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Hot wax play is one of the most common, and most popular, forms of temperature play. Almost everyone has at least heard of the idea of dripping candle wax on a lover's body.
There are several different ways to do wax play. All of them involve pouring or splashing molten wax on your partner's skin. This isn't painful, exactly; but it is intense, partly due to the sudden shock of sensation that goes along with it.
This is a fun, easy way to experiment with temperature play, and there are a lot of variations that can keep you exploring for a long time.
Starting Out: Wax Candles
The easiest way to explore wax play is with an ordinary wax candle. You can hold the candle over your partner's body and allow the drops of molten wax to fall on his or her skin. This produces a fairly intense localized sensation of heat, which can be varied by how high you hold the candle; the farther above your partner's body you hold it, the more the wax will cool as it falls. Again, blindfolding your partner before you do this is a great way to make the experience more intense.
You can drip wax from ordinary paraffin candles onto almost any part of the body. If you're just getting started, have your partner lie down face down on a comfortable surface. Put down a large towel or a disposable drop cloth or some other thing you don't mind getting wax on first; it can be difficult to remove the wax from bedsheets!
Light several different candles, so that when you pour the wax from one, others will be ready. Start off fairly high above your lover's body; the higher you are, the cooler the wax will be when it reaches skin. From about three feet or so above your partner, tilt the candle and allow the pool of wax to splash down on his or her back. Monitor your partner's responses and experiment with distance accordingly; decreasing the height from which you drip the wax, and increasing the amount of wax, will both make the sensation more intense.
Wax is safe to use just about anywhere. Avoid the face (and, if your partner is at all sensitive, the genitals--it's very intense there!), but almost anywhere else is fair game.
Relatively insensitive areas include the back and butt. More sensitive areas include the front and back of the legs, the feet, and the arms. Highly sensitive areas are the breasts and chest.
Temperature play with body candles
The next step up is using larger candles enclosed in glass. These "jar candles" produce a much larger pool of wax as they burn, and you can get a greater effect by pouring the wax over your partner.
The trick to using these candles is to be careful how you pour. As you pour the molten wax, soot will collect on the glass. This soot will dramatically increase the temperature of the melted wax if it gets in the wax, so always pour with the same side of the candle up, and never pour over the soot.
Also, as the pictures here show, the melted wax is viscous and tends to adhere to the glass as you pour, so the stream of wax may not leave from the mouth of the jar:
For this reason, always pour the wax from the jar with the bottom of the jar facing toward your partner's feet, not over your partner's face. Otherwise, wax may splash on your partner's face, which is not something you want.
Paraffin wax play
The next step up from using candles to drip hot wax on your partner is to melt blocks of paraffin, which are available from candle making and hobbyist shops, in a double boiler and then use a spoon or a ladle to drip it on your partner.
Start with a space that's clean, well-lit, and comfortable. Use a plastic sheet or tarp over the area where you'll be playing, to prevent wax from getting all over the place. Use a double boiler to melt the blocks of paraffin. Have your partner lie naked on the plastic tarp, then use a ladle to pour the melted paraffin on his or her body.
Paraffin has a low melting point, so the result, while strong, is unlikely to cause injury. You can vary the intensity of the sensation by how high above your partner's body you hold the ladle; the higher you hold it, the cooler the wax will be when it lands.
Paraffin blocks are available in a number of different colors. Using melted paraffin of different colors, you can create colorful, swirling patterns on your lover's body.
For an extra edge, combine the hot paraffin with an ice cube. When the skin is warmed, an intensely cold object can actually feel very hot. Pour the paraffin over your partner's chest, arms, or legs, then peel it back when it hardens and stroke the newly-exposed skin with an ice cube. Most likely, your partner will perceive the ice as being intensely hot, and the sensation this produces is very interesting indeed. Alternating back and forth between an ice cube and melted paraffin intensifies the effect of both.
When you're pouring large amounts of wax, as from a paraffin double boiler or from a jar candle, care should be taken to prevent wax from pooling and flowing in undesired places. For example, if you pour wax over your partner's stomach or lower back, it may pool and then run down between your partner's legs, which may be a more intense sensation than you really want. You can place one hand on your partner's body to block the flow of wax down nooks and crannies while pouring with your other hand.
What you'll need
Paraffin candles are easy to find at just about any store. The cheap grocery store "emergency candles" are pure paraffin without additives or plasticizers, so they are excellent for beginners.
If you use jar candles, which you can find at candle stores (or even make yourself), talk to the salesperson or read the label to make sure they are pure paraffin. Don't use beeswax candles or candles with plasticizers or hardeners in them; these tend to burn hotter.
The definitive book on temperature play is The Toybag Guide to Hot Wax and Temperature Play. As its name suggests, this compact reference guide is intended to fit in a toy bag and be carried with you easily, and it covers everything from basic safety to advanced wax techniques.