I write from the bed of room 1014 at The Standard, Downtown LA, where I may or may not have “made love” in the ginormous bathtub last night.
My goal in life is to live in a hotel. Reality can be so boring, so predictable—I prefer a lifestyle of constant escape, because why not? However, since I can’t afford that yet (sigh), for now I use hotels for their most basic functions: travel and sex. The first, of course, is self explanatory, but it’s easy to take for granted what a night in a hotel can do for your sex life.
Do you ever feel as if your sex life is on a repetitive loop, like you’re trapped in a sexual Groundhog Day? We’ve all been there. Especially when you’re in a long-term relationship, it can become easy to fall into a pattern: you come home from a long day, you’re tired, and you find yourself almost sleepwalking through sex, running through the same tried and true positions. And sure, predictable sex can be very comforting at times, but it’s nice to change things up, too. Changing the scenery gets you out of your routine—sexually and otherwise. You can lose yourself in a new place, not just in the bed, but in the bath, on the balcony, etc.
For the past few winters, during New York’s unbearably cold months, my ex and I got into the habit of doing staycations at The Standard, East Village. It was the perfect, cozy escape... and we barely left the bed. We’d rendezvous at other hotels—and it became a roleplay of sorts. I’d show up first and wait at the bar, pretending to be an escort a la Pretty Woman, and he’d show up soon after, playing the charming businessman trying to pick me up. It was so fun and sexy, and it always made the sex we had afterward more uninhibited.
Hotel bars and restaurants have a slightly different vibe than most others—there’s an inherent level of intimacy and possibility, which often leads to more free and open conversation. Who knows what can happen at the hotel bar: maybe you’ll meet an exotic stranger and have a surreal, Lost In Translation adventure.
Hotel sex is a sexual luxury item, and the novelty of it allows you to play into fantasy. Basically, when you check into a hotel, you check out of life, which enables you to take on a new identity. I’ve had the most hedonistic, Helmut-Newton-style sex of my life in hotel rooms. It’s sort of like how an actor puts on a costume to help get into a new character—in a hotel, a space of both elegance and anonymity, you can be a different, more adventurous you. Also, the huge bed, good lighting and 400 thread count sheets don’t hurt.
Don’t just take my word for it—science backs up everything I’ve said. In a survey spanning 11 countries and 2,200 people, most people said that hotel sex lasts anywhere from 25 to 49 minutes longer than usual, and 1 in 3 people said the quality of hotel sex is better, too. Also, research has found that the novelty of hotel rooms stimulates dopamine transmission in the brain, which plays a big role in arousal and sexual excitement. Basically, in order to get turned on, the parts of our brain associated with anxiety and stress need to turn off—and this is especially true for women.
It’s an obvious perk, but my favorite aspect of hotel life is coming back from dinner to an immaculate room with crisp sheets, knowing that I can have the wildest sex that I want and not have to deal with the aftermath. Hotels allow for a type of freedom that our homes and apartments don’t. In a hotel you’re not surrounded by your unpaid bills, laundry, roommates or kids. You can stop thinking about your chores and the banal details of life and focus on other things—like sex, duh. At the same time, good hotels still create a homey feeling of comfort. Basically, they have all the pleasures of domesticity, with none of its burdens. It’s the best of both worlds. A stage for your most peaceful or hedonistic self, depending on your mood.
For more from Karley Sciortino, visit her site Slutever, or read her Breathless column at Vogue.com.