How to Experiment with Temperature Play in Your Sex Life

Are you ready to kick things up a notch in the bedroom? Then you might consider experimenting with temperature play. Think of how an ice cube offers an instant visceral feeling to your skin or the touch of a warm cup of tea. Now imagine that type of sensation being used to arouse your entire body. That’s pretty much the essence of temperature play.

“Temperature play can add another sensory dimension to a sexual experience,” Avril Louise Clarke, in-house sexologist and intimacy coordinator at Erika Lust, tells SheKnows. “Sensory deprivation could be putting on a blindfold allowing you to delve deeper into the senses of touch, taste or smell. Temperature play is a similar experience, but instead, it heightens arousal, creating unique sensations of hot or cold.”

According to Clarke, temperature play works by intensifying the nerve endings to increase blood flow, which can increase an already pleasurable experience. “So if you put something warm or cold on your body the blood flow will react differently,” she explains. “A good practice, and basic approach when introducing any sexual activity or new play to the bedroom, is to start slowly and always communicate with partners to ensure they are comfortable and enjoying the experience.” 

As always when it comes to sexual activity, remember safety is always the best policy. “And of course, always communicate and practice consent,” Clarke says. “Prioritize the comfort of everyone’s experience. Temperature play is great, and an important part of the BDSM umbrella, since it’s accessible to most, with minimal cost and preparation, and can be done solo or with multiple partners.”

Temperature play can be done with household items such as ice cubes and wax, to sex toys like vibrators and dildos. Does temperature play sound intriguing to you and your partner(s)? Then read on below to learn about sexpert-approved creative ways to experiment with temperature play in your sex life. 

Experiment with different textures and sensations.

According to Rebecca Alvarez Story, sexologist and Bloomi CEO and Co-Founder, different people may enjoy different temperatures, textures, and sensations on their skin. Trying different things with temperature play is a good way to experiment with what’s right for you until you know what turns you (and your partner) on. 

“You can adapt temperature play to your needs and preferences and you can do it solo, partnered, with a toy, or without – it’s totally up to you,” Alvarez Story says. “Some suggestions are: licking ice cream off your partner’s skin, letting an ice cube melt on your or your partner’s nipples, or warming/freezing a towel, and putting on your partner.”

Alvarez Story also adds that it’s important to talk about desires, expectations, and limitations as well as come up with a safe word “so you or your partner can revoke your consent at any given time before getting into temperature play.”

Start slowly and explore the entire body.

Whenever you’re playing with hot or cold items, Dr. Jess O’Reilly, Lovehoney sex and relationship expert, recommends to start slowly – not only to enjoy and enhance the experience but to test out the thresholds for heat and cold on your and your partner’s body. “In the beginning, run your toy under hot or cold water for 10 to 15 seconds and test it out for a moment. If you want to increase or decrease the temperature, you can always extend the time underwater.” 

And remember that different parts of your body will respond differently to temperature variations. “For example, your mouth can handle hotter temperatures than much of your exposed skin (think about drinking hot tea versus spilling hot tea on your thighs), so take care to test the temperature a little at a time across the body,” she says. 

O’Reilly suggests exploring your entire body with your hot or cold toys — and not heading straight to your genitals. “You can play with temperature from head to toe — alternating between the nipples, along the collarbone, down the sides of your chest and between your thighs.”

Go the sensual route.

If you’re looking for something more sensual to kick off your temperature play, Alvarez Story recommends giving a sensual massage with hot oil or wax from a body-safe candle.

Not that you need much of a reason to give or receive a massage from your lover, but Alvarez Story points out that “relaxing and having an intimate massage can help to reduce muscle tension and stress, improve circulation, and has even been reported to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.”  Choose a massage oil or candle that is suitable for use on intimate skin. She suggests Bloomi’s Relax, which is a clean massage oil that doubles as an everyday body oil with lavender aromatherapy and is safe to be cooled down or warmed up. Set the space with some soft pillows and blankets and enjoy.  

Work with contrast.

Nora Langknecht, marketing manager and certified sex educator at FUN FACTORY, recommends switching between hot and cold sensations to keep your partner in pleasurable suspense. “Use ice to cool someone’s skin (or nipple, or whatever else), and you’ll create contrast with the natural heat of your mouth or tongue,” she says. “So, follow the cool touch of an ice cube with the warmth of your tongue or kisses.”

She also suggests gently heating or cooling your toys to experiment with temperature in a safe way. “Try sticking VOLTA, our external vibrator, or MANTA, our vibrating penis stroker, in hot (not boiling) or cold water. Your partner will get all the stimulation of the toy, plus the added benefit of an unexpected temperature.”

And as always, since temperatures that are too hot or cold may be unpleasant or even painful, she warns to “test the toys against the inside of your wrist before using them on your partner!”

Chill a dildo (or vibrator) in the fridge.

To add a different sensation, Alvarez Story suggests cooling down a dildo in the fridge before playing with it. “Make sure that the dildo is composed of a material that can be frozen and is still body-safe when frozen,” she says. “Our recommendation is Indulge Double-sided Vibrator, a powerful, versatile, and body-safe vibrator with double sides: enjoy one non-vibrating and one vibrating side, both great for vaginal and anal use.” 

In fact, according to Clarke, many silicone toys can be popped in the freezer, or in a bowl of ice and teased across the body during intercorse or foreplay. “A toy that comes to mind is Maya by Love Not War,” she says. “It is a great toy for temperature play since it is responsive to temperatures, meaning the head can be unscrewed and heated before use or put into the refrigerator to cool down. Since it is made out of 99 percent recycled aluminum, it will conduct the temperature really quickly.

Ready to get started with some temperature play? Things are about to get hot (or really cold).

Before you go, get in the mood with these erotic podcasts:

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