So you’re thinkin’ about a sex room, huh? You’re not the only one! The runaway success of Netflix’s show How to Build a Sex Room has got everyone titillated, and fantasizing not only about scintillating sex, but decadent decor.
If you’re wondering who builds a sex room, the answer is not just folks who are already well-versed in all things sexy time. Sex rooms are for all, people! The show’s host, luxury interior designer Melanie Rose, helps all kinds of people expand their worldview as well as the confines of their home.
Or in the words of one review, “Rose meets various other people in all flavours of relationship. There are married couples who want to ‘de-vanilla’ their sex life, a woman who became single at 50 and is free to ‘date and bang as many guys as I want’, a same-sex couple who live in a camper van and have found that it is not conducive to having lots of sex.”
So whoever you are and wherever you are, a sex room could be just the thing you need to spice up your relationship and domicile.
Why a sex room?
Having a dedicated space in which to do naughty things serves two purposes. One, it gives you an actual location that’s free of distractions. If you’re looking at dirty laundry while you’re trying to do the dirty, things can get a little … challenging.
But the other reason to collaborate with a loved one about a sex room is that it can bring up more of what you both want, in a safe way. As one person put it, “Much of How to Build a Sex Room is about talking and communication. By allowing themselves to explore a dedicated sex space, these people are discovering who they and their partner/s are, and what they really want.”
Where do we put the sex room?
First, it’s worth noting that you don’t actually have to have an entire room in order to do this. if you live in a smaller place, you might be wondering where you’re actually going to stash the sexy stuff. Have no fear — even if you’re just using your bedroom, there’s plenty you can do.
If you’ve got a full-on extra room, of course you can use that. You can also convert something like a walk-in closet if you’ve got that space.
If you’re just going with your bedroom, Rose suggests finding sexy wallpaper you like and making that wall into the “location.” You can then make sure to keep that side of the room clean and clear, or be able to easily view it from the bed for enhanced viewing pleasure (maybe there’s even a conveniently-situated mirror, hmm?)
Also, according to Rose, a sex room doesn’t have to be the whips-and-chains dungeon you might be envisioning. Instead, Rose states that it’s just a place that “widens your horizons and opens you up to more experiences.”
What do we put in the sex room?
Let’s get into it! There are five main categories of things that belong in a sex room:
There are a few different things you can do here. If you’ve got the space, of course, you can install things like a bench over which you could bend someone.
Or there’s the ever-classic sex swing, which many people swear by. In the words of one woman, “I used a sex swing and wow, it changed my life.” Just know that this is an advanced thing to include in your repertoire from a strictly architectural perspective. As Rose says, “If you are going to install anything with suspension, make sure it goes into a ceiling joist. Otherwise, you’re going to have trouble.” You really want to get a professional to do this for you.
Now, if you don’t have all the space in the world or don’t want the hassle of hiring someone to figure out where your ceiling joists are, you can also try a sex wedge! This is also known as a sex pillow. It’s a nifty object that can help you get allllll up in different positions, which it turns out is a big desire for a lot of folks.
In fact, according to a 2021 survey by Dame Labs, 81% of people said that one of their desires was to find better angles during partnered sex. When quizzed on the best non-vibrating sex toys, pillows and wedges topped the list!
Now, if you want to get a little more high-tech, don’t forget about fucking machines. No, we don’t mean machines that suck, we mean machines that can fuck. There are lots of different kinds and even if you don’t use one, having it around can be kind of suggestive and obscene in a good way.
You can also play with a multi-position love chair, which can include ways of making someone stay (more on that below). Or you can have some inflatable sex balls around. The options are endless, and endlessly erotic.
A big part of the fun of a sex room is exploring sides of yourselves you may never have before. And restraints can be a provocative way of seeing how you feel about being in control … or out of it.
Why are things like handcuffs hot? Well, for a lot of people it’s because the idea of not being in charge is a huge effing relief. In the words of sexologist Emily Morse:
“For people who have a day-to-day life of being constantly in control, juggling too many tasks with an overload of responsibilities, giving up control in the bedroom can be a huge turn-on. It allows them to tap into their bodies sexually and let go without worrying about anyone else’s pleasure but their own. The same goes for someone who is more passive in their day-to-day life. It’s arousing to be the dominant, to be the one in control, calling the shots and orchestrating the entire scene.”
It’s also worth starting out by saying that Rose is also adamant about consent. “Nobody should be pushed into something they are not willing to do … If you’re going into the harder end of BDSM, or even if you’re just delving into new territory, consent is the word of the day.” Remember that a simple way of getting consent is the traffic light system: saying “green light” means all systems go; “yellow light” means we’re approaching the edge and we should probably slow down here; and “red light” means exactly that. Stop.
Now back to risque restraints: Wanna orchestrate a scene with your partner? Handcuffs are a great way to start. You can get fuzzy soft ones that are super comfy, or more “real” ones. It’s also good to know that you can get restraints with Velcro if you’re just starting out and want a little bit more assurance that if you really had to get loose, you could.
You could also use handy-dandy, under-the-bed restraints, which tuck away so that when the kids come charging in later on, they won’t catch on to any funny business. (Ditto your house-sitters.) The fun thing about these ones that go on the bed is that you can have all four limbs restrained at the same time … did somebody say spread-eagle?
Vibrators & dildos
According to Rose, pretty much all couples, whether they identify as heterosexual or some other kind of sexual, get something out of vibrators. There’s just something sensual about them, and remember that you can use them on all kinds of body parts, not just the genitals. Plus, a whole lotta people with vajayjays actually require clitoral stimulation to climax, so this is a good toy to have on hand when you’re getting down to it.
There are tons of options here, from bullet vibes to rabbits to wearable vibrators that you can have on during intercourse, so you can both be hands-free but still be getting those good vibrations.
This is also a good time to discuss anal play with your partner. We’re not just talking about full-on P-in-the-A sex, but even just stimulation around that part of the body. Have you ever considered it? Would one of you be open to it? Prostate massages and prostate orgasms are, officially speaking, off the chain. If there’s a cis man in your life, he may have never considered this seriously, but now could be the time. There are lots of anal toys that vibrate, or you could just stick to fun things like anal beads.
Whips ‘n things
Ever had someone spank your ass and like it? Then you’re into impact play! According to Carina Hsieh from Cosmo, “Impact play, or the BDSM practice where one partner strikes another with their hands or a toy for sexual gratification, can sound a lil intimidating if you don’t know where to start. But impact play doesn’t have to be extreme.”
A quick word about why so many people are into the sensation of being struck or spanked or otherwise hit: when you experience impact on an erogenous zone like your thighs or butt, your skin’s nerve receptors are stimulated. This can prompt the release of fun neurotransmitters like dopamine and endorphins.
Intimacy coach Candice Smith says that because the butt and inner thighs have the most protective fat and muscle, they’re good areas to start with. “Other parts of the body have thinner skin or cover vital organs and can be damaged with less effort,” she says.
It’s also not just about being hit. A lot of people like the anticipation and uncertainty of what’s coming — will it be a tickler, a paddle, or something else?! Getting to know your partner in a different way could include seeing what kinds of sensations actually turn them on that night. Are they more aroused by the softer, more sensual touch, or a hard, flat surface? It’s up to you to find out.
Blindfolds, low light, and fancy lubes, oh my
When it comes to setting up your space well, lighting is surprisingly important. Candles, whether wax or electric-style, really help set the mood. There’s a reason for that trope.
And what’s better than your lover doing something exciting to your body? Not knowing exactly what it will be or when it will happen! Yes, there’s just something about blindfolds that heightens other sensations. It’s also hot for the person who’s blindfolding you — there’s that control/submission dynamic of BDSM coming in.
And what about certain sexy extras? Whether it’s putting your nipple clamps in the freezer as a surprise or getting some warming lube, having those frisky frills on hand can make the night extra hot.
Now what are you waiting for? All the elements are there. Your perfect sex room awaits.