Sex & Love
How to jazz up date night
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions couples make: “We’re going to bring back date night!” It’s a promise made with the intention of having romantic candlelit dinners and rekindling eroticism (or simply spending more one-on-one time together!). But as with many resolutions, weekly date nights often dwindle into everynow-and-then date nights— and may eventually fall off the calendar completely, a casualty of expensive sitters/cocktails/ dinners plus the difficulty of miraculously conjuring up together time out of thin air.
IF THE idea of date night causes more stress and pressure than swooning, there’s a better way! It just takes a little intentionality and creativity. Here are five twists on date night that just may keep this resolution going throughout the year.
Remember the anticipation that used to go into planning a date? Or the feeling of being wooed? To recapture those feelings, try alternating who takes the lead and who surrenders to the experience. One partner picks everything that happens on the date—where you’ll go, the dress code, etc.—and handles the details, like setting up child care and paying the bill. The other person just goes along with the plan. You can create a date you think your partner will love or introduce something you really like to do. Either way, you’ll step out of your routine and invigorate your time together.
Instead of asking each other out, try inviting out those nice people who live down the street. Research suggests that a couple experiences more passion and excitement after a date when there’s another couple along. It gives you the chance to see your partner
through the eyes of others—and hear those people’s genuine laughter at jokes you’ve heard a million times.
Have you wondered why so many dates on reality dating shows involve rappelling off a building or jumping out of an airplane? Makes sense, in a way: The adrenaline rush of taking a risk is similar to that felt when one is attracted to a partner. Incorporating a roller coaster, a zip line, or an indoor climbing wall into your next date may give it some added zest.
Subscription boxes are all the rage these days—from meals to beauty products, they tend to simplify things instantly. So why not do the same with romance? Many companies make boxes that create an allinclusive date night—no babysitter necessary, and no need even to put on real pants! I love Datebox Club and Crated With Love—or if you’re a crime buff, try Hunt a Killer— but with a quick Google search you’ll find a bunch of different options.
Especially for a couple that struggles to find time for sex, a date that happens completely between the sheets offers an opportunity for skin-to-skin contact that may lead to more. Leave your phones in another room and eat dessert in bed. Then play a game
(strip poker, anyone?) or opt for a cozy conversation—making a rule not to talk about the kids, the in-laws, or finances—and let the night unfold.
Rachel Zar, LMFT, is a relationship and sex therapist at Spark Chicago Therapy and the Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Medicine & Menopause.