A How-To Guide To Temperature Sex Play
Temperature play might sound kind of intense, but working hot and cold into your sex life is actually pretty easy. All you need to get started is a bowl of ice or a glass of hot water. But why play with temperature at all? Besides the obviously sexy thought of rolling an ice cube around your lips and then down your partner’s body, what does adding heat or cold to your sex life actually do? It’s all about the psychology of it.
“When temperature play is negotiated and consented to, the brain starts preparing for a sexy and exciting experience, and basically puts nerve endings in the body — erogenous zones, but also everywhere else — on high alert for new sensations,” says Dulcinea Pitagora, a sex therapist known as the Kink Doctor.
Of course, not everyone is going to be interested in temperature play. And if you’re not into it, don’t feel like you have to be, says Holly Richmond, PhD, a somatic psychologist and certified sex therapist (CST). Temperature play can be fun, but not wanting to play with ice or heat doesn’t make you boring in bed. “My husband absolutely detests cold,” Dr. Richmond says. So he wouldn’t find it sexy if she pulled out a bowl full of ice, and that’s totally fine.
If you are intrigued, using cold or heat can be a fun way to mix up your usual sex routine. Pro tip: Consider blindfolding the partner on the receiving end of the temperature play. Restricting their sense of sight can make the feelings of hot and cold more intense.
But like many kinks, temperature play can range from harmless to potentially dangerous. So if you’re a beginner, start slowly. You don’t want to dive in with the more edgy forms of temperature play like fire play or branding, Pitagora says. Instead, try the tips listed below
Put your dildo in the freezer, or stick it in a cup of hot water
Certain sex toys, like those made from glass or metal, are great for temperature play because they hold the heat or the cold really well. Put your toy in the freezer for a while or warm up a glass of water and dunk it in for a few minutes to heat it up.
Be careful: You don’t want to stick either a scalding or a totally frozen sex toy inside of your body. Place the dildo against your wrist to check that it’s a comfortable temperature before you start using it.
Drip ice cream (or whip cream, or another tasty treat)
Why not combine food play and temperature play — all you need is some ice cream or whip cream. Drip or spray the treat over your partner’s body. They’ll get to feel a fun cold sensation as it hits their skin and then a nice warm up when you lick it off. Sure, playing with food can be sticky, but it’s also sweet.
Be careful: If either partner has a vagina, be careful not to get ice cream too close to their vulva. Sugar can cause yeast infections, and no one wants that.
Warm your mouth before oral sex
Before you go down on someone, it can be fun to warm up your mouth. How do you make your mouth hot, you ask? With hot tea, coffee, or any other hot thing you want to drink.
Be careful: Again, sugar near a vagina can cause yeast infections. So if you’re planning to go down on someone who has a vagina, maybe drink your coffee or tea black.
Play with ice
This is maybe the most obvious tip, but it’s also one of the most versatile. With an ice cube, you can cool you mouth down before performing oral sex, drip melted ice water over your partner’s body, rub the ice around their nipples, and lots of other things if you know how to get creative.
Be careful: It might sound counter-intuitive, but there’s a chance your ice could be too cold. Like that scene in A Christmas Story when the kid sticks his tongue to a metal pole, a too-cold ice cube could stick to your partner’s skin. But it’s an easy fix: Either take some ice out and let it warm up in a bowl for a bit or stick the cube in your mouth and warm it with your body heat.
Try wax play
Think of it like dripping cold ice water over your partner’s body, except instead of freezing water it’s melted wax. With the right kind of candle, you can turn temperature play into a sexy massage.
Be careful: Don’t just use any old candle from your cupboard. Melted wax from regular candles can be so hot that it causes burns, Pitagora says. “When playing with hot wax, it’s important to use the right kind of wax, as some candles burn hotter than others and vary in terms of toxicity,” they say. Instead of a regular candle, use a massage oil candle that you can buy in any sex toy shop (or online, like this one). Candles made for sex burn at cooler temperatures, so they’re less likely to burn your skin.
Warm up your lube, or cool it down
If you’re a fan of lube (and really, why wouldn’t you be?), then you can use your favorite lube for temperature play. “If lube is at body temperature, we’re not feeling it. All we’re feeling is the penetration or the vibration,” Dr. Richmond says. “But if you add that extra layer, that extra element of warmth or cool, that takes things to another sensory level.” Stick your lube in the fridge for a few minutes to cool it down, Dr. Richmond suggests. Or, get a lube warmer, such as a Touch or a Pulse.
Be careful: Just like with your sex toys, you don’t want to get your lube too warm or too cold. Test a few drops on your wrist before using the lube if you’re concerned.
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