The most arousing occasions
Sex can begin to feel pretty complicated when too much thought is put into it. Like a movie with a plot that only gets more convoluted, too much focus on sex and the climax can ruin the enjoyment of it all
How often is enough? How important is it to try new positions? And how much foreplay is too much (or too little)? With so much to consider, it’s no wonder couples are so focused on what each other is thinking before, during, and even after the act.
To help crack the code and make the art of making love easy again, we surveyed 500 Europeans and 500 Americans to put together the best tips and tricks for getting in the mood. Turn the lights on or off? Candles? Music? We’ve got you covered. Read on to see what we discovered.
The Do's and Don'ts of getting in the mood
According to research, our libidos peak at different times of the day depending on our age. Before you think about breaking out the sundial or setting emergency alarms on your phone, consider this: 71 percent of men and 75 percent of women would prefer having sex in the evening. If you’re going to use candles to keep things more sensual, don’t let your mood lighting get too toasty. The average preferred temperature for getting physical was between 20 and 21 degrees Celsius. Keeping the lights low was also a safe bet, and more than two-thirds of European and American men and women preferred having a little background music.
Now that you’ve set the mood, we’ve got a few fail-safe ways to make sure your significant other is feeling the vibe. Both men and women said their two biggest turn-ons were being offered a massage and some flirty conversation. For men, getting some action after a shower was a rousing opportunity, while women couldn’t resist lit candles.
Things to avoid? Unless you want to go to sleep frustrated (in more ways than one), leave politics out of the equation and turn off the TV. Distractions like these can be the biggest mood killers of all.
Are you feeling lucky?
Trying to decide whether your date will possibly lead to a second encounter? According to Europeans and Americans, sex had a better chance of occurring under these circumstances.
If you’re meeting for a drink or a movie, it’s always nice to dress to impress. American men had increased interest in getting down after they’d been on a date, and even Americans told us being out and about with a love interest put them more in the mood. This is just another reason to pencil each other in for a date on a regular basis and consider making this time extra special.
However, there was one thing that got American men and women more excited for a roll between the sheets than just going out on a date: Out of every occasion, celebrating an anniversary was the most likely to end in sex. Americans also were more interested in intercourse after celebrating either their own or their partner’s birthday or after arriving at a holiday destination.
While less of a turn-on altogether, men were usually more aroused than women after playing sports or working out.
Playing your cards right
When it comes to having a happy sex life, research has shown taking a little bit of time to get in the mood can make partners more interested over time. But sometimes getting in the right mindset to enjoy your partner intimately is about more than just the physical atmosphere. It can also include the efforts you take to make them feel more appreciated or make a moment more memorable.
American men and women were slightly more turned on than Europeans when offered a massage. As more than just a springboard to sex, regular massages can help lower stress levels and be satisfying regardless of whether you’re on the giving or receiving end.
In case you didn’t know how important communication is, people on both sides of the Atlantic said a flirtatious conversation was more of a turn-on than mood lighting, soft music, or even a few drinks. Dirty talk doesn’t have to be complicated and can even help you feel more confident when letting your partner know what you like.
No risk, no reward
Whether you like the attention, the adventure of it all, or just can’t help yourself when feeling frisky, people who had sex in public had some recommendations for the best places to get physical without necessarily getting caught (or filmed).
A romp in the grass could be just as exciting as one between the sheets. The most popular place for public sex was in a public park, field, forest, or garden. If that sounds too exposed for you, sex in a car, alongside or in the ocean, and while catching a film were other suitable locations according to people who’d done it themselves. While each of these locations can pose logistical concerns, having sex in a car might be one of the most complicated spaces of all. Certain car sex positions may be more favourable than others for enjoying ourselves and avoiding uncomfortable cramps.
There are pros and cons when it comes to leaving the lights on before jumping in the sack. If you like being able to see your partner (or for them to see you), leaving the lights on can provide visual stimulation in the most intimate ways. You might even see the subtle responses to making love that often get lost in the dark. If you aren’t entirely comfortable with your body, however, well-lit sex can be terrifying.
On the other hand, leaving the lights off can have its own set of perks. Setting the mood with candles won’t have much of an impact if the room isn’t dark to begin with, and experts suggest the sensory deprivation that comes with low (or no) lighting can make sex more stimulating.
A majority of Europeans and Americans preferred dark or dim lighting when getting physical, a sentiment particularly echoed by women. More than 3 in 4 women said they wanted the lights dim or dark compared to just over half of men.
Married couples or those in relationships also most preferred lower lighting. Regardless of light preference, though, most married couples tend to have sex more often than unmarried people, and nearly 8 percent have sex daily. In fact, one expert recommends married couples bunking up once or twice a week on average – it’ll not only increase confidence in oneself, but it’ll help the relationship along the way.
The connection between music and sex is more than just skin deep. Scientists have linked the same chemical the body produces during sex to the ones stimulated after listening to a favourite song.
If you want to set your playlist up before getting it on, there’s one station you might want to turn to. For nearly 13 percent of men and over 16 percent of women, rhythm and blues and soul music were the genres of choice for getting in the mood, followed by jazz and easy listening. Tunes to avoid if you don’t want to ruin the vibe or distract your partner? For men, hip-hop and alternative music were the least preferred during sex, and for women, classical and electronic music earned the lowest number of votes. Additionally, almost 31 percent of men and nearly 21 percent of women preferred no music during sex.
Getting to the point
Sex doesn’t have to be complicated. Before you spend too much time worrying if you’re doing it right or if your partner is enjoying themselves, realise that most men and women like the same things when it comes to getting in the mood. Dim or dark lighting is probably better than bright bulbs, and music (especially R&B) is usually a good idea. Offer them a massage or excite their ears with a little bit of flirty conversation first, and you should be good to go.
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We surveyed 500 Europeans and 500 Americans that had engaged in sexual intercourse within the last 12 months to determine how, when, where, and why they became “frisky.”