For many of us, Autumn is steadily arriving and the summer holiday period has drawn to a close. Every night’s a school night – or so it can seem mid-week – and as those nights draw in we tend to experience affective changes, our light-enhanced summer selves bedding down into the slower, potentially cosier experience of autumn and winter. While for some, seasonal affective disorder can be a real problem, though it is often treatable, the lengthening nights bring changes for all of us, which can be made to work to our advantage.
Follow your feelings
Your number one guide to the kinds of lovemaking that are going to be great for you is simply the way you feel as the seasons change around you and your body changes with them. How do you imagine making love now? Perhaps the feeling is differently intense from your summertime lovemaking. You might imagine deeper and richer colours surrounding you or different senses being especially awoken, such as those touched by fireside warmth. You might imagine a different pace to your lovemaking or a mood which is perhaps more to do with cuddles and physical bonding. Whatever the pictures are, they can be your guide to how you would like to be with your partner.
On the town
When it comes to romancing your partner, the darker evenings can create the ideal spaces in which you and your partner can treat yourselves to a little razzle-dazzle. In many ways, cities are winter places. It’s when the nights draw in and the city lights shine that they can best become a romantic backdrop – as we go with our partner to restaurants, bars, live performance venues, parties or the cinema.
If meeting your partner at home after work each day makes you feel as if life’s closing in on you, vary the scene and by doing so bring greater variety into your experience of your relationship. It can be invigorating to have the buzz of other people around when we’re with our partner – and it can make the time alone feel more precious.
Bring the love indoors
Our immediate surroundings play a hugely important role in determining whether we are in the mood for lovemaking. Your idea of perfection may be that villa on the edge of a sparkling sea, but for most of us that’s not going to happen so often. What we can do is create a sensual indoors space, which we design to be, well, sexy.
The bedroom’s the obvious candidate for many of us. The colours, pictures, scents and textures we place here can work together to put us in the mood for making love and, more generally, to comfort and protect us, as a sanctuary from our technologically driven, urban lives. You and your partner might favour a minimalist, clutter-free space or might wish to be surrounded by inspirational artefacts – there’s no one ready-made design for a room for love and the only ‘rule’ is that you banish to a different room any turn-offs.
While sunlight, fresh air and relaxation tend naturally to boost the libido during the summer holiday period, these natural stimulants are often in short supply over the autumn and winter months. For general well-being as well as for the sake of your sex drive, it becomes important to take steps to compensate.
With a healthy diet, vitamin supplements are not usually necessary, but you might find a one-a-day pill helps you, particularly if your diet tends to drift away from the fruit ‘n’ veg end of the spectrum during these months. If light-deprivation is a real issue for you, you might consider light treatments or consult a doctor to address hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances and deficiencies – seasonal affective disorder has been associated with low levels of serotonin and melatonin, for example, which can be raised through medication.
In terms of exercise, it may be that for you a half hour in the gym is the perfect antidote to the pressures of your work day and to that claustrophobic feeling that you’re leaving for work and returning home in darkness. If, however, a visit to the gym isn’t your idea of a good time, then a brisk, twenty minute walk can be all that’s required to de-stress and work the body enough to feel healthy.
If for you this is a time for more lingering lovemaking, use the long evenings to explore new sex play techniques with your partner, perhaps moving between lovingly sensual cuddles and caresses and more erotically charged stimulation. Now can be the perfect time to refine your oral sex skills – and to get out that massage book. You might focus on intimacy and sensuality rather than urgency, allowing the real passion gradually to build at its own pace. You can take time to lose yourselves again in each other’s physical presence. Both lingering touch and, importantly, kissing release the bonding hormone oxytocin – as does orgasm. Use these cocooning autumn months to feel really secure and confident in your relationship.
Share your secrets
We’d love, as ever, to hear from you about how you respond as the nights draw in and how you keep your lovemaking vibrant. To share your thoughts, email YourLG@loversguide.com.