Stay-at-home dates get a bad rap. Why? Because, well, they're usually boring — a medley of take-out and Netflix reruns or something equally uninspiring. So we asked our experts for home-date nights you'll actually want to take, with tips for how to make each date night happen.
__1. Enjoy a couples massage. __
April Masini, relationship and etiquette expert, recommends hiring professional massage therapists to come into your home and give you a tandem massage. "Set the stage with relaxing music, votive candlelight, some fragrant gardenias floating in a bowl of water and a crisp bottle of wine or chilled cucumber water," she suggests. "Have fluffy, white robes and towels at the ready, and bring in a sushi dinner for afterwards or have a fruit and cheese plate ready for after the masseurs leave. The beauty of this date is that you don't have to leave a spa at night, after you're naked and relaxed. You can tumble into bed. "
2. Subscribe to a home-date service.
Dawn Maslar, author of Men Chase, Women Choose: The Neuroscience of Meeting, Dating, Losing Your Mind, and Finding True Love, recommends Date Box Club, which sends monthly date kits. "My box had a fondue set with marshmallows and chocolate to eat and cards with questions and sand timer," she describes. "And the questions, such as 'name four things you like about me," and "name four pets you've owned," increase intimacy and connection, while the chocolate gives a nice boost of dopamine."
__3. Start a dance party. __
It's time to break out your iPod and work on your party playlist. With music that makes you want to move, you can host a stay-at-home dance party for two. "Adjust the lighting ahead of time — and if you want to invest in a disco ball from a novelty store, I'm your biggest fan," Masini says. "Don't just uncork wine or pop a few beers. Make a few mixed drinks in exotic glasses with fruit or vegetable skewers as accessories to them. And dress up for the event. If your neighbors are peering through their windows or your apartment neighbors are banging on your door because you sound like you're having too much fun, you've succeeded."
4. Cook an adventurous meal together.
Don't turn to your go-to recipe for this particular date night. "This is more about having fun together than about preparing a perfect meal," says Maslar. "Try something new and creative, such as making your own sushi rolls. Allow each other to put in things you might not normally think goes into sushi. Add some pickles or play around with new sauces. Enjoy and have fun."
5. Have a game night.
Says Masini, "If you're the right couple for game night, this can be an awesome way to enjoy each other and the game." You can pull out your favorite board game, or use this as an opportunity to hit the toy store and buy a new-to-you-both game. "It can be one of those psychologically based get-to-know you games, or it can be a Ouija board," says Masini. "Have a good wine or bottle of bubbly ready, and put out a great antipasto platter or some great Italian subs cut into smaller pieces for a fun night at home."
6. Take a virtual vacation.
Traveling together rekindles attraction and desire, but you can stoke those flames without leaving your house. "Pull out some travel brochures, turn on a travel show and pull up some websites," says Maslar. "Talk about some vacations you would like to take and why, and daydream about your next adventure together. Neurologically, your mind doesn't know the difference [between talking about a vacation and taking one]. You can reawaken the passion just by talking about a Tuscan adventure without ever-stepping foot on a plane."