Most people crave novelty at some point in their lives. When it comes to sex specifically, it's the reason people commonly want to try different sex positions, find new ways to orgasm, and introduce a myriad of sex toys into play. But how people spice up their sex lives is totally dependent on what they're looking to achieve.
Some people may be interested in trying BDSM because the power play sounds sexy; other people may want to engage in different role-play scenarios for the thrill. But regardless of how adventurous you want to be, allow us to put you on to perhaps the easiest way to spice up your sex life: temperature play.
Temperature play is a form of erotic exploration that uses heat and cold to stimulate and excite the senses, Carol Queen, PhD, a sexologist for sex-toy retailer Good Vibrations, says. Lots of things can fall under the "temperature play" umbrella, which is why it's a really solid option for those who aren't looking to venture too far past the vanilla lifestyle and for those who enjoy kinkier play.
If that sounds good to you, here's everything you need to know about temperature play, including how to incorporate it into your sex life right after reading this article.
What Is Temperature Play?
Temperature play is what happens when you incorporate different temperatures into your sex life with the intent of stimulating those feel-good erogenous zones on the body. Depending on what you prefer, you can use both heat and cold variations, but the options are pretty much endless. In fact, it's possible you may already do things in your sex life that you didn't know would be considered "temperature play."
As for how it works and why it's so great, Queen says temperature play introduces a new way of experiencing pleasure that you're likely not used to. Plus, "your neurology responds to temperature variation naturally — and for some, this can add to erotic response or help unearth kinks we didn't know we had."
What Are Some Ways to Incorporate Temperature Play Into Your Sex Life?
An easy way to begin exploring different temperatures on your body is in the shower or bath. "If you have a handheld shower massager, you can aim it at the genitals or wherever you want to explore the effects of temperature change," Queen says. If you don't have a handheld showerhead, you can use this Waterslyde product to experience similar sensations — just note it's better suited for a bath than shower. That said, Queen warns that you shouldn't let a powerful stream of water of any temperature rush into the vagina, as it can be dangerous. "If you are playing with a shower massager on the genitals, focus it externally," Queen says.
Another great option for temperature play? Use an ice cube. For solo action, run the ice cube down your body, paying close attention to how it makes you feel on common erogenous zones like your neck, nipples, and inner thighs. For partnered play, you can run the ice cube down their pleasure spots or put it in your mouth as you perform oral sex on them.
If you're looking to get a lil more advanced, you can invest in a sex toy designed for temperature play. This bullet vibrator from Lora Dicarlo warms to 104 degrees, which is just slightly above body temp. Per the website, it "targets that heat on your G-spot, clitoris or any external erogenous zone for maximum pleasure, and delivers even, consistent warmth throughout for enhanced circulation, arousal, and relaxation."
You can also warm or cool down a sex toy yourself by placing it in the freezer or boiling it in warm water, so long as the product is waterproof. Queen recommends using sex toys made of glass or metal, since a temperature change won't last as long on a silicone-made toy. Just make sure you're letting the temperature cool before immediately using it. "If it went in the freezer, let it warm up a bit before playing with it. If it was in boiling water, that's too hot," she says, and you should let it cool off. A good rule of thumb? If it's too hot or cold to be picked up, it shouldn't go on any part of your body just yet.
Lastly, you could try incorporating massage candles into your sex routine. Just note that you'll want to use specific massage candles and not any regular candle you have hanging around your apartment, as massage candles have a lower melting temperature, Queen says. As for how to use it, Queen suggests lighting the candle and dripping or pouring it onto the skin directly.
Any Tips For How to Make Temperature Play Even Better?
Don't be afraid to bring a blindfold into the mix, since it "engages the element of surprise," Queen says. Your partner won't know when to expect the cold rush or warmth on their body, making the pleasure that much more intense.
Another thing: don't focus solely on the genitals. "The whole body is sensitive to heat and coolness. And remember, if you have made an area cool with ice or something else, it will feel amazing if a warm mouth begins exploring it next."
Most importantly, though, go easy at first. No need to dive right into an extremely cold or warm sensation. Talk with your partner and discuss both of your limits, then have strategies and materials ready to warm up someone who gets too cold or cool off someone who gets too hot, Queen recommends. Experts also advise to agree on a safe word, like "pineapple" or "red," before starting temperature play so that you can stop at any time if something doesn't feel right.