When life gets stressful and overwhelming, taking time out of your busy schedule to relax and unwind is an important part of self-care. But sometimes, it can be nice to have someone else pamper you, too — which is why planning a romantic spa day at home is something to consider. To be fair, if you're not a self-care connoisseur, the idea of planning a spa day might seem stressful in and of itself, but don't be intimated: you should feel free to keep things simple because, ultimately, this is all about the gesture.
"This simple yet meaningful gesture will go a long way in making your special someone feel truly loved," Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "This small token of your love and appreciation is a great way to show how much you really care."
When your partner gets stressed, planning a DIY spa day for them is the perfect romantic gesture: not only can you help to melt your partner's stress away, but having an at-home spa experience together is also a great chance for you to intimately connect as a couple — here's how to get started.
What You'll Need To Set The ~Mood~
When you're planning a spa day, the first step is to make sure you have all the necessary supplies for pampering your partner. You don't have to go overboard and sprinkle rose petals on every surface (but if that's your thing, go for it) — all you need is some simple stuff that will set the mood, like fresh flowers, candles, bath salts, essential oils, and of course, some fluffy spa-worthy robes and slippers.
"The best way to set the mood for your at-home spa day is with aromatherapy candles or an essential oil diffuser," Backe says. "Besides adding a romantic ambiance, these offer countless mental and physical health benefits."
But as amazing as they smell, candles, oils, and incense can only do so much to make a space seem relaxing and inviting — so don't forget to complete the ambiance with dim lights and soft music. It's also a good idea to clean and de-clutter your home before you start setting up your mini spa. If you live with your partner and normally share cleaning duties, this extra step will make the experience feel even more stress-relieving and special for them.
What else should you add to your spa day shopping list? Depending on your partner's pampering preferences, you can also pick up a face mask, foot scrub, or nice moisturizer for them to use during your spa session —and it's never a bad idea to have their favorite indulgent snacks on hand.
The Secret To Giving A Great Massage
Naturally, you can't plan a spa day for your partner without prepping for the main event: giving them an unforgettable, sensual massage. If you haven't had a lot of practice giving massages, it's normal to worry that you won't do it "right" — but there isn't one right way to give a massage, and you definitely don't have to be a certified massage expert to do an amazing job.
"Giving a good massage doesn’t require classes, it’s really about two things: staying focused and listening to your partner’s body," Dr. Laura McGuire, Sex & Relationships Consultant, Sexologist, and former Massage Therapist, tells Bustle. "People often let their minds wander during massages and the person receiving can sense it. When you are distracted you will start to lack consistently in your touch and pressure and that is not relaxing. So the first thing is think of what you want to do and do each stroke the same way with the same pressure at least three times."
It can be tempting to daydream while you massage your partner — especially if they opted for a totally nude massage — but it's crucial not to let yourself get distracted. Aside from being focused on making them feel good, the only other trick to giving a great massage is staying attuned to how your partner is feeling.
"Listen to your partner’s body and voice," McGuire says. "Ask them if the pressure is right and listen to the feedback. If you feel them tensing or flinching ease up, if you feel no response ask to increase the pressure. Go slow and steady and stay focused on how delicious each part of them feels."
How To Transition Into Giving A Sensual Massage
If your spa day takes a ~sexy~ turn — and with all that relaxation, it just might — a regular massage could quickly become something more intimate. For the overall body massage, McGuire says, it's best to use grapeseed, olive, or coconut oil (you can add some essential oils to further the relaxing effects) — but when things start heating up, the number one thing to remember is to switch to a kind of lubricant that's safe to use on your partner's more sensitive areas.
"When it’s time for a sexy massage, use silicone-based lube, [because] it lasts much longer and doesn’t just absorb into the skin the way water-based lube does," McGuire says. "Ask your partner what feels good — you can massage the breasts, penis, testicles, perineum, vulva, vagina, prostate, G-spot or anus! So many options."
"Start with gentle slow strokes anywhere you are touching and increase the speed or pressure only when they say to."
Here's the key to giving a great sensual massage: "Start with gentle slow strokes anywhere you are touching and increase the speed or pressure only when they say to," McGuire says. "If your partner is shy to speak up try a couple different spots or techniques and say which feels the best, or better yet have the show you and guide your hand. Make sure that you both take turns feeling pampered, that sex isn’t a rush to the finish line but a nice extra that may conclude your relaxing evening."
Ultimately, a romantic at-home spa day is whatever you and your partner make of it. Whether you want to go all out with DIY mani-pedis and cucumbers over your eyes or simply light some candles and rub each other, all that matters is that you're relaxing, de-stressing, and intimately connecting with each other.