How can I create a romantic mood?

We’re in a rut.

Even though it takes thought and energy, intimacy is important in a relationship, and that encompasses a lot more than sex. It’s a special way we communicate with only one person in our world—assuring our partner that we still find him or her attractive, that we care, and that we want to be around him or her. When you can anticipate the place, the time, and every. single. move, you might consider trying to shake things up. 

Rebuilding intimacy can be both fun and scary, if we’re honest. Sometimes just sticking to the rut feels safer than shaking up a boring routine. We risk rejection, for one thing. But gently bringing back both the warmth and the sizzle is worth the risk.

With decades of life experience behind you, the best is yet to come.

Think of intimacy as more than just your physical relationship. All the parts move together, and are maintained by connection and communication. “Keeping things interesting outside of the bedroom also plays an important part in keeping things exciting in the bedroom,” writes Rhegan Lundborg, sex and relationships expert. “Doing new and fun things completely outside of the bedroom can be a great way to reconnect emotionally as well as take sole focus off the sex and just spend time enjoying each other’s company.”

Here are some easy ways to warm up your relationship and shake up the status quo:

  • Make eye contact. Just hold your partner’s gaze for a few seconds longer than feels comfortable. 
  • Don’t be stingy with the sugar. Express approval. Say thank you. Notice the small ways your partner is thoughtful. 
  • Do something special for him or her—make a favorite lunch or pick up that special chocolate croissant.  
  • Touch gently. Hug. Lean in. 
  • Kiss on the lips like you mean it. 
  • Focus on reconnecting. In a quiet, intimate surrounding, reminisce about the day you met, your first kiss, what attracted you to your partner. Talk about key moments in your relationship—adventures you shared, challenges you got through. Few people in your life know you as well as this person. That’s a rare and precious treasure. Make time to appreciate it.
  • Create a boudoir. Make your bedroom an attractive place just for intimacy and sleeping. Get rid of the stacks of magazine, the raggedy curtains. Kick the TV into the den. While you’re at it, get rid of that decades-old flannel bathrobe, too. Bring in candles. Incense. Soft lighting. And don’t forget the playlist.
  • Change places. Make love in a different room, a different house, outdoors. “[Sex] is about the stimulation of your surroundings,” said Jane Seddon, author of Daily Sex. “Doing it somewhere out of the norm adds an element of fun and makes you feel a little naughty.”
  • Stay healthy. Eat healthfully. Exercise to maintain flexibility and to keep your joints healthy. All the parts, from head to heart to soul, are connected. Stay healthy, and you’ll be able to make love and do a whole lot more.

The goal is simply to reestablish the connection and intimacy that was undoubtedly there in the beginning of your relationship. With decades of life experience behind you, the best is yet to come.