Here in New England, winters are always coming. To take erotic advantage of the cold, we have to transform the cold into heat, and opportunity. Although being cold is a definite turn off, transforming being cold into being hot is a exactly the opposite. Below are six methods that couples in sex therapy with me (Stephen Duclos) have allowed me to share:
- Cold Hands: Our extremities are often hard to keep warm in cold temperatures. And touching our partners with cold hands, particularly on genital areas, does not work. Although waiting under the covers until our bodies warm up is effective, why wait? If your partner reports that your hands are cold, running them under mildly hot water will produce a better result. Furry gloves will also help us through the initial stages, until our bodies heat up during arousal. There are also warming lubricants on the market that are helpful, once the gloves are off.
- Blankets: Sexual activity in the winter is more comfortable under the covers. We will need space to move around, however, which means making sure that blankets are not tucked in anywhere. Other blanket tricks include heating a fleece blanket in the dryer for 5 minutes, and then applying to our partner’s body. Turning an electric blanket on before entering bed is good preparation. Remember, we are looking for ways of transforming something aversive, like cold, into heat and foreplay. This takes more time, which is a good thing. Do not rush to get warm! Play with the edges of cold and hot.
- Clothes: Layering is important if we are shoveling snow in minus temperatures. It is less important with sex. We can play with textures here by wearing something furry, and nothing else. A fur coat or soft sweater can be easily removed as well. I’ll take a pearl necklace with that, please
- Temperature: Our homes here in New England are well heated and insulated. When the temperature drops, there will still be areas of our homes that are not exactly comfortable. Although coupling in front of a roaring fire seems like a cliche, it is actually adaptive. That space in front of the fireplace can be 20 degrees warmer than your bedroom.
- Drinking: If one is younger, having an alcoholic drink can loosen our inhibitions and warm us a bit. Warm sake can be effective, or any warm alcoholic drink. If one is older, we recommend saving such libations for after sex. For men, hydration is central to the hydraulics of erection, and for women, it helps with lubrication. And alcohol is dehydrating. Hot chocolate, coffee, and tea, although mildly dehydrating over time, can serve as warming stimulants on a cold night or day, and do not make us sleepy. Warm drinks serve to heat us from the inside, and help with heating our cold hands and feet.
- Blizzards: Being shut in with your partner offers advantages of access, privacy, and opportunity. It is not unusual in a big storm to lose power for short periods of time. Even with children, the excitement of storms, and then the turning off of technology, can lead to early bedtimes. And when the storm stops, playing outside in the snow and cold can also cause more sleep time for children and adults. Retreating to the bedroom to get warm with no lights can be very erotic for couples. It is no accident that nine months after the Blizzard of 1978, with four or five days of family isolation, there was asignificant uptick in births. Seeing such unusual events as an opportunity for sex can make any hardship a lot more manageable.
Being cold, and then warming our bodies through the process of sex, can be very exciting, and provide a stage for anticipating sex when winter comes. And being forced to spend more time indoors can lead to the development of intimacy, which can be lost in the day to day bedlam of work and children.