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Temperature play is a technique often used in BDSM as well as vanilla foreplay that uses heat or cold to stimulate neuroreceptors under the skin and provoke a sensual reaction. Temperature play is often combined with blindfolding and/or bondage to increase the sensation.
Temperature play is not exclusive to BDSM play; ice and warm liquids like edible oil or chocolate syrup, for example, also make it into the vanilla bedroom. Objects that retain temperature (such as those made of metal) can also be used after they have been chilled or heated. More intense or extreme forms of temperature play (usually involving fire), like cupping and streaking, are more frequent in BDSM activities.
The point of temperature play is to provoke arousal by using the skin's neuroreceptors. Stimulation through heat or cold gives the body a rush of sensations that, during foreplay, is translated into arousal. Temperature play is especially fun when hot and cold are combined together in unpredictable patterns (for the receiver).
Typical (and safe) temperature play techniques involve ice, melted wax, metal that has been chilled or warmed, and hot or cold food. Fire play demands more experience and practice because of its risks.