Wax Play 101

Category: Advice

Author: Jaimee Bell

Wax play is a form of temperature play that involves dripping hot wax from body-safe candles onto the skin. Normally, this is done with a partner (as this is what’s safest), but it can also be a solo kink. A type of consensual kink often incorporated into BDSM, wax play can be super-hot (in every sense of the word), with the sensations it creates often placing the recipient in that delicious zone between pleasure and pain... If you’re interested in exploring this kink and introducing wax play into your sex life, this guide is for you!


from Giphy

1 — Discuss the idea with your partner ahead of time

Before anyone heads to the local sex shop or clicks “add to cart” on some body-safe candles, if you’re practicing this with a partner, the best thing to do is discuss it first. Talk about safe words, watch some tutorials and do some research together, so you have something of an idea of what you’re getting into before you start. Keep in mind that wax play is a type of edge play and there are risks involved, so any negotiations with a partner need to acknowledge these risks and consent must be clearly established.

2 — Walk through the risks and create a safety plan

Wax play is dangerous enough that if done incorrectly, the burns could warrant a hospital trip. Apart from researching all you can about this kink before diving into it, you should also have some on-hand emergency solutions. Plan to have your phones should be nearby in case you need to call for help, keep a first-aid kit close (and ideally a fire extinguisher too) and, when the time comes, set aside some cool water and a clean cloth for in case things heat up a little too much.

3 — Get nerdy about candles

You and your partner should brush up on some temperature facts before engaging in this kink. The most common types of candles are soy candles, paraffin candles, beeswax candles, microcrystalline candles and stearin candles. Due to their different burning points (the temperature at which they melt), some of these are safe for wax play and some are not.

Soy candles melt at 46 - 57° Celsius and are safe for wax play. Soy candles are the safest bet for newbies interested in testing out this kink.Paraffin candles melt at around 47 - 65 ° Celsius and are safe for wax play. These melt at slightly hotter temperatures than soy candles, so once you have some wax-play experience, may be an option for added intensity. Beeswax, microcrystalline and stearin candles are absolutely off-limits. They are unsafe for wax play as they melt at hotter temperatures and would be far too hot for skin contact.

Another important thing to note is that candle additives such as dye, oils and scents may increase the melting point. This is why most body-safe candles will not have strong scents to them.

When it comes to choosing candles for wax play, the most common options are drip candles or massage candles. Drip candles (like this set from Doc Johnson) burn at a slightly higher (still safe) temperature than massage candles. These are most often used in scenarios where the receiver enjoys a bit of sting or pain with their pleasure. If you’re interested in starting with something a little more low-key, massage candles (like this one) may be a good choice. With massage candles, you light the wick, wait until the wax is melted, blow out the candle and then, when the wax is at a slightly cooler temperature, you can use it to massage your lover’s body. This provides a more sensual experience compared to the sharper sting of the drip candles.


from Giphy

4 — Figure out where and when

Figuring out logistics can be a time-consuming part of kink but it’s pretty important. Decide as a couple where you want to try this activity. Maybe it’s in your bed or on the couch with an old sheet, towels or some other protective layer put down. Or maybe it’s on the floor with a disposable protective tarp for easy cleaning afterward. Wherever it is, you should be far away from anything that’s highly flammable or where candles could get knocked over in the heat of the moment (no pun intended). Importantly, try to plan for a time when you’re not going to be interrupted by kids, housemates or the like – this is one activity you don’t want to rush…

5 — Get warmed up, so to speak

As with most sexy activities, taking it slow and allowing yourself to be guided by what feels good applies to wax play too. You may want to begin with dripping wax onto less sensitive parts of the body like the arms or back or starting from a greater height so the wax has more time in the air to cool (holding the candle at 45-degrees should give you a good intermittent and easily controllable drip). From there, you might want to move to more squirm-inducing spots like the inner thighs or chest. If you’re the giver, you may want to test the wax on your own skin, letting it fall from different heights to get a sense of what your partner will be feeling. (There are also some tips you can learn through tutorials like this instructive audio from BLOOM on how exactly to hold the candles to get good drips.)

Be aware that the face and genitals are particularly sensitive and should be considered no-go zones. Additionally, avoid particularly hairy areas (you know, unless a dried wax removal nightmare after the fact is your real kink).

"As with most sexy activities, taking it slow applies to wax play, too."

6 — Keep communicating

Talk about things first, of course, but don’t forget to continue to communicate throughout the process. Sometimes being vocal can make things even hotter, like telling your partner how much you enjoy what they’re doing, asking for something new or describing how it feels. If you’re the receiver, make sure you speak up about what feels good and what doesn’t. If you’re the giver, be sure to check in with your partner frequently. And when all is said and done, don’t forget about aftercare, whether that’s cuddling, words of affirmation, water and cookies – whatever that may look like for you and your partner. Wax play can be intense and checking in after is just as important as checking in during.

7 — Wax on, wax off

While sex clean-up is maybe the least fun part, when you’re dealing with wax, it’s unavoidable… and, for some, the sensation of removing wax adds to the enjoyment. Cleaning wax off your body is fairly simple – just wait for it to harden and it should flake right off. Any residue that doesn’t come off this way should be simple enough to wash off in the shower. If it’s stuck in body hair, use a small comb and lightly go over the area – it should lift up. You may also want to use a damp cool washcloth to soothe the area afterwards.

And with that, you’re ready to go from using candles to set the scene to using candles to create the scene. Be safe, have fun and who knows, maybe you’ll discover a new favorite way to play.

Podcast Transcript: