A Guide to Having Great Sex Around the Holidays

By Dr. Justin Holidays A guide to great sex around the holidays

Our interest in sex is, to some degree, seasonal. Research shows that sexual desire and activity ebb and flow throughout the year, but one of the biggest peaks that occurs takes place right around the winter holidays—especially that period between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  

There are a lot of potential reasons for this, such as the fact that people tend to have more time away from work. Of course, people often also attend more parties and have a few more drinks, too. 

However, despite the fact that sexual interest tends to rise at this time of year, the holiday season has a way of putting the brakes on many people’s sex lives because it can also be a very stressful time. From shopping for the perfect gift to pressure from family to get married and have kids to financial strain, it can be easy to feel turned-off instead of turned-on—and this can lead some couples to feel disconnected.  

So how can you capitalize on the holiday surge in sexual interest without letting stress get in the way? In this article, we’ll explore some tips for having great sex around the holidays.  

Make Time to Connect, and to Try New Things Together  

At this time of year, many of us are making all kinds of plans to see other people, from family gatherings to office parties to gift exchanges with friends. However, it’s important to plan time to invest in your relationship in the midst of all of this. Sometimes we get so focused on scheduling visits with other people that we neglect to schedule time for our partners.  

Set aside some time that’s just for you and your partner. Plan a date night—or even a date weekend. Use it as a time to de-stress together and get some quality time.  

Put it on the calendar along with all of your other plans to make it a priority so that it doesn’t get lost in the mix. I know some people think that scheduling sex and intimacy sounds unromantic, but it can actually make for a more passionate encounter. 

Think about it this way: if you know it’s going to happen, you have time for anticipation to build. You can also flirt in advance in the days and hours leading up to it and make it a form of foreplay so that by the time your date night arrives, you’re in the mood and looking forward to it.  

Man and woman kissing

Think, too, about setting up some boundaries so that your quality time isn’t interrupted. This might mean putting your phones and laptops away, getting a sitter for the kids, or getting a hotel room for the night. Do what you need to do so that you can really focus on each other.  

You might also consider trying something new together, whether in or out of bed. Trying new things creates some excitement that can enhance arousal and really allow us to be in the moment.  

Research backs this up: couples who engage in new and self-expanding activities together (both sexual and non-sexual) tend to be the happiest and are the most likely to report keeping passion alive for the long haul.  

Of course, what’s new and exciting is going to vary a lot across individuals, so it’s all about figuring out what works for you. But it could be as simple as trying a new restaurant or recipe, engaging in a new activity (maybe you’ll go snow tubing or do some indoor rock climbing), trying a role-playing scenario, or playing a sexy game. The options are endless! 

Don’t Overextend Yourself with Obligations 

Finding dedicated time to connect can be challenging with all of the parties and events happening around the holidays. It’s also easy to feel a bit of FOMO if you don’t leap at every opportunity—or to feel guilty for turning down an invitation and staying in.   

However, when we feel like we’re spending all of our time meeting obligations instead of doing what we really want to be doing, it can create feelings of stress that can make it that much harder to connect when we actually have the time.  

It’s OK to say no to some things and to create space for your relationship. To be sure, it’s a bit of a balancing act. However, it’s important not to overextend yourself in the interest of avoiding the holiday burnout that can put a damper on intimacy and desire.   

Couple wearing holiday socks

Steal the Moment 

Some people struggle more than others with creating space for their relationship over the holidays because the kids are home from school, they might have family visiting (or they might be staying with family), or they might have to do holiday work shifts.  

When time is at a premium, steal the moment when it arises. Maybe you’ll take a shower together while the kids are playing with their presents, sneak off to a private room for a long passionate kiss at a party you’re attending (and maybe bring the mistletoe!), or send your partner a flirtatious text from the other side of the room (or even the other side of the couch). 

When you can’t fit an extended period of quality time into your schedule, get creative and find ways to make your own moments.   

Do a Sexy Gift Exchange 

Give the gift of sex this year. You can do your traditional gift exchange, but think about doing a sexy version, too. It can be fun to be both naughty and nice! 

Maybe you’ll exchange a sexy gift on Christmas Eve late at night in front of the fire. Or maybe you’ll go all out and do a “12 days of Christmas” thing where you take turns giving each other a sexy surprise. This way, you’re sure to have a lot of fun things to carry into the new year.  

Christmas Gift

Not sure what to get or where to start? For inspiration, research has found that some of the key things that differentiate the most from the least sexually satisfied couples are that the most satisfied partners are more likely to use vibrators and sex toys together, wear sexy underwear or lingerie, experiment with light bondage, and give each other massages.  

You might even take your gift exchange a little further and do a little holiday-themed role-play or dress-up during it. There’s no right or wrong way to do it—just have fun with it! 


The winter holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year—but they can also be the most stressful! Take steps to avoid allowing that stress to sabotage your intimate life by not overextending yourself on commitments, putting quality time on the schedule, stealing the moment when it arises, and making sexual novelty part of your gift exchange.  

Wishing you a very happy—and sexy—holiday season!  



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