The Un-Cosmo Guide to Setting the Mood

Getting down sans silly tips from a certain dull glossy.

We may only be at the beginning, but that’s the point. Here’s the part of the article where I inform you that you are absolutely going to make more time in your life for sex. I will accept no arguments except, possibly, “He won’t wax his back.” Now that we have that out of the way, we can completely bypass all your non-sex-having excuses (tired, bills, kids, rinse, repeat) because sex? It’s a wonderful thing.

What’s not wonderful is the usual glib listicle. It’s not sexy to force sex, yet it seems like that’s always the advice we hear. “Schedule it in,” as if it were something to avoid, like your drill-happy dentist. “Do it even if you don’t feel like it.” Great, right next to flossing on the to-do list.

The real key to wanting to do it is feeling sexy, which is not a state that can be bought, drugged (yet!) or conjured up magically. Sexiness come from feeling relaxed, receptive and focused on our partner. Most of all, it comes from setting the mood long before you’re in the mood. Here’s how to get there, so you can get down. Tonight. (Or earlier…).

Setting the mood for sex is about everything but the act of fornication, which is just its inevitable and enjoyable conclusion. It starts early in the day – or preferably, is part of the ongoing banter/communication between you and your lover. During the time you and your partner are apart, use technology to your advantage.


– Playful texts (remember 9th grade flirting? Playful doesn’t have to mean dirty, if that’s not your thing)

– Semi-erotic photos (could be of you, could be of a mutually admired Hollywood hottie)

– Sexy articles (ahem!) peppered with your own thoughts

– Crude and/or sexy jokes

– Fantasy scenarios and stories

The key here is no faking it! If you love dirty jokes and pictures (and they do too), go with it. If erotic literature is how you steam it up, share it. If you are both visually stimulated, keep your eyes peeled – the bonus here is that you will get turned on, too.

But that’s just one sense – the visual. Remember when you were a young pup and you heard that something like 90% of massages end in sex? Well, obviously that statistic isn’t true (otherwise massage therapists would be in another line of work), but there is something both thrilling and soothing about being touched in a loving way by the person you care about – whether it leads to sex in that particular instance or not.

After all, not every act to “set the mood” has to end in sex. The relaxation and sensuousness of touching and relaxing might not reap benefits until the next morning or two evenings hence. But they will come.

Here are a few more delicious tips for an eco-minded girl to get her groove on:

Simple, fresh food that encourages the two of you to really savor whatever you’re eating and will get you keyed into your senses. Just sharing a meal that’s made from local, organic ingredients in a no-distractions environment will allow you to connect. This meal shouldn’t be something that requires hours by one of you slaving over stove, and should be something that’s not too filling and hits all the major flavor faves of you and your love. If it’s summer, think of a salad packed with farm-fresh ingredients, including local cheeses, beans and a variety of vegetables. In winter, a warm one-pot stew will fill you up without weighing you down.

Make your bedroom into a clean and dreamy lair for sex, sleep and relaxation. It’s almost impossible to do any of the above (or the below) while things are beeping, distracting and otherwise demanding your attention (this includes children). So, keep the kids out and turn the machines off. Every couple deserves to have a place that’s just for them, and frankly, you’ll be more likely to tune into each other if there isn’t much else going on. Reading is allowed, especially if erotic prose turns you on, but shouldn’t be used as a distraction. Invest in natural, organic, supersoft textures and linens to cozy up in.

Making out is totally underrated. Unlike teenage suck-face sessions, everyone now knows how to kiss. Enjoy your lover’s lips, the way their hands feel on your body and vice versa, the warmth or cool of their skin compared to yours. Noticing these smaller stimulations releases endorphins (and will most likely turn you on). Let it lead to something more. Or not. Sometimes a good make-out session can be incredibly satisfying in and of itself. It’s okay to leave yourself wanting more, but not indulging. That’s fine.

No pressure is the last rule. Anticipation of sex is hot. Expectation is not. Thinking that you failed just because you didn’t have simultaneous mind-blowing orgasms is disappointing. Which means that you’ll be less likely to get caught in the flow the next time around (tomorrow, potentially!). Enjoy yourself, your beloved, and whatever your kink or vanilla may be. The best part about having a partner is that you get to do it again in an hour, in the middle of the night, or tomorrow morning before work. Besides, it’s always fun to be surprised when those head-exploding climaxes happen upon your sex life.

Image: brina_head

Starre Vartan

Starre Vartan has been covering eco fashion, natural beauty, ethical travel, and sustainable design for over a decade. She's written for magazines (Whole Living, Metropolis) and online (Huffington Post, MNN,, Inhabitat) and she has been honored as a thought leader by Glamour and Self magazines, as well as quoted in the New York Times (thrice). She's the author of "The Eco Chick Guide to Life: How to Be Fabulously Green" (St. Martin's Press) which was based on her longrunning blog, Starre was born Down Under in Sydney, Australia and has dual citizenship with the United States, as she grew up and was educated in the Hudson Valley of New York. She has a Bachelors of Science degree in Geology from Syracuse University and a Master of Fine Arts in Nonfiction writing from Columbia University. She splits her time between the Connecticut coast and Manhattan and loves to read, hike, snowboard, horseback ride, travel, and she will swim in almost anything (from lake to sea, cenote to mountain swimming hole).