SEX TOYS AND PRODUCTS
Decorating Tips to Make Your Bedroom a Sanctuary for Sex
Experts recommend reserving your bedroom for the two S's: Sleep and sex. Use these tips to get the most out of both.
When it comes to arousal, the state of your bedroom might not matter at all—or it might matter a whole lot. But even if it doesn't matter to you, it might matter to your partner(s)—which now means it matters to you.
While different sex experts call it different things, discussion about our surroundings—and how they can impact our sex drives—is core to many theories about sexual arousal.
Sexual Arousal Theories
The Gas-And-Brake System
Sexologist Dr. Emily Nagoski (author of "Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life") thinks of sexual arousal like a gas-and-brake system you'd find on a car. On one hand, you have the "gas": things that arouse you—like wearing lingerie or thinking sexy thoughts. And on the other, you have things that hit the brakes on your arousal—like seeing dirty laundry, feeling uncomfortable in that lingerie or feeling scratchy sheets on your body.
Following Dr. Nagoski's theory on arousal, the purpose behind decorating your bedroom is to maximize the gas items—and minimize the braking items for your best chances at fulfilling sexual experiences.
READ: 8 Ways to Turn Yourself on for More Satisfying Sex.
The Erotic Blueprint
Another perspective on arousal comes from sex expert Jaiya, who talks more about the individual erotic blueprint.
The erotic blueprint theory is the idea that each person has their own preferred journey to easy arousal—similar to the five Love Languages—but for erotic play. One of the five erotic blueprint types is the "sensual" type: someone who's aroused by indulging in their senses—like the primal smell of sex, the sight of a clean bedroom, the feel of skin on theirs and seeing their partner partially undressed. At the same time, someone with a different erotic blueprint may be happy having sex on a mountain of dirty clothes—because cleanliness isn't on their radar of arousal!
(I highly recommend looking into both theories, honestly! Both are fantastic and I've learned a lot about my own sexuality through both.)
READ: Why We All Need Sex Ed (Even Adults!).
The point is: The state of your bedroom can be vitally important for a lot of people's sex drives—even if you don't realize it is. You may not be aware that dirty piles of laundry or digging through your underwear drawer for a vibrator is affecting your sex drive; but it still very much may be—your other "gas" options just may be winning out over its braking effect on your sex drive.
So, what's a person to do? How do you go about treating the bedroom like it should be: a sanctuary for sex (and sleep)? Let's hit some common (and not-so-common!) suggestions:
Remove All To-Dos
When you look at your bedroom, do you see the happy place where you get to sleep and fuck? Or do you see piles of objects that remind you of all of the things left on your to-do list?
In other words, step one of turning your bedroom into a sex sanctuary is getting rid of all the various "to-do" piles. This might mean tackling them first when you're on your next cleaning spree; but it might also mean literally moving those piles into another room.
If there's a half-finished crafting project you've been meaning to get to on the bedside table, toss it in the living room—and get it out of eyesight in the bedroom. The last thing you want is to think while your partner undresses you is "Oh, I should really be doing that craft project".
Even if it's not consciously on your mind, our brains are tricky little things. There's a reason activity experts recommend placing your workout shoes near the front door where you can see them: The sight of your shoes reminds you and encourages you to work out.
While you're at it, if you can clean your bedroom (to whatever level is comfortable for you), that's always great. For most couples, either you or your partner has to clean the bedroom - so removing it off of the "to-do" list for one of you will help that person relax better into play.
Don't Work in the Bedroom
Remote work is the dominant setup across many companies right now. But if you're working from home, ensure you're not doing it from bed.
Why? Well, if you've ever worked in a place outside of your home, think about how your brain reacts when you see that space. When you see the restaurant where you wait tables, do you think, "That's my favorite food," or do you think about the next time you need to go into work?
The same can be true about your bed. If you're spending 40 (or more) hours a week working in your bed, you may look at your new de facto office space and only be able to think of your next deadline. Not only is this harmful for actually sleeping—but it's not great for your sex drive either. Even if you are turned on by the idea of having sex at the office, doing so when the office is your bed probably won't do it for you.
READ: Wanna Act Kinky in Public? Here's How to Do It Incognito.
Here's another reason to move your work out of the bed: Laying in bed with a laptop for hours a day is just hell on your back and body. (Take it from someone who did it for a year before realizing the consequences.) Instead, set up a secondary office space (preferably with a supportive chair and ergonomic set-up)—and reap the sleeping and sexual benefits.
If you live in a really, really small apartment (studio apartment-owners, unite!), I understand that space is limited. In that case, attempt to set up a small desk (desks that fold up when you're done are out there!) in the corner of the bedroom and avoid doing your work from bed when at all possible.
For people who are connected to work 24/7, this includes your cell phone. If it's vital to scroll through your cell phone at night, ensure all work-related cell phone usage ends as soon as you step from the bathroom to the bedroom.
READ: Sexting: A Guide to the Erotic Power of Words.
As experts have been harping on all of us for ages, though, it's best to avoid using your phone at all while in bed. (I don't know about you; but that's not something I'll manage to abide by anytime soon.)
Incorporate Mood Lighting
What lighting do you have available in your bedroom? If it's a single, overhead, LED light, it's no wonder it's hard to view your bedroom as a sexual sanctuary. That's about as sexy as the grocery store. (Although, the grocery store does have cucumbers...)
While well-lit areas are vital for doing everyday things—like sorting out the laundry— it's the antithesis of feeling sexy for most people. Not only does it cast harsh, noticeable shadows, but it simultaneously exposes every crevice in the bedroom—which can make it harder to focus on just the erotic things on the bed. Instead, you get the treat of seeing the garbage can in the corner.
Luckily, "fixing" this has gotten much easier over the last decade. Instead of needing the electric know-how to install a dimmer switch, you can set up some sweet, sweet mood lighting with nothing but a lamp—and an app-controlled dimmer lightbulb. If your home uses smart home features, you can tell your home assistant to dim your lightbulb for you. Otherwise, many of these lightbulbs use an app to control the dimming functionality.
READ: App-Controlled Sex Toys: A Fun, Modern Twist on Sex Play.
Not into smart home technology? You can set up mood lighting the old-fashioned way: being strategic with your lightbulbs, lamp shades, and lightbulb intensity to perfectly place the lights where you want them.
Higher lightbulb powers will cast more light; and you can play with lamp height and lampshade thickness to change where light ends up, too. Just make sure to pick lightbulbs that work best for your eroticism (those eco-friendly LEDs can be really rough on the brain!)
For bonus points, adjust your lighting specifically to your (and your partner's, if you have one!) needs. Would lighting on just the bed make it easier to ignore some of the less savory parts of the bedroom? Work towards that. Do multicolor lights make you feel like you're in a sultry sex club—and that gets you going? Look into bulbs that can cast blue, red and green colors.
Make your bedroom work for you. Ain't no rules on lightbulbs.
(Pro tip: Dimmer lights can help you get in the mood and help you wind down for the night—and get better sleep. They're a win-win!)
Get a Lock on the Door
If you live with other people—including if those people are related to you and two feet tall, you need a lock on your bedroom door. It's healthy to set boundaries for those living with you; but it's even more important to know you're assured privacy when you (and your partner, if you have one) want some sexual time.
READ: Giving and Obtaining Consent: How to Give Your Kids the Lessons You Probably Never Got.
There's nothing less arousing than constantly worrying about someone catching you—especially if that isn't your kink.
If the offending parties are old enough to understand basic instructions, it's time to talk about what it means if the door is shut—and how we should respect people's privacy when their doors are shut by knocking first.
Ensure You Have the Sex Props You Need
Just like your workout area is defined by its addition of weight-lifting equipment, fans and/or a yoga mat, your "sex area" can be defined by all the sexual "equipment" in it.
Depending on your available space and necessary discretion, this can be as simple as hiding a sex-positioning shape underneath the bed—or purchasing something larger like a Liberator Esse Chaise, which functions as a permanently accessible bondage station.
In any case, the sex props you choose should depend on what you want to achieve with your sex furniture: Do you need some basic hip elevation or a full piece of furniture to let your creativity shine?
Your sex props don't have to be large, either. For example, you might consider an over the door sex swing—or a sex sling that can be worn around the ankles to help support the legs. Both of those can be packed into a small box and discreetly hidden under the bed. But hey—if sex machines are calling out to you, those are fantastic additions to the bedroom too.
READ: How to Use Sex Toy Accessories for Next Level Play.
It's all about choosing items that make your bedroom feel like your sex sanctuary. Choose toys that make sex more pleasurable, more accessible and more exciting to jump into.
Keep Your Sex Items Accessible
Not only do you need to have sexual tools in the bedroom; you need to keep them accessible. If your favorite dildo is stored under six boxes, you're just going to put it off when you think about using it. (Nobody wants to deal with reorganizing the entire bedroom just to grab a dildo.)
This might mean reorganizing (and potentially purchasing furniture like end tables!) just for access of your sex toys—and that's OK! Nobody is asking you to keep your lubes, cuffs, sex toys and sex furniture sitting out in the open—but if you want the atmosphere to turn you on as soon as you see your bedroom, make sure your brain knows this is the area where all of the sexy, orgasm-producing things happen.