Warming Up to Wax Play

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Getting into wax play seems easy. Just walk into the living room, grab that pina colada flavored candle you burn when you have guests over, and pour on that wax!

It’s not that easy. Wax play is considered an intermediate form of BDSM, and it can cause serious burns if you don’t do it correctly. This means that it’s important to learn as much as you can about it before you dive in.

What is wax play?

Wax play is a type of BDSM play that involves dripping or pouring hot wax on a partner’s skin. It’s a type of temperature play that lets a dom take control over a sub. The dom pours the wax while the sub revels in the sting when it hits their skin.

It’s considered an intermediate BDSM practice because there are some risks involved. It’s considered a type of edgeplay, which means it could be the cause of short term harm, long term harm, or even death. Other edgeplay practices include breathplay, knife play, fire play, electrical play, or temporary brandings.

As long as you don’t set your house on fire with the candle you’re using or spill a crockpot of wax on your head, you don’t have to worry about dying from wax play. However, it can be a dangerous activity, and result in burns that could put you in the hospital. You need to learn to practice this kink safely.

Why people like it

If you’re not quite sold on the wax play thing, you might wonder why people are into it. However, playing this way releases chemicals in the brain that can make the sub feel very good.

Wax play releases endorphins, like other types of pain play. The excitement and fear can also release norepinephrine and adrenaline. Some people don’t understand it, but the pain of BDSM definitely brings pleasure.

Wax play is a way to solidify a dom/sub dynamic. It works well because the sub might not know where the wax will be poured next. When you have hot wax on you, you also tend to contort your body into wild positions, something doms love.

This practice is a good idea even for couples that don’t have a dom/sub relationship. It’s a fun way to challenge power dynamics and try out something new. It’s great for people who are new to BDSM (but also know what they’re doing) because the only equipment it truly needs is a candle and a lighter. 

But it’s important to realize that not all candles are equal. You should be very careful in choosing a candle to use for wax play.

Types of candles

Before we discuss the best types of candles for wax play, we should go over different types of candles. Don’t worry, we won’t charge you $50 for one that smells like Jasmine Breeze.

Candles burn at different temperatures. This is important to know for wax play. If you accidentally use the wrong candle, you or your partner could get super bad burns. 

Massage oil candles burn at the lowest temperature. They’re generally made for vanilla couples who want to give each other a soothing massage. 

Soy candles melt at about 130 °F (or 54 °C). They also have the softest wax.

Next are paraffin candles. These generally melt around 135 °F (57 °C). They’re more likely to be formed into pillars and are much easier to clean up than soy. 

Then there’s beeswax candles. They melt around 145 °F (63 °C). These are usually sold as tealights or safety candles. (Spoiler alert: don’t use these for wax play!)

Best (and safest) candles for wax play

Regarding material, you should stick to soy or paraffin candles. 

Massage oil candles won’t give you the sting you’re probably looking for, but if you’re looking to do a test run, it could be a good intro to the sensation.

NEVER use beeswax candles for wax play! They just burn too hot. You might be thinking that you’re the ultimate glutton for pain and you can take it. But buddy, your skin is the same as everyone else’s. Beeswax candles can cause serious burns and blistering, so much so that you might need to go to the emergency room. No one should be ashamed of their kink, but no one should have to explain their kink to the receptionist in the ER waiting room, either.

But this doesn’t mean that just any ol’ soy or paraffin candle is ready for you to use. You still need to choose your equipment carefully.

The temperatures we listed are only for the pure form of the wax. There are certain additives that are often used in candles that can make them burn hotter. This can bring them up closer to that 145 °F temperature, which you really don’t want.

Any candle that’s been dyed can burn hotter, because the additives increase the melting temperature. Scents can do this as well, but they can also cause skin irritation, especially if the person using them has sensitive skin. 

You definitely need to avoid any metallic candles. The salts that give them their glitter can be poisonous. They can also increase the melting point so much that they could leave scars. 

Check the ingredient label for stearin. It’s used a lot to make candles harder. You should be especially wary of it in your paraffin candles. Stearin increases a candle’s melting point significantly, so much so that it can result in second-degree burns

So the best choice is plain soy or paraffin candles. Choose soy if you’re new or don’t want a strong stinging, and choose paraffin if you want to really kick things up a notch. And make sure they don’t have any additives or perfumes.

Candle recommendations

If you’re wondering what specific candles to buy, here are some recommendations.

Some people like to use colored wax to make designs on their sub’s skin. This can have striking results. However, you need to make sure you choose a safe candle, since colors can change the melting point. 

These paraffin candles start to melt at 110 °F, but they’ll burn hotter as they heat up. They come in 11 colors to let your artsy mind break free. These ones are more pastel-y, and they come in larger sizes so they’ll last longer. The Etsy page for these candles shows you an example of the way they look on someone’s skin. And if you want something a little cheaper but still colorful, this set of 20 candles on Amazon will let you sample a bunch of colors. Just note they won’t burn as long as a longer candle, so plan to use more than one for an extended scene.

If you don’t care about color, there are cheaper candles that will get the job done. If you want to start out with soy candles for a less aggressive burn, you can get these votives. They’ll let the wax pool so you can pour on more of it at once, if that’s your thing. This pack of 10 taper candles will definitely get you started, and they’re made from 100% paraffin wax. 

As long as you check the ingredients thoroughly, you can pick up some candles for wax play from grocery stores or craft stores. Just be sure to follow the guidelines above.

But even if a candle says it’s for wax play, don’t assume it’s safe without checking the ingredients. We found a ton of cute colored candles labeled for BDSM that had beeswax in them! Even indie sellers can make mistakes and lead people to unsafe kink practices.

Safety tips

Since wax play is a type of edge play, you need to be really careful. You’ll need to take precautions before, during, and after your session. Here are some safety tips you should keep in mind to make sure everyone is safe during your encounter.

Protect against fires.

Wax play usually involves an open flame, so there’s an element of danger involved. A candle can get dropped on a flammable surface and cause a house fire, or someone can get burned because the candle isn’t used properly. Always have a bowl of water and/or a wet towel within arm’s reach. If possible, a fire extinguisher is an even better option. It may seem like overkill, but this precaution could save someone’s life.

Set up in a good location.

The obvious place to set up a wax play scene (or most other sex scenes) is a bed. However, mattresses are extremely flammable, so it may not be the safest place. Also, bedrooms often have carpet. If the wax gets on it, it’s extremely difficult to clean off.

Set up your scene in a safe place. A wood floor can be good. Put down a tarp or a piece of plastic to prevent the wax from dripping. Make sure to move anything that’s easily flammable in the space. All you need is a table, a lighter, and your candle.

If you do decide to use your bed, still put down the tarp or plastic and clear out the space. Take some extra caution with the candles if this is the case.

Follow usual BDSM consent rules.

A common BDSM consent mantra is Safe, Sane, Consensual (SSC). Make sure you’re following all of these guides.

For the Safe part, neither of you should have consumed any alcohol or drugs. This can screw with your pain tolerance or make you make rash decisions. It also means engaging in all of the safety rules.

Sane prompts you to keep the scene within the proper boundaries. Don’t try to hurt anyone in a way they don’t want or in a way that will cause permanent harm.

And of course, all scenes need to be consensual. Establish a safe word and make sure the sub feels safe using it. Make sure exploring this new kink is something both parties want and that no one is being pressured into.

Have a first aid kit on hand.

No matter how careful you are, wax play might result in injuries. You should have a first aid kit on hand in case of any mishaps. (Actually, just add it to your BDSM bag; you’ll never regret having it around.)


We’re getting closer to actual wax play, but we have to make sure we do some prep first.

Like in the safety tips above, make sure you have something to put out fires and a first aid kit. You also need to have all of your materials on hand. Candles and a lighter are pretty much all you need to do actual wax play, but we’ll talk about other things that could improve your session.

Before you begin, your sub should shave any parts of the body you’ll be using wax on. Wax is very difficult to get out of hair, and it also hurts like a bitch. You need to shave places that have thinner hair, too, like arms or thighs. If the sub doesn’t want to shave all over, just limit the wax to the parts they’re comfortable with.

Once you’re all ready, you should rub some lotion or massage oil on the parts of the sub’s body you’ll be using. Make sure you rub it in well so the layer is thin. You don’t want to lessen the sensation, just make it easier for the wax to come off when you’re done. This can also be a sensual way to start the evening, which will contrast nicely with the kinky stuff down the road.

Try it on yourself first

Doms don’t usually want to experience the type of pain that a sub does. However, it’s courteous to try dripping the wax you’ll use on yourself first to make sure it’s safe for them. Pour it on the inside of your wrist or the palm of your hand from about 18 inches away. If you can’t handle it, you should not do it to another person.

If it’s okay, test it on your partner before play begins. It’s no fun if you get one drop on before you need to end the scene. They shouldn’t just be able to tolerate it, but like it in the way they enjoy other BDSM activities. If that’s the case, you’re golden and can start.

The best places

There are many places on the body where it’s safe to do wax play. However, not every place is okay, so pay attention!

The back is a great blank canvas, and it’s perfect if you don’t want your sub to know where the wax will come from next. While in this position, the ass is perfect, too. 

Flipping over, breasts, nipples, and chest are great for wax play. A cool trick with the nipples: if you pour on enough wax, you can create a mold of the nipple. You could even take it home as a momento. Thighs are another sensual spot.

You totally can drip wax on the penis, balls, and clit. This might not be a good idea for your first wax play session, but we’re not gonna judge. Just use more caution in these areas, as they’re incredibly sensitive.

Do NOT use wax internally, either in the vagina or ass. It can throw off the pH balance of the vagina (yeast infection, anyone?). It could also cause severe burns in these areas, and an internal burn would be no fun at all. 

Lastly, don’t drip any wax above the shoulders. Wax can splash, and could end up on someone’s face. Best case scenario, it gets in their hair and will be a pain to get out. Worst case, it could get in their eyes. This can literally cause blindness. Don’t even think about dripping wax anywhere near the face. Just don’t.

Distance from the skin

Once your candle’s lit and the wax is ready, it’s important that you don’t drip it only a few inches from their skin. Even if you selected the right candle, this is still a great way to get burns. 

Start by holding the candle about 18 inches away from the skin. The further away the candle is, the lower the temperature will be when the wax hits their skin. Don’t go much higher, though. If you go too high, the wax can splash and end up places it shouldn’t.

See how the sub enjoys the wax at 18 inches. If it seems to be working, you can lower the candle gradually. Don’t go any closer than 12 inches, or you risk burning them.

How to do wax play

So it’s time to actually get into waxing! 

Hold the candle parallel to your partner. If you hold a taper candle straight up, it will just pour onto the candle and your hands. If you’re using a pillar or jar candle, you might want to let the candle burn a little bit and let wax accumulate before you turn it. Never put the candle completely upside down, as this can be unsafe.

Start by concentrating on a single area like one breast. It will produce more pleasure than spreading out drops all over the place. Drip wax in different parts of this area, keeping up the sensations. It will feel warm to your sub after a while, which feels great. Then, move onto another part and repeat.

If you want to use different colors, color with one candle, blow it out, then light another one. Never have more than one candle lit at once. Do all of the pinks at once, for example, instead of lighting the pink candle 10 times to achieve the same result.

Make sure wax doesn’t pool in any crevices. This makes it so the wax doesn’t dry nearly as quickly, which can lead to burns. Watch out for the crotch, arm pits, necks, backs of knees, belly button, or inner elbow. There may be other areas depending on your bottom’s body type.

Pay attention to your sub. If they seem uncomfortable (and not in a fun way), check in with them. If they don’t seem to enjoy a certain area, move somewhere else. Your pleasure depends on each other; make sure you’re both on the same page.

If your partner freaks out or uses the safe word, don’t try to pour water on the wax. It’s best to quickly wipe the wax off with your hand. This will smear it and cool it down considerably.

Remember that you can do other things during wax play. A variety of sensations is exciting for your sub. You can caress them and kiss them, for starters. But there are other kinky practices that go great with waxing.

You can tickle your sub with a feather or fur to change up the sensation. A cool trick is to incorporate ice cubes. These sensations will juxtapose each other. You can flog the wax off them or use a dull/butter knife to scrape it off if you’re into knife play. There are all sorts of options!


For most people, BDSM scenes require aftercare. This involves taking stock of the situation and making sure everyone’s physical and emotional needs are met. 

There’s some aftercare specific to waxing. The most obvious is the removal of the wax. This can be quite sensual and calming. If you want to get wax off quickly and easily, a credit card works great, and ice can help. The skin underneath will be warm and red or pink. That’s completely normal.

You should apply moisturizing lotion to the spots as well, preferably with aloe. This will help the skin heal faster and feel better.

Just like any BDSM scene, you can assess both of your well-being. If someone needs some food or a drink, get them one. Maybe a blanket would help. Some people want intimate cuddling or kissing after rough scenes.

You can talk about how the scene made you feel as well. You don’t need to come to any hard agreements about whether you want to try it again; just hearing initial thoughts can be very helpful.

Cleanup after your session

Once you’ve cleaned up yourselves and done some aftercare, you might need to clean up your space, too (especially if you didn’t listen to the tips earlier). It’s okay; sometimes there are some downsides to getting kinky.

Don’t just try to get any excess wax off in the shower. It will clog the drain as it hardens, which will lead to an embarrassing call to the plumber. If you need to shower, use a drain screen like you use for hair.

If you end up needing to get wax out of carpet or furniture, use absorptive paper and a hot iron. The iron melts the wax, and the paper acts as a sponge before the wax meets the iron. Kitchen paper is ideal. Newspaper is good in a pinch, but the ink can transfer, which causes a whole new problem.

If wax gets in hair, you can remove it in a few ways. If it’s soft, you might be able to wash it out with shampoo, as long as you have that drain screen. You can also apply ice to the wax to make it harden so much that it’s easy to take out.

You need to be a little careful with wax play, but it’s a great introduction to intermediate BDSM. Just make sure you listen to the safety tips so you don’t burn your house down while you’re gettin’ down.