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Sexy at-home Valentine's ideas

CHRISTINE BENVENUTO is the author of a new book, SEX CHANGES: A Memoir of Marriage, Gender, and Moving On and Shiksa: The Gentile Woman in the Jewish World, both published by St. Martin's Press.

no sitter? no problem!

If your idea of a hot date is dinner for two at a candlelit bistro or a getaway at a cozy inn, staying home might not quicken your romantic pulse.  
Vday date at home

But don't be disappointed if you can't get out this Valentine's Day. Staying in offers delicious opportunities to create intimacy.

Your ticket to a fantastic date night: Leave routines behind. Feed the kids early and put them to bed. Turn the TV, mobile devices and computers off for the night and the answering machine on. Set a time to begin your date just as you would if you were meeting out on the town — and stick to it.

Set the scene

If you have a song or a CD that's special to the two of you, play it. If not, try some old blues standards, or just tune the radio to any rock or jazz station: They'll all be playing love songs on Feb. 14.

Dim the lights and fill the tub. You don't need fancy products. I recently created an exquisite soak with two products I grabbed off the shelf of a grocery store: kids' bubble bath and baby oil. Now light some candles, snap off the light switch and turn your bathroom into a serene spa in which to warm up for your evening. If you can't fit into your tub together, take turns. Have the heated towels ready to pat each other dry.

Work up an appetite

Before your bath, leave a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses in the bedroom. Afterward? Go to bed. If this sounds odd, just try it. It's the end of a long day (Valentine's Day falls on a Thursday this year), and you've just had a nice hot bath. Now you and your honey are ready to eat a heavy meal, drink some wine and — pass out? Don't risk putting your ardor to sleep. Jump into bed and enjoy the sweetest part of the evening: each other.

Dinner for two

Believe me, no matter what it is, it will taste even better now. It's late and you're both famished. No problem, because you've set dinner up ahead of time. Maybe you've picked up sandwiches and pickles from a deli you both love or have some cartons of take away ready to go in the microwave. Or you've left a pot of water waiting to boil. Toss in some noodles, add a bought or pre-made sauce and bring a big bowl of steaming pasta and two forks back to bed. The wine is already there. Just make sure you tell him to bring home the chocolates.

More on Valentine's Day

Heart-pumping date ideas for the thrill-seeking couple
Real stories: Single for Valentine's Day
Real stories: My best Valentine's Day ever

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