How to Heat Up Your Temperature Play

Vertical photo of close up skin woman with skin texture with water droplets.

Maybe you’ve heard of temperature play before. Maybe candle wax intrigues you. Maybe you read somewhere that putting an ice cube in your mouth before oral was the sign of sexual prowess. No matter who you are: temperature play beckons, and it is a spectrum.

Among the various types of kink out there, temperature play can slot fairly easily into even the most vanilla sex. It works by stimulating your brain’s neuroreceptors, arousing your nervous system and making skin deliciously sensitive. Some pair it with blindfolds, to heighten your attention and give the whole thing an element of surprise. But (and this is an important “but”), the key is to know how to pull it off safely. Think moans of pleasure, not moans of you-just-gave-me-a-third-degree-burn. 

Here are four intro-level ways to bring temperature play into sex, whether you’re getting down with a partner, or your hot self. 

Arousal Gels + Balms

Calibrated by people who know what they’re doing, warming arousal gels are one of the easiest ways to get the blood flowing. Promescent makes a Warming Arousal Gel* for vulva owners that I love: it gives you the tingles in a subtle, but very noticeable way, like someone with their head between your legs teasing you with their breath. I’m very, very into it. 

On the flip side, menthol-infused nipple balms are a fun option. Mimicking a slight chill, menthol activates the same receptor on nerve endings that’s involved in sensing cold. Nifty, huh? Spread a little on their nipples (or yours) to wake up these nerve-rich zones, right before you squeeze, lick, or nibble. 

Body-Safe Massage Candles

Note the phrase “body-safe!” Please, for the love of God, don’t go rooting around the house for any old candle then drip it on someone’s body. Different waxes have different melting points, and that is key information for their unsuspecting skin. 

That said! There are tons of body-safe candles out there made expressly for erotic massage. Simply light, let it melt, drip some in your hands (or, right on their body for more of a heat-thrill), and rub into their skin for a most sensual rubdown. In my opinion, this is a lovely one to pair with a blindfold: the concentrated heat will feel exciting, while your hands can explore teasingly. 

I love the Je Joue Massage Candle** and the LELO Flickering Touch Massage Candle**. You really can’t go wrong with these heavenly scents and choosing a candle that is intended for temperature play. 

Chilled (Or Heated) Sex Toys

You can do magical things with a glass or stainless steel dildo**. Both conduct temperature very well, so the next time you masturbate, experiment with dipping your toy in a bowl of ice water, or alternatively, a bowl of warmed (not boiling) water. Once you mindfully insert, either into your vagina or anus, the temperature sensation will wake up even more tantalizing nerve endings.

Ice Water + Warm Mouth

Let’s end with a classic. Even if you know the ice cube in mouth trick, what you might not know is how fun it can be to chill your fingertips, and deploy them appropriately.

For example, if you’re giving oral sex to someone with a vulva, dip your fingers in a glass of ice water. While the heat of your mouth pleasures their clitoris, insert a cold finger for a super exciting, super stimulating dual sensation. Of course, you can do something similar with a penis owner: as you lick their head, run your chilled fingers along their inner thighs, even wrapping around the shaft. Listen for feedback (“holy sh*t” is a good sign), and enjoy the experimentation.

Easy peasy, huh? Enjoy getting hot (or cold), making your sexual play a little more sensory, and a lot more novel. 

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*Ready to start heating up your temperature play? Use code “EMILY” for 15% off your order at Promescent

**Get free shipping at Shop With Emily on orders over $69 at