What is Wax Play and How to do it Safely

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What is Wax Play and How to do it Safely


Candlelight is fantastic mood lighting, but that’s just one-way candles can take your sex life to the next level. If you want to heat things up (literally!) wax play might be the perfect link to add to your arsenal. A form of both sensation and temperature play, wax kink or wax play was originally popularized by BDSM practitioners and it involves dripping melted candle wax onto the body in a safe way.

Curious about this bondage and fetish idea? Well, that “in a safe way” part is very important, so today we’re going to talk about how you can play with fire and not get burned. Get ready to learn about wax play!


What Happens During Wax Play, Exactly?

As with anything, exactly what happens in wax play might be a different person to person depending on what practitioners enjoy but generally speaking, wax play involves lighting specially designed  wax play candles (more on that in a little bit), allowing some melted wax to collect, blowing the candle out, and dripping the melted wax onto a partner’s skin. 

With that basic template in mind, you can explore candle wax play to see what you and your partner enjoy. It can be fun to play with the dripping wax from different distances, closer to the skin for a sharp sting, further away for a gentler sensation. Some folks find it pleasurable to have the cooled, hardened wax slowly peeled off, while others enjoy layering poured wax over different parts of the body. You can incorporate a blindfold for an element of surprise or alternate between warm wax pours and running an ice cube over the skin for some extra temperature play fun. As long as you are staying safe and everyone is enthusiastically consenting, you can try all sorts of things! 

So, the big question: why do people enjoy this? Once again, folks have different preferences, and so they may derive pleasure from different aspects of wax play, but here are some things that can be enjoyable when indulging in dripping wax kink

  • It can be thrilling to try something slightly dangerous, and that thrill can feed your sexual excitement.
  • There is an element of anticipation as you wait for the wax to land on the skin and that can also provide an erotic charge.
  • Temperature and sensation play can both stimulate the senses in ways that encourage you to be present in the moment, and that can enhance pleasure. 
  • The body’s reaction to the heat can leave you more sensitive to touch, meaning every stroke and caress from your partner will feel super-charged.  
  • In general exploring and trying new sexual activities, especially ones that feel a bit vulnerable, can help develop intimacy, respect, and trust between partners leaving you both feeling more secure and ready to experiment even more.

So How Do I Prepare For Wax Play?

Okay, so I’m not going to lie to you, without proper preparation, wax play could be both messy and painful. The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to keep your wax play fun, comfortable, and sexy.  

First things first, you MUST choose the right kind of candle. If you are like me, you have a ton of pretty scented candles around the house. Those are definitely NOT what you want to use as they will burn you, and the additives in them can cause some serious skin irritation. For the safest wax play experience, use a candle specifically created for wax play, or a  body-safe massage candle.  Made with soy wax or paraffin wax, they melt at a far lower temperature than standard cables. Also, they tend to be made with oils that soften and nourish the skin.  

Next step, prep your skin. Shave any part of you that you think you will want wax poured on, otherwise you will end up with wax getting stuck in your hair and possibly pulling that hair out (there’s a reason so many people choose waxing as a hair removal method) . After that apply lotion or oil to the skin to both lessen the chance of irritation and make the wax easier to remove when you are done. 

Finally, you want to think about the pain tolerance of whoever will have the wax dripped on them. Start off by testing the heat of the wax on the back of the hand or wrist. If that feels okay, test it on different areas of the body as some are more sensitive than others.  

Now What's That About Keeping It Safe?

For safety's sake, prepping the area where you will be playing is as important as prepping your body. Clear the room of flammable stuff like hairspray or alcohol (more on why you don’t want booze in the room in a minute) and make sure you are playing somewhere away from flowy drapes or anything else that could be a fire hazard. You might have sexy fantasies about firefighters, but this is not the way you want to meet them!

One last prep step is to make sure you are completely, 100% present. That means you do not want to try wax play while either of you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Wax play is a sober activity. Why? For folks doing the pouring, drugs, and alcohol can slow down your response times and make you a bit less precise in your pouring, and that all makes it much more likely that you will hurt your partner. For folks on the receiving end, drugs and alcohol can increase your pain tolerance, making it possible that you will blow right past your actual limit and not realize it until you are hurt. No one wants that.  Another biggie is being 100-percent present for your partner, which also means being sober. 

Now that it’s time to get down to it, please remember to blow the flame out first. You can always relight it later if you need more wax. Also, some folks like to rest their candle on a wax warmer to maintain an even heat level and keep the wax fluid even without a flame.. Once you get pouring, be aware of the distance from which you pour. Too close can burn you or your partner, while too far might result in hot wax splashing onto the bed, the floor, parts of your body that you didn’t want wax on, etc. A good rule of thumb is to try to consistently pour from about 15 inches away from the body. Close enough not to splash, far enough not to burn. 

Once you get going, remember to stay communicative. As with any sexual experience, if you become uncomfortable, you need to be able to let your partner know immediately so you can stop. In this case it would be a good idea to agree on a safe word before you start. A safeword is an agreed-upon word or phrase that tells your partner, without a doubt, to stop what’s happening. Safe words can come in handy when engaging in activities where you might reflexively say “no” or “stop” (because it’s scary) when you want to keep going. Safe words are typically either  random words you would never typically say during sex like “asparagus” or “hydrangea” or stop light-inspired with red meaning “stop”, yellow meaning “proceed with caution”, and green meaning “go”. 

Anything I Should Know About What Happens After Wax Play?

After wax play, as with most BDSM activities, you want to take some time for aftercare. Aftercare can look like a lot of things (bathing or cooking for a partner are popular choices) but often involves some time devoted to cuddling and talking. This process allows partners to gauge how they feel after a vulnerable and intimate experience like wax play. It can be a time to think about what worked and you both enjoyed and what you maybe don’t want to do again. 

Aftercare is important because it builds trust between partners and allows them to process strong feelings that may come up when engaging in a sexy but also possibly dangerous activity. Finally, while all the cuddling and talking is good, there is some practical aftercare that can and should be provided for the partner on the receiving end of the wax dripping. This can include applying some aloe to the areas that might still be feeling the sting from the hot wax. 

To clean the wax off your bodies, you can gently use a plastic comb or card (finally a use for that old Blockbuster card!) to gently chip the wax away. Then wipe your body down with a warm, wet washcloth and hot in the shower with a gentle cleanser to wash away any remaining residue. 

As for cleaning up the bedroom (or wherever you have been playing), no need to rush because it’s actually better to let the wax cool and harden first as it’s MUCH easier to remove that way.  

So, there you have it, folks. Wax play can be a fun and safe way to add a whole new dimension to your sexual play. If you think it might be for you, check out PinkCherry’s selection of body safe massage candles and bondage play gear! 

If you have more questions and want to learn about things like the different types of kinkskink for beginners, or have questions like “what is the difference between a kink vs fetish?”, “what is a cnc kink” or “what is a cbt kink?”, read our linked blogs!


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Written By: JoEllen Notte

JoEllen Notte is a writer, speaker, sex educator, and mental health advocate whose work explores the impact of depression on sex and relationships. Since 2012 she has written about sex, mental health, and how none of us are broken on her award-winning site The Redhead Bedhead as well as for Glamour, The BBC, Bitch, PsychCentral, and more. JoEllen is the author of The Monster Under the Bed: Sex, Depression, and the Conversations We Aren’t Having.