Looking for a great way to spice things up in the romance department? Why not consider a sexy, romantic night in for a change?

Many couples enjoy going out (you know, the “traditional” dinner and a movie) for a chance to reconnect, but a night in can be much more conducive to intimate connection-at the dining room table, on the living room couch, and especially between the sheets.

Getting started

Planning your perfect night in starts with picking a date so you can make preparations. You may even want to consider surprising your lover with a night in to really juice things up.

If you’re going with the surprise option, make sure you leave work early on the day of (and that your lover isn’t home) so you can set everything up. Got kids? No problem. Arrange for a babysitter ahead of time and drop them off. Even if your hot night in is sans surprise, getting the kids out of there is necessary.

Surprise or not, you’ll need to pick up a few things for the big night: flowers, candles, incense, bubble bath, massage oil, a bottle of wine or champagne, grocery items for dinner, some aphrodisiac foods like strawberries and chocolate, a romantic or sexy DVD, some playing cards, and some costumes-you’ll find out why in a minute.

You’ll also need to clean the house up a little and clean yourself up a little (shower, dress up, smell nice) before getting started.

Set the “mood”

Next, set the “mood”-a critical part of your big night in. Light candles and incense, put fresh flowers (red roses recommended) in a vase on the table, and play soft, sexy music in the background.

Prepare the bedroom in advance by turning it into a sexy love haven. Get rid of the mess, add candles (light them later), throw rose petals on the bed, and have some sexy lingerie or kinky costumes and chocolate-covered strawberries (or the like) ready.

Your perfect night in:

1. Dinner

Start your night in by either surprising your lover with dinner, or cooking it together. If you can’t cook or don’t enjoy cooking, order your favorite takeout (like Chinese) and set it up with fancy china, and eat together with chopsticks and wine by candlelight.

2. Movie

Move from dinner to the living room where you can watch a sexy or romantic DVD together. Get nice and cozy on the couch, and allow yourselves to enjoy each other rather than the movie as needed.

3. Bath & Massage

Take a candlelit bubble bath together, complete with incense, champagne, and a nice, long, sensual massage session complete with yummy-smelling massage oil to tantalize your senses.

4. Sex games

Now it’s time to crank it up a notch, moving from romantic to sexy and downright naughty. Get competitive and creative with sex games or role-playing. Strip poker is a favorite-here’s where the cards come in handy.

Act out a scenario together and dress the part. Here is where kinky costumes come into play. You can try scenarios like doctor and patient, teacher and student, employer and employee, master and slave, artist and model, stripper and client. Be creative and let your sensual imagination run away with you. The possibilities are endless.

The obvious goal of the entire evening is to end up in bed together, but if your romp ends up in the bathtub, the livingroom couch, or even the dining room table, just go with the flow. Even though you may have planned the evening out, spontaneity almost always wins over structure, so just enjoy wherever the evening takes you.