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Couples Play

The Ultimate Guide to Temperature Play

So, what is temperature play exactly? Sex expert Kasandra Brabaw gives us a complete 101 and shares her favorite temperature play ideas.
by Kasandra Brabaw
Last Updated: Jun 30, 2022

Imagine plucking an ice cube from a bowl beside your bed, rubbing your fingers around the cube to warm it up, and then dripping the ice-cold water on your partner's nipples, down their stomach, and onto their genitals. This is the image most people conjure up when they think of temperature play, the act of using heat or cold during sex.

But, as hot (and cool!) as playing with ice can be, there's a lot more you can do with temperature, ranging from simple beginner tips to hardcore and slightly dangerous stuff (which we don't recommend unless you're an expert!). Get ready for a 101 and to take away some temperature play ideas for your next steamy sesh!

What is temperature play?

Why bother with heat and cold in the first place? Temperature play can make your typical sex routine feel fresh. It's all about the sensations. But what exactly is it? Temperature play is one of many kinds of sensory play. 

Temperature Play Ideas

What is sensory play?

Sensory play, in general, is any sexual play that stimulates or deprives the senses, mostly in reference to touch, smell, sight, or hearing.

Temperature play uses variations in temperature to numb or intensify sensations in or on the body for pleasure. Making hot things cold (or making hot things even hotter) can be incredibly arousing. There are many ways to mix things up by alternating temperatures and using other sensory inputs so that temperature play sex never runs cold.

How to get started with temperature play

Getting started with temperature play is much like starting any other kink. In this case, kink is an exploration or an addition to your regularly scheduled romps. When introducing the idea of a new way to do the wild thing, you still need to have a conversation about consent, expectations, safe words, and the like. Once you know your booty buddy is down for some hot and cold sex, you'll have to prep your setup.

Consider what kind of temperature play you want to get into in order to determine what you will need for your lair of lascivity. If you plan on ice play sex, make sure you have a towel around to catch the drips as they pool. For sex with hot wax, try to keep a lighter for any candle play and some cool water around in case you need to chill things out a bit. The water can also douse any small flames — just in case. The goal is to not have flammable items around any flames and to avoid anything that could be ruined by water.

Ways to play with temperature

1. Ice cube sex.

Ice is maybe the easiest option when it comes to temperature play. All it takes is grabbing a few cubes from your ice tray. You can drip melted ice water over your partner's body.

Using an ice cube during temperature play sex

You can put the ice cube in your mouth and then go down on your partner or run your icy tongue along their erogenous zones. Or you can rub the ice cube itself around your partner's chest (nipple orgasms, anyone?), on their necks, over their lips, and on their genitals.

2. Warm your mouth up.

Temperature play and tongues are an ideal match. All it takes to make your mouth warmer than usual is a cup of hot tea or coffee. Drink your hot beverage right before going down on your partner, and see how the new sensation makes them feel.

Warm your mouth using coffee before temperature play

If the drink trick fails, you can always try our water-based warming lube that's specifically designed for sex toys and temperature play.

Be careful: If you're using coffee or tea to warm your mouth before oral sex, you'll need to drink it black. Sugar in the genital area can cause yeast infections, and trust me, no one wants that!

3. Ice cream or warmed honey.

Another great combo for temperature play? Food play. Simply open your fridge or freezer and grab any cool treat you want in your mouth or on your body and go to town. Food play is almost entirely a sensory sexual experience. Whether tapping into the visual, textural, or temperature aspect of igniting your senses, food can play a huge role. Called sploshing, you can use cold foods that stay on the skin like ice cream or foods that can be warmed, like chocolate syrup or honey. In addition to the temperatures adding to the fun, the feel of the drips rolling across the skin add to the sensations, as well as the visual appeal.

Using ice cream on the nipples during temperature play sex

But, again, if you're choosing sugary food like ice cream or whipped cream, then make sure to keep it away from your or your partner's genitals to avoid a yeast infection.

4. Massage candles and hot wax.

Finally, we get into the more intense temperature play. Massage candles, like the Vanilla Massage Candle from Olivia's Boudoir, melt into a delicious-smelling oil that you can rub into your partner's skin for a sensual massage.

Massage candles are typically made from soy wax which burns at a comparatively lower temperature of 135-145° and tend to cool on contact. While massage candles are cooler than a candle you'd find in a department store, that doesn't mean they aren't hot — they're just much less likely to burn your skin.

Once you get more comfortable, you can try a wax with a higher melting point, like paraffin wax. Be careful though — if you're using a regular candle, and not a massage oil candle like the one above, wax play can be dangerous and you can easily burn your skin with too-hot wax. Even hotter for longer, beeswax burns between 145-170° and shouldn't be used for wax play at all.

How to use sex candles:

You should avoid candles that are not meant for sex play in general, but if you do use them, make sure they don't have any unsafe dyes and keep away from open wounds.

Your partner should start with clean skin, meaning no added oils or other products. You should start with the candle being further away, giving it more time to cool before it hits the skin. Going slowly, test what your partner likes in terms of the intensity of heat or the frequency of the drips. Constantly check in, asking as you go. When you're both ready, you can vary the application by using cool breath, pinches, or ice on one party of their body as you apply the wax to another. For variation, try to make the room incredibly cold. Keep in mind that you can always be your own partner as you explore your interests.

Candles and massage oils open the door for so many creative options, so just grab your favorite scent and settle in for a hot night in, literally. You can even use your Le Wand to massage the oil into the skin!

For simple and easy clean-up, ice can be soothing and it allows the wax to harden enough to flake off.

Best sex toys for temperature play

Speaking of using your Le Wand to massage in the oil, did you know that one of the best ways to engage hot and cold sex is through temperature play toys? These don't have to be specifically marketed as temperature toys, but if they are made of a material that conducts heat or cold well, then they are perfect for "chilling" with your boo. Some of these materials include glass, steel, crystal, and even silicone.

You always want your sex toy to be made of a body-safe material. That means they are: 

✔ Non-porous

✔ Fairly indestructible

✔ Non-erosive

✔ Easy to clean

Let's take a look at some of the best (and sexiest!) options:

Stainless Steel Sex Toys

Stainless steel toys check all the body-safe boxes PLUS they're heavy. So as you wield this wand, just know that gravity is on your side. For temperature play, this toy is an easy introduction. You can dunk it in a glass of cool or ice water for a little frosty fun or you wrap it in a hot towel for the wanton warmth you crave.

Easily target your most sensitive erogenous zones with the whole range of Le Wand Stainless Steel toys with a length and weight for everyone. Our faves? Contoured and bumped in all the places, the Le Wand Swerve will hit every spot you got on the way to O-Town.

Using the Le Wand Contour Stainless Steel Sex Toy for Temperature Play

We also love the Le Wand Contour. At almost 11 inches and nearly 4.5lb, GREAT is just one word to describe it. The walnut-shaped ends and thoughtfully designed ridged neck come together to offer the perfect blend of precise stimulation and deep penetration.

Crystal Sex Toys

There's some hesitancy around using crystal sex toys but Le Wand has done the work to dig up the facts. We've broken down the myths about are crystal dildos safe and as it turns out: they're perfect for temperature play!

They can be heated or cooled similarly to stainless steel toys — by dunking them in the cold or warm water of your choice, you can create the sensations you want to tease (or please) yourself with. There is some concern about crystals being porous, but specifically, rose quartz, amethyst, and clear quartz aren't porous at all. Other crystals, like obsidian, have surface porosity meaning bacteria can't embed themselves in the material, making it safe to use.

Using the Le Wand Crystal Wand Dildo for Temperature Play

The most important part of using a crystal wand dildo during temperature play is that they need to be thoroughly cleaned after use. Since this is the most basic rule for any sex toy, working with crystal wands should be smooth sailing.

Silicone Toys and Attachments

If you want your Le Wand Vibrator to get in on some temperature play action, you can use the Le Wand Attachments and stick them in the freezer, or dip them in warm water. The wand itself should not be placed in the freezer or water!

Using the Le Wand Flexi Silicone Attachment for Temperature Play

As a pro tip for temperature play for any toy: Place your toy against your wrist to check that it's a comfortable temperature for you or your partner. You don't want to stick a piping hot or Arctic chilly sex toy inside of your body!

RELATED: Learn how to use a vibrator on a penis!

How to indulge in temperature play safely

Because safe is sexy, we want to highlight the ways to keep temperature play safe, sane, and consensual for everyone involved. We've mentioned a few above:

• Have the consent conversation

• Choose a safe word

• Don't use regular candles

• Never use beeswax

• No sugar or dairy in/on the genitals

• Communicate before and throughout

But there are a few more that are worth talking about.

1. Check what you're interested in.

Look up not only the products you want to use but also their ingredients. A scent, dye, or aesthetic could affect the way something feels.

2. Watch videos.

Check out videos and read tutorials and blogs to see how to use the products or techniques that interest you. Check out any available reviews to paint a full picture of what may happen.

3. Test your products.

Once you've bought the items, test them out before playtime. Check how they feel on your skin and orifices.

4. Think about using a pro for intense play.

Seriously. Do not attempt anything with fire or that could cause hypothermia without having first worked with or consulted a professional.

5. Aftercare.

Communication throughout is great but even better than that is having a conversation afterward to help with processing. Sometimes, the physical and emotional feelings can be too intense in the moment, but a debrief afterward is a great way to communicate likes and dislikes with your partner, and it is an amazing opportunity to do some bonding and deepen intimacy.

Tips to make temperature play kinky

So now that you know how to make things hot and cold, let's talk about how to make it kinky. Temperature play, as a subset of sensory play, is often incorporated into BDSM. Make your humping hotter by employing any of the following tricks:

1. Change the temperature of the room.

Make it sweltering hot then use the wax or massage oil to double down on the heat. Then, use a cold toy to titillate their erogenous zones.

2. Use submersion.

Preparing a bath of very cold or hot water and then introducing opposite sensations in localized areas can be arousing. A shallow cold bath with very warm toys or lube on the genitals could make for a very interesting evening.

3. Mummify.

Seriously. Wrapping your partner in Saran or latex will cause them to get very hot, very fast. And who doesn't like a little sweat in the mix? A strategically maneuvered icy stainless steel toy can take this kink to the next level.

4. Try sensory deprivation.

Use a blindfold tie or noise-canceling headphones. Take our sexy ice cube scene from above, and then add warming lube. When you cut off the receiving partner's vision or hearing, they'll be able to pinpoint their focus on the feeling of the ice, making the sensation even more intense.

5. Add a toy.

Use a pussy pump to increase sensations around the vulva during temperature play.

Mastered hot and cold sex? You'll love our most popular pleasure guides on how to use coconut oil as lubesquirting from clitoral stimulation, and sex toy edging.

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For more stories about people, pleasure and wellness, do sign up for our newsletter subscription. You’ll receive a 20% off code for Le Wand products as a welcome gift.

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