It’s the season for pumpkin spice everything, sweater weather — and a potential second-wave of COVID-19 infections. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local governments monitor outbreaks around the country, you may need to get a little creative with your fall date ideas, so they are pandemic friendly. This means booking or planning activities and experiences that allow you to maintain six-feet of distance in public or provide the privacy you need to be mask-free safely. The good news? In a turbulent year, the Autumn season offers plenty of romantic, bond-building adventures for twosomes.
Here, we spoke with dating experts and matchmakers for their best recommendations for happy, fall-loving couples.
Create a cozy staycation
Before you roll your eyes since, ahem, this whole year has felt like a ‘staycation’, the key is to make this occasion feel special. This requires prepping for the adventure in advance and actually taking time off of work to make it memorable, according to Megwyn White, a certified clinical sexologist and the director of education at Satisfyer. She recommends doing all you can to make it feel like a getaway, including turning off your phones, putting your computers away, buying groceries to cook together (or ordering-in, if you’d like), reading, lighting candles, snuggling under blankets, and so on.
Even if you and your partner live under the same roof and spend 24/7 together, it’s not always quality time, and a fall staycation can help you reconnect with another, White shares. “Use this time to learn and uncover what you and your partner are looking for more of in your relationship, whether that is more quality time, increased communication or getting more creative in the bedroom,” she suggests.
Work up a sweat outdoors
During the pandemic, most people have experienced heightened stress levels due to all of the uncertainty surrounding the virus. We all need outlets to release that anxiety, and an exercise is a healthy option. Plus, it makes for a fun fall date idea, since it’s not hot and not freezing outside. Dating expert from the dating app iris, Canwen Xu recommends booking an outdoor workout class, going rollerblading, taking a jog or embarking a fall hike. If you can, try to find an activity that neither of you is pro at, since that is an easy way to deepen your connection. “Trying new things with a partner is important because you can see how they act in different situations. You may even see an entirely new side of someone you thought you already knew,” Xu adds.
Have fun with pumpkins
That orange squash is the unofficial mascot of fall, and there are plenty of ways to incorporate it into your date. If you are okay to be in public with a mask for an extended period, matchmaker Susan Trombetti, recommends going the traditional route and plan a day at a pumpkin patch. You can spend the day finding the perfect option, going for a hayride, and then returning home to carve a masterpiece. For another layer of romantic fun, Xu recommends buying another pumpkin so you can bake up some goodies at home with a fall twist. “Completing a project together from start to finish, even if it’s just baking pastries, helps you form a bond with your significant other,” she shares. “You learn to work as a team towards a common goal, which is an important dynamic for any long-term relationship.”
Organize your own wine tasting
Though many vineyards and wineries are open this season, they are operating at limited capacities, making it more competitive to book a date. And, if you don’t feel comfortable removing your mask to sip varieties, a visit could be more stress-inducing than enjoyable. If so, create a wine tasting experience from your living room, suggests matchmaker Emma Vernon. This way, you can play by your own rules, have as much as you’d like, and stay in your sweatpants the whole time.
As she explains, this fall pandemic date idea teaches you about your partner’s taste, shows off your expertise, gamifies your date night, and allows you to work within your budget. She recommends choosing a price limitation, and you each buy a few bottles you want to try. Or, if you want to learn the difference between expensive options and two-buck chucks, purchase three to five of the same blend at various price points. Then, put a paper bag around each bottle, and try to rank them by price correctly.
Set up a sexy at-home spa
One amazing way to boost endorphins, release tension and feel connected to your one-and-only? Through sex! Though you may have been sexually active throughout the pandemic, White suggests creating a fall-themed, at-home spa day that allows both of you to focus on each other, pleasure and zen. “You can start by offering your partner a full body massage and hone in on the specific tension points that they’re feeling to help them relax while also getting closer in your relationship,” she explains. Then, after you’re finished with your romp, experiment with a facial mask post-orgasm.
“Orgasms naturally help to increase blood flow and oxygen to the skin, while orgasmic expression further creates micro-circulation. Using a skin mask post-orgasm is an optimal time, ultimately allowing you to receive additional skin-boosting benefits of your favorite mask and can aide in deepening relaxation and pleasure,” White continues.
Another option for your at-home sex spa day is to create a sensual playlist that can be incredibility beneficial for encouraging relaxation and de-stressing. Using that playlist can reinforce a feeling of safety for both you and your partner, she adds.
Have a Halloweekend
Vernon says anyone who thinks Valentine’s Day is the most romantic holiday has never had a proper ‘Halloweekend’ with their ‘boo’. To pull this off, have a brainstorming session about your favorite memories of Halloween, and then create new ones as a duo. Remember, it can be small and large activities, but the goal is to create unique experiences together. She recommends switching out your soft white light bulbs for red or orange ones, creating Halloween-inspired snacks, playing Halloween music, watching Halloween movies, and so on. “A Halloweekend gives you everything you need: activities, ambiance, and a chance to cozy up with your significant other,” she continues.
Even if you’re usually scared of spooky films, give it a try, since, according to Dr. Donald Dutton and Dr. Arthur Aron’s Misattribution of Arousal Theory, when the sense of fear and adrenaline increases, so does attraction.
Go for a drive and picnic to enjoy the foliage
No masks are required inside your car! And when you’re driving through mountain roads or country fields, the fresh air will feel crisp on your face. Trombetti recommends taking a day-time car trip that allows you to keep your distance from others while affording you gorgeous, colorful scenery as the backdrop for a date. “If you live in a city, do a little research and head out into an area with plenty of fall foliage for the day,” she shares.
If the weather allows, consider packing a picnic and stopping at a lookout point to take in the sights and relax together with apple cider and fall-themed snacks.
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