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Lights On or Off? The Real Score on Bedroom Lighting

The argument on whether the lights should be kept on or off during sex is still a common dispute among couples. Here’s our take on the issue.

lights on or off sex

When people ask about the perfect setting when it comes to sex, many an advice column will suggest tweaking the lighting. Dimmed lighting is the popular choice, but some people can be a tad bit neurotic when it comes to the kind of lighting they want.

It is such a small thing to consider, but it plays a huge part in the whole process of having sex. Before you start to take each other’s clothes off, one or both of you will start to wonder if doing it under fluorescent lighting is a good idea. Honestly, it’s not.

So, how does one decide when and how to approach the subject? If you’re already tearing each other’s clothes off by the door, stopping to ask about lighting can pretty much kill the mood. There are all sorts of factors that are involved in asking the question. Is it necessary? Will it offend either of you? Or is it already understood?

Why is lighting important?

When you and your partner are so preoccupied with fooling around, thinking about lighting is hardly necessary. You could be going at it in broad daylight, and it’s already understood that you just don’t care. But some people do care. The reasons for this are:

#1 They’re not used to having sex under a certain light. Imagine when people say they prefer blondes over brunettes. It’s the same concept with lighting. If a person is used to having sex under a certain kind of light, they will insist on adjusting it, so that they can enjoy the most out of the activity. Bad lighting can be distracting, which isn’t good for concentrating on the needs of your partner.

#2 They are insecure about their body. This can sometimes be a downer, because your insecurities bubble up to the surface through your insistence on turning the lights down or off. Low self-esteem is a turnoff. It can be endearing at times, but no one wants to coddle and build someone’s self-confidence right before they’re about to have sex. [Read: 8 ways to get your body confidence back in the bedroom]

#3 They react negatively to the aesthetics of bad lighting. Fluorescent and neon lights are not recommended for sexytime lighting. The white light washes everything out and makes you look like a morgue tenant. Neon lights hardly illuminate anything and can make you look like a vampire – which some people are into, I guess.

#4 The light exposes them to neighbors. One of the most important requirements for a hot and heavy hook-up session is privacy. Some places aren’t designed to have enough privacy with the lights on, like curtain-less flats or blinds that can expose your silhouettes.

#5 They can see all the mess that they forgot to clean up. The only reason why some people would want to turn off all the lights and have sex in pitch black darkness is because they don’t want their partner to see how messy their place is. The beauty of this is that you can exhaust your partner to the point where they won’t care about the mess when the lights are turned on.

#6 Having enough light gives them the best view. This is where lights-off is non-negotiable. Some people want to see everything. They want the visual exploration to be complete. Some may prefer dim lighting, while the more adventurous will go all out and utilize the LEDs.

Lights on vs. lights off

Both options present a lot of benefits that can enhance your sexual experience with your partner. Lights can improve a room’s ambience, and it can also ruin it. Some types of lighting can also cause problems like headaches, accidents and a sad realization that you forgot to shave or wear a good pair of undies.

Either way, it’s a tough decision to make, especially if it’s going to be an issue for at least one of you. So here are some points to ponder on whether you should go for ambient lighting or opt to rely on tactile sensations to get the job done:

Pros of having the lights on

For those who are hesitant to have sex with the lights on, here are some points to ponder.

#1 You can see every sexy part of each other’s body.

#2 Good lighting can set the mood and enhance your pleasurable experience.

#3 You can avoid bumping into things or stepping on your partner’s cat.

#4 You can clearly see each other’s reaction, which will help enhance your performance in bed.

#5 It helps you check to see if you are entering a serial killer’s room.

#6 Bright lighting can help remove your beer-goggles.

#7 Clean-up’s a breeze.

#8 You can try various sexual positions accurately and safely, without the risk of sticking things into the wrong orifice.

Cons of having the lights on

Of course, with the pros come a couple of cons that you also need to consider before switching the lights on.

#1 You can see every non-sexy part of each other’s body.

#2 Glaring light can make your eyes and head hurt.

#3 Some types of light can kill the mood because of their tacky and unappealing color, like fluorescent and neon lights.

#4 The neighbors can sneak a peek, if the lighting allows it.

#5 Bright lighting can help remove your partner’s beer-goggles.

#6 You can see everything that needs to be cleaned up.

#7 Trying new positions feels intimidating, because you can see how crazy it looks with the lights on.

Pros of keeping the lights off

If you need to convince your partner to turn the lights off, here are some things you can say.

#1 Being in the dark can heighten the senses, thereby increasing your physical and mental reactions.

#2 People who are uncomfortable with letting other people see them naked are able to relax.

#3 The mystery of not seeing what you and your partner are doing adds a little bit of excitement.

#4 Your beer-goggles will stay in place, at least until the sun rises.

#5 You can make the weirdest orgasm faces, and your partner will never get the chance to judge you.

#6 You can try new positions without having to think that you and your partner look silly doing it.

#7 Dirty talking in the dark can feel really sexy.

Cons of turning the lights off during sex

Here are some of the most common cons of turning the lights off when you’re getting it on.

#1 You might struggle to find, let alone put on, a condom.

#2 You can end up bumping into things and stepping on your partner’s cat.

#3 You have no idea where your clothes went, so you end up killing the sexy vibe, as you rummage through your partner’s stuff when the lights come on.

#4 You accidentally put stuff in the wrong hole… which may or may not be a con for some.

#5 You have no idea where your bodily fluids went.

#6 Your eyes will feel like they’re stabbed with a hot poker when the lights finally come on.

#7 You might break something while trying a new position in the dark.

#8 You can’t see if your partner is having a good time or not.

[Read: 13 ways to overcome sexual anxiety in the bedroom]

Which is better?

Compare this list and see which lighting option feels best for you. You can encounter problems either way, but you can still benefit from both of them. You just need to know what feels right for you.

If you don’t feel comfortable enough to show your partner everything, it’s still okay for you to opt for no lights. If your partner doesn’t agree, you need to take a breather and help them understand your reasons. Pushing yourself to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable can end badly.

Ideally, it would be better to have a moderate amount of soft and warm lighting. It’s better if everything’s illuminated because of the benefits of actually seeing how much fun you and your partner are having.

Sex is a physical and intimate act, but it also relies on visuals in order to maximize its full potential. If you are able to titillate each of the five senses while having sex, I guarantee that no amount of bad lighting can make you regret it.

If you’re feeling insecure about your body, that is something that you need to resolve on your own. Once you realize that appearances don’t matter as much when you’re happy and confident, you can finally enjoy yourself without having to think about lighting.

[Read: 18 ways to make your bedroom more romantic]

Whether you prefer to make love with the lights on or off, just know that a good time with your partner is more than enough to compensate for any hang-ups in the bedroom.

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Danielle Anne
Those who can’t do, teach. I can neither do nor teach as well as others, but I can try. Aside from being a writer, I am also a physical therapist. My dream is...
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