We’ve certainly had to get a bit creative with date night ideas during the pandemic, even more so while colder weather keeps us from some of the great outdoor options available to us. Navigating safety concerns and social distancing can be distracting when out on a date, so a great option is a stay-at-home date. This lets you keep the focus where it belongs: on each other.

If you’d like to take a hands-on approach to date night, why not start by making your own massage oil? It’s simple to do and so easy to customize to your partner’s favorite scents. Then you can take turns helping each other relax and relieve some of the week’s stress. If you don’t want to jump into exchanging full body massages with each other right off the bat, you could start with foot or hand massages. You can even do this while hanging out on the couch, perhaps re-watching a shared favorite romantic movie. Or take turns pampering one another while you enjoy a few glasses of wine and have a great intimate conversation.

To make your own massage oil, you really only need two things: a carrier oil, which will be the base of the massage oil, and then a small amount of the essential oils to add for aromatherapy purposes. Grapeseed oil and jojoba oil are great options for carrier oils but my personal favorite is sweet almond oil (though of course, don’t choose this option if you or your partner have a nut allergy). Sweet almond oil is great for those with sensitive skin, and also doesn’t leave a greasy residue behind. You don’t need to make a large amount of massage oil, so 2-4 ounces of a carrier oil is a good starting point.

Next, you’ll want to choose your essential oils to blend in. A note here that essential oils are highly concentrated and so it’s important to dilute them correctly into your carrier oil. For each ounce of carrier oil, you will only add up to 12 drops of essential oil. NOTE: massage oil is for external use. Essential oils can burn and irritate when taken internally.

There are so many options to choose from when picking out your essential oils. Start by asking yourself what the purpose of the massage is going to be—are you looking to relax your partner? Or perhaps invigorate them for later activities? When I’m looking to relax, I love a simple massage oil of just lavender, but you can also add other calming scents, such as chamomile, cedarwood, or rose. For a more uplifting massage oil, try adding peppermint, any citrus scents, or ginger. If you’ve been working out and have sore muscles, mix a combination of equal parts eucalyptus, rosemary, and lavender.

Photo by alan caishan on Unsplash

Once you’ve selected your essential oils, you can blend them into your carrier oil and then bottle them. A small lotion bottle with a pump can be very handy to keep around, or even just a small bottle with a flip top. Make sure to label your bottles with the ingredients and dates. I try to use my oils up within six months, and so that’s another reason to make small individual batches.

I hope you’ll put together an oil or two to experiment with. You can even make a date activity of it, blending a custom oil for your partner and having them blend one for you as well. Read up on the properties of various essential oils and create a special massage oil for your partner’s current aromatherapy needs!

Sara Schuster is a queer community herbalist and medicinal herb farmer. You can find her classes, podcasts, and herbal products at FoxandElder.com or on Instagram @foxandelder.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

When I was 14 years old, I surreptitiously made my way through the stacks in the local library until I came to the Psychology section. One after one, I took down the books whose titles I thought would provide an answer, went to the table of contents and, if there were any, I flipped to the pictures.

Keep reading Show less

James Mai

Many of us have made resolutions and pledged ourselves to transforming some aspect, or aspects, of our lives. For some, these resolutions will involve career, budget, home ownership, etc., but for a LOT of us, they will involve various health, exercise and fitness goals.

Often, these resolutions are vague, like “lose weight” or “exercise more”, and way too often they begin with a gym contract and end with Netflix and a bag of takeout. Getting specific can help in holding yourself accountable for these commitments, though. So we thought it might be interesting to talk with a local gay trainer, James Mai, about his fitness journey, his work as a trainer and how he keeps himself motivated, and get some of his suggestions for carrying through on this year’s fitness resolutions!

Keep reading Show less


Keep reading Show less