Melts in Your Hands
You may remember the unfortunate love scene between Madonna and Willem Dafoe in 1993's equally unfortunateBody of Evidence—and it may have unnecessarily banished candles, save for mood-setting purposes, from your stable of erotic accessories. Playing with hot wax is not for the squeamish dripper or drippee (if you're lucky, you'll be both), but don't let one guffaw-inducing image keep you from easing into some kink-lite to relieve holiday stress.
A nice introduction to dripping comes courtesy of the Capitol Hill company Body Wax, which has been producing its signature massage candles since 2002. Made from soy wax and fragrance, they're designed to burn clean, and at a lower temperature than regular candles. They please the senses in three ways: by providing that soft, flattering light; by suffusing the air with scents ranging from lavender to "Ecstasy"; and by transforming into all-natural massage oil. After blowing out the candle flame, small amounts of the melted wax, now fragrant and clear, can be rubbed into the skin. It should be done quickly, before the wax starts to harden again, and the operative words here are small amounts. It's been known for testers, overcome with the novelty of the experience, to gleefully dump the remainder of wax on their test subjects, who soon resemble a peeling sunburn victim. A couple of hot drops are enough for an area like your upper back—more than that and hands will skid, not glide, across your aching shoulders. And another disclaimer—hello, Madonna—not for use on "delicate areas."
Body Wax's headquarters is wholesale-only, but you can order the candles online at www.goodvibes.com ($10). Or toss a couple of the vanilla-scented candles ($15) into your lingerie sack at Pacific Place's Victoria's Secret (600 Pine St., 749-9518, www.victoriassecret.com). At Babeland (707 E. Pike St., 328-2914, www.babeland.com), vanilla is also a best seller, along with lavender; the 2-ounce tins go for $10. Recently, they had a surplus of the cucumber scent, and considering the fruit's luscious ubiquity in skin-care products, they should be snatched up now for cheeky stocking stuffers.
Sex and Candy Flavors
If you're looking for oils that aren't flame-enhanced, try Shunga Erotic Art's Erotic Massage Oil ($13.99 for 8 ounces, www.shungaeroticart.com), which can be heated in water for a hotter touch. Made with a blend of cold-pressed oils like almond and grapeseed, and essential oils of ylang-ylang and yohimbe, "Aphrodesia Roses," "Excitation Oranges," and "Passion Apples" infuse the skin with heavenly scents. A related company, Kama Sutra, sells its classic massage oils ($15 for 8 ounces) in the ambiguously earthier scents of Pleasure Garden, Soaring Spirit, and Serenity.
A variation on massage oils, which don't taste as nice as they smell, is Kama Sutra's long-popular Oil of Love, which has a slightly thinner texture and is entirely lickable. The original, minty flavor is Babeland's best seller ($15 for 4 ounces), but Castle Megastore (206 Broadway, 204-0126, www.castlemegastore.com) carries such exotic varieties as Ambrosia, Tangerines and Cream, Strawberries and Champagne, and Tropical Mango ($18.99 each). The Loving Oils gift set ($45.95) gets you a small bottle of each of the traditional flavors: Original, Chocolate Mint, Cherry Almond, Raspberry Kiss, and the scrumptious, warm, cookies-esque Vanilla Crème.
It may have been a while back that you got your first bottle of "rubs warm, blows hot" Emotion Lotion ($7.99 for 4 ounces), which comes in 31 flavors including vanilla, cinnamon, and cherry, but Castle still stocks the old-school brand. They also carry Love Licker, packaged as airplane-sized mini-liquor bottles ($4.99 for 1.76 ounces) in flavors like "Sex on the Beach," "Fuzzy Navel," and "Malibu Screw." A Castle employee favorite, we hear they taste "just like candy."
Want to slather something even more delicious on your lover? Try Babeland's Tom & Sally's Chocolate Body Paint ($12 for 8 ounces), packaged with a paintbrush and made with French chocolate, or their Chocolate Body Powder ($12 for 12 ounces), which comes in a retro silver tin with a purple feather attached. Should you get bored in the bedroom (heaven forbid!), these items do double duty as an ice cream topping and hot chocolate mix.
Have Lube, Will Travel
Now that your bedside table is outfitted with sensual, slippery potions, be sure to take some along on your holiday travels. If discretion is your motto, check out the Mile High Kit ($55 at Babeland or www.milehighkit.com), an 8-inch by 5-inch travel case available in tangerine or silver and filled with massage oil, lube, a personal vibrator, a blindfold, a "do not disturb" door hanger, and other goodies. An all-in-one relaxation remedy kit, it will remind you that anyplace can be like home.