle holder will prevent the candle from falling.
- Once your partner is laying in position, hold the candle (or ladle of wax) a foot or more over their skin. Wax cools quickly as it falls so pouring it from a foot or two up gives it time to cool off before it lands on your partner. This helps avoid burning them. I also find it helps to move the candle or ladle around, spreading the drops of wax out. This not only expands the area where your partner is receiving the warming sensation, but it avoids building up too much heat in one spot.
- Finally, if you are the person having wax dripped on you, there are two important things to remember. The first is to try to hold still. Warm wax can feel amazing, but hot drops can also take a person by surprise. Try not to move around suddenly as it can throw off your partner's aim or result in them getting wax on something other than you.
- The second thing to keep in mind is if the wax feels too hot, then call a timeout. Wax should feel warm, maybe even hot, but it should not feel like it's burning you. In fact, most people report having warm wax applied to their skin is relaxing. If you are uncomfortable, pause the session. You can suggest a cooler candle or have your partner drip wax from higher up to give the wax more time to cool as it falls.
Wax play should feel relaxing, like a massage
Cleaning up afterwards
Once you have coated your partner in wax and they're happily warm, it's time to remove the spots of hardened wax left behind. As I mentioned above, using a dull knife or a credit card that can slide under the edge of the wax and pry it up helps. Move slowly so as not to pull the skin too much as wax tends to stick to the person receiving it. Slowly pick the wax off and scoop it into a bag or trash can. Once the wax has been removed, the person who was just covered in it will probably want to shower. Little bits of wax are difficult to brush off and a shower helps.
I recommend against pouring left over wax or flakes of used wax down the drain. Let pots of wax cool and consider using them again later, or put them in the trash. Don't try to pour them down the sink or tub drain as it is likely to clog the pipes.
All of this may seem a lot to keep in mind. However, most of these tips can be explored in stages. Take your time and find the right candles for you and your partner. Talk about whether you want to try using candles or pots of melted wax.
Then plan out the scene together, talking about what the person receiving wax will be laying on, where the wax will go afterwards, and what they can use for eye protection. Once these items have been discussed the remaining key points to remember are to be careful how you pour the wax, stop if it is too hot, and avoid getting wax on a person's head.
Keeping these tips in mind should make for a safe and pleasant experience. Warm wax can feel amazing. Plus if you want to get creative with it, colourful wax can be used to make all sorts of artistic designs on the body. Consider getting a few different colours and decorating your partner with a rainbow, a flag, or another pattern to add some flair to the experience.