There was a time my husband and I used to roll our eyes at the term “date night.” I mean, how do you make a date night special? It just sounded so rigid and lame... this scheduling of romantic intimacy. Then we had a child.
We now toss “date night” out with zero irony. It’s usually uttered after we’ve found ourselves immersed in some deeply unsexy moment of domesticity. Like, we’ll be standing in the bathroom, chatting at length about which mildew resistant shower curtain we should maybe order from Amazon while our son uses the potty and sings the theme from Octonauts. One of us will take in the scene, pause from explaining the pros of the Hookless Polyester Snap-In, and suggest that perhaps a date is in order? STAT?
Whatever you call a night out with your partner, the bigger issue is how in god's name to keep date night sexy, and not just one more thing on the to-do list. I know, it sounds terrible to talk about time with your partner as a “task". And yet, when you’re exhausted, and only earlier that day glimpsed this person using a floss pick, well, let’s be real — it can be hard to drum up the old “goin’ on a date!” electricity of yesteryear.
Below, I offer some handy tips and suggestions for how to keep date night sexy and not fall asleep in your tapas.
1. Don't Go Out For Tapas
I mean you totally can if there’s nothing that revs you and your partner up like really expensive plates of teeny meatballs. It isn’t really the tapas part that's the problem — it’s more the lazy routine of always thinking of a “date” as sitting in a restaurant. Because unless it’s a hibachi grill and the chef is regularly making small volcanoes of fire shoot out of a pile of onions, this kind of date usually turns into a who-can-best-disguise-their-yawn-while-talking contest. But... if you insist your date include ingesting a meal, you need to find a way to make it interesting. So go on, take a cooking class together and prepare a gross-looking Cuban stew you won't want to eat but will have some laughs making! Go to a cheesy murder mystery dinner theater! (*Useful when you’ve just had a furious argument over where the Brita filters are and are already lightly entertaining the idea of murdering each other.)
Or better yet, if you live in a city, why not crash a dinner party via Eatwith, that site where you can pay to have other people cook you dinner in their home? Think of the novelty of this! Will you bond over the host's unusual horse-themed decor? Will there be hamster hair in your lasagna? Will it end in a threesome that destroys your marriage? Who knows! That’s half the excitement!
2. Throw Axes At Each Other
If you are in fact willing to do something that doesn't involve a tablecloth, might I suggest engaging in a unique activity or class? I hear axe-throwing lessons are all the rage right now. (*Be careful to schedule on a day when you haven't argued and know exactly where the Brita filters are.) Or maybe look into some "circus classes", where you can learn to do aerial silks or the trapeze. Whatever it is, be it a painting class, skydiving, or tantric yoga, the idea is to get out of your comfort zone and try something new!
And yes, I know it can feel weird to "force the fun" with classes. But you have been with this person for many moons, my friend, and newsflash — routine gets old. There's no shame in seeking out a new experience. The point is that you're seeking it out together, and making some new memories instead of trying to tell your partner (for the eight millionth time) about that time you thought you saw Bono in Arby's.
3. Find Out If Your Partner Would Rather Be Half-Dragon OPart-Werewolf
Tying into what I just said about telling the same 'ol stories over and over... Striking up a new conversation with your spouse can sometimes feel hard, nay, impossible. I know with my own husband, when our son is around we are constantly struggling to get a full sentence out without him interjecting: “Mommy, look I put cheese my head!” or “Daddy! Make it stop buffering!” Or “Hey! Do Venus flytraps ever eat dogs?”
And yet, when on a date, with all the time in the world to share our many thoughts and musings, we tend to stare at each other in silence, as if we are new to the English language. This is why it can be helpful to have some fun and unusual questions at the ready! While it might seem like you already know every single thing about your partner, sometimes it just takes the right question to unearth something surprising. The site Marriage365 offers up a list of 35 date night questions, like: "What was your bedroom like as a teenager?" Which isn't bad. But feel free to get more creative. For instance: "If you were at knifepoint and had to push either John Krasinski or Tom Hanks down several flights of stairs, which one would you shove? And why?" Or "Would you rather have a video of yourself throwing up or masturbating shown on a Jumbotron?" Get weird, and the answers may open up a whole line of conversation you have not in fact already covered!
4. Make It A Date Day
Might I suggest scheduling your date... (drumroll) in the afternoon? Yes, I know that makes you feel 1000 years old, but as previously discussed, you are both tired. My husband I recently had an afternoon date where we took a rock-climbing class, and I discovered that one, I have the upper body strength of a newborn mouse, and two, we never once yawned in each other's faces! #revelatory #daydateforthewin
5. Let Lizzo Take The Lead
Or Vampire Weekend. Or an AC/DC cover band. Or whatever music you both like to bob your heads to. Maybe you don't feel like chatting, and just want to sip some beers and belt some lyrics. Do it! Going to see live music is always fun, often romantic, and a totally easy way to bond and just be together, without having to make either lively conversation or a Cuban stew.
6. Just Go Get A Corn Dog
Another common date night trap is the pressure to make sure you are having a good time. This is especially common if your date nights aren't that often. And the pressure is intensified when you are on the clock for babysitting money. Every hour of intimacy is costing you $15. Or $25, depending on where you live.
The idea here is to take some of that pressure off and just keep it simple. So maybe just go grab a slice. Or walk to the park with some wine in a can. A date doesn't have to involve the finest chablis or a flambe. It can just be the two of you hanging out, making fun of other couples and people's outfits. You know, just like when you first met.
Now, I hear you saying, "Wait...I thought this was supposed to be about keeping it sexy? What the hell is sexy about corn dogs and afternoon rock climbing?" And to that I say: the connection. That's where the sexiness comes in. Because when you are connected, you are reminded of why you love this person, and why you were attracted to them in the first place, and thus will be far more inclined to want to go home and jump their bones.
And if that still isn't sexy enough for you, well, then eat your corndog in a negligee.