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Sex Advice From Interior Designers

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Sex advice...

Saana, 34

I love my sex sling, but it clashes with my room. Any thoughts?
You can always reupholster it. Try a nice durable and washable fabric, like ballistic nylon — it's long-wearing. You could aslso make a project of embroidering your sex chair, or screen-printing it. That's a little bit of a hippy-dippy look, so it really depends on what you're going after.

Likewise, I love my vibrators, but they're pretty tacky. Can you recommend a tasteful design?
Betty Dodson's Barbell is made of stainless steel. It's fabulous-looking and would go with any décor.

What's the best way to have sex in:
The kitchen?

I think the counter is pretty good, with the woman sitting or propped up as if you were sitting on the counter and slid down a little bit. You might want a stepladder for this. And it's excellent for oral sex.
The living room?
A good old-fashioned sofa is fine.
The bathroom?
I suggest from behind, with the woman leaning over the sink. That way you can check things out in the mirror. I would recommend staying away from the shower or a bath. Water is actually only okay for foreplay.

How can I dress up a motel room to make it a little more inviting?
The lighting is usually terrible. Just toss an old T-shirt over the lamp. That adds a nice quickie vibe.

What's sexier: leather or plastic?
Leather. Plastic might clean up a little more easily, but what leather lacks in easy clean-up, it makes up for in sensuality.

Other than a bed, what's the best piece of furniture to have sex on?
The Mies Van Der Rohe Barcelona chaise.

What's the best method for come-stain removal?
In general, the most important thing is to deal with it as quickly as possible. Just dab with a wet washcloth.

I think of my body as a house of love. Am I better off with a rug by the hearth, or should I go bare?
From a design standpoint, an appropriately scaled rug that is not too shaggy is the way to go. Think low pile.

What are two sex toys no home should be without?
You can't beat the basics. My favorite vibrator is the battery operated G-Spot Stimulator. It's not great looking, but you can always keep it in a nice black lacquer box, next to your condoms and lube.

I'm twenty. My boyfriend is twenty. Before I dated him, I was in a relationship with a sixty-year-old man. How can I break the news to my boyfriend?
Ask questions like, "What's the oldest person you've ever dated?" and say, "Ha ha — I've got you beat." Or you could talk to a really decrepit old woman on the street and say, "Do you think she's hot?"

Can a fuck buddy ever turn into a love match? Is that gender related — do men say no and women believe yes?
I certainly think that it could, but it seems unlikely. Usually, as you're getting to know someone, it becomes apparent what the nature of the relationship is going to be pretty early on. I guess women get confused: when they start having good sex with somebody, they start getting more into it emotionally. But I don't know if I totally believe that. I think it goes both ways.

Tips for someone who wants to pick up an interior designer?
Show an interest in your surroundings and in design in general. Be reasonably well groomed. A little scruff is okay, but be well put together. Also, take the person to a place that is nicely designed but not too "done," because then we feel like we're at work.

Maxwell, 39

What's the best way to have sex in the kitchen, living room and bathroom?
I'm one for a certain amount of comfort, so I'd say the living room would be the most enjoyable of the three. It's certainly the place where you're relaxing already, and it's very sexy to take off your clothes in a room that's not the bedroom. Whenever something happens in the kitchen, I want to get out of it and go someplace comfortable. It's sort of a transitional place. And I think the bathroom is overrated. It's uncomfortable, and being wet is not really a nice long-term situation.

I want to turn my bedroom into the perfect location for making a sex tape. What tips do you have on décor, lighting and props?
Clean up the room. Get rid of all the clutter and put the bed against the proper wall, which would be the wall where, when you're lying in bed, your feet face the door. You definitely want to have something really soft underfoot. Cover all the hard surfaces. Curtains make things snug, quieter, dampen the sound. You want a number of points of light: two lamps on either side of the bed, and at least a third. Make sure all the lighting is indirect and low. You don't need natural light.

What about colored bulbs?
I'm not a big fan. A lot of people don't know that there's a difference between warm colors and cool colors. Generally speaking, the blues and greens are cool, and the yellows, reds, oranges are warm. Cool colors are more supportive of sleeping and rest. But in this case, you don't want cool colors. That's why the red-light district is the red-light district; the warm colors are very stimulating. I would get the color in your sheets.

What are the best interiors for sex in public?
I like the changing rooms at Banana Republic. They're really plush, have full closing doors and carpet, and are easy to get in and out of. In New York, they're actually the biggest interior spaces you run into. And the salespeople leave you alone. At the more high-end stores, they never leave you alone.

What's sexier: Leather or plastic?
There's something very sexy about plastic, in a robotic Japanese way, like a see-through raincoat. But a woman in leather pants is a very sexy thing. I don't think men in leather are particularly sexy. It's not a two-way street. Leather can be totally overused, and usually men overuse it.

What's the best piece of furniture to have sex on?
A really nice rug. Or a desk in an office.

A friend of mine recently got out of a long relationship. Now that she's a twenty-eight-year-old woman on the dating scene, she has no idea what's "normal" in terms of how far you're expected to go. "Are you no longer considered a slut if you have sex on the first date?" she asked me. "Are you considered a prude if you don't?" What should I tell her?
Knowing men as well as I do, and knowing myself, I would never have sex on a first date. It's just a bad idea. For three reasons: one, you don't know if you can trust the person or not. Two, you don't save anything for later. Three, the most fun thing about sex is the foreplay. The tension around the act is the most sexy thing. Having sex is not so much "sexy" as it is physically satisfying. So if you want to have a sexy time, draw that out for a while. Which is very different from being a prude. A prude is someone who's going to promise something for a long time, and then they don't do it. And a slut is someone who says, "I'll do anything." My old rule of thumb was wait three weeks.

What do you suggest to remove come stains?
There's nothing you can do. Get used to throwing things away.

What are the rules of flirting?
It's about tension. I really think that's what a man is looking for in a woman. He wants to win her, he wants her to be the most special woman in the whole wide world. I think they threw the baby out with the bathwater when they threw the old rules out. There was some really good wisdom in restraining yourself from sex, because it actually allowed men to seem like they were winning women over, which was tremendously satisfying, and it also gave women time to size up the men. Challenge breeds creativity and character.

I'm a guy who girls see as asexual. How can I exude sexiness without seeming creepy?
It's hard to fake a sexy vibe. I think the sexiest people are the people who are the most "in" their bodies. The people who are least sexy are in their head. These are the things he should do. One: use his body through exercise, maybe yoga. Two: take care of his body – get your haircut, manicure, pedicure. As you're feeling more physical and more comfortable in your body, experiment with fashion that may have previously seemed too risqué to you. Try tight jeans, shirts. And dancing.

Tips for someone who wants to pick up an interior designer?
Invite them over to help you redo your bedroom, and be the best client in the world. Let the designer lead, trusting everything they do. Be fairly specific that you want the room to be a romantic place. And keep the job really short.

Regina, 40

How do I turn my bedroom into the perfect location for making a sex tape?
If you want your space to look like a real porn set, get the cheapest stuff possible. Go to Home Depot and get some of those cone lights with the clamp. Colored Saran Wrap works as a good gel. You might choose not to have a bedspread, and not too many pillows. Try a fitted sheet with a high thread count. Sateen is nice, it's very smooth. A scarf over the lampshade makes for some nice inexpensive mood lighting.

I love my sex sling, but it clashes with the room. Any thoughts?
Make a slipcover in a complimentary color. Why not install a pole? I've heard those are all the rage. Make sure it's anchored well.

What can I do to dress up a motel room to make it a little more inviting?
I think hotel rooms are sexy. Why not make your bedroom look more like a hotel room? Get all the products you stole and put them on the bedside tables, a folded towel waiting for someone in the bathroom, crisp fresh starched sheets, a mint under the pillow and some drinks on a tray.

What's the best piece of furniture to have sex on?
If you like it doggie style, I recommend a wing chair.

What do you suggest to remove come stains?
Most basic household detergents will remove come. It dries clear and has low acidity.

Any tips for giving a good handjob?
Giving a man a handjob is like saying you believe in blue balls. Don't do it.

What are the rules of flirting?
Spicy language is a good way to flirt. Drop a sexy word into a non-sexy conversation. For example: "I spanked you at pool the other day." That gives the guy an opportunity to retort: "Well, it wasn't a real spanking." Or draw attention to your better features: "I don't like this shirt, it makes me look too booby. What do you think?"

When's the right time to initiate post-breakup sex?
Men will always have break-up sex no matter what the circumstances are. But if you still care about the man, and you're using the sex to get back together, I think that's very dangerous. If you don't care about him anymore and want to have sex because it's comfortable, don't bother with that either. It ain't worth it.

My friend is in a long-term relationship and has only had sex with two people. This bothers him. Should he have sex with others so he knows he isn't missing anything?
What's he gonna do if he finds out he is? The grass is not always greener. And if you find out the grass is greener, then the fence will be even more annoying.

I'm in love with my dermatologist. How can I make it clear I'm interested in her?
Many people develop attachments to their service providers. Suggest a cup of coffee. If she says yes, okay. If she's really busy for a long time, take that as a bad sign.

Tips for someone who wants to pick up an interior designer?
Have good taste and lots of money.

Jennifer, 35

author of Ill-Equipped for a Life of Sex: A Memoir

What's the best place in the house for sex, other than the bed?
I have to say, I'm a real bed person. The last unusual place I had sex was on the porch. It's very nice to be outdoors in the sun, and we have a very private back yard. Although our neighbors might have seen us, which only adds to the fun.

How can I turn my bedroom into the perfect location for making a sex tape?
I think everyone always look better in lower lighting. Dimmers are essential in any house for anything, but especially for a sex tape. The simpler the better, whether it's home décor or a sex tape.

How can I dress up a motel room to make it a little more inviting?
Bring your own comforter. Any time I travel in my car, I bring my own comforter. Immediately get rid of their bedding.

What are the rules of flirting?
Be aware of whom you're attracted to. I learned that flirting was the best with people I should definitely not be with. It took me a long time to realize, Oh my God, I'm flirting with this guy — he probably has a girlfriend.

When's the right time to initiate post-breakup sex?
As soon as you want to continue ruining your life.

My friend is in a long-term relationship and has only had sex with two people. This bothers her. Should she have sex with others so she knows she isn't missing anything?
She probably is missing something. Everybody is missing something if they're only having sex with one person. It depends on how much you need to experience that to believe it. When you make a commitment to somebody, your sex life can grow with that person, but you're still going to miss out on the way you had sex with other people you really liked. Usually sex is hotter with people who a) aren't available and b) aren't appropriate.

Is cheating inevitable?
The desire to cheat is inevitable. And it is often a barometer of the relationship, a way to measure how things are going. When you have the desire to cheat, you think things would be so perfect with that other person. One way to stop that desire is to talk about it, verbally carry it all the way through to the person you want to cheat with. It kind of dissipates the desire. And be aware that every time there's some unattended-to resentment — over things like money or whatever — you'll find yourself wanting to cheat. It helps if you can be aware of that and not romanticize the cheating so much.

How freaked out will someone be when they've come over to my house for the first time to get busy and they see my bottle of Astroglide is half full?
They're either a person who's cool with it or a person who's uptight, so it's a good barometer, and a good opportunity to talk more about your lives, which can definitely be sexy.

Tips for someone who wants to pick up an interior designer?
Be willing to be made over. While it's attractive to find someone who already has a sense of style, it‘s not as satisfying to us. If you need a haircut or new clothes, let us help.

Interviews by David Earle.

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