How to build a sex room, according to a sex therapist



On making your bedroom a more intimate space.

If you’ve recently binged the Netflix series How to Build a Sex Room and now you want a sex swing and butt plug feature wall, you’re not alone. The new renovation show, starring interior designer Melanie Rose, drilled into us that our bedrooms not only reflect our taste and personality – they’re also a tool to create a context for desire, to help us feel more sexually confident and even more connected to our partners.

And while a few of the makeovers (namely those with hidden trap doors, penis-shaped harnesses and dungeons) erred on the kinkier side – there’s a lot we can learn about a sensual makeover like this. As I’ve learnt from years of seeing my own clients, so many of us have a desire to create more intimacy in our lives – we just don’t quite know how.

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If you’re looking to prepare your bedroom for a potential partner or you want to reignite intimacy that’s been dimmed by a mountain of washing at the end of the bed, read on. I‘m about to tell you everything you need to know about how to make your bedroom into a sexier, more comfortable space, primed for all kinds of pleasure.

Keep it clean

The single most important thing you should be doing to help your bedroom — whether you live in a mansion, student accommodation, or somewhere in between — is cleaning it. This will not only make the space more livable for you, but it will make it more inviting and comfortable for any potential paramour.

If you know someone special might be coming over to spend the night, I recommend going through the following checklist before they arrive. I also recommend doing the below at least weekly, so your space will feel cleaner and more comfortable for you (and so you’ll be prepared for any spontaneous late-night visitors).

Start by putting on a fresh set of bed sheets and taking out any accumulated rubbish in your room. Use a simple duster to glide over the surfaces in your bedroom, starting from the highest points and working downwards. Vacuum your floor and open a window to let some fresh air circulate throughout the room. If you’re feeling extra fancy, light a fresh-smelling candle. Simple, but effective.

Think about the lighting

One of the simplest and most effective ways to change the vibe of a room is with lighting. A well-lit room feels warm, welcoming, and safe; while a room that’s lit poorly can – in particularly dire circumstances – make you feel like you’ve wandered onto the set of Saw.  As a rule of thumb, harsh white lights should be avoided unless in a kitchen.

Fortunately, you don’t need to have a limitless budget to make some powerful changes to the lighting in your room. When you’re feeling intimate, switch off your overhead bulbs and switch on your lamps. For added softness, look for a bulb labelled ‘warm white’ to use in your lamp – this will create a soft, mellow glow. Alternatively, purchase a lampshade that covers any bare bulbs (nobody wants to have their cornea singed by an Edison bulb mid-make-out sesh).

Keep your toys close

While some of the couples on How to Build a Sex Room get off on the idea of showcasing their dildos, it might be a little much for others. In saying this, if you like to use sex toys in the bedroom, it’s worth keeping them on hand. The toys from the Australian sexual wellness brand Normal are particularly great for discreet-yet-easy access. Each comes with a fabric dust bag and is USB chargeable, perfect for stashing in the top drawer of your bedside table.

It’s also really important to invest in a good sex toy cleaner. Keep it with your goodies so you’re always reminded to clean everything off before rolling over for a post-sex snuggle (or sleep, depending). Normal’s sex toy spray also doubles as hand sanitiser if you need to quickly get clean before putting your hands somewhere fun. On that note, it’s also worth having your preferred contraception close to the bed, a lube that you like using, and a box of tissues for clean-up moments.

Separate your spaces

The space in which you work is a space you’re expected to be awake, alert and ‘on’. In contrast, the space you sleep – and have sex in – is where you’re supposed to relax and let your stresses slip away. It’s difficult to do when those two spaces are overlapping, so try setting some spacial boundaries.

If you don’t have a separate study, try confining all of your work to one area, like your desk or a table. You can divide the two even further by installing a tall shelf or bookcase between your desk and your bed or adding a room divider. Keep your laptop and papers over in the designated work zone, and don’t bring them onto the bed. If this isn’t possible, stash your laptop under the bed when you’re not working, or in a safe storage area (like a large trunk or wardrobe).

Bedroom improvements

A well-decorated room can really make a space feel like you. At a bare minimum, I recommend investing in some quality bed linen. Prices can vary from affordable to seriously luxurious, but you’re generally in safe hands if you opt for something made of natural fibres like cotton or linen. A neutral colour like stone, cream or cacao suits any room, and warm colours like rose, ochre and clay can feel extra-inviting.

If you want to brighten your space further, try hanging prints, paintings, or a beautiful tapestry on the wall. If you want something even more personal (and affordable), frame some photographs or posters that make you feel good. Go forth and be sexy.

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