Some like it hot – a primer on Chemical Play

As always, let’s get the boring stuff out of the way first. That means…dun, dun dunnnn…..HEALTH & SAFETY

Here is the most important thing to know about Chemical Play – you can’t take it off. Read that again, understand it, believe it. For this reasons some testing and evaluation is critical.

When testing have benadryl handy, chemicals you have not used before can cause serious side effects. Food allergies are very serious and tend to affect people’s breathing because of the swelling caused by the allergic reaction.

First and foremost: DO NOT DO TEST IN A PERSON’S MOUTH.

Instead, test whatever chemical you are using on the inside of your arm. It’s sensitive enough to test your body’s responses, but hardy enough to not effect your breathing or sensitive areas if you have a reaction. Rub the chemical on the inside of your bare arm and watch the area. It should be noted that with chemical play some skin irritation is expected – that’s the point, right? For our purposes we are defining a reaction as a instance when the skin turns red quickly, swells, or blisters or you have a flushed face or trouble breathing. Any of those symptoms?  Then you are having an allergic reaction. Take the Benadryl, consult a doctor about your reaction. It should go without saying that you should only test one thing at a time. I know it sounds scary, but food allergies can be unexpectedly dangerous. Usually, though, you’ll be fine.

OK, so you’ve tested, you have supplies on hand if something goes wrong. Now, let’s decide what to use and where.

First, a small sidebar.

Heard of the Scoville scale? Well, I hadn’t until I was writing this article. So, the Scoville scale is a measurement of the spiciness (or piquance) of a chili pepper. Its measured in heat units and the number of Scoville heat units (SHU)

Hot Peppersindicates the amount of capsaicin present. Capsaicin is a chemical compound that stimulates chemoreceptor nerve endings in the skin, especially the mucous membranes which makes you think something is “hot”. OK, for instance, a bell pepper contains no capsaicin at all, and has a Scoville rating of zero (no heat). On the other end of the scale, hot chili peppers like habaneros, have a rating of 200,000 or more That means that you have to dilute the capsaicin about 200,000 times before it becomes a rating of zero. (A Jalapeño is 2,500-10,000 Scoville Units) Find more here. When using peppers, consult this scale and start off on the light side.

Sidebar done.

Now, moving on. Here is a list of chemicals that people like to use –

  • Tiger Balm (heating)
  • Ben Gay, Icy Hot other Mentholated Rubs (heating/cooling depending  on mixture)
  • Cinnamon Oil (heating)
  • Peppermint or Spearmint Oil (cool first, hot later)
  • Massage oils (soothing, sensual, or warming)
  • Baby Oil (Soothing, sensual or warm)
  • Body lotions and creams (soothing sensual or warm)
  • Vicks
  • Capsaicin cream [the capsaicin cream is rough stuff, people who have masturbated with it have some wild stories. Be warned.]
  • Ginger Root
  • Jalapeno Peppers.
  • Wasabi, Horseradish, Mustard – use fresh and use in shorter duration
  • Nettles – (can be used as a lashing implement, some add nettles to floggers)
  • Cinnamon Capsules (I found this on FetLife and can’t wait to try it!) – They are cheap and available at any health stores. Plus, it’s easy to use. Open the capsule and mix with one tablespoon of olive oil. Test it by dipping finger and putting small drop on tongue. Now, to use, put a small quantity in your mouth, roll it around, and mix it well with your saliva. When the feeling in the mouth is almost too hot, gently lick the soft skin on your partner’s nipples, breasts, thighs, and eventually the genitalia. This will get hot quickly for your play partner. Flush your mouth with warm tea when you are done.

A word about Essential Oils

Essential oils can produce an intense sensation. Oils that would give a sensation include pepper, or peppermint. Oils are nice because they can be rubbed on already irritated skin from flogging, whips, or other such play. Now, again, remember safety.

Dilute the oil as necessary, usually with olive oil, lube, or some other substance – don’t add water! Put it in a sturdy spray bottle to mist, or you can drip it on, use with enema, or rub on with your hands.

Alright on to scene negotiation! Here are some things to remember

  • A serious consideration with the application of chemicals is that a chemical exposure can’t be undone.
  • Chemicals don’t react right away. Plan you scene around the time it takes for the sensation to be felt. It’s different for different people, and if communication is key. (CAN YOU FEEL IT NOW??) Alright, this is important – if they can’t feel it, DON’T PUT MORE ON. I can’t stress this enough. Let me say it again. DON’T PUT MORE ON. Move on to something else, try another area, do another type of scene. (“But…but, what if the NEVER feel it?” Yeah, I can hear you asking that. Then the next time you do a scene, try another compound)
  • Also, be careful how many substances you apply… again, sensation may just be starting to build when you decide it’s not working and dollop on something else
  • You should shave the genital area beforehand (if that’s the area you are going to put the chemical on). Direct contact with skin for both the irritant and anything you use to neutralize it are best.
  • Always wear gloves (if you plan to play regularly in BDSM, buy a box – there is always a reason to have them on hand (‘on hand’ hahaha, see what I did there. I’m hilarious. Ahem, moving on…))
  • When you negotiate a scene, ask about allergies. If you know you are going to do a chemical play scene, make sure to ask about tolerance, past experiences, and so on. If you don’t have time to test on skin, consider waiting until another time. (If I need to convince you more just search for YouTube’s videos of men putting Bengay balls. Also, it’s funny.).
  • When you plan your scene, you need to take into account those sensation response times.
  • Heating items can cause burns when applied to mucous membranes (inside the nose, vagina or anus)

Where can you use these chemicals?

For men – On the cock, the balls, the perineum, or as lube for the ass. For women – nipples, inner thighs, ass and some sensitive areas around the vagina (but take into account all the warnings I have given). I have used Ben-Gay as lube for a butt plug in a scene where I bottomed and let me tell you it was an intense feeling.

(Do not use Capsaicin on the head of the cock or in the anal opening (or anywhere extremely sensitive), as it is much more intense. Some subs can build up to it, but be careful. As a domme, I love putting intense heat on some balls.)

*drumroll please* Alright, kinksters. You know health and safety, you know what you want to use, and you have negotiated your play.


(Here is where we normally talk about figging, but I am going to save that for its own post. Look for it in the coming weeks.)

But, but, but….what if something goes wrong?


OK, so you ignored all my advice and you put it on without testing it, or you put too much on, or whatever and you need to stop the burning. Well, you need some neutralizers. If you’re doing a chemical scene, make sure to have at least one of these on hand. A neutralizer is you best bet to stop the sensation as quickly as possible.

A partial list includes:

  • Any of the “caines” – LIdocaine, Lanacane, Solarcaine, Xylocaine, etc. Be careful with the caine family because the concentration is different.
  • Ambesol – this is the stuff you put on your teeth, and it contains Benzocaine
  • Vinegar – natural neutralizer and something easily found
  • Olive Oil – another natural solution
  • Aloe Vera – you knew that already, right?
  • You also can cut the irritants with lube, but they aren’t as effective as the first five listed.

Here is the important part when getting these substances off – AVOID WATER, it will irritate the skin. Especially if you used a cream, many are not water soluble, meaning water will only spread the ointment around, worsening the burning sensation. How long you should avoid water (i.e. a warm shower, which will open your pores and bring you to a new level of discomfort) depends on the chemical. Maximum strength Ben-gay can last for 6-8 hours.

Here’s how to take it off –

  1. Blot off any excess chemical residue with Kleenex, toilet paper, or paper towel. Rubbing the area could cause the chemical to penetrate more.
  2. Saturate a cotton ball, cotton swab, or soft clean cloth in a neutralizer
  3. Blot the affected area with the neutralizer. Blot repeatedly until the sensation lessens. Repeat until the burning sensation lessens.
  4. After times passes, go ahead and wash the affected area cool water and a mild soap to remove the neutralizer, to remove the olive oil, and any remaining chemical.
  5. Pat (DON’T RUB) the area dry with a clean towel.

One last word: In all our posts you may think we are overcautious, and may suspect we are not as diligent in our own play. You might be right, but there is a reason for that. A couple of reasons actually; one, is a universal reason to anyone who has had unfortunate things happen (everyone) – things can go badly in the blink of an eye. In the shower, in the kitchen, walking down the stairs, or in a dungeon – one misstep, one silly mistake that usually doesn’t matter, one inattentive moment and BANG! – you have a serious situation on your hands. In any thing you do, anywhere, I hope that if things go wrong you have the resources to seek medical help, and I urge you to always be truthful with doctors and nurses. They can’t do their job if you aren’t. So, yes, we are diligent in our advice, because we want you to know that you need to be safe, try new things, and always have a plan if things go wrong. The second reason is because there is no license to give this advice, there is no ‘professional’ BDSM license. For this reason, we make sure to liberally salt our advice, tutorials, and posts with safety advice. Probably too much. In the end, use common sense, listen to your body, and above all



*A valuable reference for chemical safety and properties is Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).

Pepper photo credit: this baby is hot Hot HOT! – superhot thai “birds eye” พริกขี้ห chili peppers via photopin (license)

Ms Pomegranate is an experienced sex educator - concentrating on Sexual health in the teen years, and BDSM for beginners. In the scene she is a rope bottom for MrBLK, and domme for all who would venture into her domain. Sex blogger, sex educator, and sexy - talking the taboos!

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