Fire is a romantic element, symbolic of love and sexual desire. Hence characters are frequently portrayed as getting intimate around fireplaces or candle lights.
In the Victorian language of flowers, red camellias mean "you are a flame in my heart." When a passionate relationship ends, they say "the fire's gone out" and the ex- becomes an "old flame." When love goes unrequited, they say the unrequited is "still carrying the torch for them." Love at First Sight or a sudden re-"kindling" can be described as "sparks flying." Many songs use this.
This is why many dance scenes involve dancing around bonfires because of its romantic, intimate atmosphere and vibe.
Contrast with Snow Means Love and Electric Love. Can overlap with Sexy Discretion Shot when the fireplace is what the camera pans away to when the couple get hot and heavy. Compare Fire of Comfort which deals with the notion of comfort/domesticity/home. For more fire motifs, see Fanatical Fire and Burning with Anger. Completely unrelated to Flirting Under Fire, unless bombs, napalm, or flamethrowers are included to "ignite" the romance. See also Romantic Candlelit Dinner and Fireworks of Love. Sister Trope to Fiery Sensuality.
- Lady Death: A rather disturbing variation occurs with the Death Queen and Behemoth. He walks in on her when she is using flames for sexual pleasure and they start having sex.
- The Sandman: Endless Nights: Kara's description of her wedding night:
"And in our room, we made love like flames: opening, blending, burning."
- A few romantic fireplace encounters take place in Empath: The Luckiest Smurf. One takes place where Empath and Smurfette, who were at point still just friends, cuddle with each other on a cold winter night. The other takes place in an Imaginarium setting where Papa Smurf lies with a fantasy version of his deceased wife ready to embrace... when he is interrupted by his son Empath reminding him that he needs to take care of settling Baby Smurf in for the night. Empath's marriage consummation with Smurfette on their honeymoon takes place near a lighted fire on the beach.
- In the live action 101 Dalmatians (1996) movie, Roger and Anita's romance begins with them drying their clothes by the fire. When things get clearly romantic, there's a lingering shot of the clothes catching on fire before a Smash Cut to the characters getting married.
- In Garden State, the male lead confesses his affection for the female lead in front of a fireplace.
- At the end of Hellboy, both the title character and Liz, who has fire powers, seal the deal with a kiss while the flames she emits cover them.
- Highlander III: The Sorcerer: As Connor and Alex consummate their attraction and kiss, they are framed by the fire burning in the foreground. The fires are intercut by a row of candles as they have their love scene in bed.
- In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Judge Claude Frollo's Villain Song compares his "burning desire" for Esmeralda as "Hellfire in [his] skin". He sings in front of a huge fireplace, sees a fiery version of Esmeralda in there and ends his musical number with flame-like shadows surrounding the scenery.
- In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Charlie and Mary get close in front of a fireplace. But then the parents interrupt their date.
- In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, this trope is taken quite literally as Scott's Power of Love sword is of the flaming type.
- Silent Nights: There are candles everywhere when Inger and Kwame make love for the first time.
- Star Wars Attack of the Clones: Anakin and Padme first acknowledge and talk about their budding secret relationship illuminated only by a fire place late at night.
- Parodied in Top Secret!, when Nick and Hillary first fall in love. As they begin kissing, the camera pans over to a romantic fireplace. They roll over in their embrace, in front of the fireplace... and the camera pans to where another fireplace is burning. They roll over again, in front of that fireplace, and the camera pans to yet another fireplace.
- Later, they share a tender kiss while parachuting. The camera pans away from them... to show a fireplace also suspended by parachute.
- In WALL•E, a recovered Zippo lighter becomes one of many Arc Symbols for the love between WALL-E and EVE.
- At the end of Pyramids, Pteppic says Ptraci and Chidder will get along like a house on fire.
- In The Hunger Games, District 12 has a wedding tradition where the newly-weds build a fire and toast bread together. Peeta admits that the tradition is old-fashioned, but nobody feels married until after the toasting.
- In The Divine Comedy, fire is often associated with the love of God towards its creation. On the other hand, many of the types of ironic punishment described in the first part don't include fire, but darkness and even ice on the lowest circle. Satan himself is stuck on the ice of Giudecca as punishment for having rebelled against God.
- In The Golden Pot by E. T. A. Hoffmann, the background involves one of the characters burning his beloved with the flames of love (she isn't killed, merely transformed and flies away). In despair, he bursts into flames himself and incinerates the garden around him (yeah, it's weird like that).
- In Anne with an E, when Gilbert goes to express his feelings for Anne, the scene is shot with a bonfire blazing behind her. The image of Anne's red hair illuminated by the flames is striking, and Gilbert appears transfixed.
- Subverted in Cowboy Bebop (2021), where scenes of Spike having sex with Julia is intercut with Vicious torturing and murdering a man, with the roaring fireplace Match Cut with petrol being poured on the corpse and set on fire.
- In Girl Meets World, Lucas and Maya have a romantic moment by a campfire in Texas.
- Interview with the Vampire (2022): In "In Throes of Increasing Wonder...", Lestat's living room is partly lit by a fireplace and candles, and their flickering glow illuminate Louis and Lestat's naked bodies as they make love for the first time. The flames heighten the romance and eroticism inherent in Lestat's seduction of Louis, who wishes to keep his new lover warm in more ways than one: emotionally (he wants Louis to feel loved), physically (Lestat wishes to provide Louis a beautiful hearth and home where they can live together), and sexually (he wants Louis to feel desired).
- The Pretender, episode "Ranger Jarod": Jarod and Nia admit their feelings for each other in a cabin lit by a wood fire. When they start to act on their feelings, the camera pans away to the fireplace.
- Sandglass: With Tae-soo a wanted fugitive and both of them knowing that it's now or never, he and Hye-rin make love in front of a roaring fireplace in episode 23, the next-to-last episode. This culminates their star crossed romance. (Since this show is PG rated like almost every Korean Drama, there's a Sexy Discretion Shot.)
- Xena: Warrior Princess, episode "The Ring": Brunhilda falls in love with Gabrielle and turns herself into a wall of fire to protect Gabrielle who falls into a magical coma.
- "First Fires" by Bonobo with lyrics sung by Grey Reverand. Its surrealist music video depicts a forest fire, a man mourning a broken relationship, and remembering time with his lover by a bonfire in the woods.
- "Let It Snow" by Sammy Cahn & Jule Styne is about how the winter season doesn't seem so bad by the fire with one's lover.
- "Starlight" by Marina Diamandis: Old loves are described as burned-out stars; you can still see their light even though the star has been dead a long time.
Stars and love burn bright,
Till they're ready to die
- "Ring of Fire", most famously performed by Johnny Cash, is about how painful and dangerous love can be.
- "Burning Love" by Elvis Presley.
- "Eternal Flame" by The Bangles, even the video has the band singing in front of a wood fire in the beach.
Am I only dreaming, but is this burning an eternal flame?
- At the beginning of The Lonely Island's "Dick in a Box" one of the guys is lounging in front of a fireplace drinking champagne with his gal before giving her his special present.
- The Doors: "Light My Fire".
- Taylor Swift has a love song titled "Sparks Fly". The song also says, "I'm captivated by you, baby, like a firework show."
- Apocalyptica's "Slow Burn" is an angsty love song made out of fire metaphors, though it is less about passion and more about how love burns.
- Xandria's "Firestorm" is a song about passion built on fire metaphors.
There's no need to be afraid of this
Let me melt you with my dragon-kiss
Let me walk with you the firing line
Put your burn onto the heart of mine
- Ironically, Fancy's "Flames of Love" compares love to both fire and the sea in its chorus.
- In The Sims expansion pack Vacation the ski lodge hotels had bear skin rugs in front of fireplaces your Sims could make out on.
- KanColle: Kongou's catchphrase is "Burning Love!", usually shouted when she's around her Admiral or when she's in battle. She's that energetic.
- If you choose to romance Kerry Eurodyne in Cyberpunk 2077, you will consummate your relationship on a stolen yacht that you two set on fire.
- PAYDAY 2: "The Flames of Love" by the fictional band Smokey Bennett & The Hoops references this trope.
- A Trailer for Every Academy Award Winning Movie Ever features a shot of the lead couple by a fireplace.