As a person who is mad, disabled or chronically ill, some things that able-bodied folks take for granted like taking a romantic stroll through the park or going out to dinner or even having the energy to leave the house can be stressful to nearly impossible for us. We want to spend intimate time with each other, go on dates and be cute in this normative way that we’ve been socialized to desire but that is often hard to do. Because of this, I got together with some buddies of mine to create this list of crip-friendly ideas to show love to and romance each other in cute ways that still honor our bodies.
Try one out for your next date night!
1) Nap Date – Are you and/or your partner(s) often bedridden due to pain or fatigue? A cuddle and nap date might be just the thing you need to honor your body’s need for rest while spending that quality intimate time with bae. Grab a blanket and a heating pad and get some spooning in without sacrificing those other spoons.
(Pro-tip: Discuss your dreams before hand. If they’re the last thing you both think about, you might have a shared dream. How romantic!)
2) Picnic at Home – Love the idea of enjoying a romantic meal in the park but can’t do the park part? Just leave it out! Spread out a blanket on your living room floor or sofa, make some hypo-allergenic treats together, pack your snacks in a basket, and crack open a bottle of wine (or sparkling cider).
(Pro-tip: Open up a few windows to get a breeze going and sit amongst your houseplants for that outdoors-y experience.)
3) Movie Night – Get the theater experience without the anxiety (and cost!) of watching it in a giant room packed with strangers. Pop in your favorite cult classic and snuggle up together on the couch. Or if you’e not as old as me and don’t still have physical films in your home, log in to your Netfix or Hulu account.
(Pro-tip: Get that authentic movie-going experience by popping a bowl popcorn and turning all your lights.)
4) Co-Bath/Shower – Another great idea for folks with pain is to enjoy a nice co-soak in the tub. Fill your bathtub with bubbles and gaze at each other lovingly as your hurt melts away. Although, if you are a person of size and mobile like me and my partner (or if you have multiple partners), you might wanna try the shower, lest your bubble fest leaves you trapped in a slippery tangle of chubby thighs.
(Pro-tip: Add some Epsom salt and your favorite essential oils to the water to turn the soothing power up a notch.)
5) Co-massage/Acupuncture – Does you or your partners’ situation require a professional touch? Treat each other to deep tissue massages or make a shared trip to your local acupuncturist. Try to get your tables put close enough together so you can hold hands romantically during the treatments.
(Pro-tip: If one of you is having a better day than the other, turn this into an in-home spa day with one giving the other a full-body massage.)
6) Indoor Camping Trip – Looking for a way to camp-in instead of camp out? Trade your camping tent in for a blanket fort and rough it indoors. You’ll get all the fun of sharing a sleeping bag and none of the bug bites!
(Pro-tip: As it gets dark, use your gas stove top to make gluten-free s’mores & tell each other your best scary stories by flashlight.)
7) Couch Party – Are you and your boo dance floor divas but the club an inaccessible mess? Throw on that new mixtape you got from some guy on the sidewalk (or make a playlist of your favorite tunes), call over all your crip buddies, throw on your slinkiest and most glitter-covered outfit and rock out on your couch!
(Pro-tip: A party’s not really a party unless you take selfies so all your friends can see the great time they missed on Instagram. They’ll be so jealous!)
8) Reading Date – This is the perfect date for the introvert in your life. Pour yourselves a couple (dairy-free) chai lattes and enjoy some non-interactive together time.
(Pro-tip: If you’re feeling a bit more social, try picking titles from poets you love and reciting your favorite poetry to each other. Bedroom eyes optional.)
9) Play Video Games – Wanna show your competitive side but not able to participate in a physical sport? Take that game of hoops to your TV set on your favorite gaming console. Nothing says “I dig you” like virtually dunking in on your date and then shouting, “IN YOUR FACE.” Trust me on this.
(Pro-tip: If you want to keep the spirit of competition without rubbing a brutal loss in your date’s face, invite some friends over and team up against them.)
10) Bed Karaoke – Who says you need to leave bed to have a good time? Pop open your laptop and surf YouTube for your favorite songs. Use a Google search to find the lyrics and perform a duet of your favorite love songs.
(Pro-tip: Find a couple of free YouTube Channels like The Karaoke Channel and choose from a list of popular instrumentals with lyrics already added to the video.)
BONUS PRO-TIP! – Any of these dates can be done via Skype or Google Chat, for those with things like environmental allergies or certain mobility impairments that make it tough for one or multiple partners to ever leave the house (or even if you’re just having a particularly shitty chronic illness/mental health day). Online dates are also awesome for long distance get-togethers. Try sharing a meal together, playing an online board game, sharing holidays & rituals, or even sleeping together for some more unique online options.
Here are some of the wonderful folks who helped create this listicle. Click their names for links to their blogs!