Do you leave the bathroom door ajar these days? Have flannel PJs
replaced your silky negligees? Are you more likely to nod off with the
remote--instead of your partner--by your side?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you're not alone. After you've had sex with the same person over and over, it's easy to fall into a routine. There are two types of sexual arousal--mental and physical. In the beginning of a relationship, we have no shortage of sexy thoughts and feelings that turn us on and create a sense of sexual anticipation, but after a while the mental component can easily fade and we rely on physical stimulation. We know each other's bodies and we know how to get where we're going, but we may have forgotten how to appreciate the journey.
One way to bring sexy back is to make your bedroom surroundings as relaxing as possible: You can de-stress and deactivate not only by de-cluttering the room, but by adding inspiration--think scented candles and sexy music--that heightens the senses and promotes deep relaxation. You're going spice things up by transforming your humble bedroom into a love nest. Your goal: to create a private play-space that's inspiring and protected from the stresses of the outside world. You'll be revamping not just a physical space, but a mental one as well, where you can leave behind the outside world and focus on intimacy. On a budget? No problem. While you may need a trip or two to the store for some supplies, much of your decorating will involve re-purposing what you've already got.
1.Assess the mess. Stand in the doorway and try to see your bedroom through a stranger's eyes. Go on, give it an honest appraisal. What would you think if you were about to make love to your partner in this room after seeing it for the first time? Does the ambience put you in the mood? Or does the pile of laundry in the corner make you want run screaming in the other direction? At the same time, start visualizing what would be sexy, from the lighting, to the dÃ©cor, to what you're wearing in the bedroom.
2.Eliminate the negative. Remove that clutter! Leaving it there will only distract you from more important things, like enjoying the pleasure later tonight. Litter box, socks, piles of magazines, dead houseplants--it's all got to go.
3.Now, consider what's left. Could you use some new sheets? Those with higher thread counts are softer and more durable. What about the colors in the room? Pale blues and greens are ideal for relaxing, but you should also add pops of red and pink in order to turn up the heat on your love life. Consider repainting the room, or even just altering the color palette with accent pillows, a new bedspread, or colored lights. Got that stale pile of laundry out of there? Great. Replace the room's usual smell with fresh flowers or scented candles that have a hint of cinnamon and vanilla, which have been shown to increase arousal and attraction. Other scents that are supposed to have libido-boosting qualities include frankincense, ginger, lavender, lime, orange, patchouli, and rose. Remember, you may not need to spend money on new items: You can bring in some throw pillows from the living room or a rug from your guest bedroom, for example. Don't forget to make a sexy play-list of songs that turn you on, then hook up your CD player or iPod.
4.Gather your playthings. Now for the fun part! Get yourself a "toy box," whether that means a Rubbermaid container or a carved wooden chest. Fill it with items that are strictly adults-only: massage oils and massage candles, personal lubricant, honey dust, vibrating toys... anything that appeals to the two of you. (If you have kids, be sure to use a box with a lock and keep it out of reach.)
5. Then it's time to enjoy the spoils of your labor. Christen your new bedroom with a night of lovemaking. Split a bottle of champagne or sparkling cider with your love mix playing in the background, slowly undress each other, and have sex as if it's the first time again. As you do, start paying closer attention to all of your senses: Kiss for the feel and taste of a kiss. Listen to each other's breathing. Revel in the smell and feel of your partner's skin. Use this night as an opportunity to awaken your senses and your mind to increased intimacy with your partner.
Ian Kerner, Ph.D, is a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author of numerous books for Harper Collins, including She Comes First and Love in the Time of Colic. He appears frequently on the TODAY Show and CBS Early Show and lives his wife and two boys in New York City. He holds advanced degrees from New York University and is certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists.