Sex tips for winter: How to turn up the heat in the colder months

Stock image of couple cuddling in bed, inset photo of thermostat being turned up
Here's some top tips to turn up the heat this winter. Photo credit: Getty Images

It's not unusual to experience low libido during the winter months: it's cold enough waiting for the shower to warm up, let alone getting naked by choice, and many of us are battling various ills and chills that aren't exactly synonymous with sexy. Oh yes, I love it when your nose drips on me during the throes of passion. 

If you're feeling a little lacklustre in the bedroom at this time of year, don't fret - it could actually be scientific. According to one study, levels of testosterone - the primary male sex hormone, produced mainly in the testes but also in the ovaries - can be lower in the colder months, potentially due to shorter days and reduced sunlight, and will continue to vary seasonally. Low levels of testosterone can be associated with low libido.  

"Testosterone plays a large role in our sex drives and our testosterone levels tend to be highest in autumn and start to fall again after that. You may notice more of a drop in the colder months, particularly if you are lacking vitamin D," Emma Hewitt, Adult Toy Megastore's in-house sex educator, told Newshub. 

Low vitamin D can also be a cause of low sex drive: and lo and behold, our levels of vitamin D are usually lowest during the wintertime. A 2018 study found vitamin D improved sexual desire in women with both vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency, and increased the participants' scores for both orgasms and sexual satisfaction.

"Low vitamin D levels are common during winter and it impacts lots of parts of our lives, including our nervous systems and muscle functions. There are studies associating low vitamin D levels with low sexual desire, particularly in women. Any time the sun is out, get out there and soak it up. And if that's not going to work with your schedule, grab a vitamin D supplement," Hewitt added. 

Otherwise, it could be the dull days getting you down: freezing-cold temperatures don't exactly motivate one to take their clothes off, and the sound of wind and rain lashing at the windows mostly inspires sleep, not sex (for me, at least). 

If this is the case, Hewitt has just the tips to hopefully get you back on the horse (or whatever you like to ride): take this as a kick up the bum to get off the couch and back in that saddle. There's plenty of winter-appropriate ways to turn the heat up between you and yours, whether it be getting steamy in the shower or experimenting with temperature play. Hell, you can even leave your socks on.

Newshub: When it's cold, it can be a little unmotivating when it comes to sex (getting naked when it's 10C? No, thank you). What are your top tips to keep things warm and cosy when getting intimate in the colder months?

Emma Hewitt: It might take a bit of extra care to get in the mood during winter. I recommend making your space as cosy and sexy as possible. Candles, plush blankets and yes, a heater if possible!

If you can, do it following exercise when your body is already warm and your heart is pumping. Exercise increases blood flow which assists with becoming aroused and increases your body's ability to feel pleasure. Regardless of the temperature, it's a good time to have sex!

Okay, a controversial one, but you can try keeping your socks on during sex if you are struggling to orgasm during the colder months. In 2005 the University of Groningen conducted a study where they found that participants who wore socks were more likely to orgasm during partnered sex. Obviously one study isn't enough to determine this conclusively, but if ensuring your feet are warm and cosy with some cute socks is going to stop you from worrying about having cold feet during sex, what's the harm?

And remember, you don't need to take your clothes off completely during sex. Keep them on and find ways to work around them. Spooning sex is a great position where you don't have to take your clothes off completely, or indulge in more hand stuff.

Keep in mind that sex is going to warm you up: while the first few minutes might require an extra blanket or two, you'll be flicking them off in no time.

Adult Toy Megatore's sex educator Emma Hewitt.
Adult Toy Megatore's sex educator Emma Hewitt. Photo credit: Supplied

Coming off of that, shower sex is probably a go-to for many when it's freezing - how can we take good ol' shower sex to the next level?

The most important thing to ensure that your shower sex is banging is using the right kind of lubricant. Water washes away the body's natural lubrication, meaning shower sex can actually feel drier than sex outside of the shower.

I recommend using a silicone lubricant to keep things slippery. Silicone lube is water-resistant so it will stay put while you play. Water-based lubricant is no good in the shower as it will wash away, so silicone is your best bet. It is slippery, so ensure you have a non-stick mat down. We want pleasure, not injuries.

And remember that penetrative sex is not the only kind of sex. Oral sex or playing with your hands can be much easier, especially if you are working with a small shower. Or try a waterproof sex toy. Lots of vibrators are completely waterproof now and they are super fun to use with a partner. Use them on each other to avoid having to do too much shower yoga.

What are some fun ways to spice up your sex life in the winter? Any seasonal tips and tricks? 

One of the best things you can do to boost your libido any time of the year is to introduce novelty and play into your sex life by trying something new. A new toy, a new position, a new lubricant or some sexy lingerie. It's the easiest way to increase excitement about sex and make you forget about how cold it is.

There are also toys that can literally be used to warm you up. Toys made of glass or metal will retain heat, meaning they can be warmed for temperature play. Introducing something hot (or cold) into the body can 'shock' the senses and increase your sensitivity levels. The temperature variation stimulates your neuroreceptors, creating a ripple of sensation through your body and making you feel more aroused.

You can heat a metal or glass toy in a bowl of warm water. Just make sure you test it on your skin first to ensure it's not going to burn. The inside of the elbow is a sensitive spot that will give you a good indication of whether it's too hot to be used.

What is your advice to those of us who just feel a bit rubbish at this time of year - and may feel guilty if our partner has a higher sex drive?

Honestly, don't worry about it if you don't feel like having sex during the colder months. Our sex drives go in natural ebbs and flows throughout our lives and it's totally normal to not crave sex all the time. Particularly when you're cold!

Think of other ways you can be intimate (and warm) with your partner. Watch a sexy film, enjoy some non-sexual touch like a hand or foot massage, or just snuggle up and enjoy some yummy food together.

Winter is tough enough without feeling guilty about your sex drive. Indulge in a few warming simple pleasures together and try not to stress.