House Beautiful? How about House Sensual?
A significant transformation, I know. But it doesn’t have to be a huge project. Turn around a couple of things, and your home can become a sensual sanctuary, a place where you can escape the world and indulge in simple but powerful pleasures.
Now, don’t worry – I’m not going to turn your home into Hugh Hefner’s place. Nothing against Hef. Hell, I haven’t even been to his place yet. It’s just that what works for Hef may not work for you. No, my goal here is to help you infuse your home with that little extra breath of the sexiest thing in the world: you.
Yes, you are. What makes your place appealing to guests (especially special guests) is the special stamp only you can put on it. When your identity is missing, your guests will think they’re on a set or in a magazine – very nice, to be sure, but not so comfortable. Alternately, the chaos of everyday life may have buried the little spark of you that used to make it such a relaxing place. In either case, you can start to bring back the spirit of your home with just a few special touches.
In that spirit, I’m going to give you five things (in no particular order) to start you on the road to your sexy destination.
- Candles and candleholders. Last week, I got after people who have candles and don’t use them. I guess I’m on a soapbox about it, though, because I’m going for it again. Candles don’t just add a soft, sexy glow to a darkened room; they give you a chance to fill your space with the scent of your choice. Are you more of a cinnamon-type person or a fresh cotton laundry type? Patchouli is a bold choice – but that candle sends a different message if it’s never been lit! Don’t forget a nice candleholder or two. I keep a Frog Prince tealight holder on the nightstand. There’s not a deep message to him or anything – the phrase “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” applies to him beautifully. I just like having him there. What takes the edge off and puts a smile on your face?
- Ingredients. There are a couple of different ways to look at this. You can take pains to have the ingredients to your favorite dish on hand all the time. Don’t laugh. It makes sense to be able to throw together your favorite dish on demand, even if it’s just so that you have ready access to comfort food. If you’ve got a special friend over, you can spend time in the kitchen putting your signature dish together. You probably won’t need to rely on the recipe, so you can talk as you work, and before you’re done, there will be lots of fragrances and tasting involved. You can also make sure to have sexy finger food around. Anything from frozen grapes to a juicy mango to a bowl of olives – anything you can pop into your mouth for a little burst of flavor. After a long day out in The World, I love to settle down on the porch with a little dish of frozen pineapple tidbits and think, “This is why I work.”
- Books. I have a book addiction. I admit it. If I am at home, I am within arm’s reach of a book. (Unless I’m in the bathroom. That’s a personal thing, I guess.) I usually have a couple of books that I’m reading at a time (right this second, I’m working on this month’s issue of O Magazine and The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout), but I also have some other things I like to thumb through as the mood strikes. There’s the little book of erotic poetry I bought in New York. A cookbook with my mom’s handwriting in the margins. Just holding my volume of Latin Lyric Poetry eases my mind. In a way, this is a little like the candles in #1. Whatever puts a smile on your face is just the thing to have on hand for your own perusal … or maybe the occasional live reading for special friends.
- Bath stuff. Like that technical term, “stuff”? A nice long bath is a sanctuary within a sanctuary. Why not turn it into a regular event? Pick a time to settle down into a warm, fragrant slice of heaven, complete with whatever indulgences you need to keep the Real World far, far away. Shopping for a stash of bath stuff is almost as pleasant as the bath itself. I’m that person drifting around the store sniffing all the candles and lotions and soap (because I don’t grasp that by the time you get to the 30th one, they all smell about the same). But don’t stop with scented oils and bubbles. How about a blindfold? Sometimes not seeing your surroundings can heighten the way you feel your surroundings. And if you’re one of those people who faces competition for your bathroom … well, if you can’t see the door, maybe there’s no one at the door.
- Satin sheets. Wait! Don’t run away! Just hear me out. I know I said I wasn’t going to turn your home into the Playboy Mansion. I don’t even know if Hef has satin sheets because I haven’t been over there yet. But I – Alexa Day – hereby give you very specific permission to have satin sheets. Yes, they’re an impractical indulgence. Yes, they’re kind of a silly indulgence. I admit that there’s something kind of retro ridiculous about satin sheets. I still think you should have some. For one thing, just being able to say you have them is pretty cool in the right circles. And we must face a satiny reality here. Nothing in the world feels like satin sheets. They’re so smooth that it’s a challenge to make the bed. If you’re clothed, a fitted satin sheet is basically friction-free (so be careful). When you take away the silly prints and all the preconceptions/misconceptions/funny little ideas we all carry in our heads about the satin sheets, all that’s left is you, sliding around in bed, giggling about how different it feels, and how good different is. Now that’s pretty sexy, right?
Add to the list! What simple things are you doing to make your place a sensual playground?
Hi Alexa! Great post and filled with delightful suggestions as well as your fun comments. I love that you are not promoting changes for a single day or night, but permanent. I agree that our homes are our sanctuaries and should be all that entails. I’m also pleased beyond words that you include books among the sensual touches. I feel that a home without books in view feels odd, even cold. Speaking of cold, satin sheets? LOL No, honestly, I think you’re spot on about the tactile differences helping to make the bed more than just a place you sleep.
Yeah, I don’t believe in temporary change in this regard — that moment when things get “back to normal” is never something to look forward to, is it? And books are so important. I’ve been places where there were no books at all, and it just feels weird. Even the display model in the department store has a fake book or two lying around.