Fire has many attractions beyond fetish and bdsm, because it stirs our primal and primitive senses. But it can be incorporated into bdsm play in a wide range of ways. Our ways tend to be big and crude, require some preparation due to safety issues, and there’s a lot of safety information in this post. But even if you’re just playing with a couple of candles, take care, because setting fire to your bedroom lampshade causes a whole lot of hassle – and setting fire to your bedsheets is only fun if it’s a metaphorical fire and not a real one.
To digress for a moment, Velvet Tripp is pagan through-and-through, while Fulani just thinks the credo of ‘Do as ye will an’ harm ye none’ is a good basic moral code. Not that that’s important, except to explain that this is the kind of thing we do in front of an audience, and a long way from anything (cars, houses, tents and so on) that might catch fire. Unless you have at least an acre of garden DO NOT DO THIS AT HOME!Anyway… fire flogging is quite spectacular. However, and obviously, it can also be dangerous, and requires a lot of care and attention if it is to be done with any reasonable degree of safety.
In particular, you need to ensure:
– the person being flogged either has very short hair or has it tucked well away from any flames.
– the person being flogged is naked, or at least any clothing is well out of the way. Clothes can catch fire.
– there are fire extinguishers instantly available. Water may be an option but be aware that burning paraffin can just float on it. CO2 extinguishers are better.
– spare paraffin containers and other burnables need to be well out of harm’s way. This also means preventing the risk of them being knocked over by spectators or set fire to by a careless smoker.
– those being flogged, doing the flogging, and anyone else involved have not been drinking or doing anything else that might make them lose concentration.
– the audience is well out of harm’s way, if necessary behind a safety barrier of some kind.
– since it’s usually done at night, so the flames are easily seen, those involved should have checked and set up the area earlier, during daylight. Check there are no obstructions on the ground, etc. etc. Also make sure a torch is available.
– what’s the ground like? Dry grass, especially long grass, will burn. Make sure you’re not going to set fire to the area you’re performing on. If necessary, hose down the ground!
– if restraints are involved there needs to be extra consideration for safety. Who’s going to deal with the situation if the person doing the flogging has managed to set themselves and their victim on fire? Can the victim be released quickly (as in, within a few seconds)? Is any stock of paraffin far enough away not to pose a threat? What’s the safeword? And so on.
The flogger we use is extremely home-made – about 8 strands of wicking secured to a couple of feet of old broom handle with a jubilee clip. Soaked in paraffin for a couple of minutes it makes a big, scary flame – and if you’re holding it, remember it’s got to be kept spinning all the time it’s burning. Otherwise the strands hang down and the flame will take all the skin off your hand.
The victim: I wipe down Velvet’s back with a damp cloth. A thin layer of water is a reasonable extra precaution to prevent burns. ONLY the back/buttocks, and only with the victim standing or bent at the waist; trying to flog someone’s front risks facial burns, scorched pubic hair (unless shaved of course) and other nasties.
The flogging relies on speed. It looks spectacular but the ends of the flogger strands are only in contact with skin for a tiny fraction of a second. So the victim does get a certain amount of heat, but the main effects are the roar of the flames as the flogger spins and what looks to an audience like a circle of flame consuming someone.
Don’t go for a ‘hit’ every time the flogger swings. Give skin time to cool a bit: maybe a couple of quick brushes on someone’s back with the end of the flogger, then move away for several seconds before doing it again. And if someone has a hairy back, have them shave it first!
We don’t have any usable pics of Velvet being fire-flogged, so the one above is him flogging someone else.
The pic at the head of this post, by the way, comes from Fulani swinging six feet of burning kevlar rope around. The rope is attached to a short chain and this links to a handle made from an 18-inch length of broom handle. While six feet of one-inch diameter rope is surprisingly heavy, it can be swung at speed to create the effect you see in the pic.
All the previous warnings apply. Fire doesn’t have favourites and you don’t have a ‘relationship’ with it. If you’re going to try this out, take all the safety precautions mentioned above and try it out with an unlit rope until you have enough skill not to wrap it around yourself. Burns clinics are not fun places.
Fireplay is, it has to be said, a primal and satisfying thing. There are plenty of people who enjoy it, and even an annual festival of fire – we think called the Fire Gathering – you can find out more about from firetoys.co.uk who also sell fireplay equipment and, crucially, have a forum that includes safety topics. Neither the site nor the advice is fetish oriented, but the equipment and advice is the same whatever you’re planning. Just remember that like many fun activities, from rock-climbing to motor racing, observing safety precautions is an absolute must.We do other things with fire as well. Fulani has a fire drum, basically a metal tray on a firm support, onto which a thin layer of paraffin can be poured. Hit it quickly with a firestick and the paraffin that jumps into the air will catch fire while what stays in the tray won’t. It’s an add-on to some of the other stuff we do.
Now for the sales pitch. Fulani’s playing with fire has not only been captured on camera, but the photographer has released the images on a range of products – mugs, posters, mouse pads etc. – on her Zazzle store. Fulani on a mouse pad? Who’d have believed it? If you look at the image below and the Fulani logo used on this site, actually, you’ll see the logo is a cropped version of the mousepad pic…Would we benefit financially if you buy stuff there? Frankly, yes. But equally frankly, it would take an awful lot of mouse pads even to make enough pennies to buy the next couple of litres of paraffin and make one or two other firetoys… Finally, just to show what else is available, here’s a skull on an iPhone case that the same photographer has on Zazzle. She’s nothing if not versatile.
Wait – no mention of books and fiction? Well, Fulani’s Secret Circus novel does have a fireplay scene towards the end. But then it’s got a lot of other scenes in it as well, including the steam-powered fucking machine… Time’s a little tight at the moment but when he has time, he’ll do a fire story for the blog.