Fire play (igniting vapour)

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What it is

This form of fire play involves the use of a highly volatile flammable liquid, typically denatured alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, both of which are commonly available. Typically, the liquid is applied to a submissive's bare skin by a brush or swab, and then the vapour from the evaporation of the liquid is ignited with a taper or candle.

Alternatively, a fire wand (as used by some jugglers and by fire breathers) can be soaked in denatured alcohol or isopropyl alcohol and ignited. When the burning end is tapped quickly against a submissive's skin, some of the liquid remains and its vapour briefly burns above the skin.

Preferably get training from someone who already has experience before trying to flame play with your partner.

The effect

The thrill from this activity can come from seeing one's own skin apparently burning, though it is only the vapour above the skin that actually burns. The heat given out by the burning vapour warms the skin and thus contributes to the effect.

Commonly only a small amount of liquid is used, leading to a small amount of vapour and a brief burn.


Care must be taken to ensure that the flame does not reach the eyes, and that the flame is not inhaled. For this reason, flame play on someone's upper chest should not be attempted while the person is sitting or standing because the flames will rise towards their face.

Fire play is best practiced on bare skin. Hair (such as pubic or chest hair) can catch fire and burn down to the follicles leading actual and subcutaneous skin burns.


Fire is always dangerous. The risks of using flames during play include:

  • First, second, and third degree burns, and
  • Setting fire to clothes, towels, furniture, and homes.

Keep a fire extinguisher handy, as well as lots of cold water, ice, and burn cream.


  • Isopropyl alcohol is also known as rubbing alcohol,
  • Denatured alcohol is also known as methylated spirits.

See also