Date night during quarantine

A guide for home-bound couples

Written by Agatha French

A night on the town isn’t possible when you’re on house arrest, but just because you’re home-bound doesn’t mean you can’t create a special evening.

In fact, if you share a home with your partner, a well-planned date night can help make up for the fact that you’ve probably seen each other in the same sweats and bathrobe for a week in a row. The days may feel the same, but with a little effort date night can be different.

Need some inspiration for breaking out of the quarantine-routine and actually feeling romantic? Here are a few guidelines for a successful date night at home.

Dress to impress

It sounds obvious, but getting dressed to impress is a clear signal that date night is a special occasion.

Chances are that you and/or your partner haven’t put the same effort into your appearance over the last few weeks as you normally would, and it shows. So go ahead and break out the good stuff: wear whatever makes you feel most confident, whether that’s a pair of jeans (remember those?) or a black tie number. If you typically shave or wear a scent or makeup for a night on the town, do that too! Research suggests that negative thoughts about our appearance can distract us from erotic triggers and prevent feelings of sexual desire.1

The ritual of preparing for a date can be a powerful part of the experience; just make sure you both agree to gussy up. If you show up to your quarandate in a cocktail dress and your partner’s still in last night’s pajamas you’re more likely to get into an argument than get sexy.

Plan in advance

Dinner and dancing. Cocktails and a board game. Netflix and chill. Coral and a vulva massage. When planning date night activities with your partner, don’t skimp on the details.

Making a romantic dinner? Decide who’s cooking for whom. Watching a movie? Pick something out ahead of time to remove the chance that you’ll get sucked into scrolling through options. You can also try something new, like taking a virtual tour of a museum or an online dance class. Salsa lessons for two, anyone? Trying new activities together, otherwise known as co-expansion, has been shown to increase sexual desire and contribute to the health of relationships in the long term.2,3

If you’re still stumped for ideas, think of your all-time favorite date and what you loved about it. Was it the delicious food? If so, you might pour your energy into an elaborate recipe. Was it the romantic atmosphere? Make sure to turn the lights down low. Was it seeing your favorite band in concert? No worries! When was the last time you snuggled up on the couch and listened to an album together from start to finish?

If you’re willing to get creative, you can recreate almost any part of what made your favorite date so special, although chances are what made it truly special was the person you were with, which is a good thing to keep in mind when being cooped up together 24/7 grates on your nerves.

Re-imagine the space

Snap a fresh tablecloth over the dining table. Drape a scarf over the lamp. Plant a picnic blanket in the middle of the living room. Build a pillow fort. Rearrange the furniture. Light candles.

If you can’t leave the house, try a departure from your typical interior. Do whatever you can to make your space look and feel different. A small change in decor can do wonders to revamp a room, but at the very least make sure there aren’t dirty dishes or laundry visible.

Unplug your devices

This goes for every date night, but it’s even more important to remember to turn off your devices for date night during quarantine. If you wouldn’t answer a text at a fancy restaurant then you shouldn’t do it at the kitchen table, either.

It’s especially important to disconnect if you and/or your partner have been working from home. Work stress, or just the feeling that you’re always on-call, can be distracting, which makes it more difficult to get turned on.4 Turning off your devices will help you stay present and hammer home the message that date night is different from the nights that came before.

Make an entrance

Speaking of working from home, you can use a work-from-home-hack to make a literal entrance on your quarandate. After you’ve gotten ready, re-imagined your space and turned off your phones, go for a walk around the block before “arriving” at your front door. (Just make sure to stay six feet away from any jogging neighbors!) You can stroll the block together and part ways to “meet up” again at home. (If you have young kids that can’t be left unattended, try getting ready separately and arriving at the table, or in your bedroom, for your date.)

Agree to the fantasy  

It’s true: even if you rearrange the furniture, don a ball gown and take a virtual tour of the Louvre, you’re still quarantined. But if you and your partner agree to uphold the fantasy, date night can still work.

Don’t act like it’s “no-big-deal-because-this-isn’t-a-real-date-we’re-at-home” and start scrolling the news, because you’ve both promised to suspend your disbelief. The success of date night during quarantine is predicated on keeping a positive mindset.

Bring sexy back

One of the reasons that date nights exist in the first place is to press pause on the daily grind and wake up to what’s right in front of you: your partner. It’s also a chance to slow down enough to notice what turns you on: a clean shave, eye gazing or some hot and heavy flirtation over dessert.

Whatever you do for date night, allowing yourself to unwind and enjoy the experience is the best bet for intimacy. Once you’re in the mood, try one of Coral’s exercises for couples. If you’re stuck inside together, you might as well try something new!

  1. Brott, Lori. “Better Sex Through Mindfulness: How Women can Cultivate Desire.” 2020. Greystone Books.
  2. Ferreira, L. C., Narciso, I., Novo, R. F., & Pereira, C. R. (2014). Predicting couple satisfaction: The role of differentiation of self, sexual desire, and intimacy in heterosexual individuals. Sexual and[3] Relationship Therapy, 29, 390–404.
  3. Perel, E. (2006). Mating in captivity: Unlocking erotic intelligence. New York, NY: Harper Collins.
  4. Brott, Lori. “Better Sex Through Mindfulness: How Women can Cultivate Desire.” 2020. Greystone Books.

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