Kya deLongchamps offers some obvious and not-so-obvious tips on how to get your most private space ready for February 14.
I’M all for the free expression of sex all over the house. As the late, great Victoria Wood put it, “bend me backwards on me hostess trolley” (‘The Ballad of Barry and Freda — Let’s Do It”).
However, for most of us upright, uptight grown-ups, the bedroom is our theatre of pleasure and play.
With just a few days to the worldwide celebration of romantic love, let’s see what we can do in terms of quick fixes to get you two really worked up behind closed doors.
Before we do anything else, do I have to say it — clean up. Get rid of as much of the banal, workaday rubbish scattered around the room as you can.
Get that focus back on the bed (or the swing or the special chair — no judging).
Sleeping in the same room is a declaration about your relationship, at least it once was.
This is your life partner, your friend, your lover, your chosen one — and this room is a secret, safe place where anything that feels good for both of you goes.
Cram those flattened slippers, invading signals of the presence of children, and interfering rubbish out of sight for those special nights.
This is not about sex, it’s about intimacy, privacy and separating yourself from everyone and everything else for even an hour.
Preparing to get physical takes a little forward planning.
Turn an open coil bed over for perky springs, or rotate your pocket springs/memory foam or hybrid mattress, if it’s been three months or more, (for the mattress move, of course).
New pillows with plenty of bounce, including a large V-shaped pillow, are useful props for positions in love-making.
Clear bedside tables and place anything you and your beloved enjoy as accessories within easy reach. Change the sheets.
If you cannot afford new high thread count Egyptian cotton or a touch of silk (300 count is sateen, 1,000 hotel quality) — well-washed, sparkling clean sheets, massaged to softness by repeated washings and ironed for this occasion, are fine.
A similarly soft touch that stimulates the nerve endings from the soles of your feet upards, will intensify a mood of comfort and sensuality, so introduce a soft, deep pile rug close to the bed, gentle hypoallergenic coverings on the bed itself, and two fresh, bath-sized towels in case you want to shower during or after, together or alone (twins showers are rocking bathroom design for 2017).
I recently read a feature on the frequency of parental intimacy, describing a two-year-old as a ‘vampire in pigtails’ sucking the life out of her parent’s sex life.
Who is the plotting, planning, powerful adult here?
Beyond exhaustion, if curious little sneaks may attempt entry to the room, ensure the door locks firmly from the inside with a sliding bolt or key — leave keys in the door for safety’s sake.
Children won’t actually ‘die’ if they discover you in flagrante, but why risk spoiling the night and accelerating THE talk?
For music, if that is what you both fancy, iTunes, Spotify, or Pandora channelled through your mobile device to speakers can be set to voice recognition, playing a setlist composed by you; a surprise offered by music experts; or altering tracks using voice recognition as you languidly explore your feelings.
Spotify offers up to six accounts for the family from €14.99 per month if you are residing at the same address.
Now, it’s time for a design on the all important element of lighting. A recent study by the Journal of Consumer Psychology in the US, published in Science Direct, suggested that ‘hot’ bright light can stoke up our emotions, but towards a more reactive, aggressive spectrum.
Soft ambient light is a shift from the glaring beam of the office or factory to the gentler illumination of home: “Turning down the light, effortless and unassuming as it may seem, can reduce emotionality in everyday decisions, most of which take place under bright light.”
Reducing light intensity in the evening, (and that includes screen time), almost immediately impacts our endocrine and neurological system and can put the circadian rhythm back in balance to help you both relax.
Even approaching the bed and snapping off the light (as many of us mid-lifers prefer), can be averted and the march of time over the face and limbs can be softened by low contrast illumination.
Even wild animalistic sex under stark central CFLs leaves an uncomfortable after-glow.
It’s hard to get that pooling, low, and indirect lighting design with one lamp, so try a balance of two to three that does not include a single overhead centre ceiling light.
If you are confident enough, side lighting from one unit will highlight your shape as you move. Desk lamps with poseable shades are a handy steal.
The colour of the light falling on your skin not only suggests warmth but is without doubt more flattering unless your fantasies exist on the clinical over-exposed side (no judging here, either). LED bulbs are a bit perky, whereas halogen light, and rose tinted CFLs can stroke the mood.
If you don’t have dimmers to stage naughty evenings, don’t panic. Look for soft, low output 25w pink or yellow/gold warm light bulbs for your bedside lights (around €2.99 each). Try them out and see how you feel.
For outright sensuality, pop down to Harvey Norman and pick up some Boudoir Rose light bulbs, which at €10, promise a Parisian-style thrill.
Resist a full-on red light district, candles flaming off every surface (dangerous if forgotten) or the ’50s fix of draping sheer nylon scarves over table lamps — a potential fire hazard.
Flipping the switch, every committed couple’s sex life meets challenges.
Men over 40 can benefit from similar treatments offered to those suffering from seasonal affected disorder (SAD) to boost their testosterone levels and interest in making love during these dark months.
Early research released by the University of Siena in September suggests that half an hour with a light box in the morning before work can potentially wake up the pineal gland in the brain, increasing libido, and level of sexual satisfaction when he gets home and takes you in his arms.
A Beurer daylight lamp used at 15-20cm simulates daylight at over 10,000 lux, €64.99.
If you have a TV in the bedroom on a table or floor stand, try turning it around, lose the sound, and let the images play on the wall as a light feature.
Shifting, glowing, rising and falling, it’s a cheap cheat that really gets some people going.
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