On many websites ‘temperature play’ is considered a form of BDSM. But that’s going a bit too far, if you ask me. Of course it can be extreme, but it can also be just an erotic act, titillating the senses with (big) temperature differences. For example, by rubbing an ice cube against someone’s nipple, or dripping some hot candle wax over someone. But there is more. Much more.
What is ‘temperature play’?
Literally ‘temperature play’ means playing with temperature differences. And you can do that in many different ways. Often, some kind of substance is used to poor or rub over someone’s body, like (warm or cold) water, warm oil, melted candle wax, melted chocolate, cold whipped cream, melted butter, cooled fruit, ice cubes, cold champage, warm thee, etc.
And even objects can feel warm or cold. Think of cutlery, or chains. Actually, all glass or metal objects will do, because they are easy to heat up or cool down just by putting them in hot or cold water. Also heating units, cold packs, radiators, open fire and even snow or sun can be a source for temperature play.
The feeling of temperature (differences) on the skin or erogenous zones can be very erotic. Neuro-receptors in the skin will be stimulated by the warmth or cold, enabling a sensitive sensation. In the right setting, that could lead to arousal. Temperature play is exciting if the temperature change comes in an unpredictable pattern.
Temperature play is often combined with blindfolds. When one of the senses is blocked, other senses will react stronger. Therefor, temperature play also works well together with bondage, to increase the sensation of warmth or cold.
Some forms of temperature play are quite innocent, while other – more extreme forms – are not without danger. Using temperature play with certain materials, body parts, or techniques, precaution is recommended. Below, we start of with some of the milder techniques, and they get more extreme when you scroll down.
Food is really great for erotic and kinky temperature play. Especially the combination of warm or cold food and oral sex is a great foreplay. Just think about licking off whipped cream.
It is very easy to make your mouth warm by taking a sip of hot tea. And you can cool your mouth with a cold drink. A nice variant is when you do not swallow the drink, but spill some while you kiss the body, nipples or genitals of your partner.
You can also rub cooled pieces of fruit over your partner’s body (and lick away the tracks). Or take a piece of fruit in your mouth and rub it against your partner’s nipple, belly, mouth, clitoris, glans, etc.
Personally I am a big fan of ‘bubbles’. Take a bottle of ice cold champagne (or other sparkling wine) to bed. Take a sip to cool down your mouth, spill some over your partner, lick it off, or just pour some over your partner’s body.
Be careful though. Some food should never get into the vagina. Some ingredients in food can cause a nasty yeast infection. Read about it in this post.
You could look at ice as food, but still I decided to mention it separately. Of course, you can rub an ice cube over someone’s body. Especially when it’s hot outside during the summer, the contrast with the cold of the ice can be great.
You can take ice in your hands to rub with it, but you can also put it in your mouth and start kissing and licking.
You might use ice cibes to cool down objects (see below).
Still, you need to take some extra care with ice. When ice gets right out of the freezer it can stick to the skin. Therefor, you should always put icecubes in a bowl of water or in a drink before you start using it for temperature play.
Toys made of glass or metal
Dildos and butt plugs made of glass or metal can be cooled down extra, by placing them in a bowl with ice water, or keeping them in the fridge for a while, or even by holding them under running water. Or, you can warm them up by placing it in a bowl of hot water, or keep it under running hot water.
Glass will hold its temperature a little while longer than metal. After a while, the toy will adopt body temperature. That’s why it is big fun to have a bowl with ice water and hot water at hand and play with different toys at different temperature at the same time. For example, you might cool one down, while you use a different heated toy, or use a heated and a cooled down toy at the same time.
Candles (wax play)
A special variant of temperature play is described in an earlier post: Wax play. Playing with candle wax can be extremely erotic, but also extremely dangerous. It’s never funny when you end up with third degree burns, let alone on your most intimate parts. And you don’t want to be tied down, when the room sets fire.
It is important to prepare the skin by rubbing it with some protective oil. Also, you should use candles with a low melting temperature. There are also special candles available with a low melting temperature. These are meant for wax play. Watch out with hick pillar candles or colored candles. Rather use massage candles. These candles turn into massage oil when they melt. And they often smell great too.
Playing with candle wax or warm oil is great, but you do need to take some planning and precaution.
Fire (bouncing and streaking)
A special form of temperature play is the one where you use fire in close proximity or even on the skin. It resembles what you see fire breathers do. You use a fuel or a torch that is drenched in a fuel (usually isopropyl alcohol – usually something that evaporates quickly). Sometimes even floggers are used as a torch. So this is not a practice for beginners. This demands lots of experience.
Part of the excitement has to do with our natural fear of fire. And it looks pretty spectacular too. When done correctly, you won’t feel much and it will hardly leave any tracks.
Two techniques that are used with torches is what is called ‘boucing & streaking’. In bouncing you hit the head of the burning torch softly to the skin (like on a drum) and with streaking you rub the torch over the skin. In both cases, small amounts of the fuel will transfer to the skin and burn for a few seconds.
Fire cupping is a form of temperature play where the air in a glass bowl is heated and then the glass bowl is placed onto the skin. When the air cools off, it will create a vacuum that will suck the bowl onto the skin.
Cupping originated as an oriental healing but is also practiced as a therapy for muscle ache. It increases the blood flow. The technique resembles using vacuum pumps.
When cupping is exercised as a sexual (BDSM) act, the skin is sometimes treated with alcohol and the glass is then placed over the burning spot. The fire will go out in the glass and it will suck itself to the skin.
Cupping is not without danger. It can cause burning wounds when the glass becomes to hot and it can also cause heavy brusing wen the vacuum is too strong or when it is kept too long.
Exposure to cold or heat
A huge step beyond all this, is exposure to cold or heat. This is not an act you will do on a daily basis. Think about lying naked in the snow, of being partially nude in the freezing cold. Because it is not always winter, these practices are recreated with a fan and cold water.
This type of temperature play come with great risks. The ‘victim’ can suffer from hypothermia or even freezing.
Also warmth can be used as a form of torture. Often a submissive will be tied up in foil, blankets, leather, or rubber. Or the submissive must perform certain acts in bright sunlight. But the heater, open fire or even some hot coals are sometimes used.
These types of temperature play are very dangerous. Dehydration or even a heart attack can be the result.
Temperature play can be a great and relaxing and erotic way to make foreplay extra arousing, but it can also take extreme forms. Only act out what you and your partner both agree on and always take precautionary measures.