What Is Wax Play?

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What Is Wax Play?


If you’ve ever wanted to heat things up (literally, though) in the bedroom, you may be into the concept of wax play or candle play. This sexy activity is one of the types of bdsm play that can add some pretty scintillating sensation. You’d be surprised by how the feel of a little melted wax on your skin can make you, well, hot. ;)

If you’re wondering if you might be weird for considering wax play, rest assured that you are not! According to Derek Newton, founder of Simpatic.us, a site dedicated to assisting couples in finding their mutual sex interests, “Wax play remains consistently popular among couples and has strong connections to intimate power and control dynamics. It’s by no means uncommon or unusual.”

How common is it, exactly? Well, according to Newton, out of the 10,000 couples using the site, a full 36% were interested in trying out this kind of sensation play!


What is wax play?

According to Aryelle Siclait and Jacqueline Tempera of Women’s Health, “A practice made popular by BDSM and the kink community, wax play involves dripping candle wax onto your partner’s skin, having your partner drip it onto you, or dripping it on yourself.”

Why is this so satisfying? 

Well, if you’ve ever enjoyed the feel of those hot towels they give you in first-class on an airplane, cold hands on your warm cheeks, or getting in a hot tub on a chilly day, then you’re already familiar with how much temperature can equate to pleasurable sensations.

Add some adult sex toys to temperature play and you’ve got even more to experiment with — some people will put metal nipple clamps in the freezer, for example, or they’ll warm up a sex toy before it’s penetrated.

The fact is, there’s something surprisingly sensual and, yes, sexual, about dripping wax. Of course it’s not just about the wax. “Wax play is typically used as a power tool for partners who take on sadist and masochist roles,” Siclait and Tempera state.

It adds more excitement

That said, even if you’re not full-on into BDSM, they offer that “wax play is a practice you can adapt simply to make sex more exciting, enjoy doing something ‘naughty,’ or experiment with a litle pain-as-pleasure for an evening (or three). After all, you won't know if you like it until you try it.


How to make sure you and your partner are comfortable?

Since you’re going to be playing with fire (again, literally), you’ll want to take the adage, “Safety first!” seriously.

Learn about wax play first

First off, though, you’ll need to discuss the concept of wax play with your partner. Here’s an example of what not to do, from Mashable sex, dating & relationship writer Beth Ashely:

First off, though, you’ll need to discuss the concept of wax play with your partner. Here’s an example of what not to do, from Mashable sex, dating & relationship writer Beth Ashely:

First off, though, you’ll need to discuss the concept of wax play with your partner. Here’s an example of what not to do, from Mashable sex, dating & relationship writer Beth Ashely:

“The first time I ever attempted wax play was about six or seven years ago. I went about it all wrong, in a very teenage, expectedly naive sort of way. I had a random candle I’d found in the house — probably a Pumpkin Spice Yankee Candle — and I asked a partner in the middle of a different sex act if he’d ever wanted to try messing around with wax. He was an older guy, and I think I was trying to embody the same sexiness you’d see in random Tumblr gifs on your feed, but what I actually did was spring BDSM into the conversation when neither of us were expecting it. We didn’t end up doing it, which was probably for the best.”

Talk about your boundaries

You do need to have a consent conversation first. One easy way of doing this is to each share what’s known as a “desires, fears, boundaries” list with one another. Basically, you each share each one, as an intention-setting exercise for that particular sexual session. What do you want to get out of this encounter? What are you a little (or a lot) afraid of, and how can each of you be mindful of the other’s insecurities if they arise? And where are your boundaries?

In wax play, for example, the person having wax poured on them is likely to experience some amount of pain. How much is too much? What are the safe words or actions the two of you will use? This all wants to be addressed before the wax starts a-pourin’. You’ll also need to have some safety gear on hand, which we’ll get to.

Learn how to do it

But back to Ashley’s happy ending. She did manage to figure out how to play with wax -- and a partner -- in a more skillful manner, and it was worth it. In her words:

“Wax play stimulates so many of our senses, elevating the pleasure we usually get from sex to new heights. The physical reaction to heat, liquid — and pain if you’re including it — grounds us and helps us stay present in sex. It also increases our sensitivity, giving us a lot more intensity as we touch one another. A hand brushing up against a thigh can feel like a thousand alarms going off in your brain (in a sexy way) when a bit of hot candle wax is involved. What’s more, putting all of that pleasure and control into someone else’s hands can be really, really sexy.”


Toys you can use

Candles are a huge part of wax play, and a major thing you want to get right is the type of wax play candles you’re using. Save the votives for mood lighting, in other words.

Good candles for wax play are soy candles, since they have a low melting point. Because soy wax is natural (unlike paraffin wax), a soy candle also causes less skin irritation, and the wax cools pretty quickly upon contact with the skin.

Really, the best thing to do is to get your wax play candles from a reputable sex toy company, so you can be sure they’re going to get you off the way you want. ;) Seriously, though, it’s a good idea to buy candles made specifically for wax play. They’re sometimes known as bondage candles, which makes them easy to spot.

You can also try massage candles for wax play. These types of candles are made of a solidified massage oil that’ll melt into a silky liquid - they’re specifically designed to be dripped and drizzled onto the skin. Plus, most are scented candles, and what’s better than a scented candle to set the mood? Unlike tapered candles, a massage candle usually comes in a container for easy pouring, and some even come with a little spoon. Massage is a sexy thing to add to playtime. It relaxes your partner, puts them in the mood, and helps the two of you connect on a body level before going in the sex direction.

According to kink educator Emerson Karsh, “For those interested in wax play, but who don’t want to have a scene involving wax drippings, I would recommend exploring massage candles, which are candles that create a hydrating, lotion-like wax to massage your partner with.”

Now, if you’re actually looking for a bit of pain to go along with your pleasure (which lots of people are!), you can bring in some paraffin candles. These have a higher burn temperature than soy and will feel more intense. Be sure to stay away from beeswax candles, though. They have a high burning temperature and can be dangerous to play with.


Tips and fun ideas

1. Safety first

A few things you want to have on hand while getting down and dirty with wax play:

  • A cold, wet washcloth
  • A bowl of water that’s room-temp (fun fact: cold water put on a burn can actually damage tissue)
  • A first-aid kit with burn cream (just in case)
  • A fire extinguisher

2. Lean into the anticipation! 

Part of what’s hot about sensual play with wax isn’t just the feeling of the wax melting on you, but the anticipation of the hot wax itself. When’s it going to happen!?

According to sexpert Isabelle Uren talking to Cosmo, “The thrill of engaging in something a little dangerous and the anticipation of waiting for the wax to hit your skin can give you a rush of sexual excitement. It also stimulates more of your senses than just touch, enhancing pleasure and helping you to be present in the moment. You have the physical reaction to heat, which increases your sensitivity, making all of the other touches from your partner feel more intense. What's more, sexual exploration with a partner, in general, can enhance intimacy through shared experiences and the trust and respect involved in trying new things.”


3. Try it from different heights

This may sound obvious, but the closer the wax is to your or their skin when it drips, the hotter it’ll be. So try starting from further away and working your way up to closer. A related story: the more time the wax has to cool off, the more comfortable it’ll be. You can even try it all out on yourself first … see what feels good and where your edge is.

4. Avoid certain parts of the body

Says Karsh, “A large safety consideration is to not drip wax on the face, in the ears, in open cuts, anywhere inside the body, or in hair, as wax removal in hair can be difficult and sometimes painful.”


5. It’s hot comin’ and goin’

It’s fun to note that there’s pleasure in both the pouring on of the wax as well as the hardened wax coming off. “For some,” share Siclait and Tempera, “the feel-good sensation doesn’t even come from the warmth of the wax on their erogenous zones—their backs, chest and breasts, neck, penises or vulvas—but from the sensation of having the wax slowly peeled off those areas once it’s hardened and cooled down.”

Who knew dried wax could be so sexy!?

5. Getting wax off

Try to avoid getting wax in your partner’s body hair. It’s hard to get it out and can be painful. According to Healthline, here’s a simple way to get wax off of skin:

  1. “Dip a cotton pad in mineral oil, massage oil, or olive oil. Warmer oil works better than cold oil.
  2. Hold the soaked pad on the wax residue until it’s saturated — about two minutes.
  3. Wipe off the wax residue with a clean cotton pad.”

(By the way, baby oil is mineral oil.)


As with many kinks or really any sexual experiences, you want to make sure to end with healthy aftercare. Doing things like soothing partners’ skin with shea butter can help on both a physical and emotional level. Deep bonding can happen in the simplest of moments, and it’s all part of the joy of connection.

Wax on, wax off, my friends.


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