Dear Di

How to use Ottawa’s chilly winter weather to your sexual advantage. Illustration: Rame Abdulkader.
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Dear Ty,

My partner and I have been together since high school, and at this point we know all the ropes to pretty much every and any sexual kink or fetish. But we like to keep things fresh and exciting, and there is one thing we have yet to experiment with: temperature play. Any advice on how to bring fire and ice into the bedroom?

—Hot and Cold

Dear HaC,

I’m so glad you brought this up. Temperature play is one of the most underused and overlooked types of play one can bring into the bedroom, and those who don’t try it are really missing out. I mean, with Ottawa’s temperatures quickly taking a nosedive towards -25 degrees Celsius (that’s without wind chill), why not make the most of Old Man Winter?

For those who don’t know, temperature play involves, as the name suggests, using heat and cold during sex, usually during foreplay. This broad kink can come in many different forms—it’s usually a part of BDSM, but doesn’t have to be by any means.

Temperature play quickly becomes a favourite in the bedroom because of the body’s sensitivity to heat and cold. The main goal here is to stimulate the nervous system through the skin’s receptors. We’ve all felt that pleasurable shiver from jumping into a hot bath  after spending a day outside in the winter, or on the flipside, from jumping into a cold pool or cool shower to escape a wicked heat wave (looking at you, summer 2018). Temperature play just takes hold of these sensations, which do feel oddly sexual, and applies them to sex itself.

Where to start? I recommend a slow entry into temperature play: the last thing we want is either you or partner ending up with a nasty case of frostbite or a third-degree burn.

If you’re looking to pump the temperature up, start with candle wax. Light your favourite scented candle to really build that optimal sexual atmosphere and then another special one made for skin contact—this will be your ‘toy,’ if I may. The average household candle has too high a melting point and can actually cause those third-degree burns we talked about, so please, please, invest in a safe one instead, which you can find online or in your favourite sex shop.

Once a good amount of melted wax has built up in the candle, slowly drip it across your partner’s body, starting with some common, less sensitive areas like the back or arms before moving for especially sensitive parts of the body. I recommend the nipples, neck and lower stomach/groin.

But stop right there; I know what you’re thinking. What about the genitals? This is of course an option, but as I said I recommend starting slow. Check in with yourself and your partner to make sure the experience actually is still pleasurable for the both of you, and if every other part of the body has enjoyed the wax, then definitely make the move to the genitals as well. Further down the road, try swapping out hot wax for things like melted chocolate, heated scented oils, or even syrups.

For other hot takes, try using heated stones, such as the ones you might use in a massage kit.

If you’re more interested in the opposite end of the thermometer, my suggestion is to start with ice cubes. In a hot makeout session, try swapping ice cubes between you and your partner’s mouths and experiment with pressing the ice to sensitive parts of the body.

You could also swap out ice for something edible, like frozen chocolate or fruits. I’ll point out we are in frigid Ottawa, so you could always swap in snow for ice. Others love to freeze their sex toys to add that extra kick.

Along with temperature play, you can also experiment with blindfolding or binding, which tends to heighten the sensations of hot and cold. My main piece of advice here is to experiment and figure out what you like the most. Whether it’s cranking up the heat or dropping it down low, temperature play can really spice up anyone’s sex life.