The practice of candles in the SM domain
There is no precise history about it, but it has gradually taken an important place in the heart of BDSM exchanges. So much so that it is very popular today, both for soft and moderate sex. Indeed, there is a world between dripping a few drops of hot wax on the buttocks and fireplay, reserved for experts.
Why is this practice so popular?
Wax play is not done with the sole purpose of inflicting pain. There is a whole sensory pattern behind it, with notable differences in this regard for submissives and dominants. If of course the dominated feel the heat, the tingling on the skin and the delicious bite of a brief burn on their erogenous zones, then the master can see a picture. By playing with the colors and shapes of this liquid, sexual play also becomes a real delight for the eyes.
From a scientific point of view, it is not difficult to understand why candles appeal so much, and to different BDSM audiences. For starters, the skin is the largest organ, making it an ideal playground. In addition, it is covered with keratinocytes; these are cells that make up 85% of the epidermis, the surface layer of the skin. These are the same cells that react to various external stimuli and physical sensations. The skin is therefore a sensitive organ that responds to stimuli, but it is not the only one.
The organs also have their role to play. Within our skin, in our muscles, in our liver and in the hypothalamus, there are what are called thermoreceptors: these are the ones that allow us to feel temperature differences, like hot and cold, but also pain and pressure. In short, these tactile receptors, combined with nerve endings, form the somatic sensory system, which governs all these sensations. Thus, when the neurons and the body communicate these stimulations to the brain, the brain finds pleasure in them.
However, the heat receptors are rarer and located deeper in the body; this is why stimulation by pain calls for pleasure and vice versa. We go beyond simple touch to create this unique sensation through heat, without making the game dangerous, as long as precautions are taken.
Knowing the candles to perfect your art
The goal of such games is to provide and feel pleasure: like any BDSM practice, rigor is required to deliver the best to your partner. If every step is followed to the letter, from safety tips to selected accessories, then the performance will be better, as will the pleasure felt.
Breaking the clichés
It is common to read that the candle chosen for these BDSM games must be rigorously strict or you will end up with third degree burns. If there are really one or more risks, the serious burn is not one of them; at least not if you know how to select them. On the other hand, if you are still a beginner or are looking for soft sensations, trust only candles specialized in BDSM games. That way, you won't have any unpleasant surprises.
The composition of the wax
Everyone is different, which means that we do not all have the same sensitivities. While some people are very resistant to heat or pain, others will feel a real burn instead of a pleasant pain. Not least because some skins are very thin, and because the liquid in a candle does not have the same melting point depending on its composition.
To begin with, here are the three most commonly used waxes in candles:
- The vegetable ones, with a melting point located between 45°C and 55°C,
- Animal waxes, with a melting point between 62°C and 65°C
- The paraffin-based ones, with a melting temperature between 57°C and 60°C.
The paraffin-based liquids are the most common, found everywhere in the market. You have to be particularly careful with these, because there are sometimes plastic residues or different additives in their composition that increase the melting point. They tend to cause real burns, like beeswax. Indeed, if it heats up more, it also means that it will take longer to cool down. And if a burning candle stays on the skin for too long, it burns.
This makes veggies ideal for BDSM practice: the soy-based candles have a melting point between 45°C and 50°C. Those based on rapeseed, in their case, are between 52°C and 55°C. Finally, those based on sunflower are around 48°C and 50°C. These three types are recommended for beginners, because the sensation will be soft and the liquid will cool more quickly. Vegetable candles are also ideal for fragile and sensitive skin.
Some safety rules to follow
Keep in mind that a melted candle remains in contact with fire, so its temperature is often beyond its melting point. At the same time, the skin presents burns when it is in contact with a temperature of approximately 62°C. This can even be less for sensitive skin, so choose their composition correctly.
In addition to burns, it is the fires that are most to fear. All it takes is a reflex to drop your accessory, whether it comes from the submissive or yourself, or a moment of distraction... To set the fire. Hair and body hair, for example, are very flammable, so it is necessary to tie your hair and be careful with your partner's hair. Ideally, wax your hair to avoid any risk of burns or stuck cooled liquid that will be very difficult to remove. Otherwise, bring along an indispensable accessory: the candle holder. One or more at hand will allow you to put your candle between each pour. Firstly, to give your partner time to enjoy the punishment, and secondly, so that the candle has time to melt again. Finally, avoid scented candles, as their complex composition could be a risk vector, in addition to the odor released which tends to be disturbing.
The size and shape of the candles
Those bought in a specialized trade of type sex shop are all presented in the shape of candles of 4 cm of diameter on 10 to 15 cm length, very often red, purple or black. Sometimes they are presented as a gel, like a balm. They have been specially designed to drip, unlike the large candles that have the risk of spilling a cascade of burning liquid. These are not recommended at all, nor are those in a container, as dripping cannot be properly controlled. Commercially available kerosene candles are often okay, but unless you know your way around and have tested the candle beforehand, the best choice is still to go to a specialist store like Demonia.
How to use SM candles?
First of all, test each candle on a sheet of paper to practice. Test different heights, different quantities, in order to observe the opacity, thickness and shape of the drops left. The drops should be spaced, distinct, thin and even. They must also have set once they have reached the sheet: if the liquid drips by tilting the holder just after pouring it, then your candle is outlawed for this practice.
Once you' ve done your test, then pour the wax onto your own skin, namely your forearm or thigh, an area free of hair to avoid any discomfort when you need to remove it. Start dropping a drop at least 50 cm away, then gradually move down as long as the pain is comfortable, until you find the right one. However, never go lower than 5 cm and never drip the liquid in the same place: separate the flows physically and in time. Also check that you are not having an allergic reaction to the plant candles, which can happen! This means that the same test should be done with your partner to make sure that he or she does not have any allergies, and to find out his or her own pain tolerance threshold.
Body parts to pour the wax on
As with the whip or riding crop and all BDSM practices, the best areas for this game are the buttocks, back, legs, chest and genitals. Be careful with the latter, however, as they are not at all sensitive and must be free of hair first. The height should be adjusted according to the skin, so get to know your partner before any session.
If there are privileged areas, there are of course some to avoid. No matter what the reason or the risk, the face should never be used for this SM practice. The risk is not worth it, in terms of burns and fires. Also avoid all kinds of orifices, especially genital ones, which can trap the liquid as well as being burned. Also, refrain from using on unshaved areas and recent wounds or scars. Finally, play on bare skin, without clothing that could melt, and protect your bed with a sacrificial sheet.
The sensations provided and experienced
The term often used is a burn, but it can be misinterpreted. It is not a wound in the strict sense of the word; only an ephemeral sensation. In the same way as a slap on the paddle or a swift stroke, the skin feels a bite, heats up and flares up pleasantly, but never cooks. Everything is in the nuance of the sensations: on the edge between pleasure and pain, according to the resistance and the limits of each one. This is why the wax games are done with drops, and not long flows, to keep only the pleasure of the fleeting pain.