FIRE PLAY: The Submissive’s Beginner Guide

A branding iron and a lit flame

This article is a beginners guide to fire play and is addressed to the submissive. But before we can begin, it is “small print disclaimer” time.

(The disclaimer: Fire play is one of the most dangerous types of BDSM play. It should not be attempted without a skilled Top who is experienced in the art. Simply reading about it will not be sufficient. Thus, this article is simply an overview, not a “how-to.” It will, however, give you pointers to evaluate whether your Dom/me knows what he/she is doing. No matter what, if you decide to attempt fireplay, you are doing so at your own risk. Done improperly, fire play can severely burn your skin or even burn your house down.)

Fire play, as opposed to ice play, has real serious safety concerns surrounding it. After all, when is the last time you saw a house go up in ice? (Ice play does have dangers; burning down the neighborhood is not one of them.) Fire is, and will always be, perilous. The best way to begin is be sure you are playing safely. When you begin, make sure you are in the hands of an expert; thus any dangers are kept to a minimum. Much like skydiving, the risks multiply exponentially when the person packing your chute is incompetent. That said, what exactly is fireplay and how should you begin?

Fireplay consists of swabbing a portion of the skin with a thin layer of 70% (maximum) isopropyl alcohol and setting it on fire for a very short period of time. Those who experience it claim that not only is the sense of (real) danger a rush, but there is also the warm sensual sting of the fire as it caresses — and lightly burns — the skin.

If you are combining bondage with fire play, avoid using handcuffs or other slow release items. Rope – with a pair of sharp surgical scissors at the ready – is the way to go. As with any other BDSM scene, safewords – and in this case a safe signal, too – should be agreed upon beforehand. Since hair burns, and burns fast, only hairless areas of the body should be used for fireplay. Typically, the back and the upper shoulders are chosen. If you have long hair, tie it up out of the way or cover it with a wet bathing cap or some such flameproof covering.

Your Dom/me, who will guide your through your first fire play scene, will check for, and remove, all flammable items in the play area. (That leaves out ever attempting it in bed!) He/she will also assemble the tools of fire play next to the play area. These usually consist of a steel bowl, a bottle of 70% isopropyl alcohol, the surgical scissors, a number of two or four inch gauze squares, a bowl of cool water with a cloth dipped in it, a plain butane cigarette lighter (not a torch), a violet wand or candles to light the flame, a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit. If all these items are not close by, or your Top is haphazard or sloppy in his approach, it is time to bail.

The Dom/me will pour the alcohol into the steel bowl and dip one of the gauze squares into the alcohol and rub a thin, dripless layer across the hairless skin. He/she will then light the alcohol and, right after the flaming WHOOSH (what a rush!), will immediately cool the area with the wet cloth. Ice can be also be incorporated into fireplay as well. Switching between fire and ice can produce intense sensations.

The key to enjoying fire play is to relax. This is best accomplished by playing with someone who is very accomplished in this area. If you do otherwise, you are playing with fire!

By BaadMaster
After a ten year run as head writer for the legendary, and an equally long run as the host of the hit internet show “Baadmaster’s Dungeon,” we are pleased to welcome the one and only Baadmaster to KinkWeekly. His thoughts about all things BDSM will now appear regularly on these pages. From the mental aspects of D/s to the nuts and bolts of S&M play, Baadmaster will cover every facet of this ever expanding lifestyle.



  1. Thanks again for the 101!

  2. Chris Ocelot says:

    As a fire eater and spinner and someone who has experience with hotter fuels on flesh I’m looking into fire play as a sensual practice. A key piece of pyro kit that was left out is the large wet bath towel for a burning person and possibly a sealed container for your fuel rather than an open bowl. A small paint can in a larger can (both with a lid, both made of metal) would probably be a better way to store fuel and possibly even adding a third person to act as “fire safety” and watch over the play session would be a good idea.

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