What is Temperature Play?

Curious about temperature play and how you can explore it to spice up your sex life? Temperature play is a wonderful way to awaken your senses, and – while it’s a mode of erotic exploration that falls within BDSM – it’s highly accessible to newbies, as well those who wouldn’t typically think of themselves as having an interest in bondage, discipline or domination play.

In fact, temperature play encapsulates such a wide and varied range of activities, there’s a good chance you’ve already encountered this type of play without even thinking of it as temperature play! 

What is Temperature Play?

Temperature play is a form of BDSM sensual play where objects and substances are used to stimulate the body's neuroreceptors for heat and cold for sensual effect. Basically, it’s about heightening your senses in an erotic way to awaken your erogenous zones and experience new sensations for full-body bliss. Blindfolds are often used to intensify the effects, and bondage can also amplify the experience.

While temperature play can be taken to extremes in BDSM scenarios, it can also be a fun and exciting way to explore kink and sensuality for partners with more… vanilla tastes. Lots of things can fall under the "temperature play" umbrella, which is why it's a really solid option for those who just starting to explore. Dipping your toe in the waters of temperature play may be as simple as running a cube of ice down your lover’s chest, or having them drip warm oil over your body during foreplay.

Substances and objects used in temperature play can include…

  • Water
  • Oil
  • Hot wax
  • Ice
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Whipped cream
  • Melted butter
  • Chilled fruit
  • Cutlery
  • Ball chains
  • Necklaces
  • Glass and metal sex toys

…often pre-heated in hot water, or chilled in ice water or the fridge or freezer. Depending on what you prefer, you can use both heat and cold variations, but the options are pretty much endless.

Exploring Temperature Play for Beginners

Like the idea of using heat and cold to stimulate and excite the senses? There are tons of simple temperature play methods you can try as a beginner – ice play, candle play and temperature play-friendly toys being three of the most common.

Ice play is a form of temperature play that usually involves running pieces of ice across a person's naked skin. While ice can be inserted in the vagina or anus, it’s not recommended because, as ice melts, it can form sharp edges which may cut delicate vaginal or anal tissues. Ouch. Instead, focus on exterior stimulation. If you’re playing solo, run the ice cube down your body, paying close attention to how it feels on erogenous zones like your neck, nipples, and inner thighs. For partnered play, run the ice cube down your lover’s pleasure spots or pop it in your mouth while you perform oral sex on them.

If you’ve ever fantasied about having a playmate drip hot wax over your body during foreplay, you’re not alone. While ice play is probably the most common mode of COLD temperature play, playing with hot wax is probably the most common mode of HOT temperature play. There’s a right – and safe – way to explore this, though, so before you jump right in, invest in a speciality massage candle. Unlike the regular old candles you have hanging around your home, massage candles are made specifically for temperature play and have a lower melting temperature, meaning they won’t burn your skin the way your favourite scented candle can. Incorporating a massage candle into your sex play is simple: just light the candle, let it warm up, and then drip or pour it directly onto the skin.

If you're looking to get a little more advanced with temperature play, invest in some glass or metal sex toys which can be safely warmed or chilled before use. These kinds of toys are designed for temperature play, and can offer powerfully erotic sensations during foreplay and sex. Pop your metal or glass toy in the fridge or even the freezer to cool it before use, or submerge it in a bowl or warm or hot water to warm it up. The key thing is to check the temperature is safe and comfortable before use, so consider yourself the Golidlocks of temperature play and ensure your toy is not too hot, not too cold, and juuust right. A good rule of thumb is that – if a toy is too hot or cold to be comfortably held in your hand, it shouldn't go on any part of your body just yet. If it’s been chilled let it warm up a little, and if it’s been warmed, let it cool down.