Romance doesn’t always have to involve splurging on expensive gifts or trips away from home. You can do this by maximizing what you might already have and making it a priority in the bedroom.
If you’re married and share a bed with your partner, it’s not uncommon for things to get stale from time to time. Excitement can easily give way to routine, and eventually you might wonder where all that romance has gone.
The bedroom can be both a sanctuary for good doses of sleep and a playground for intimate relationships with your lover. So if the daily grind has you falling into bed at night and getting out the next morning without a second glance at your bedmate, it might be time to reignite the fire.
Here are eight ideas for setting the mood in the bedroom.
Here are some things you can add to your bedroom setup to develop more intimacy, whether emotional, intellectual, or physical (va-va-va-voom).
1. Do a hot and steamy program
Even though lining up calendars and setting dates seems like the farthest thing from sexy, it’s fundamental to long-term love. This is especially true for married couples who have children.
Ideally, you and your partner have schedules that allow you both to be home during normal sleeping hours. But even if you go to bed at different times, try to go to bed at the same time, with a little buffer time before sleep. This is the golden hour of connection.
There’s also no shame in making sex part of your schedule. If it doesn’t happen spontaneously, be a boss and write it down. Intentionality is romantic!
2. Engage in romantic-comedy conversation
Communication may seem simple, but it can also be the most important step in building a romantic relationship. In reality, to research shows that working on communication skills – especially expressing feelings, needs and wants – improves intimacy.
A small study 2021 showed that training in communication skills reduced marital exhaustion. Signs of marital exhaustion can be physical, emotional or psychological, including:
- fatigue, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite
- resentment, frustration, emptiness
- low self-esteem, hopelessness, negative feelings towards your spouse
In contrast, in long-term relationships, increased privacy leads to an increase in sexual desire, which increases the chances of you being lucky, my friend.
But beware of the common date night pitfall of talking only about the kids or how irritating your co-workers are. The more personal your conversation, the better.
Try these conversation starters:
- Thank your partner or tell them something you appreciate about them.
- Compliment them on their looks.
- Ask questions and listen actively.
- Try a tool like Gottman Card Games App for an almost endless supply of conversation starters.
3. Give your sleeping space a sexy sensory makeover
Think of your bed as a giant sensory trash can to roll around in. Try layering your bed with soft and firm features, silky, plush, bumpy or soft fabrics.
It’s a good idea to think about building a nest that can put your body in a relaxed state so you can focus on your partner. The textures in your bedroom can also be a buffet to experiment with and determine what sensations each of you are drawn to.
Here are some other ideas for dressing your bed for romance:
- Be low. Try a low platform bed or put your mattress directly on the floor for a relaxed feeling in bed all day with my lover.
- Keep them separate. We’re not suggesting replacing your king with a pair of twins, but your relationship might benefit from having two separate duvets. Think of all the resentment and cold shoulders you could avoid!
- Always go naked. How about banishing clothes from your bed? If that’s too big a leap, maybe designate one naked night a month and progress from there.
4. Do heavy breathing with aromatherapy
Don’t underestimate the power of perfume! Pump your room with a signature essential oil blend and get started create memories. Your romantic scent can keep transporting you to the good times every time you spray or diffuse it.
Try these scents to evoke a certain atmosphere in your boudoir:
- Energetic: eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint, rosemary
- Relaxing: lavender, mandarin, neroli, roman chamomile, vetiver
- Aphrodisiac: clary sage, rose, ylang ylang
5. Staycation that female dog
There aren’t too many things as invigorating as getting away from it all. But if you and your partner can’t escape for a proper vacation, why not turn your bedroom into a retreat that looks like it?
What are your favorite parts of your most romantic hotel stay? Fresh rosé and fluffy dress? The sound of waves crashing outside? A good mattress? Use your imagination and introduce these elements into your bedroom.
6. Be flexible before you get weird
According to a small research review 2016 in 10 studies, higher levels of mindfulness are associated with greater relationship satisfaction. Bedtime yoga isn’t the only way to be mindful, but it’s a fun way to use your body and enjoy the moment.
Be mindful by doing breathing exercises, meditating, or concentrating on any activity with your partner. Just remember these key elements of mindfulness: don’t strive for a particular outcome, and keep judgment out of the bedroom.
7. Open the toy box
Bedroom toys? Yes, definitely collect a treasure chest of adult toys to “play” with your partner. But don’t stop there. Having fun and engaging in a new activity is a big part of romance, even when you’re not sexual.
Recently, researchers discovered that two-thirds of university students surveyed have found a romantic relationship with someone who started out as a friend. There are reasons to believe that couples who play together stay together.
Non-sexual activities also enhance intimacy. Try one of these bedtime-friendly activities with your partner:
- A few light games. Yes, screen time disrupts your sleep cycles, but playing together could be a fun activity once in a while.
- Netflix and chill. It’s a cliche because it works. Snuggle up and enjoy a show you both love.
- Book club for two. Reading is usually a solitary situation, but try to read the same book at the same time.
8. Create a sweet soundscape
Complete your romantic bedroom experience with a great playlist or white noise. Tap into your mixtape skills to create a playlist for every bedtime mood:
- At the time: songs from the first time you and your partner met
- Fantastic atmospheres: types of sounds like “thunderstorm by the fire in a castle” or “camping by the lake”
- Soft instrumentals: music that stays in the background for deep conversations or bedtime reading
- Sleepy mix: ways to fall asleep together
- sexy trax: songs like “Let’s Get It On” on repeat
Maybe you’ve heard that married people have better long-term health outcomes than unmarried people. So far, researchers haven’t pinpointed the reason for the correlation, but they have theories. A study 2017 found that married people had lower levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol than unmarried people.
If being in a satisfying relationship means less stress, you can also have better physical health. Stress can lead to tension, pain, breathing problems, heart problems, depression, lowered immunity, and many other health issues.
In a study 2021, researchers also found that sexual satisfaction and intimacy are linked to better cognitive health as you age. Not necessarily a causal relationship, but that’s not a bad goal to achieve.