March/April 2001
Wax Play Safety and Hints
by Shakti

For a first foray into the realm of BDSM many lovers choose to use wax. It is a very distinctive and unique sensation. One people usually love or hate. I thought I’d put together a few tips for beginners so they can do this with a maximum amount of safety.

First a word of caution. Wax can burn very badly. If you want to care for you partner in a way conducive to your being able to play again, you need to be careful.

There are many different types of candles available. The degree of heat of the dripping wax varies depending on the materials from which the candle is constructed. Beeswax is the hottest, and something that a beginner should avoid. I would recommend that a person not use it at all, but some experienced players do use this type of candle. It can cause second or third degree burns as there is often honey left in the beeswax which gives the candles their distinctive pleasant smell, but also holds the heat.

Other types of materials also cause the candles to burn hotter. You may see information that says the color of the candle makes a difference, and that is not actually true. Additives do make a difference, but the ones to watch out for are hardeners such as those used in dripless candles. Often the most expensive candles are the ones that burn with the highest degree of heat, for a beginner you will want to start with cheap, paraffin based ones. In my experience whether the candle is white or red or yellow actually makes little difference.

My favorites for someone just starting out are the novena candles available in the Hispanic section of most grocery stores (at least those in larger areas). They come in tall glass containers, and you can buy them without the religious pictures. The wax is very cool compared to most others, so a good choice for a first time. Another possibility are the emergency candles sold for times your electricity goes out. They too are usually very low temperature.

The best way to see how a candle feels is to test it out on yourself. All people do not have the same degree of pain tolerance but it will give you an idea. Light the candle, making sure you have a good place to set it down. If you have the novena candles the container is built in, if you are using a taper candle, make sure you have a holder that the candle fits snugly into, and the base is wide enough to avoid easy tipping. Never forget that you are literally playing with fire, and the few extra cents spent on a good candle holder are little weighed against a fire from a tipped candle.

Oh... I always have something nearby just in case a fire does get started, after all, if you have a bound and helpless person under your care, you will want to do your best honor their trust. A small fire extinguisher is not that expensive. At the very least a container of water and something to use smothering the fire should be nearby.

Okay, that said back to testing. Light the candle and set it aside to burn for a few moments. This will allow a small pool of wax to build up around the burning wick. Once you see a pool there hold your forearm out and holding the candle about a foot from your arm, tip it until one or two drops fall onto your arm. Use the sensitive skin on your wrist or elbow to get a feel for how hot this candle is.

I find the pain from wax to be a unique feeling. Very intense, but concentrated in a very small area. It happens to be one of my favorite kinds of pain play.

Once you know what kind of candle you are going to use (and you might choose a couple, a cooler one to begin with, graduating to a hotter one) you will be ready to experiment with your partner.

Many people find that being tied and blindfolded during wax play heightens the sensations, not knowing where the next drop will fall, and being unable to move away from it can add a great deal to the erotic sensations.

Where to begin dropping the wax is mostly a matter of preference. But I would recommend, especially in the beginning, starting on the belly or back. Drop a few drops and carefully note your partner’s reaction. You can vary the heat of the drops by holding the candle lower or higher. Again, make sure you have a good idea of just how hot this is. Burns, especially on sensitive tissue are not usually much fun.

I have found in my experience that some of the most sensitive areas on both sexes are the inner thighs, the area of the belly that joins the hip, the nipples, and the genitals. I begin in a less sensitive area, moving to an occasionally drop on a highly sensitive one.

Remember that if you drop wax on top of wax, it will hold the heat in and possibly cause burns, so be careful when you layer.

Peeling bits of wax off, is almost as much fun as dropping it. As it pulls away from the skin, the sensation is again intense, and running a feather or fingernails or even a tongue over this sensitized skin is a very sexy way to prolong the ‘waxing’ session.

Wax cleanup is a pain, and I always put down a shower curtain that I cover with an old sheet, and have my partner lay on that. I do not want to ruin my sheets and wax is not washable, so I use an old one I can just toss after awhile.

Some people advocate oiling the skin before you drop the wax, this makes cleanup especially areas with hair, as in pubic areas or the chests of some males. This will make the cleanup much easier, as the wax does not adhere, but you must remember the oil will make the wax seem a bit hotter, and you cannot do the trick with the pulling away of the wax.

I have seen people use vampire gloves or those pet brushes sometimes used for sensation play, as an easier way to take the wax off, they work well, and do add another twist to your session.

Remember, wax has the potential to damage your partner... play safe.