Amazingly intense, remarkably sensual, as soothing as a massage or as shocking as a good strike with a cane, wax play can be all of this and more. But, since it involves open flame, there are also some risks involved. And, without any doubt, it can be messy.

So, here's a look at the glories, as well as the potential drawbacks, to having all kinds of kinky fun with a lit candle.

Wax Play? Safety First!

Safety should always (always, always, always) be first and foremost in your mind when doing anything BDSM oriented.

If you have anything alight in your play space - whether it's decorative or for play - you must be careful. All it takes is a careless backhand and that lovely candle that gave your room that perfect ambiance could tumble to the floor, throwing un-fun and un-sexy wax all over the place - and possibly even setting the room on fire.

So, let’s repeat our open flame mantra: always have a fire extinguisher handy. One more time for the folks in the back: always have a fire extinguisher handy.

Part of fire safety is to make sure your space is clean and uncluttered. No handkerchiefs, tissues, silk scarves, decorative tassels…you get my drift. Ideally, it should just be a table, a lighter, and your candle.

I could go on about this, but I think you get the idea. In a nutshell: hope for the best and plan for the worst. That and always learn as much as you can about anything before you try it on another person. If you have any doubts or confusion, don’t do it.

Not All Candles Are Designed for Wax Play

Let’s talk the second stage of safety when it comes to playing with hot wax. It might sound trite, especially to something so critical, but not all candles are created equal. There really is only one kind of candle you should be using for wax play. Again, for the folks in the back: just one kind of candle.

They come in a variety of names but, most commonly, they are called safety candles. You can find them pretty much anywhere, from pharmacies to hardware stores. They are simple, basic - you could almost call them dull. That’s why they are the ONLY choice for this type of kinky play.

The thing about other kinds of candles is that they often aren’t just wax. Far too many of them are colored, scented or mixed with all kinds of chemicals. This is fine and dandy for your ambience, but not for dribbling on another human being.

You see, the thing with candles with additives is that they can be catastrophically hot and cause serious burns. So, no votive candles, no religious candles, no huge-ass ones, and never beeswax. Beeswax, in particular, burns very hot. Again, great for ambiance, not for human beings.

One thing you’ll immediately notice about safety candles is that they are quite soft. Sometimes it just takes rubbing one between your fingers and it begins to melt. This is what makes them great for wax play. The softer the candle, the lower its melting point. This means that when the wax lands on someone, it won’t be dangerously hot, and it will cool down relatively quickly.

Nowadays some great kink entrepreneurs are actually selling candles designed for wax play, which is all grand and good, but always try out your candle on your own skin before using it on someone else.

Try Your Candle on Your Own Skin

With some things in kink play it’s hard to judge what your partner might be feeling when you’re using this toy or that. With wax play, you can try it on yourself: the palm of the hand is good, as is your thigh. With the latter, just be careful you don’t lean over the candle and singe your eyebrows!

Do keep in mind, though, that everyone’s pain threshold can be wildly different. This means that if you think it’s fine, it could still be too much for your partner. Keep those lines of communication open. If the person you are dropping hot wax onto says that it is too much, listen and react accordingly.

Prepare the Skin

OK, so you have your nice clean space. Your have your safety candle. Your have your lighter. You’ve tried hot wax on yourself and at least have some idea of what kind of sensation you’re going to be delivering. Now what?

Well, the next thing you should think about might sound a little … odd. Stay with me, here. So, you are going to drop hot wax onto a person’s body in the future. Are you with me so far? Now, do me a favor and look at your arm for a second. I'm sure that more than a few of you have a nice forest of - you’re getting it - hair.

One of the great things about hot wax is that it can, with some training, experience, and skill, be put almost anywhere. We’ll get into that more in a bit. For now, even though you can put hot wax anywhere, you might be limited. Once the wax is on someone with a copious of body hair, this could add a sour note to an otherwise hot time because when you put wax on hair and then try to remove it, the hair tends to come with it.

Because of that, a bit of judicious shaving might be in order. Even shaved, though, it’s always a good idea to apply a thin coating of non-scented oil. Non-scented because you don’t want to add an allergic reaction to things you need to worry about. I recommend baby oil or coconut oil.

Distance of the Candle from the Skin

OK, we have a safe place, we have an extinguisher at the ready, we have our safety candle, and we have our person all set and shaved and/or lubricated. Let’s get to waxing!

Distance from the flame to the person's skin is crucial. I recommend holding the candle a little lower than a foot from your partner's skin: any closer and you risk the wax being too hot when it lands; any farther and it can splash.

Ideally, you want the candle to be parallel to your partner as well. If you tip the candle too far back, so the flame is above your hand, the wax is just going to hit you and not them. Holding it directly down could cause the wax to actually burn.

I recommend moving slowly and carefully over a small area, taking time to go over areas where you have already laid down some drops. Wax play is the most intense when it first lands on someone but as the wax cools, the sensation becomes less intense - and the previous wax builds up, giving a sensual and luxurious feeling of warmth.

By the way, if your bottom reacts negatively- - along the lines of “Get this shit off me!” - rather than applying water or such just rub your hand along where the wax has been dribbled. This will smear the hot wax and quickly cool it down.

Where to Wax?

The human body has all kinds of great places for wax play. The back is great, as are breasts and nipples. It can be dribbled on an ass - especially before, during, or after some intense impact play. It can even be used on cock and balls: just be extra careful with that territory. On a side note, breasts (with the person lying down) can be is extra fun as you can create a lovely mold of that person’s nipple in the wax: a souvenir to take home. Thighs are also good, although, again, shaving is probably a good idea.

Slowly and sensually, you’ve laid down a growing area of wax on your bottom. They are feeling the warmth, the lovely intensity - but then it’s time for them to come back to reality.

Cleaning Up After Wax Play

And here’s where we get to the messy part: the cleanup.

Because of this, many kinky play spaces do not allow wax play. If you aren't playing at home, be sure to ask whoever is in charge of the space if it's alright.

At home, an old sheet is a great thing to have under the person you are waxing. That way, when the scene is done, you can just gently brush off the wax and have them carefully stand up. Then just roll up the sheet and throw it away.

Even with precautions, wax can end up in all kinds of places. Be extra careful if you have a rug or carpeting. Getting wax out of either can be a real nightmare. Because of this, doing wax play on a space with a wood floor can be a benefit. Just be sure to have some pillows around in case your bottom needs to sit down or gets dizzy.

And there you go: a look at the fun, and challenges, of lighting a candle for a good, hot time with wax. Just remember that you are dealing with fire, with flame - and if you have any doubts light that other candle: the one of knowledge.