Sex & Love

How to jazz up date night

Prevention (USA) - - CONTENTS - BY RACHEL ZAR, LMFT

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.

SUR­REN­DER DATES

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.

DOU­BLE DATES

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.

ADREN­A­LINE DATES

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.

READY-MADE DATES

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.

BED DATES

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.

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