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Fire Play Injury

topic posted Mon, May 19, 2008 - 3:39 PM by 
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I have posted two pictures in the photo section of this list, showing injuries resulting from fire play. Both the top and the bottom are friends of mine, but I was not present at the scene when this happened. The pictures were taken a week afterward. They are posted here with the permission of the bottom but for obvious reasons I am not giving any names.

Both the top and the bottom are highly experienced in BDSM play but not with fire play. They had done several fire scenes previously using alcohol, and also cotton flash thread, These burns were caused using narrow strips of flash paper which was folded in half lengthwise and tented on the skin, then set on fire. The longer of the two burns is on the bottom's arm from the wrist almost up to the elbow. The smaller, but worse-looking burn is on the front of the wrist. I'm not a medical expert but they appear to me to be serious first degree and second degree burns and will probably leave permanent scars.

Questions I did not ask, but wished I could have, include "Did the top try it on himself first and if not, why not?" "Why didn't you start with just a small piece of the paper?" "Why did you do it a second time when the first one caused such a bad burn? "

They both thought that the flash paper would be similar in intensity to flash cotton, but obviously that's not the case.

Are there any fire play experts here who can add some commentary, (oher than the obvious such as, "Gee that was really dumb." )? I've been interested in trying fire play , but after seeing those burns for myself I am not sure it's worth the risk. Thanks.
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  • Re: Fire Play Injury

    Mon, May 19, 2008 - 3:57 PM
    I've used both flash cotton and paper in pryo effects and my experience is that they are too unpredictable for safe skin play. With both flash paper and flash cotton, the moisture content can make a huge difference in the intensity of the flash. So what you thought was safe on a humid day may be much hotter on a really dry one. Also if anything compresses the paper or cotton together it will burn much faster. Flash cotton will go off like a fire cracker if it is rolled up.
  • Re: Fire Play Injury

    Mon, May 19, 2008 - 8:32 PM
    I have done a lot of fireplay workshops and the first thing I tell my students is you can learn the technique in ten minutes, and it takes less than ten seconds to do something stupid and lose control.

    You need to practice technique on your own thighs before you even start on someone else. That gives you a gauge of how long you can leave a flame on, and what it feels like. As for things like flash cotton and flash paper, you need to EXTENSIVELY try them on yourself first. They don't behave the same way that alcohol does, and it's really easy to find that you've used too much. They burn MUCH hotter than alcohol.

    So if you're looking for advice, make sure your fireplay top is experienced.

    Domina
  • Re: Fire Play Injury

    Mon, May 19, 2008 - 10:23 PM
    You've already gotten some good commentary, so I'm not sure if my experience will add much.

    I do a good amount of fire play and I do use flash cotton and occasionally flash paper. I use small amounts, just enough for a quick flash then gone. I've personally found that flash paper seems to burn hotter so I use very small pieces when I use at all.

    One of the things I do is I pre-prepare my cotton and paper, getting just the amount I feel comfortable using. Doing that before I play helps insure I won't have too much to burn too hot. And Tim is dead-on, compressing it makes it burn much hotter. Sometimes I'll do that, sometimes not.

    I also test a small amount on the person first, just rubbing the paper or cotton against their skin. I've met several people who have skin reactions to the paper. I limit the amount of cotton I use in scene, it's flashy but not as much fun as other forms of fire play for me.

    I agree with Domina on this one, it doesn't take much to lose control of the fire.

    Again echoing Domina, if you are interested in fire play, make sure the top is experienced with fire. Ask them for references, ask them to describe a fire play scene to you. If you're gun-shy about flash cotton/flash paper make that a hard limit, there are many ways to play with fire.
    • Re: Fire Play Injury

      Tue, May 20, 2008 - 12:21 PM
      Part of my class is for the students to hear stories about experienced people who did something a little bit careless or stupid. Many of them actually about my own experiences. NO ONE is immune to that one moment they aren't paying perfect attention. Fireplay is one where that moment can lead to SERIOUS damage. I've left one scar on a play partner, and while she points out it's contact play, and things can happen, She has a scar she didn't plan on, and I have a guilt trip that will last the rest of my life. Remember that fire getting away from you can cause death, not just a scar. You can't be too careful. (And by the way, the scar she got happened DURING a fireplay class.)

      Domina
      • Re: Fire Play Injury

        Tue, May 20, 2008 - 1:01 PM
        Add mine to yours, Domina.

        I also left my stunt bottom with a burn scar during a class I was teaching. Am I still guilty? Yes.

        On the up side, the class did get to see that a moment can make a difference. I try to instill a healthy respect of fire (and a bit of fear as well) in my class. That incident sent that message home.
  • Re: Fire Play Injury

    Tue, May 20, 2008 - 3:07 AM
    Until you understand really well how flash cotton and flash paper work, I wouldn't let someone else use them on you.

    BTW- I would recommend to your friend that she try using Mederma cream on her burns. My friend had second and third degree burns on her stomach from spilling a pot of boiling potatoes and water all down her front. The Mederma cream really made a difference on the scarring. Also, taking lots of vitamin E and using the oil on the scars can help to make them much lesser.
    • Re: Fire Play Injury

      Tue, May 20, 2008 - 8:26 AM
      -robin brings up a very good point.

      Using flash cotton/flash paper can be tricky, even having knowledge about it doesn't mean you'll escape injury. I've given myself a couple of burns along the way.

      Tim pointed out how humidity changes the nature of the flash & burn, other things affect as well, including skin hydration. I was doing fire play for quite some time before I started incorporating flash cotton into a scene. Even now, I test cotton to see how hot the flash is before using it.

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