Welcome to Reader’s Request Fridays! This week’s question comes from Pete*, who writes, “my wife always wants to have sex with the lights off. We’re talking complete darkness. Every time I try to turn the lights on, she asks me to turn them off because she ‘can’t get in the mood’ with them on. It turns me on to see her body during sex, so I’m getting tired of this arrangement.”
Thanks for the question! The lights-on-or-off debate is as old as time, and most people tend to have pretty strong preferences.
There are three reasons that women most frequently give as their explanation for wanting the lights out during sex. I’ve also got a few suggestions for how to address each potential cause.
She’s self-conscious about her body
A lot of women prefer sex in the dark because they’re worried about how their bodies look during the act of having sex.
Your wife might not want you to notice her stomach pooch when her legs are above her head, or the way her breasts sag when she’s on top. Or she might not want you to get a close look at her genitals.
Women’s magazines and websites are constantly littered with dumb articles like, “which positions to avoid based on your body type” and “why you need a vajacial ASAP” (yes, vajacials are a thing). With the near-constant scrutinization of women’s bodies, you can’t blame us for feeling self-conscious.
The sad thing is that most guys don’t even notice the so-called imperfections that their wives and girlfriends agonize over.
If you suspect that your wife feels anxious about you seeing her naked, try telling her (honestly) the things you love about her body. Say something like, “I know you like having the lights off, but I love seeing your body when we’re having sex. You turn me on so much.”
If she’s particularly squeamish, make eye contact with her during sex. It will put her at ease and help her realize you’re not staring at her body critically.
The lighting in your bedroom isn’t great
Most overhead lighting is quite bright. It’s harsh on the eyes and casts unflattering shadows on the body. Bad lighting is distracting.
Fortunately, this problem is easily remedied. You can install a dimmer switch in your bedroom to give you more control over the intensity.
You can also put red lightbulbs in your overhead lights or side table lamps; red light looks really sexy against skin.
Or forget about your standard bedroom lighting and instead use candles or a Himalayan salt lamp.
Sensations are better in the dark
It’s possible that your wife simply feels more pleasure when the lights are off. When one of your senses are cut off, your other senses naturally get heightened. So if she can’t see what’s going on, she may be much more sensitive to touch.
If this is the case for your wife, try playing around with blindfolds. Light the room with candles so you can see, but blindfold her so she can’t. You can give the blindfold a try too – you might enjoy the sensation of getting your vision completely cut off every once in a while!
*Names have been changed for privacy