I have a friend (and short term play partner) coming to visit me as she drives across the country from Maine to Oregon. We’ve been online friends for a million years. This will be our first face to face though. She’s planning to stay with me for three or four days, and I’m really excited about it! My friend and I are both pretty kinky, but I’m having a bad time with joint pain right now. I don’t think I would have any fun doing my regular things like spanking or bondage. So we came up with other things we want to try. Before she gets here, I have some questions. I’ve never done wax play and so I’m wondering if you have pointers or anything?  But, I literally know nothing about it. So, do I use a lighter to warm the wax? (I assume so?!) And, is there anything I should know NOT to do? Or anything I MUST do? I feel silly, but you’re just the only person I could think of who would be able to answer these questions!

Wax Works

Dear Waxy,

It sounds like you’re gearing up for a super fun staycation with your friend. It’s smart to learn all you can before you get started! Hot wax play is great for kinky people who like intense sensation. Folks who enjoy getting tattoos and piercings often really enjoy wax. Because it can be done silently (as long as the recipient stays quiet), it can be great way to incorporate kink in a scene if there are kids or roommates in the next room.

A lot of people have seen hot wax play in mainstream porn and assume it’s low risk. Because it involves open fire and pouring melted wax on another human, it can actually be dangerous if it’s not handled carefully. Picking candles is a good first step! You want to use unscented candles. Paraffin candles burn at a lower temperature than beeswax, making them a safer choice. It’s a good idea to buy candles that are made for wax play whenever possible. If you don’t have access to something like that, plain, white, unscented candles are probably your safest choice.

Before you start your scene, light a candle and patch test on the inside of your arm to make sure you’re not allergic, and that the temperature isn’t too intense. If your guest is the lucky wax recipient, patch test her as well. It’s important to note that some medications will make a person more sensitive to the heat, and more susceptible to burning. These medications include NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen, steroids, blood pressure medications, and others. Also, natural redheads burn easier than the rest of us. If a person has any kind of skin condition like eczema, they are at a high risk of burning and even scarring. Temporary skin situations like a sunburn or new tattoo also greatly increase the likelihood of serious injury and scarring. If either of you are dealing with skin issues, it’s probably best to just try out a different fantasy.

There’s a rumor that white and other light colored candles don’t burn as hot as darker colors like purple or black. I’ve never found any data to back that up, but it might be worth keeping in mind. Still, it’s all relative. Melted wax is going to be hella hot no matter what. (For folks who like the idea of wax play, but don’t enjoy very intense sensations, massage candles can be a great compromise. Instead of wax, they’re made from soy or hemp oil that melts and pours out smoothly without burning.)

There is one thing that can give you a little control over the intensity of the heat. Holding the candle farther from the skin makes the wax slightly cooler when it hits. Again, it’s all relative. It’s still going to be really effing hot. Holding it closer to the skin makes it even hotter.

When you’re setting up for your scene, keep in mind that colored wax stains! It’s also very difficult to get out of fabric and hair. It can also make a hardwood, tile, or vinyl floor very, very slippery. Don’t forget to have a non-flammable surface to set the candle on when you’re not dripping on your partner. A plate or saucer will often suffice. You’ll also want to have a way to put out a fire if things get out of hand. A wet towel or big glass of water should do the trick.

Once you’ve discussed all of the risks, agreed on a safeword, and everyone has given their  enthusiastic consent, you can give it a try! Start somewhere like the upper arms or thighs, where sensation isn’t typically as intense. If that goes well, and everyone wants to continue (which you’ll know because you’ll be checking in frequently), you can try dripping some wax on the belly and breasts. You’ll want to avoid the face—way too much potential for serious damage there. And don’t drip directly onto the mucous membranes—nipples, inside of vulva, etc.—it’s too hot and can blister, etc. If getting wax all up in your business sounds great to you, drip near there and let the wax run onto those areas. Once you’ve got a layer of cooled wax over those spots, you can drip more on top if it’s going well.

Remember that this is supposed to fun, and feel good to both of you. If either of you is unsure at any point, just stop for the time being and do something else. Pull out that list of fantasies you’ve shared. It sounds like you’ll have plenty to keep yourselves busy for a few days!

Curious about cunnilingus? Anxious about anal? Do you have questions about queefs or problems with your prostate? Lucky Tomaszek is the education coordinator at The Tool Shed: An Erotic Boutique, Milwaukee’s only mission-driven, education-focused sex toy store. Send her a question at [email protected] and she’ll get back to you with an answer.

About The Author

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Lucky Tomaszek, LM, CPM, is the education coordinator at The Tool Shed: An Erotic Boutique, Milwaukee's only mission-driven, education-focused sex toy store. Most mornings you can find her balancing her cat and her keyboard in her lap, working to make the world a smarter, safer place for people of all genders and orientations.