Getting Started with Temperature Play
Written for GFH by Luna Matatas
Want to add some excitement to your sex life? Want to increase arousal during sex? Want to stay more present in your body during sex? Temperature play is on its way!
What is Temperature Play?
Temperature play is a technique that uses heat or cold to stimulate the body and provoke a sensual reaction. By increasing sensations through heating or cooling techniques, we provoke the skin’s neuroreceptors. The rush of sensation that comes from the contrast of the skin’s temperature to the hot or cold technique can add to overall or spot-specific arousal, support your partner in getting out of their head and into their body, and create new ways to get playful with contrasting sensations.
Temperature play engages our body and our brain. The brain wakes up and stays alert for new sensations, which is especially helpful for those of us that get stuck in our head during sex. Both partners get additional psychological stimulation by creating tease, anticipation, and playfulness.
You can try temperature during solo pleasure too! Using hot or cold sensations during masturbation can expand your pleasure and might help you discover new ways to get turned on!
How Do I Get Started with Temperature Play?
If you’re trying temperature play with your partner it’s important to get their consent first. Talking about fantasies is a great way to build excitement before anything happens and builds trust and communication. You could try saying or texting something like:
- I have been fantasizing about getting into some temperature play with you, can I tell you about it?
- I read about temperature play and I got curious about it—have you ever tried or thought about this?
- I got a little turned on thinking about using ice cubes on you/you using ice cubes on me during sex, what do you think about that?
Keep the conversation open, curious, and without obligations or expectations. Think about both giving and receiving temperature play, your partner might be more open to one than the other to start. Be ok with rejection—even if they aren’t into the idea, it’s awesome you’ve opened up a conversation about sex. Ask them if there is anything they would like to try or that they fantasize about.
Next, go slow. Plan to try one type of sensation and combine it with a sexy thing you already like to do for example:
- Use an ice cube on their nipples while kissing.
- Warm up your mouth with tea before going down on them.
- Give them a genital massage with a warming lube.
Six Temperature Play Techniques to Try
Use Glass or Stainless Steel Sex Toys
Sex toys that are made from glass or metal hold heat and cold really well. You can try putting a stainless steel butt plug in the freezer or warming up a glass dildo by dipping it in a mug of hot (not boiling) water. You can drag them along your partner’s body or put them in their mouth before placing them in other erogenous zones. Metal handcuffs that come from the freezer feel great drawn along the body and then used to restrain your partner. Remember to test the toy on your own wrist first to make sure the sensation you’re going to give isn’t extreme.
Play with Ice
Ice is a versatile and easy way to get into temperature play. You can use it to cool down your mouth before going down on your partner. Try holding a single ice cube and dripping it down your partner’s body. Use an ice cube to massage nipples or warm crevices of your partner’s body, for example, their inner thighs or neck or under the breasts. You can also try using an ice pack to cool your hands before you massage or stroke your partner.
Explore Cooling or Warming Lubricants
There are lubes that are enhanced to provide cooling or warming sensations. You can use a cooling or warming lubricant directly on the body, including on the genitals. You can also try putting the lubricant on toys to add texture and temperature, for example on a vibrator or inside of a penis sleeve to give a hotter or cooler handjob.
Try a Massage Candle
Massage candles burn at a lower temperature so that when they liquify you can use them for an oily and warm massage. They can be scented as well, helping you stimulate your sense of smell and the ambiance in the room. While they are not as hot as other candles, the liquid is still hot, so be mindful when applying to your partner’s body. You can also drip the candle into your own hands and then massage onto your partner’s body.
Try Wax Play
Wax play is similar to playing with ice cubes—you’re dripping wax over someone’s body to wake up their skin with hot sensations. Wax play can be alluring because it’s also aesthetically pleasing to decorate your partner’s body with wax patterns.
It's important to note that you can't use any old candle for wax play. You need to buy candles that are specifically designed for wax play. Wax play candles burn at a lower temperature than household candles so they are less likely to cause burns or injury.
When getting started with wax play, try holding the candle higher up or further away from your partner’s body at first so the wax has time to cool slightly before it hits your partner’s skin. Aim for fleshier parts of the body first like thighs and bum, and when you’re comfortable with your technique and your partner’s feedback you can move to more sensitive areas like inner thighs, chest, and middle back.
Try Food and Drinks
Explore with cold foods like ice cream or warm drinks like tea. Try kissing with a warmed up mouth or dripping ice cream on your partner’s nipples and licking it off. Remember to keep sugary foods away from genitals—sugar can increase the risk of yeast infections.
Pro-Tips for Temperature Play
- Start slow—drag things out and tease them.
- Make a visual show of it and engage your sexy aesthetic. Drip and rub ice cubes down your own body and then press up against your partner’s body.
- Use dirty talk to heighten their anticipation—tell them what you’d like to do to them, show them what you’re going to use and how you’re going to use it.
- Use blindfolds—taking away their vision can help them focus on the sensations in the body and heighten the experience. It can also help the giver feel less shy as you try something new!
- Put on a sexy playlist to guide the mood—sometimes when we try something new, it feels awkward and we focus on the technique instead of sinking into the mood.
- Try planning a temperature play date so you can focus on exploring these new sensations without worrying about orgasm or fitting it into your go-to sex routine
- Use unpredictable patterns—try contrasts of hot and cold, mix up the pressure, speed, and rhythm.
- Explore with sensations on your own body with a goal of curiosity.
Temperature play doesn’t have to be extreme; small sensations can have just as big of an impact. If you try temperature play and it’s not your thing, that’s okay! If you try it once and don't feel really confident or sexy, remember that sometimes it takes a few tries to sink into the sensations and get out of our heads. Be playful, be curious, and be mindful.