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Hollywood tells us that sex always starts with ripping off each other’s clothes and jumping straight into the sheets to get it on. But IRL, that’s not always the case.
Maybe getting in the mood for a hot and heavy night with a partner (or yourself) isn’t the easiest for you. Or maybe you’re ready to get frisky, but get wayyy too in your head and can’t cross the finish line.
Whatever it is, sometimes, all you need to do is take a sec to prep yourself (and your environment) for the deed. Sure, preparation is not part of steamy movie scenes, but it can be the key to feeling confident and ready to get sexy.
But what do you need to prepare? We got you. Here’s everything you need to set the mood.
Why you should trust us
We spoke with Gigi Engle, ACS, SKYN sex expert, certified sexologist, and author of All The F*cking Mistakes: a guide to sex, love, and life, about products you can use to unleash your sexy beast.
“Setting the mood for sexy time is super important. In order to be embodied sexually, we need to feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed,” she says.
Getting to a place where you feel safe, comfy, and relaxed happens differently for everyone. For some people, that might mean focusing most on creating a cozy space for getting intimate. For others, that might mean finding ways to feel confident AF in the bedroom.
Below you’ll find a little bit of both: tips for creating a relaxing atmosphere and for feeling like the main character in your fave steamy sex scene. ✨
First things first. You need the room where the magic happens (aka your bedroom) in tip top shape. That means changing (or even upgrading) your sheets, grabbing a cozy blanket, and tidying up so you’re not getting it on next to a pile of dirty laundry.
We love these Brooklinen cotton percale sheets. They have a crisp, clean feel to them and they’re super lightweight, so they won’t be weighting anything down. 😉
Swapping out your bedding for a lightweight down comforter — like this one from Riley — will give you “Your Body Is a Wonderland” vibes. So heavenly, so fluffy, and so. damn. sexy.
If you want to liven up the place, you can also add some greenery to your space. If you’re in a pinch for time (or not interested in trying to keep plants alive), consider this three piece set of Der Rose artificial potted eucalyptus. If you’ve got a green thumb, try this Plant Parent Set from The Sill.
But perhaps most importantly, you definitely need to fold that pile of clothes on your bed, take the 11 empty cups off of your nightstand, and vacuum the hell out of that room. And for good reason, too: a 2010 study actually showed that people who perceive their homes as cluttered are more stressed and depressed — which is NOT a recipe for good sex.
We are all painfully aware of how lighting can change the feel of a room. If you’re a super visual person, too little lighting can ruin the moment. But too much lighting can throw you off, too.
“If you have harsh fluorescent lights beating down on you, it could make you feel less in the mood for orgasms,” Engle says. “Plus, we are all (well, mostly) more kind to our beautiful bodies in a softer light — and feeling good about yourself is crucial for good sexual experiences.”
Lighting a candle creates a soft glow that’ll give you enough light to see your partner, but not so much that you’re hyper aware of the way you look.
Plus, adding a yummy aroma doesn’t hurt either. You can choose any scent that makes you and your partner feel the friskiest, whether that be a sultry scent like Bath & Body Works’ Vanilla Patchouli, or a lighter, fresher scent like Capri Blue’s Volcano.
If you’re looking to get a little naughtier, consider buying a specialty candle, like Babeland’s massaging wax candles, which are designed to burn at a lower temperature so you can use the wax for a sexy massage.
Sensitive to candle fragrance or just not into flames? Try hanging some dim battery-powered fairy lights on your bed frame or on the wall behind it. This set has a remote control so you don’t have to fumble looking for the “on” button when you’re ready to get goin’ — and reviewers say they have the perfect warm glow.
Putting on a sexy outfit is a quick and easy way to boost your confidence in the bedroom. Look good, feel good, right?
Plus, a 2018 study looking into the differences in orgasm frequency among heterosexual and nonheterosexual men and women found that women who orgasm more frequently were more likely to wear lingerie than women who don’t. It’s SCIENCE, people!
If you’re looking for a cheaper option without compromising quality, this AvidLove lace bodysuit is the way to go. AvidLove is praised by reviewers for its sizing inclusivity and comfort. No need to spend too much because TBH, it’s just gonna come right off!
But lingerie isn’t just for people who identify as women — there are lingerie options out there for everyone. This Arjen Kroos jockstrap or these Evankin mesh briefs can show your partner what you’re workin’ with before you even take them off. Is it getting hot in here, or is it just us?
Music can be an amazing way to amplify your sexual energy. For some people, having sex in a quiet room can be awkward or make it more likely for unwanted thoughts to surface. If you have a hard time finding your personal frisky soundtrack, we’ve got just the thing: Check out our Gettin’ Busy playlist, curated by our editors.
To keep the music playing all night, a bedside speaker that doubles as an alarm clock and phone charger like this one by Anker will get the job done.
Whether sex for you means penetration, manual external stimulation, or using toys (or all of the above 😏), lube can be a total gamechanger. While it partly depends on your preferences, some sexual escapades (especially penetration) can be suuuper uncomfy without a little moisture. There’s no shame in this game, dryness can happen for a multitude of reasons, but lube is a quick fix to help you get back to business.
There’s three types of lube: oil based, silicon based, and water based. Oil based lubricants are the products typically found around the house, like petroleum jelly or baby oil. But oil based lubricants are more likely to wear down the latex on a condom, so there’s a higher risk it will break.
Water based lubes like K-Y Liquid more closely resemble the fluids your body produces during sex. Plus, if you make a mess, they’re easily washed off. Just keep in mind that water based lubes are more likely to dry and you might need to reapply it if you’re really putting in work. Silicone based lube like Wet Platinum can go all night long — but can be difficult to wash out of fabric, so consider laying down a towel if you opt for it.
When experimenting with lubricants, be sure to test out a small amount on your hand or arm to make sure you have no allergies or adverse reactions. And always remember to never use flavored lube on a vagina, as those can trigger yeast infections.
A huge part of getting more confident with your body is investing in your personal pleasure first. A little self-play (aka masturbating) can help you discover what you like (and don’t like) in the bedroom.
Sex toys — like vibrators, dildos, anal beads, and penis pumps — are a great way to explore your body. Start by experimenting on your own so you can figure out what sensations you like best. Once you’re confident with your new toy, you can introduce your partner to the idea of using it during foreplay or sex. You can either use it yourself or direct your partner, telling them how and where you like to use it.
But what sex toys should you try?? Well, there’s a whole adult toy box out there, and it can be intimidating trying to figure out what works for you. If you’re looking for a toy that simulates penile penetration, consider investing in a dildo. Some dildos are shaped like penises and some aren’t — the type you choose is totally up to you.
Dildos come in many different textures and materials, like silicon, glass, (break resistant, of course!) rubber or plastic. They come with or without a suction base, vibrating settings, or a strap on. For dildo newbies, avoiding getting too large of a dildo — we like this one best: Spencer’s 6 inch Suction Cup Dildo.
Not interested in penetration? No problem! Vibrators are a great alternative and, just like dildos, can be used on you and your partner to take your sex sesh to the next level. Cheaper but powerful options like SKYN’s Thrill Massager can give you a gentle or intense experience.
Sometimes the only thing standing between you and the big O is, well, you! Before the main event, take some time to get your mind in the right place to fully experience your partner’s (or your own) body.
Remember, Engle says we need to feel safe, comfortable, and relaxed in order to truly enjoy a sexual moment. “If you’re not engaging all of your senses, sexuality can feel a bit stale and stunted. You want to be sure all your erotic energy is flowing freely so you can get out of that beautiful head of yours and into your body.”
Leave work at the door, practice mindfulness, and let go of all expectations of what sex is “supposed” to look or feel like. If you can stay present in the moment, you’ll be able to focus on the feel-good sensations happening in your body.
It can be tough to have your mind and body ready for sex, we know. But with these tips, you have plenty of options to try out what works best for you so you can really get your rocks off.