Book The Sitter

10 Sexy Date Night Ideas When You Need To Spice Things Up A Little (Or A Lot)

Sex therapist Aliyah Moore has thoughts.

Sexy date night ideas don't always end with sex — sometimes, it's about building sensuality.
Svetikd/Getty Images

With Valentine's Day rapidly approaching on the calendar and "cuffing season" in full swing, romance is definitely in the air. There's just one problem (and we've all been there): The "can't keep your hands off each other" feeling you once felt for your partner has left the building. Maybe it's because you're too busy with work, or you’re all “touched out” from the kids. Perhaps it's just because you've fallen into that familiar plateau that happens in most relationships — things are fine, but there are no fireworks. Hey, it happens. But that doesn't mean it should keep happening, and sexy date night ideas could help you create the spark you need to really generate some much-needed heat between you and your partner.

"Our brains are funny when it comes to sex," sex therapist Aliyah Moore tells Scary Mommy. "On one hand, we feel better and more satisfied when we have sex often. On the other hand, we usually lose some interest in things if we do them the same way too often."

While she says comfort zones can be "wonderful" since they provide us with reliable and predictable routines that make us feel safe and prevent stress, if we stay in them for too long, we can lose our sense of adventure and interest in sex. "Trying new things in the bedroom might be intimidating at first, but trial and error is a part of everyone's sexual journey. It helps us rediscover the excitement and arousal that often fade away over the course of a relationship," she says.

Enter: the sexy date night. Below, Moore shares her favorite sexy date night ideas for when you need to spice things up — but with a caveat.

"Sexy dates are amazing, but sex isn't always in the cards afterward. The date itself is foreplay — it builds the arousal that makes sex feel wonderful and natural to us, as opposed to the routine sex we sometimes have if we've been doing the same thing for too long," Moore says. "This foreplay puts you back in touch with your sexuality, and it's OK if it doesn't lead to sex or if you don't have an orgasm later. All that matters is that you and your partner felt sexually empowered and had fun together."

That said, here are some sex inspo ideas you and your partner will love exploring together.

Sensual Date Ideas

Sexy doesn't have to mean flat-out sex or anything overtly sexual (like watching porn). In fact, getting in touch with your sensual side might be the catnip your relationship needs.

"Being sensual is less about actual sexual contact and more about the bonding, trust, stimuli, and tenderness that make us feel safe and close with a sexual partner," Moore says. "It's the things we do for our partners that show them we care about them, desire them, and yearn to be close to them. Simply put, being sensual is expressing the passions and behaviors that often — but not necessarily — lead to sex."

If you're looking for a sensual date night, Moore says it's vital to think about your partner and what they enjoy:

  • "For outdoorsy or adventurous people, a night hike with a picnic dinner is hard to beat," she says. Prepare a simple meal you know your partner enjoys, pick a place you can hike to easily, walk there together, eat, and lay under the stars. The fresh night air is pleasing to most of us, and the feeling of nature in the dark can be exciting and even a little scary. These feelings sensually bond you and your partner as you walk." After you enjoy your meal (and maybe a bottle of wine), you'll have the serenity of the night sky, making you both feel peaceful and open with each other as you snuggle up and talk without distraction.
  • For homebodies, Moore recommends cooking something special with your partner. "Dinner and a movie at home might feel a bit overdone, so add things that make it truly special," she says. "Try cooking a gourmet meal, like something you'd find at a five-star restaurant." If you're not a cook, you could always order in. Light a fireplace if you have one, or add some aromatic candles. "The scent of the food will be calming and pleasing," Moore says. "It should be something you rarely or never eat together so that it feels special and deliberate. Watch a movie if you like, giving your partner tender and genuine affection throughout."
  • She also suggests buying massage oil and looking up a few basic techniques to sensually relax your partner, or sharing a hot bubble bath with some high-quality salts or a bath bomb. "If you want to go the extra mile, you can even look into other at-home spa treatments your partner might enjoy."
  • For travelers or event-goers, Moore says you can always pick a nearby destination or exciting event that your partner would enjoy. "The activity should depend on your partner's interests and personality," explains Moore. "I've seen people make this work with escape rooms, rage rooms, rock concerts, nights at the opera, or theatre productions." Then Moore suggests planning a dinner out where your partner would like, but something that you can't get at home.
  • Stay the night in a hotel afterward. "You don't have to get on a plane or make a whole weekend out of it — maybe just something a couple of hours away," she notes. Book a good hotel and plan for its amenities if they fit your partner's interests. You can relax in the hot tub after a night out, get massages or spa treatments together, or crash on a king-sized bed and room service.

If this sounds pricey, Moore says don't be discouraged. "Sensual date isn't about the cost; it's about the intention and the effect. You can DIY most of these ideas for a fraction of the cost, or splurge on an epic night if you have the means. The point is to please your partner in every way... it's about showing your partner you want to please them in every way, proving you know them well enough to do so, and making them feel genuinely cared for."

Sexual Date Ideas

While being sexual usually refers to having sex, Moore says this isn't always the case.

"[Being sexual] also means expressing sexual desire, stimulating your partner sexually, feeling sexy, and doing things that embrace or empower your own sexuality," she explains. "Sexy dates help you grow sexually, build your self-esteem, remind you of the desire you have for your partner, and keep your sex life vibrant and healthy."

So, yes, sexy date nights are about sex, but they aren't just about having sex. "They're about two people enjoying their sexuality together in exciting ways, breaking from routine, and generally feeling hot," Moore says. "If you're looking for sexy date night ideas, think about the times you've felt most aroused and the times you've felt your sexiest. Lean into those factors and experiment."

  • For a sexy date night at home, Moore suggests dinner and dressing up in your fanciest clothes. "Imagine you've never met your partner before and want to look your best," she says. "Wear something that makes you feel hot, and wear something even hotter underneath that." Don't stress too much about what to cook, emphasizes Moore. "What you have for dinner is less important than how you interact while you're eating, but it should be something you both enjoy. As you go through the night, compliment and touch each other sexually."
  • "Role play can make any situation spicier," says Moore, so you might try dressing up as a completely different person and acting the part. Pretend you and your partner are meeting for the first time and flirt with confidence. "If you want to try some light role play, meet your partner at a bar or restaurant and pretend you've never met before," suggests Moore. "Agree on a fantasy and stick to it, steadily building sexual tension with your partner."
  • If you watch a movie, make it something exciting, but Moore says don't worry about paying attention to it (wink!). As the night winds down, she recommends incorporating a new toy or technique and seeing if you both like it. "Handcuffs, blindfolds, and ropes are always on the table."
  • For a night out on the town, Moore says you should still dress your best but go somewhere you usually wouldn't choose or splurge on. Moore says. "Either way, you should pick a place outside of the norm. Try an exotic restaurant or an exciting show like drag or burlesque." Novel experiences cause a rush of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that gives you a sense of pleasure.
  • If you don't like dressing up or going out to fancy places, Moore says physical activity can be incredibly erotic. "A long hike, game, or even just a special workout can build sexual tension," she shares. "If you and your partner are active together often, try to do something you haven't done before." Get your blood flowing and break a sweat by hiking, boxing, rock climbing, or roughhousing with your partner. According to Moore, physical activity is another way to explore how your sexuality interacts with exercise, and "many of us feel sexy and powerful when we're active," she says. "I've had more than one client say that their best sex was right after physical exercise of some kind."

The Secret to Sexy Date Nights

The point is to do something different than typical date nights — a new experience that makes you both feel alive.

"Even if you just want to see a movie, opt for a drive-in or dining cinema rather than a standard theater," Moore encourages. "If you love dancing, find a new club or bar and go for it. As odd as it sounds, even karaoke can be sexy if you're both having a blast."

Want to take things up another notch? After all, you booked a babysitter — you want to make sure you take full advantage of the night. Moore says there are so many things (including remote-controlled vibrators or panties, for instance) that can add sex and spice to the night's events: “With any of these dates, you can add roleplay, kinks, fetishes, or sex toys into the mix.”

Just remember, says Moore, "There's no one-size-fits-all answer. It's OK if you try something and don't like it, but you'll never find what you like most if you don't try at all."