1. Flattering lighting. Not that everyone needs to be seen with vaseline over the lens, or surrounded at all times by a thousand scented candles, but no one likes to be under the fluorescent overheads. Be kind to your flaws.
2. Not having just eaten/drank some wine. Way too many dinner dates make for the post-eating sleepies which prohibit the more vigorous kinds of sex.
3. Feeling comfortable with the person you’re sleeping with, and not as though you are only being used for what you can offer sexually. No one should feel like they’re constantly at risk of getting kicked out for breathing wrong.
4. Good kisses.
5. Knowing that you can trust this person to keep the things that happen between you private, and that you are not in danger of finding nude pictures on the internet against your will or finding out that all of their friends know about your activities.
6. Having some good music available if you get in the mood for a little soundtrack.
7. Being ready to accept their body for what it is and enjoy it, even though it will have its flaws and weird bits. (Spoiler alert: yours does, too.)
8. Lowered inhibitions that tell you things such as “having sex on top of this washing machine while it’s turning is a perfectly good idea, even if I destroy it completely and have to use the laundromat for the foreseeable future.”
9. Good dirty talk that doesn’t come off like something you’re trying to repeat from a bad porno.
10. An open mind that, even if you don’t like something off the bat, doesn’t recoil with a shaming look and a “No way, that’s weird.”
11. No expectations about how big this should be, or how shaved that should be, that will ruin the whole thing if it’s not quite up to your standards.
12. The ability to laugh at yourselves.
13. Protection of whatever kind you prefer. Protection, protection, protection.
14. Being confident over the abilities you have, even if you might mess up or look a little silly for a minute.
15. Understanding that there are inevitably going to be awkward moments or strange noises or times when things don’t quite perfectly sync up, and knowing that the world doesn’t end when that happens.
16. A profound, endlessly rewarding relationship with foreplay.
17. Having the spirit of wanting to give and please with no expectations of getting back on it, even though you know that you would never put up with someone who only took and never reciprocated. You do things because you genuinely love seeing the other person happy, and sleep with people who feel the same about you.
18. No roommates, or at least chill ones.
19. A deep love — if not for the person you are currently sleeping with, at least for making them feel good about themselves and have a wonderful time. Even if it’s just for the sex, there should always be something about it that you absolutely love.