In a recent Instagram poll, we asked our community to weigh in on one of the most divisive topics when it comes to sex: Keep the lights on, or turn them off?!? After much suspense and anticipation, the results are in: 62% of respondents said they prefer the lights off, while 38% said they prefer the lights on. As a “light off” gal myself, I wasn’t totally surprised that the majority of folks feel the same way. Whether you’re knockin’ boots (do people still say that?) with a new lover or long-term partner, having sex is a vulnerable activity, both emotionally and physically, and bad lighting can quite literally shine a light on our biggest insecurities.
Yes, a dark space can create a bit of delightful drama and mystery, but it’s also a way to mask the parts of ourselves that we’re less comfortable with. Harsh, fluorescent light (you know, the kind that feels like a grocery store) can be a painful reminder that our body doesn’t look like Beyoncé’s— but dear reader, I promise you that in unforgiving lighting Beyoncé's body doesn’t even look like Beyoncé's (at least, not the Beyoncé we watch in music videos and on red carpets), and I think Queen B herself would back me up on that.
While I haven’t done a poll, I’m willing to guess most of us have stretch marks, or cellulite, or an ingrown hair, or a bit of bacne, or something else that can make us insecure in the bedroom. However, our goal shouldn’t be to hide our bodies because of their flaws (wait, let’s not even call them that. Not tipping your waitress is a flaw! Stretch marks are a natural part of the hardworking body that allows us to live our lives). Life is short, and we should try our best to enjoy our bodies, despite our insecurities. So, while I’ve always been a Lights Off Loyalist (trademark potential?), I’m willing to find an in-between. Read below for some lighting options that will create a dim and romantic environment.
For the romantic: candles
Remember when you bought that $20 candle that you didn’t *technically* need, but had a mysterious magnetic force wouldn’t let you put it back on the shelf? Good news! That candle is now your sex candle. Add a few more— maybe two or three?— and create a dim, soft, well-scented environment that will make you wanna paint your partner like one of those French girls. Just don’t forget to blow them out (erm, the candles) before you doze off afterwards! (For some of our favorite luxe candles without the $20 price sticker–check these out).
For the whimsical: twinkle lights
Create a starry night sky in the privacy of your very own bedroom. Twinkle lights are delicate and understated, creating a cozy and playful atmosphere, like fireflies in a secluded garden. At risk of this article turning into some sexy outdoor fan fiction, I’ll stop here, but we can’t recommend this magical (and inexpensive) solution enough!
For the trendy: Himalayan salt lamp
In the past few years, Himalayan salt lamps have been all the rage, and it’s not hard to understand why. Himalayan salt is a gorgeous orange-pink, and creates a warm, inviting glow. Not only does it make excellent mood lighting, but it’s a beautiful accent to any bedroom decor. This is a lamp you and your partner might want to keep on after sex to enjoy a calm, peaceful slumber.
For the experimental: different colored bulbs
Using different colored bulbs for your lamp can be a playful way to create different moods through unique color schemes. For years, it’s been widely reported that purple is the sexiest color, so perhaps start with that? We’d like to think that a deep red or pink might be fun, too!
For the vintage lover: lava lamp
C’mon— how could we not add this retro mood lighting to the list? If any of you do have a lava lamp around your house, we say go for it. It’s a little goofy, sure, but will provide the desired glow and keep the mood light (and perhaps a bit feisty). Maybe throw on some Donna Summer on the record player, too— we’re assuming you have one?
And for absolutely no one: pretty fabric over lamps
We’ve all had the urge (okay, at least me) to throw some silky, colorful fabric over a lamp for some tinted lighting, but please promise me you won’t. Yes, it can start a fire. No, that’s not just a myth. Yes, it would be awkward to have to frantically put out a fire naked. Just as we would say about using a condom— safety first!