By Chiara Atik for HowAboutWe
Got hot Valentine's Day plans? Valentine's Day plans that might possibly end in your bedroom? Chances are, if your date gets that far, a balled up pair of socks and teddy bear on the bed isn't really going to ruin the mood. But just because a poster of, say, Audrey Hepburn won't hurt your love life, doesn't mean it's going to make it better. And we here at HowAboutWe want you to have the best sex of your life.
1. Get Rid of the Clutter
Look, we're not suggesting a trip to The Container Store. Just shove all your crap under the bed or in a closet or temporarily move it into your roommate's room. (Surprise!)
Glancing up at seeing a pile of papers you have to read for work before tomororw is a mood killer. Having to "watch your step" en route from the door to the bed is a mood killer. Accidentally lying down on a pile of books is a mood killer. Trying to get off while staring at a wad of Kleenexes and a jar of Vicks Vaporub on the nightstand is a mood killer. Your pet -- yes, adorable little Fluffy/Cleo/Fido -- is a moodkiller, even. Make your bedroom as bare as possible.
Related: How to Make Your Apartment "Date Ready"
2. Be Selective of Your "Wall Art"
Take down the "Breakfast at Tiffany's Poster,", "The Godfather" poster, the framed picture of Grandma. There is nothing wrong with any of those things, except that they can be distracting to you and/or your date during critical moments. (No one wants to be thinking of your Grandma during sex.) The best artwork for your bedroom is something that isn't likely to immediately bring up strong associations: a nice print or photograph -- anything that blends in with your decor without dominating the room (and thus, the other person's thoughts).
3. Get the Right Lighting
No one wants to have sex under the harsh, unflattering light that emanates from most ceiling fixtures: way too clinical. Still, having sex in the pitch black reeks of insecurity. Dimmers are a great and inexpensive way to adjust the light settings to just the right degree of brightness (which may vary based on what you and your date feel comfortable with). And though it takes just the right blend of confidence and irony to be able to whip out candles in your bedroom without looking too overly-prepared (and cheesy), candlelight absolutely is the most flattering. The blog FengShuiDana suggests long, tapered candles ("long-lasting and sexy to watch burn"). Just, please, avoid the Glade Scented Jars. Yuck.
Related: 10 Things Ladies Shouldn't Have In Their Bedrooms
4. The Sheets Make All the Difference
Are you an adult? Then you should own a set of nice, high thread count sheets. (Are you not an adult? Please stop reading this article!!)
Seriously, it doesn't matter if you still read YA novels with relish, and spend your weekend playing MarioKart, and blacked out after doing a keg stand last week, and don't own an ironing board, but a real adult with a real sex life requires a set of really nice, really soft sheets! Even if your "bed" is just a boxspring on the floor, the least you can do is make it inviting in there.
As for the rest of the bed, make sure it's made. Sure, logically your guest will know that chances are you haven't changed the sheets since the night before, but seeing a neatly-made bed just helps keep up the illusion that you have.
5. It Takes Two
No, your bedroom is not a hotel, but you should still do what you can to make it comfortable for a second person. FengShuiDana suggests getting two of everything: not only is this more Feng Shui friendly (two=balance!), but following the rule of two makes sure your guest will have everything he/she needs. Two pillows, two glasses of water, two towels, two candlesticks, etc.
Related: 10 Things Guys Shouldn't Have In Their Bedrooms
- If possible, leave a window open during the day to fill the room with fresh air.
- If you live with roommates, a pitcher or bottle of water on the nightstand by the bed will save you from potentially awkward, semi-dressed trips to the kitchen.
- Essential oils, like Bergamot and Rosemary, are said to be aphrodisiacs. Put a few droplets at the base of your candles, or (lightly) spray across the room.
- Music can really help elevate the mood, but don't just plug in your iPod on shuffle, lest "Consider Yourself" from Oliver! or something equally unsexy pop up in the mix at a crucial moment.
- If you don't have drapes, invest in some! Shut the outside world out (and don't let it peep in.)
- Study after study has shown that a TV in the bedroom greatly decreases the amount of sex that takes place in that bedroom. This probably pertains more to long-term couples than people who are just dating, but if you do have a TV in the bedroom, don't turn it on at night!