A simple process yet amazingly intense, wax play is a type of temperature play that falls under the BDSM umbrella. Though considered slightly advanced, wax play is a popular form of kink play which is accessible to many people. If you’re curious about trying wax play, it does require some understanding of the process and potential risks before the fun can begin.
What is Wax Play?
Wax play is the process of dripping, pouring, or bushing hot wax onto skin. Like many BDSM activities that connect the responses of pain and pleasure, wax play can be an arousing exploration full of endorphin releasing sensations. Simple to incorporate into a larger scene, wax play can be a fun solo, partnered, or group activity. The cost of the tools is low and the preparation isn’t extensive. Not only is hot wax a very intense physical play to enjoy, the wax itself can create beautiful patterns and textures on the skin, making it a visually appealing practice too.
It is vital to understand your tools before you begin. Instead of grabbing any old candle, opt for candles that are specifically designed for wax play. Wax play candles burn at a lower temperature so they don’t burn the skin while delivering the desired sensation. Simple table candles that contain scents, metallic coloring, or preservative contain certain additives and salts that cause the wax to not only burn hotter, but cool down slower causing burns. In addition, wax play candles don’t contain any harsh chemicals that can irritate skin and are easy to hold and maneuver.
The further away the candle is held, the cooler the wax will feel when it hits the skin and the safer the practice is. 18 inches is the recommended distance to hold the candle away from someone's body but tolerances involved in hot wax play vary greatly from person to person. Do a test on your own skin beforehand in a tolerant spot like your arm. The feeling of hot wax hitting your skin isn’t comparable to many other sensations - even the most experienced impact players need to understand what the sensation feels like before starting play. Even the dominant (or the person who is doing the act, not receiving it) should do a patch test to understand the pain threshold of hot wax and what their partner is feeling.
There are some safety concerns with wax play. Firstly it crucial to keep hot wax away from the face and eyes, as well as any open wounds or openings of your genitals like including the anus, urethra, and vagina. Hot wax can cause damage to these highly sensitive areas as well as disruptions in natural PH levels. Be mindful that some skin, like the area around your genitals, armpits, and backs of knees, will be more sensitive to temperature than others. Secondly, since you’ll be using open flame, have a glass of water and a damp cloth handy just in case you need to extinguish the flame quickly. Make sure your sheets aren't made of highly flammable materials like polyester. Wash off any products that contain flammable ingredients like alcohol (think hairspray, perfume) before any play begins. Have a hard and stable surface to hold your tools during play — your nightstand is ideal.
Some other things to think about include communication and clean up. Agree on safe words or directions on how your partner can express they want to stop / take a break. Discuss any areas of skin you or your partner want to avoid. Think about protecting any sheets, fabrics, or surfaces by covering them a protective barrier or throw.
Time to Play
Once you’re ready to start, there are varying methods of application to explore. Dripping wax directly onto the body can feel very different than allowing it roll down the skin. You could try layering the wax spots, rubbing the wax in, or even blindfolding your partner so they have to anticipate when the next drop will fall. If you’re exploring is as part of a bigger BDSM scene, try mixing it with different methods of impact or sensation, like a pinwheel or a strike from a paddle.
During play, be careful of pooling wax in crevices. Wax may run down your partner’s skin into sensitive areas and create hot spots. Think about the crotch, arm pits, necks, backs of knees, or inner elbow. If you see this happening or your partner communicates discomfort - stop, wipe away excess wax with a damp cloth, check in with your partner, and if they want to continue, try a different position or area of the skin to focus on.
For the person receiving the wax on their skin, expect a burst of brief pain followed by a quick relief as it cools down. Hot wax will very quickly lower in temperature once it contacts skin, however the initial few moments can feel intense. It the pain lingers more than a couple seconds, the candle maybe too close to the skin or the area is too sensitive.
Removal of the wax can be nice addition to the aftercare process. Hardening the wax with an ice cube after play helps with removal as well as offers some nice release to sensitive skin. The process of picking the wax of your or your partner’s skin can feel like a relieving or even a soothing activity for some. Others many want to remove residue wax easily and quickly. A flat, dull object like a credit card works well. Expect the skin to be warm to the touch with a pinkish / red hue. Soothe that delicate skin by massaging it with some sensitive oil or balm.
Pro-tip: Try prepping your skin with lotion, oil, or silicone lube to vary the sensation and help with wax removal. If you're using oil, make sure the oil is fully absorbed to avoid hot spots.
Pro-tip: If you anticipate your play being messy, avoid rooms with carpeting. Wax is a nightmare to remove from carpet and rugs so opt for a wooden or tile floor space.
Pro-tip: Looking to get more artistic? Try melting the candles down in a saucepan and then using paint brushes to apply to max to your or your partner's skin. This give you more control when making your design.
All images by @sayjor featuring @dominajia and @nothingmatters_ny