8 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Overnight Guests (Yes, the Romantic Kind)
You’ve done it, tiger. You invited your date back to your place — what now? I spoke with Ariella Serur, a dating coach specializing in queer relationships, about how to stay in the moment and enjoy your time together. Whether you practice polyamory and live with a partner, or this is the first time you’ve brought a date home in years, keep reading for eight easy ways to prep your home for your first sleepover together.
Hold a transparent conversation about your intentions for the evening.
The word “intentions” might make you think of the overprotective dad in every rom-com: “What are your intentions with my daughter this evening?” But there are benefits to being on the same page from the beginning. It can help you relax to know what you’re both walking into and can provide a framework like any other social setting would have. Serur says that before bringing it up, think about what you would like to hear on the receiving end. “How would you want to hear that information?” Once you’ve thought it through, you’re ready to hold an authentic conversation about your expectations.
Ask yourself: What would make me feel welcome if I were the guest?
Think about when you are the most comfortable in your space. Do you have music playing? Are the lights dimmed? Is there a particular blanket you love? In addition to setting up your place to make guests feel welcome, Serur encourages you to set up the space in a way that makes you feel your best while hosting. Ultimately you want to add comfort — for both you and them. Serur suggests considering a scenario where you are the one going back to someone else’s place: “What would make you feel at ease? Then do that!”
Make the evening unique to them.
Every person is different so treat the evening the same way. You wouldn’t invite your vegetarian friend to an all-you-can-eat BBQ, so think about your date’s quirks and needs ahead of time. You don’t necessarily need to move your furniture around to accommodate them, but there are small ways to show you care. It might mean having non-alcoholic beverage options in the fridge or swapping out your oil diffuser for unscented candles if you know they’re sensitive to strong smells.
Curate your space for the evening you want.
Packing for vacation isn’t the most exciting part of a trip, but the preparation means you can have more fun when you get there. Similarly, with hosting, try writing down a checklist of what you want to have on hand during the evening. Is there an activity you want to do together? For example, if deeper conversations with this person is your goal, Serur recommends placing a few conversation starter pieces in the space. “Maybe it’s having a novel you’re reading on a side table, a book of queer art on your coffee table, or a travel souvenir coaster they can put a drink on,” they say. “That way the space is curated toward curiosity and getting to know each other better.”
Stay in the moment! Dates are supposed to be fun.
One of Serur’s favorite ways of staying present is tuning into their senses: paying attention to what they see, taste, touch, smell, or hear. You can also focus on taking a deep breath, take a trip to the bathroom to regroup, drink cold water slowly, or, they suggest, “It’s always an option to just name what’s going on internally!” It’s always OK to admit when you’re feeling nervous or in your head. It might even allow the other person to open up and share how they’re feeling as well.
Do you live with a partner? Time to put your communication tools to the test.
“Having a live-in partner changes your approach to having overnight guests — mainly in the realm of communication,” Serur says. There is a lot to get on the same page about when it comes to logistics and making sure everyone involved is heard and valued. Each relationship has unique agreements that need to be honored during sleepovers. Set ground rules now to avoid hurt or confusion later. Also — and this is for everybody, regardless of how many partners you have — change your bedsheets. Seriously.
Organize your sex toys and whatever else you may need at a moment’s notice.
Pleasure is supposed to be enjoyed, so don’t be afraid to play with incorporating decor into your sex life — like decorative boxes for your vibrators. (Pro tip: getting a bedside lamp with USB ports is an easy way to keep your toys charged and ready to go when needed.) While organization isn’t the sexiest thing to consider, you’ll find that it’s the wingman you didn’t know you needed. Instead of stressing about finding your favorite sex toy or the lube you like, keep it handy by the bed, couch, or bathroom. For example, instead of keeping a bulky box of condoms, I store my safe sex products in a clear hexagon jar with a snap-on lid under my bathroom sink for easy access (yes, the ones typically used as candy jars).
Think ahead to the morning after.
Not that you need a goodie bag on the way out the door, but there you can make your date feel cared for as they leave so you part ways on a positive note. While there is no rulebook or universal preference, think about what feels true to you — how do you like to be cared for after a date? Serur shares an extra nugget of advice for the morning after: “If you have an early morning the next day and someone is spending the night, give them a heads up the night before about what time they should be on their way.” No one wants to be woken up and kicked out the door within the same breath (or yawn) — plus, it allows you to plan some more quality time in the a.m. if it’s what you desire.