Good sex is no endeavor for the weary — especially, it must be said, for the women among us. Alas, the world — a frenetic, kinetic, frantic, and frenzied place — often makes you so. Your senses are bombarded daily by unpleasantries (can you say rush hour commute?), so you’ve got to take care to heal them with beautiful sights, soothing sounds, aromatic scents, delectable tastes, and rejuvenating touch. Not only do you deserve regular respite, you require it. After all, it’s only when you care for yourself that you’re truly able to care for the one you love.
So here are 6 surefire steps to total pre-sex relaxation:
1. First, give yourself the time and space to relax. If you can steal an hour or two (an entire day if you’re lucky) for yourself, embrace the opportunity without guilt. No time spent caring for your body and soul is wasted. Scout out or create a reliable sanctuary that you can retreat to whenever you need it: a meditation space, a chaise lounge by a window with a view, a spacious bathtub, a neighborhood spa, a gym sauna, a favorite country inn amenable to last minute reservations…hell, even a quiet broom closet where you can chill out will do.
2. Unplug. Wherever you are, learn how to shut out the sounds around you that threaten to drag you back into the stresses of the day: turn down your phone, turn off the news, and drown out the outside world with music that clears your mind of to-do lists (death metal is probably not ideal for sensual relaxation rituals).
3. Indulge your senses. Next, light a votive lavender or jasmine candle and breathe deeply like you do in yoga class. If that’s too precious for you, pick up some freshly cut gardenias from the florist on the corner, put them in water, and let their subtle scent fill the room (guys, your girlfriends will love that you’re secure enough in your masculinity to appreciate fresh flowers). Even something as simple as freshly baked rosemary bread from the corner bakery slowly warming in the oven can fill your space with the scent of comfort and well-being. Put on a pot of hand-crafted blended tea, break open a pomegranate, or indulge in a few French chocolate ganaches. Soon your senses will remember their primary purpose: to be indulged.
4. Loosen up. If you can, seek out the healing touch of a professional – massage therapy can do wonders for your stress levels. Or turn to your partner for a very unprofesssional erotic massage, which is an even better form of pre-sex relaxation (click here for massage tips). Or simply soothe your muscles with a ritualistic hot bath, filled with rich bubbles or soothing scented oils, or a pulsating shower that has no time limit (until the hot water runs out or your inner Al Gore starts berating you for waste). Not only will a warm washing ease tension, it’ll make you feel more confident to eventually have all your nooks and crannies intimately explored (hey, the less you have to worry about, the better the sex).
5. Anoint yourself as an act of love. Afterwards, when you’re calmed yet invigorated, moisturize all over, lightly perfume or apply a nice deodorant, mist or dust yourself with the balm of your choice.
6. Give your partner the gift of relaxation. If you’re not convinced you need to retreat to any kind of “special place” to get in the mood for sex, don’t be so sure about your partner — maybe the art of seduction in this case is creating that place for your partner (hello, spa day) and joining them a few hours later. And, of course, any or all of the above can be done with a partner — you’ll be relaxing two birds with one pumice stone.