How to play with fire.
In the realm of gateway kink, there are few finer soft-core entry points than candle play. Whether you’re going soft-lit for ambiance, leaning into a particularly stimulative, erotic scent, or exploring the allure of dripping oil, candles are among the more versatile and attainable tools available to you in the bedroom. And they’re just as effective in the realm of decor as they are orgasm aids. So, next time you’re looking to (literally) heat things up with your partner, perhaps the best tool at your disposal is already by your bedside. For the candle play novice, here’s what you need to know to get started:
Choose an erotic scent
Typically, you think of aphrodisiacs as food-specific (oysters, chocolate, et al), but au contraire, scents can be just as erotic. And thus, whilst selecting scented candles for your home, you can, in fact, tailor your choices to the olfactory essences most likely to help you get in the mood. Vanilla is a natural aphrodisiac, jasmine and sandalwood have been utilized as sensual stimulants for centuries, and ginger, as a scent, is known to boost the circulatory system—which can help boost morale in bed. Next time you find yourself candle shopping, do a quick google search on the most central ingredients. It might be worth narrowing your options down by way of aphrodisiac appeal.
Don’t attempt play with any old candle
While it might be tempting to grab the nearest tea light on your bedside table when a little sensual wax play sounds stimulative, for the sake of your (and your partner’s) skin, we urge you to be sure you’re making use of a candle that’s meant for this purpose. Not only will that random cupboard candle likely result in some serious burns (and possibly a prompt trip to urgent care), but likely, the wax won’t melt or drip in quite the way you’re expecting. Designated massage candles—of which there are plenty on the market—will heat oil to just the right temperature and consistency, douse your skin with essential oils, and aid you in your pleasure (rather than, well, pain).
Consider your sheets
While getting a little messy can be fun, if you’re particularly attached to your sheets, be sure to plan around candle play. Knowing full well that the stuff is hard to clean up—and will likely make contact with whatever surface you’re on—throw down a towel, ditch your most beloved nightgown, and play freely without fear of forever tainting your linens.
As delightful as it is to lean into the heat of the moment, do know that you’ll need your massage candle to burn for about 15 minutes for the oil to heat up appropriately. So before you get too riled up, make sure your candles are lit. Think of it like pre-heating the oven. And on that note, once your oil is warm and soft and ready to go, be sure to blow out the flame before you get to dripping.
Here’s the thing: You are quite literally playing with fire. Which is sexy, yes, but also dangerous. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to lose sight of all the standard concerns that come with doing horizontal acrobatics alongside a lit flame. If you’re leaving candles lit for ambiance, be sure they’re far away from you (and nowhere near anything else that’s particularly flammable). And when you’re through, don’t forget to blow ‘em out. Then, on the dripping oil end, make sure you’re communicating with your partner vocally. That threshold between pleasure and pain can be complicated, and you’ll want to make sure you both know where you’re at.