Candles. Dinner, quiet music... kids away for the night, or perhaps there are none to worry about.... setting the scene, the mood, can make romance more fun. It got me thinking about clearing out the space, tidying up, making the bed, and how these rituals of preparation and ceremony are about something much more primal and in many ways more accessible on a daily basis.
I think the thrust of these stage-settings is cleanliness. I don't mean the sterile, spic-and-span cleanliness of neurotic floor scrubbing and spotless walls. I mean the cleanliness of readiness. A clean, well-ordered space can promote a sense of calm, peace and relaxation conducive to romance and sex. It's a feeling of being at peace, of the chores and responsibilities having been taken care of; the bills paid, and the laundry done. Even if your laundry is simply out of sight and you are working on getting enough money together to get your electricity back on, it doesn't matter; you can still create the impression that things are orderly and neat, clean and well cared for. It must be something in our evolutionary love map that tells us: This is a safe place to unwind. Not that love isn't found amid the ruins but it's nice to know that even something as simple as doing the dishes and putting them away, sweeping the floor and replacing books that have fallen off of shelves, making the bed and organizing the papers can lead to an evening, morning or afternoon of relaxed snuggling and perhaps more.
I know personally that I inherited the we-have-to-come-home-to-a-clean-house gene from my mother who I am sure got it from hers. This is the gene which disallows me to go away for extended periods of time, even overnight, with dishes in the sink or chaos in the living room. The thought of re-entering my personal atmosphere with loads of "stuff" to sort through can trigger depression akin to some dank swamp somewhere off the coast of Louisiana.
Something about coming home to a clean house makes me feel at peace, relaxed and even overjoyed. My gratitude for the life I have is so much more in tact and tangible when I'm not stepping over piles of junk to reach the ones I love.