Fire play is the SM technique of applying fire to someone for erotic pleasure. Care should be taken to observe all appropriate safety precautions. In the context of this document, the "bottom" is the person to whom fire is being applied, and the "top" is the person applying the fire.
FIRST AID AND SAFETY
It's helpful to have a fire extinguisher on hand, to do the first play over an area that isn't flammable, to avoid having the bottom wear anything that alcohol could drip into that would then serve as a wick or which would burn, and to avoid the bottom's (head) hair from straying near fire (putting it up is a good idea, as is avoiding the use of flammable hair sprays). It's helpful to have a large cotton wet blanket on hand in case the fire runs away, and the blanket may be used in cases where a fire extinguisher is unavailable.
"Second Skin" works well for burn first aid.
First Degree Burns: Characterized by localized redness. Treatment can include cold water, keeping the burn covered by cool/clean cloths (such as gauze pads), and perhaps using aloe vera and/or mineral oil.
Second Degree Burns: Characterized by blistering. One shouldn't pop blisters; just keep the area clean.
Third Degree Burns: These commonly need medical attention, especially if they are large. They are generally kept covered with clean linens, and treated with Silvadine.
For fire play with alcohol, one may use one's hand to brush out the flame, or block a traveling flame from going higher. If one is going to be doing this, it can be helpful to apply a lotion such as LubriSoft to one's hands first.
It should go without saying that the bottom should not be wearing clothing on the area to which fire will be applied, or which will be anywhere near fire.
It's very helpful to have a few extra saucers on hand, so one has a place to rest the torches.
In general, it's helpful to do fire play in places with good ventilation. If someone has body hair, that will be incinerated in the area to which fire is applied, which can cause a stench unless there is good air circulation.
This may be used to produce a brief, brilliant flash of fire and heat.
It's helpful to have a punk stick to light the flash cotton with.
Don't put the punk or flash cotton in an orifice or mucous membrane - this causes more heat for longer.
The thicker the amount of flash cotton used, the more heat is generated. One may form the flash cotton into long strips, which one lights at the tendril ends. If one twists the flash cotton, it burns for longer.
Keep a glass of ice water handy.
Don't keep the flash cotton in enclosed spaces near sources of heat.
In Seattle, flash cotton is available at most magic shops.
Obtain a series of 14" length 3/8" diameter dowels. One sands/bevels the ends so they don't leave splinters or poke through the end of the torch. About 1 1/2" down from an end of the dowel, use a knife to make a core/indentation all the way around the dowel.
One can then use a paper towel soaked in linseed oil to brush the dowel with so that it doesn't burn. It can be retreated every once in a while during its lifetime.
Take a Curity (or other brand) 4"x4" gauze pad, and unfold it. Refold it as necessary so the pad has a consistent thickness and appropriate area. Put some non-scented pure (preferably sterile) cotton balls in the middle of the gauze pad, and fold the pad and balls over the scored end of the dowel. The end of the gauze pad should reach past the score in the dowel. Take some Nylex waxed thread (about a 6" length - this thread is available at Tandy Leather, etc.) and tie the pad to the dowel, having the thread be protected from sliding by being in the scored channel. Make several turns, tie with a secure knot or two, and trim the thread and gauze tails.
It's helpful to have two torches, as one does fire play. One can be unlit, and used to apply the lighting fluid. The other can be lit, and used to light the fluid.
Dip the torches in 70% rubbing alcohol before you light them.
You may blow them out when you are done, and then possibly squeeze out some of the extra rubbing alcohol before putting them away (once they're cool enough to do so). It's then helpful to put them in a plastic bag so they don't cause a stench.
It's helpful to have a couple of containers (with a low center of gravity, so they can't be tipped easily) to contain the fluid used for lighting.
The primary fluid used for fire play is 70% rubbing alcohol (isopropyl).
Other common fire play toys include flaming gloves and flaming floggers; other common varieties of fuel include 91% isopropyl alcohol, mousse, hand sanitizer, super-proof rum, grain alcohol, and flash cotton. As with many forms of BDSM play, the "proper" tools, fuels, and safety guidelines are often in hot contention between players.
If one wishes, one may use as a lighting fluid 70% rubbing alcohol mixed with liquid soap. This will cause the flame to last longer, and helps prevent the rubbing alcohol from running when it is used on someone's back. One can put food coloring in this container to distinguish it from the one with plain rubbing alcohol. For cleaning up afterwards, regular rubbing alcohol will clean off the soap/rubbing alcohol mixture.
Votive candles may be used as a source of flame, possibly contained in a saucer that can't be easily tipped.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF PLAY
One may pass the torch near someone (perhaps over their back, which is the primary place over which fire is applied). Blowing on the flame will produce more intense/more radiant heat on the area the flame is being passed over. The area just below the scapula works well for this sort of play.
One can also tap the area in question with the torches.
The most common type of fire play is to brush an area with the lighting fluid of choice and to light it. The brushing may be accomplished with an unlit torch or brush, and the lighting may be accomplished with the lit torch. Common areas for this sort of play are the back and the hands.
On the back, one may brush patterns of fluid and light them. The flame will travel the lighting fluid path. A very beautiful pattern may be made by using an unlit torch to brush a "V" pattern, starting near the base of the spine and going up to the two shoulders. Lighting the pattern at the base of the spine will cause the blue flame to travel up the back in an exquisite manner.
Some people (especially those who like psychological play) enjoy making fireballs. This may be done with a spray bottle filled with 70% isopropyl and a BC lighter. It's important to watch for alcohol mists which may end up on the floor.
Of course the traditional sort of heat play is to hold one's hand a safe distance above a candle, or to drip hot wax on someone. With hot wax play, it's important to use unscented paraffin candles (not beeswax). The farther the distance one drops the hot wax from, the cooler it will be when it hits the skin. One can start high, and work down to within the tolerance level of the bottom. Another option (which is especially viable if one has a butane torch for heat application) is to tape a bunch of paper-free crayons together (different colors), possibly melt the base together and remove the tape, and then hold the crayon bundle above the bottom, and cause drops to drip off by applying the torch to them. One may "paint" off individual drops of individual colors with this approach, or twirl the whole bundle under the flame to cause a series of drops to fall off quickly.
The feeling of a brand may be simulated by having the bottom blindfolded, and touching their skin with an ice cube.
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