Lockdown and desire are not two words that naturally trip off the tongue together. The trouble is, as renowned psychotherapist and author of Mating in Captivity Esther Perel says, anchoring feelings of love and compassion (so desperately needed this past year) are at odds with desire, which craves adventure, mystery, risk and the unknown. Desire/fire needs air, which has been in woefully short supply. Now feels the time to dust off the cobwebs, get into the flow and bring some adventure into our lives. In the absence of creating outside conditions – like a weekend away or night out – to influence our mood, we’ve looked closer to home and made full use of each of our senses. Just like people have been doing for centuries even as far back as the gorgeous Sappho (circa 600BC), who wrote ‘Love is a cunning weaver of fantasies and fables.’
Let someone else get you in the mood with some of the great sex/desire movies ever made:
Don’t Look Now with Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie (1973)
Basic Instinct with Sharon Stone (1992)
Last Tango in Paris with Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider (1972)
The Cut magazine lists loads more here. And thankfully not a 50 Shades of Grey in sight.
Turn the lights low, and feel your way with these heady tunes …
Need you Tonight by INXS
I’m on Fire by Bruce Springsteen
Physical by Dua Lipa
Or catch up with a podcast – goodness there are so many to explore depending on whether you are after sex tips or fantasy stories. Here are two pretty safe ones. You’ve probably heard the noise around Demi Moore’s new audio Dirty Diana (on Spotify) and Sex with Emily gives tips from Dr Emily Moore.
Ship in those aphrodisiacs:
Buy the sheets you can remember the feel of from your favourite weekend away. Mine would be frette sheets from The Mercer hotel in Manhattan.
Lift the vibe with Necessaire The Sex Gel, £19 from Goop. It’s all packaged up in the best possible taste; just don’t get it mixed up with your favourite face serum.
Do it all by touch; wear a silky eye mask Jessica Russell Flint eye mask, £36 from Harvey Nichols
The powerful heady Ernesto Cire Trudon candle with hints of leather and tobacco make a heady mix and is guaranteed to get your pulse running high, £80 from Matches
And who said that desire needs to be subtle? This 69 Scent from L’Objet has notes of Cognac and caramel £80 from Mr Porter
Or you can combine scented candle with massage oil with this new brand Aura. Please use responsibly and wait until it’s not too hot when applying … No Love Without Fire, £34 from Aura
Getting in the flow
Give your sacral chakra a wake-up call. Also known as the svadhisthana chakra, it’s the second of the seven chakras, located just below the navel, right in the centre of your lower belly. Yoga poses to get the energy flowing include boat pose, pigeon pose, yogic bicycle, seated spinal twist and breath of fire. There are many how-to tutorials on YouTube.
While we are talking about getting in the zone, it’s good to keep things ticking over with the help of Smile Makers, which come in all shapes and sizes (and colours). If you want to investigate props, Coco de Mer will open your eyes; Selfridges has a small selection of gadgets too in its boudoir section.
For a more analogue approach, how about trying a dedicated sex journal, which you can fill out following a set of prompts, together with your partner and then space for your own thoughts. Even if you were to do it for a few weeks, it would be interesting to see where this takes you. £24 from Goop
Getting dressed up
Let’s talk robes. I haven’t before realised that this was even a thing. But the penny dropped when I saw this Meng robe and I knew I had been doing seduction wrong all these years. Meng belted floral silk-satin robe £990 from net-a-porter
For more wallet-friendly robes try Love Stories – how about this feather-trimmed washed-satin robe. Stella McCartney and Myla are always great for lingerie as is & Other Stories like the ruffled lace soft bra with matching briefs.