Stories like this usually start with the line, “It all started innocently enough,” but in my life, that’s rarely true. The truth is that I got a message that read, “You’re interested in fire play, right?” It got my attention.
During my years in kink, one of my main joys has been trying new things. I know I won’t like all of them, but I still appreciate having had the experience. Fire play is one of those things that has been on my interest list forever. From staring at candles and bonfires from childhood to learning that it was a kink people explored.
I’m also a safety nut, and fire is very dangerous. As such it isn’t something you can just try on a whim. It requires a great deal of training, and numerous safety precautions. Another understandable barrier is that most venues that hold kink parties don’t allow fire. Insurance rarely covers that sort of thing. So, when it happens at all, fire play is often reserved for outdoor events.
Knowing that, why would people still do it? I don’t have all the answers, but I know from personal experience that it’s that very risk that provides part of the thrill.
Fire play doesn’t cause much pain, but the jitters and nervousness you get when you’re engaging in something risky create a unique high. I suppose that’s why people like roller coasters or skydiving, although I don’t want anything to do with either. I get my risk enjoyment while firmly on the ground.
Fire play done right can be exhilarating.
To illustrate just how dangerous fire play can be, consider this. I spoke to Max Cameron of bondagelessons.com — he’s been involved in kink for 25 years and teaching for 15, and he’s chosen not to engage in fire play at all. According to Max, fire is one of the two most dangerous things kinksters do (along with rope bondage suspension.) He says it’s a matter of risk assessment.
How often does the bad thing happen and how bad is it? Well, when fire goes bad, it’s terrible. Knowing that, why would people still do it? I don’t have all the answers, but I know from personal experience that it’s that very risk that provides part of the thrill.
Author Sienna Saint-Cyr had this to say about playing with fire: “We are taught to fear fire growing up, to stay away from it because it burns, consumes, and destroys. This makes fire play a great way to learn to let go and overcome our fear. "While seeming so terrifying and dangerous, experiencing flame is a way to move the brain into a new state of seeing. A way of being that gets us past fear and into a place of power. This is why I love fire.”
As to my own experience? Well, I couldn’t pass up the chance to try. The friend who invited me has spent time learning and training and was being assisted by an experienced fire-player. Additionally, they brought in someone to stand by with wet towels, fire blankets, and a fire extinguisher. All of these precautions allowed me to enjoy the butterflies in my stomach of knowing I was doing something risky, without tipping over into panic that I might actually be injured.
I started by laying face down, with my hair covered with a wet towel. Alcohol was wiped onto my body with a swab, and then it was set on fire with a small torch made specifically for this kind of play. The longer it was lit, the hotter it got I could feel the fire spread across my skin, consuming the alcohol that had been laid for it. All of this took seconds at most, but I felt it all with great detail. Just before it became too hot to bear, my friend’s hand wiped the fire from my skin, and just like that the fire was out.
This process was repeated again and again; alcohol, fire, hand. First on my back and then moving down my butt, legs, and even feet. It was almost meditative, as I focused all my attention on one part of my body at a time.
I turned over and the same process began on the front of my body. This time I could see some of what was happening, though I mostly chose to keep my eyes closed — the better to focus on sensation. I giggled and shrieked and sighed as I felt everything from a sensual touch to the beginnings of a light burn.
At the end, the lit torch was slowly blown out, right next to my body, so that I could feel the flames brushing against me. It was exhilarating. A kink experience unlike any other. Would I do it again? Maybe. It’s not something to be taken lightly, so it will depend if the right set of circumstances aligns again where I know I’ll be safe. Meanwhile, I’ll say this — folks, don’t try this at home.
Stella Harris is a writer, BDSM educator, and sex & intimacy coach. Through her writing and teaching she explores the complex world of love and lust and helps people explore their desires safely and free of shame.
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