Mood Lighting

Lights On or Off? Don’t worry, there’s no right answer. Some people prefer sex under bright lights, others prefer a more romantic soft glow, and some don’t want to see their partner at all.

Those who are more visual prefer the lights on, and those who may have body issues may prefer the lights off.

Some partners agree on their level of mood lighting, and some do not. If partners don’t agree, it may cause some feelings that may need to be communicated with one another. Varying the light could also be a way to try something new.

The sourced articles below provide more information on the different types of mood lighting for sex.

  1. 8 Ways To Give Your Bedroom Sex Appeal

    “Lava lamps, anything that plays motown, and overhead fluorescent lights are outdated things you should toss immediately. It’s time to think about the type of ambiance that fosters romance, or whatever scene you’re going for. [Couples therapist Dr. Sarah] Schewitz notes that a super bright room that is flooded with sunshine in the morning is great, but it isn’t exactly sexy. ‘Make sure you have a variety of lighting options from overhead bright lights to small bedside or corner lamps to candles,’ she recommends. ‘It’s great to keep a couple of scented or LED candles on either side of your bed that you can light to set the mood. The LED ones can even be turned on with a remote control.'”

    Lindsay Tigar,, 2/15/2019

  2. How To Light A Room For Sex

    “Light has a huge impact on mood. Most people have heard about the connection between lack of natural light and depression, but in more subtle and immediate ways, lighting can help cue different moods and it can help us relax and focus our attention. I asked award-winning lighting designer Rebecca Picherak (who is admittedly more familiar with lighting theatres than she is bedrooms) for some ideas on how to light a room for any erotic encounter.”

    Cory Silverberg,, 9/27/2018

  3. Jane Fonda On How Sex Improves As You Get Older

    “The physical setting where you get it on should also change as you age, Fonda said.
    ‘You want lighting to change as you get older. Lighting is important. We tend to want a lot of candles and I usually carry a red scarf with me to put over the lamp.'”

    Andrew Bucklow,, 8/27/2018

  4. Do Guys Like Lights On Or Off During Sex? 11 People Reveal Their Opinions

    “As any good journalist who needs some trusty sources, I took to Tinder to see what the consensus on lights on or off during sex is. Here’s what you need to know …
    [1.] Many prefer the lights on, so they can see their partner. …
    [2.] The women I spoke to – both colleagues of mine – preferred the lights off. …
    [3.] Then there are those who don’t care either way. …
    [4.] Others have a noted preference difference between when they’re sober and they’re drunk. …
    [5.] And finally, some think there are more important things to worry about …”

    Elana Rubin,, 4/13/2018

  5. Morning Sex: How To Get It On In The A.M. And Why You Should

    “Worried about lighting?
    Daytime light is soft and flattering, which sets the perfect mood for morning sex. But if you’re worried about lighting, you can start under the covers and build up to baring it all. Or you can close your shades and let the shadows trace your bodies as you get busy.”

    Annamarya Scaccia, Medically reviewed by Janet Brito, PhD, LCSW, CST,, 2/5/2018

  6. Sex Therapists Reveal 11 Things That Will Make You Better In Bed

    “It’s easy to flip the lights off and sink in within yourself while having sex. But an easy way to switch things up and get out of your comfort zone is having sex with the lights on.
    ‘For some, this idea is terrifying, but when you share that vulnerable space with your partner, you are helping to deepen your bond,’ Stubbs said. If you’re not into this idea at first, try starting with a soft light or candlelight and work your way up to full light or daytime sex.”

    Kristin Salaky,, 8/2/2017

  7. The Top Things Women Worry About During Sex (And How To Get Over Them)

    “[Sexpert] Tracey [Cox] believes that sex in the dark is better than no sex at all if you’re really body conscious. … She points out that the most flattering lighting is from below.”

    Natalie Healey,, 7/14/2017; (Broken link removed 4/2024)

  8. Why Are Men So Into Having Sex With The Lights On?

    “A new study found that single people in particular prefer sex with the lights on (over people who are in a relationship or married). This wasn’t broken down by gender, but there’s a pervasive notion that because men respond more to visual stimuli, they’re the ones who prefer sex with the lights on. Plus, forums abound with exasperated women whose dudes want to keep it nice and bright. At the MEL offices, staff writers John McDermott (a straight man), C. Brian Smith (a gay man) and Tracy Moore (a straight woman) debate this troubling trend.”

    Tracy Moore,, 5/8/2017

  9. How Can I Get My Girlfriend More Comfortable Having Sex With The Lights On?

    “You like to see her body in the flesh, but she doesn’t find full exposure to be sexy or ‘romantic.’ Find the perfect middle ground with these expert tips.”

    Men’s Fitness Editors,, 4/7/2017

  10. 5 Ways To Get Your Woman In The Mood

    “Set the scene: Yes, it’s time to get romantic; just don’t get crazy. After all, lighting a candle is romantic; lighting 100 candles is overkill. Keeping subtlety in mind, set the scene for a romantic interlude. Light a couple of candles, put some jazzy sounds on the stereo and cook up something light and tasty with which to indulge her oral senses.”

    David Strovny,, 2/25/2017

  11. This Is How The Right Lightbulb Can Boost Your Sex Life And Chances Of Action In The Bedroom

    “Sex and relationships expert Tracey Cox said: ‘The 40 watt bulb is the perfect mood setter because any brighter can make you feel too exposed, increasing feelings of body insecurity and self-consciousness, and any dimmer can be under stimulating as exposure to bright light increases testosterone levels.'”,, 10/28/2016

  12. A Light Bulb Moment? Weight Watchers Stands By Controversial PR Stunt

    “Suggesting overweight people avoid sex with the lights on may have landed the diet lords in a spot of hot (healthy) broth, but the brand says it’s a topic its members do want to discuss.”

    Pippa Chambers,, 10/19/2016

  13. Bright Light ‘Increases Sexual Satisfaction In Men’

    “Exposure to bright light can lead to greater sexual satisfaction in men who have low sexual desire, a new study suggests. Scientists from the University of Siena in Italy found that using a light box, similar to those used to treat some forms of depression, increased testosterone levels.”

    BBC Health,, 9/19/2016

  14. Lights On Or Lights Off? Sex And Comfort

    “Meet in the middle and set the mood. You don’t have to turn on all the lights…but maybe you can dim them or light some candles. Create a romantic atmosphere where you can be relaxed, laugh together, and allow him to love you completely. The payoff will be huge for both of you, and before you know it, you won’t feel this anxiety any more.”

    Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott,, 8/31/2016

  15. You Asked: How To Undress A Woman

    “Consider your lighting: while you want to be able to see your lady’s hot bod and the clothes you’re removing from said bod, nobody wants to feel like they’re at the doctor’s office when they’re getting naked. Turn those bright lights off, and maybe light a few candles.”

    Marian Bull And Hallie Bateman,, 1/29/2016

  16. 10 Sexy Things He Wishes You Would Do More Of In Bed (Besides Blow Jobs)

    “Despite the common belief that sex is a nighttime activity you usually do in the dark, sexperts say you shouldn’t be so quick to flip the lights off if you really want to get him going.”

    Kayla Keegan,, 6/26/2015

  17. How To Explore Your Sexual Boundaries With Your Partner

    “Below you’ll find a list of possible sexual behaviors. It’s not an exhaustive list; just a place to start. You may have already done plenty of the items on the list, or you may not have tried any of them! … Have sex with the lights on … Once you’ve found some ideas that you’re both interested in, talk about how you might be able to incorporate them into your sex life.”

    Vanessa Marin MA, MFT,, 3/23/2015

  18. You’ve Stopped Kissing During Sex—And 7 More Sex Ruts, Solved

    “No one likes to hook up under the glare of fluorescent lights, but in total darkness? For many, flipping the switch may be a way to avoid feeling self-conscious about their bodies. But that effectively kills your chance to lock eyes and connect.
    The solution: Keep the overhead lights off, and break out the matches. The glow of candles will let you see each other without making you feel totally exposed. Plus, ‘we all look better in candlelight,’ adds Brandon. Other options: Install a dimmer switch on your ceiling light, so you can ease into lights-on sex. Or switch on the light in an adjacent bathroom or hallway, suggests Lorraine.”

    Laura Tedesco,, 11/13/2014

  19. 6 Ways To Make Your Bedroom The Sexiest Place Ever

    “Install a Dimmer Switch: ‘A lot of men and women grapple with lighting,’ says Kerner. ‘Either it’s too light or its not enough light for visual stimulation.’ And according to a recent Women’s Health survey, 74 percent of men and 72 percent of women want those lights dimmed during sex—but not totally off. The easy solution: a simple dimmer switch.”

    Kristen Sollee,, 10/21/2014