Chemical ‘All Natural’ Play
Natural oils, herbs, spices, roots and seeds are great ways to incorporate different sensations into a scene while keeping things ‘all natural’. Think about the type of sensation you want to achieve; cool and tingly, hot and spicy, warm and relaxing and find a natural product to meet your needs. Consider natural essential oils like peppermint, spearmint or eucalyptus; cool and tingly with warming undertones. Herbs like a refreshing mint, or the strong scent of coriander, lavender and lemongrass. The pungent kick of ginger, horseradish, garlic and wasabi or spice up your partner’s life by mixing a little cinnamon powder, cayenne pepper or chilli powder in a little olive oil and applying it little by little building heat and intensity to all the ‘right’ places.
The central nervous system reacts to whatever the sensory system tells it is going on. Therefore, the pattern of activity from pain and warm nerve fibers triggers both the sensations and the physical reactions of heat or cold, including sweating and flushing.
Spicy foods or chemicals excite the receptors in the skin that normally respond to heat, fooling the system into reacting. When we eat spicy food, or apply it to the skin, a burning sensation spreads across the area. If we eat the food, the mucous membranes, which protect the lungs from harmful substances, go into overdrive, making the nose run. The body trying to remove the heat triggers a surge of blood, which dilates the blood vessels, causing the body temperature to shoot up, triggering a full on sweat meant to evaporate the heat away. A full-blown reaction to the spicy food is born.
Similarly menthol, eucalyptus oil and other cooling agents have long been used to cool or numb areas to relieve muscle or bone pain. We still don’t understand exactly how it works, but one way it may act is by activating the same nervous receptors as spices. Just like your mouth feels numb when you eat peppermint, applying menthol on your skin activates the cold-sensing nerves making the area go numb. Menthol can also bind to another receptor that can also produce a numbing effect.
The sensations produced by menthol and spices are accidents of human physiology, we obviously did not evolve receptors to specifically react to these compounds. The chemicals fool pain receptors whose real purpose is to register critical events, like damage to the skin or exposure to toxic substances and the inflammation that often results. The tenderness around an injury is caused in part by the response of these same nerves to chemicals released in the skin. We can therefore take a nervous response that normally signals danger and turned it into something pleasurable. By applying various natural substances or extracts we can fool the nervous system into reacting to various stimuli, stimulating a wealth of reactions.
Health and Safety
Essential oils, herbs and spices can be very potent especially in their purest form. Do an allergy test prior to using it in your micro-scene. Food allergies are very serious and tend to affect people’s breathing because of the swelling caused by the allergic reaction. When testing, have an antihistamine handy. Test whatever oil, herb or spice you are using on the inside of your arm. It’s sensitive enough to test your body’s responses, but hardy enough to not affect your breathing or sensitive areas if you have a reaction. Rub the substance into the inside of your bare arm and watch the area. It should be noted that with this form of play some minimal skin irritation can be expected; tingling, cool, warm sensations and slight redness is considered a ‘normal’ response. We are defining a reaction as an instance when the skin turns red quickly, swells, or blisters or you have a flushed face or trouble breathing. Any of those symptoms? You are having an allergic reaction. Take the antihistamine, consult a doctor about your reaction. It should go without further medical treatments, 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, but safety first.
FOR MORE SAFETY TIPS CHECK OUT CHEMICAL PLAY
While washing the natural products off with water seems like an obvious solution, many of the products use are carrier oil, so therefore ARE NOT water soluble. Using water will only spread the products around further, worsening the sensations and not neutralizing or removing them.
- Milk – for neutralising spicy or oil based agents.
- Bread – for neutralising spicy or oil based agents.
- Vinegar – natural neutralizer, affordable and commonly found.
- Olive oil – natural neutralizer commonly found.
- Natural Aloe Vera – from the plant not a gel or lotion.
How Do Essential Oils Work?
Essential oils enter the body in three ways depending on the oils classification. They can be:
- Applied to the skin (topical)
- Inhaled (aromatic)
- Ingested (dietary supplement)
Make sure you check the essential oils label thoroughly so you know if the oil is in its pure form and classified as topical, aromatic or dietary supplement before you decide how and where to use it safely in a scene. Diluting pure essential oils with a carrier oil is a critical safety practice when using essential oils. Essential oils alone are volatile; they begin to dissipate as soon as they are applied.
The most common forms of chemical play using essential oils are done topically by applying the oil(s) directly onto the skin. The active chemicals in essential oils are absorbed by the skin, understanding how they are absorbed is important. Different factors can also affect the absorption through the skin. If you do impact play or even just massage the area first, it will increase circulation in that area, causing an increase in absorption of essential oils. Heat will likewise increase circulation and thus enhance absorption. Some researchers report that essential oils may be more readily absorbed from skin locations with a greater concentration of sweat glands and hair follicles; balls, groin, inner thighs, top of your buttcrack/small of your back, upper lip, forehead, back of the neck, soles of the feet, palms of the hands, armpits, back of the knees.
The Types of Essential Oils
Firstly it is important to remember that not everyone “feels” everything the same way… so, what is ‘hot’ or ‘warm’ for one, may not be ‘hot’ or ‘warm’ for another. If you are someone who does not consider some, one, or any of the listed oils as ‘hot’ or even ‘warm’ then that is fantastic. Remember it does not mean that the person you are about to use the oil on/with will not find it ‘warm’ or ‘hot’ so even if it is not ‘hot’ to you, you will still want to err on the side of caution and warn your play partner(s) that it may be “hot” to them.
The ‘hot’ essential oils
- Cinnamon Bark
The list of ‘warm’ essential oils is fairly substantial so I have only listed some of the more commonly known oils.
‘Warm’ – this means they may feel warm on the skin or in the mouth and in the genital regions. Again, not everyone “feels” the same so you may be someone who can handle any or all of these oils without diluting . . . just remember to err on the side of caution and allow those who are new to essential oils to know about the “hot” and “warm” oils so they can make an informed decision and proceed with caution . . . start by diluting the oil and work toward “neat” if they so desire.
- All Eucalyptus
- Black Pepper
- Spanish Sage
Herbs and Spices
Spices are generally thought of as bark, fruit, or seed parts, while herbs are usually considered fresh plant leaves. There are lots of herbs and spices that can be chopped, crushed, pureed and blended with a small amount of a natural carrier oil such as coconut, olive, sunflower, almond or vegetable oil before being used in sensation play and chemical play scenes.
THE HERBS (fresh and/or dried)
- Spanish Sage
THE SPICE RACK
- Five spice
- Chilli flakes
- Cayenne pepper
- Szechuan peppercorns
- Black peppercorns
- Mustard seeds
- Mustard powder
- Smoked paprika
- Curry powder
- Ground ginger
- Ginger root (fresh)
- Nutmeg (fresh)
In BDSM, there are chemicals, floggers, canes, and other things that will invoke sensations, inflict some pain or even some pleasure. But did you know you can find similar tools of the trade in nature? Here are some plants you can use during your scenes, as well as an aftercare specimen…
- Single, thin branches are good for light impact play or bundled together for birching.
- Thicker ones can be used like canes
- Long, thin, flexible branches can be bunched together to make a flogger
The younger stalks can be used to make your own canes.
Roses can be naughty or nice and can be a delightful predicament. The petals are soft and fragrant and can be lightly dragged across the skin to tickle and stimulate. The stems have those intimating thorns and can be used in impact play, abrasion play, sensation play or as a good mindfuck.
Bunch and tie these together to make a sensual, scented flogger. Since they are light they can be run over the body for sensation play with a little swat here and there.
Stinging nettles have been used for centuries in many unique ways, but It is still used today in BDSM mainly as a punishment.
The green leaves look like something from the peppermint family, however, get a microscopic close-up of the stems and you’ll see tiny barbs that function like hypodermic needles. Brushing up against them will “inject” natural chemicals that cause the skin to rise into blister-like bumps and feel like you’ve been stung. The initial irritation can be intense, but a dull burning and itching can last for 2-3 days depending on the type of nettle and the area it was inflicted on.
There is a huge range of plants that register on the Scoville scale which indicates the amount of capsaicin present. Remember that most of the heat comes from the seeds and membrane (those soft, white veins on the inside of the pepper). Keep, take away or feed separately and enjoy the show!
WARNING: Anything containing capsaicin is only for the mouth or external use. It should not go in the urethra, vagina or the anus. The membranes are very delicate and high-level hot peppers can create so much irritation, it can cause open wounds.
There is no better use for ginger in kink than figging. Carve a butt plug out of fresh ginger root, insert in your subs ass and let their muscle contractions squeeze the natural oils from the ginger. Sit back and enjoy the show.
Because dacryphilia is an interesting kink and onions make nice tears.
Cut a lemon, orange or lime in half and rub it over ruffed up skin, or after impact play for a sharp sting. Use in sensory play, to cleanse the palate or under the nose for a fresh citrus scent.
Aloe vera is a bonus it can hurt or it can heal. The sides are lined with sharp hooks, but the inside is filled with soothing gel that is great for aftercare from an impact scene or abrasion play.
Contributors: Researched, written and published by Mistress Michelle and Umlindi.
These educational topics wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and dedication from our Dom(me)sLife contributors – Thank you MM