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What Is Wax Play? Bring Candles Into The Bedroom Without Burning Your Partner

Remember those childhood warnings about playing with fire? Well, forget them because, as adults, a little heat can do a lot to spice it up in the bedroom.

Confession time: wax play has always been on my sexual bucket list, but I’ll admit, I’ve been a tad hesitant. And it’s not that I was worried about the act itself — I’m super open to trying new things in bed and have found I have a lot more “yums” than “yucks” when it comes to sex — but trusting my partners? That’s where I’ve had the most trouble diving in. I mean, the thought of any of my past hookups wielding a burning candle over my body? It sounded more like a disaster waiting to happen than a hot rendezvous.

But hey, as I’ve matured (and my taste in men has hopefully improved), I’ve started seriously considering trying candle wax between the sheets. The allure of exploring new sensations, dabbling in temperature play, and maybe even flirting with a little pain? Sign me up, please.

Before grabbing any ol’ candle and a partner, let’s pump the brakes. Like any good adventure in the bedroom, proper preparation is key. I mean, nobody wants to associate “burning” with their “genitals,” am I right? So, to guide us through this journey into how to explore candle play safely, I enlisted the help of Taylor Nolan, Ph.D., plusOne sexology expert extraordinaire. Trust me, we’re in good hands.

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What Is Wax Play?

person holding candle
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So, you’ve heard about wax play, and your mind instantly conjures up images of sizzling hot wax dripping onto skin, right? It’s like a scene straight out of a steamy romance novel, and let’s be real, unless you’re particularly adventurous, the thought might make you squirm a bit. But hold up, because wax play doesn’t have to be all about pain and scorched skin.

As Nolan puts it, “Sometimes, just the imagined threat of danger can be exciting enough, without the wax itself delivering any pain.” Yep, you read that right — sometimes all you need is some anticipation to really get the blood pumping.

There’s a whole universe of psychological and sexual delight waiting for you in the world of wax play. Nolan breaks it down: “Arousal and desire are often increased through mystery, novelty, and anticipation, and wax play offers all three.” It’s like a triple threat of sexy sensations.

And power dynamics play a big part in this too. Picture this: You willingly surrender to someone else’s control as they let those droplets of wax rain down on your skin — or maybe you’re the one wielding the power. Either way, if you’re into a dominant/submissive scenario, wax play might be right up your alley. 

And guess what? The wax doesn’t even have to be super hot. Some candles have a lower burning point, so the sensation is more like a warm, sensual caress than a fiery inferno. It’s basically like getting a hot massage, but, you know, way sexier.

“Dopamine release is increased when there is a risk and what we experience is the reward, regardless of if the risk or pain was imagined or experienced,” Nolan explains. So even if you’re just playing with the idea of danger, your brain is still lighting up like a Christmas tree with pleasure. 

How Do I Prepare For Wax Play?

person getting massage with hot oil
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Before you start dripping away, there’s some preparation that goes into making wax play as hot as possible — and a lot of it is mental prep. 

Ask yourself some serious questions before you start drizzling wax like a pro. “Do I trust my partner?” and “Am I willing to potentially experience pain?” are the biggies here (seriously, do not let someone you wouldn’t trust with your Netflix password hold a scorching candle over your body). If your gut is leaning towards a firm “no” on either of these, it might be best to table the wax play discussion for now.

But if you’re feeling all kinds of ready and comfortable for whatever wax play throws your way, it’s time to prep that bod.

First up, channel your inner zen with some deep breathing exercises and stay hydrated. Trying wax play for the first time can feel like stepping into the unknown, so it’s key to keep a clear head. Yep, go ahead and do all the “woo-sahs” you need. Oh, and pay attention to the temperature too. “Ensure that you are warm, cold skin will be more sensitive to the heat of wax play and can burn more easily,” Nolan advises.

Now, here’s a golden rule: refrain from waxing, shaving, or any hair removal jazz right before your wax play sesh. Trust me, you don’t want to risk any microtears or end up with nasty infections and burns.

But hold up, it’s not just your body that needs prep — it’s your space too. You definitely don’t want to accidentally turn your bedroom into a fire hazard, right? So, clear out any flammable items from your wax play zone and lay down some protective layers like a plastic sheet or old towels. 

Nolan even suggests designating a special spot for your candle to avoid any spills or, uh, unintended bonfires. “This will help avoid spilling the candle or potentially starting a fire because you forgot the candle was placed somewhere,” she wisely notes. Safety first, people.

And when it comes to the actual wax play, you can definitely ease into it by using heated massage oils first. “This can be you heating coconut oil at home to a desired temperature and playing with how you and your partner(s) engage in power play with it,” Nolan says. “This can build trust and warm you up to wax play.”

She even recommends throwing your favorite vibrator in the mix to help you feel more comfortable. 

Are There Specific Candles I Should Use For Wax Play?

burn no. 0

Seriously, do not— I repeat, do not — reach for that cute, vanilla-scented candle you snagged from Target and think it’ll do the trick for wax play. Trust me, the outcome won’t be the steamy scene you envisioned.

When it comes to wax play, there’s a golden rule: use candles specifically designed for the job. And where do you find these magical tools of pleasure? Your local sex shop or the endless aisles of the internet, of course. But here’s the catch: steer clear of anything with dyes or scents. Opt for candles with a melting point above 125 degrees Fahrenheit for that perfect balance of heat and pleasure.

Now, for all you beginners out there, listen up: paraffin, shea butter, and soy candles are your best pals. According to Nolan, these babies offer a quick cool-down after hitting the skin, meaning any potential discomfort won’t stick around for long. Plus, they’re gentle on the skin, so you won’t be dealing with any pesky irritations.

But don’t immediately reach for those beeswax candles. They’re like the advanced level of wax play, burning hotter and longer than your average candle. “If this is the candle you have, you can try allowing the wax to cool a bit before putting it on your body, or consider dripping the wax farther from the body,” Nolan suggests. Remember, folks, the higher the drip, the less heat on your precious skin. And always, always test the wax on yourself before you get down to business.

Where Do I Drip The Wax?

dripping oil on back
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Alright so, you’ve got your candles lit, the plastic laid out like a pro, and you’re feeling the trust vibes with your partner. It’s go time for some wax play action. But hold up a second — what exactly are you doing with that hot wax?

Let’s lay down some ground rules real quick. Your face and genitals? Absolutely off-limits. But fear not, there are plenty of other tantalizing areas to explore.

According to Nolan, your back and shoulders are prime real estate for some initial experimentation. Test the waters, see how it feels. And when you’re ready to turn up the heat, venture into zones like the inner thighs, inner arms, and the stomach. “Start slow with less sensitive areas to build anticipation,” Nolan advises. It’s all about that gradual buildup, baby.

Oh, and a word to the wise: steer clear of any hairy patches. This isn’t a waxing session, folks. But hey, if that’s your jam, no judgment here. “Keep a comb, butterknife, or credit card handy for removal, but start with just a few drops to gauge your comfort level,” Nolan suggests.

And here’s a hot tip: take it slow, people. Let your partner savor every single delicious sensation. Trust me, it’ll be worth the wait.

What Does After-Care And Cleanup Look Like?

couple cuddling in bed
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Alright, if you’ve just wrapped up what might go down in history as the sexiest candle-play session ever, first of all, major props to you! Now, let’s talk about the not-so-sexy part: clean-up and aftercare.

According to Nolan, depending on the type of wax you used, you might be able to simply peel it off your skin once the fun’s over. Then, hop in for a post-sex shower (you should be doing this anyway!) to wash away any lingering wax residue. Need a little extra help? Warm olive oil or coconut oil, along with a gentle washcloth, can work wonders for getting rid of stubborn bits. 

And if all else fails, a butter knife (used safely, of course) can come in handy for scraping off any pesky remnants.

Now, let’s address the inevitable: accidents happen. If you find yourself dealing with a bit of burning (hey, you were playing with fire, after all), keep some aloe vera on standby for some soothing relief. An ice pack, cooling gel, or a chilled towel can also work wonders for calming any discomfort.

And here’s a crucial reminder: just like with any new sexual adventure, communication is key, especially during the aftercare stage. Nolan explains that whether it’s helping your partner clean up or taking the lead in the clean-up process, making them feel cared for and comfortable is paramount. After all, it’s all about that post-play TLC.

Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad is a sex & dating writer at Betches despite not remembering the last time she was in a relationship. Just take her word for it.