Intentional Proximity: 10 At-Home Date Ideas for Quarantined Couples

Learn How to Be Intentional With Proximity and Make a Safe Space for Self-Pleasure

Quarantined couple spends time together during an at-home date.

Long-term relationships can be challenging, especially when we see each other 24/7 these days. Some couples fight, and others may find themselves smothering their sexual relationship.  

When we spend a great deal of time together, some space away can be an aphrodisiac. It allows us to long for one another. It also gives us a reprieve to focus on the most important relationship—the one with ourselves. 

Yet, space is not something we have a lot of when we are quarantined together.

So how do we create space for ourselves, and create quality connection when together?

First, let’s do dates—with ourselves. Even in 500 sq ft studios, can you give each other a break to have the living space alone? If you have more square footage, can you assign a bedroom or corner as your special place to write, read, meditate, or self-pleasure? Yes, I said self-pleasure. I’ve been talking to most of my couples about this because it can be triggering to know your partner desires self-pleasure, but feels sexually stuck when it comes to erotic partner contact. Self-pleasure is a relationship with yourself, one that has likely existed since at least adolescence.  It need not be in competition with your partner. When we touch ourselves, it’s an opportunity to be with our fantasies and our bodies—thus actually helping us stay deeply connected to our core sexual self. It’s also usually about an orgasmic release to facilitate sleep, decrease stress, and/or release pent-up sexual energy. Partner contact can do all those things too, but it’s more about intimacy, skin-to-skin time, connection with other, and feeling validated and desired. Partner sex serves a very different function than solo-sex, even though both may include pleasure and orgasm. 

Once you have a practice for individual space, it’s easier to come back together and have a practice for intentional proximity. I’ve been telling all my couples to have a nightly relaxation ritual together. Though the goal here is not to create a sensual outcome every night, I do want to remind you that intentional arousal (vs hormonal reminders of horniness) first requires a state of relaxation. The relaxation ritual is a general life habit that will deeply serve us in stressful times. Some examples are showers or baths by candlelight, cozy couch tea time, and 10 minute neck massage trades.

Now that relaxation rituals are cultivated, try to set aside a night or two each week for in-house sensual dates. I was inspired by The Art of Manliness Podcast for many of these ideas. I took them to the next level to make them a little sexier. Consider doing all these cellphone free for undivided, intentional time together.

  1.  Sexy Game night. Use your typical board games, puzzles, or card games, but wear a little less, or be creative to strip some clothes as you go! 
  2.  Sensual takeout by candlelight. This is a great option if you want to support a local business and have a nice meal with minimal effort. Again, this could be fun and relaxing, or you could dress up for the occasion. 
  3.  Make a sensual dessert. Whether you want to buy oven-ready cookies or go as far as baking homemade macarons, making a dessert can be a fun way to spend time with your partner. Make this a little sexy as you feed it to one another. 
  4.  Read sexy short stories aloud. From comedy to erotic novels, you and your partner can get creative with what you want to read. Set aside some time before bed and indulge in a great book or sexy short story.
  5.  Play (erotic) Tabletop cards. These are ready-made cards that facilitate deeper conversation. You can add an erotic element by sharing some fantasies too. 
  6.  Have a sexy back-yard beverage.  Make the sunrise a little sexier with a fun cocktail or mocktail beverage. Make sure you save some time to hold hands and take some needed deep breaths as you sink into the opportunity to slow down together. 
  7.  Watch a movie outside at night. Bring a blanket outside and play your favorite movie as you cuddle under the stars. There are endless possibilities for movies or shows from mild to wild. 
  8.  A Sit n’ Stroll down Memory Lane (S’Mores optional). S’mores often elicit fun nostalgic memories. Walking down memory lane—with or without s’mores— can be fun date night idea to break away from the current pressures and sink into the juiciness of sweet memories together.  If you have a camping stove, there is no need to build a fire. You can just use a little heat and fire from the small stove and enjoy some s’mores as an optional addition. 
  9.  Sensual bubble bath. Hot water and soap can create a relaxing night in. Consider essential oils for some additional sensuality. If you and your partner don’t fit in the bath tub at the same time, one can sit out and give the other a foot rub.
  10. Make a bucket list. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Dreaming into a common future, short and long term, helps couples feel on the same team. Being on the same team means we can optimize our relationship to feel safe, supported, and sensual. Goals can include individual and couple ideas, both for long term and short term. You can go many ways with this one: What’s something really fun that you’d like to do in the next month… in the next year? Where have you always wanted to go? What do you want to save for? And if it feels safe, what fantasy would you like to play out?

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