The bedroom is the place where the magic happens — well, some of the time, anyway. Having the right stuff on hand can make the space conducive to pleasure, whether that’s having sex with a partner, masturbating or just kicking back and relaxing.
We turned to experts, from sex therapists to sex educators, to find out what they always keep around. (The most mentioned item by far? Lube!) Below, they reveal some of their personal recommendations.
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1. High-quality lube
“I think all nightstands should have a high-quality lubricant as you never know when you are going to need one. The body’s ability to produce natural lubrication changes moment by moment, day by day, and most folks don’t enjoy sex that involves an overwhelming amount of friction.” — Amy Baldwin, co-host of the “Shameless Sex” podcast and lead educator for Uberlube
“Having a quality lube handy can turn a good sex into a great one. It will help you to explore various erogenous zones. Lack of sleep, hormonal fluctuations and change of diet may lead to vaginal dryness for women of all ages. Applying a few drops of lube can prevent membrane tearing and elevate the whole experience.” — Nazanin Moali, sex therapist and host of the “Sexology” podcast
2. A vibrator
“The Magic Wand by Hitachi really gets the job done! I use it myself and recommend it to my clients to jump-start receptive desire (the kind that lurks beneath the surface waiting to be ignited) into active desire (the passion) to get the party started. Keeping our pleasure pathways alive contributes to our overall well-being, in and out of the bedroom. My research has shown that the brain is the most important sex organ of all. My female study participants were able to light up their brain’s pleasure centers just by imagining pleasurable stimulation! Using a vibrator on a regular basis can help strengthen our pleasure pathways.” — Nan Wise, sex therapist, neuroscience researcher and author of “Why Good Sex Matters”
3. Chargers for various sex toys
“Because contrary to what the majority of shows, movies, books, music and other media are willing to depict, sex sometimes does require a little preparation!” — Symonne Kennedy, psychotherapist at The Gender & Sexuality Therapy Center
4. Dimmable lights
“It’s nice to be able to see when hooking up, but it’s also nice to not have offensively bright lighting. Additionally, different people have different levels of comfort with being seen. So when we have the ability to alter and dim lighting, it allows us to play with seeing and being seen in ways that feel both comfortable and sexy. This can mean a dimmer, sure, but it can also just mean various types of lights and lamps that have a softer light.” — Jesse Kahn, sex therapist and director of The Gender & Sexuality Therapy Center
5. A TV
“Many people disagree on the matter of whether to have a television in the bedroom or not. Personally, I am someone who enjoys being fully reclined with pillows while watching TV. In my bed, I am transported from the rest of the house and the added bonus of a television allows for consuming TV in maximum comfort either in solitude and peace or with company and increased cuddle potential. Reruns like ‘The Nanny’ or ‘Family Guy’ have also been historically helpful when I’ve needed a little extra help drifting off to sleep at night.” — Kennedy
6. A butt plug
“If you are into anal play, you definitely want to have a butt plug on hand, as they can feel nice to play with on their own, and are also really handy for relaxing the bum for penetrative anal play. I’m a huge fan of the Rianne S Booty Plug 3-Pack because you can play around with the different sizes that feel right to you (again, this might change day to day). They have a great design with a tapered tip for easy insertion and a thin neck (the part the rests in the anal canal) for comfort and a strong hold. And they look cute because they add a little butt bling.” — Baldwin
7. Cleansing wipes for *down there*
“Preparation is key for great sex. I keep these Promescent Before and After wipes in my nightstand and they help me freshen up before or after partner play. The great news is that they are alcohol-free and hypoallergenic.” — Moali
8. Firm pillows
“Missionary-style sex is the most common and can be rather ho-hum, especially for women. A firm pillow under the butt helps to tilt the pelvis, thus allowing for more direct stimulation of the clitoris during penetration. Moreover, it provides a more comfortable angle during cunnilingus. Seriously though, it’s all about the angle when it comes to clitoral stimulation. Finding the right angle for you is well worth the experimentation.” — Tom Murray, sex therapist
9. A towel
“Another thing I always keep around is a towel or something to clean up with. While a shower and properly cleaning up needs to happen after solo or partner play, sometimes I want to be able to choose between staying where I am for a bit or immediately hitting the shower. A towel gives me options.” — Susan Milstein, sexuality educator and clinical assistant professor with Texas A&M University’s department of health and kinesiology
10. Sex-inspired decor
“As a sex educator I also have at least a couple sex-related items in my bedroom as home decor. Right now my favorites are a beautiful glass dildo from Lovehoney, and a pair of golden handcuffs from Unbound Babes.” — Eva Bloom, sex educator behind the Instagram account @WhatsMyBodyDoing
11. Essential oils
“The nose — more specifically the olfactory sense — has a direct pathway to the limbic system, which is also linked to memory. Thus, smells can be a significant turn-on (and turn-off). Using essential oils to set the mood for lovemaking helps people to relax and allow the stressors of the day to fade while the mind and body can focus on pleasure. Lavender and eucalyptus are favorites.” — Murray
12. A notebook
“I like to have a conversation with my partner (or partners) about language used during sex. This conversation could look like sharing what words and phrases we might use to communicate when we want to pause or stop, when we’re enjoying what’s happening and want to encourage more or continued play, or when we want to check in about how the other is feeling.
Because I am so visual, I sometimes keep notes on these conversations in the bedroom as a reminder — not necessarily to look at with any specific frequency, but as a reminder of the conversation itself so as to be mindful of the differences and similarities in communication style. It also serves as a reference point for any additional conversations on this topic, as it is one that has potential for additional input, feedback, thoughts or feelings as new experiences are had.” — Kennedy
Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.