Ticket to ride: A guide to DIY sexy and romantic coupon books.

Jo Szczepanska

Personalized gifts are some of the best gifts a person can give. As fun as it is to receive a heartfelt gift that someone has selected – or even made – just for me, I love giving them even more than I love being on the receiving end of them. The holiday season is a great excuse to tap into your creative side and wow your loved and lusted-after ones with a handmade treat.

So, a little backstory…

Among other special occasions for us this time of year, our family also celebrates Christmas. We have kids who are still excited for Santa and his reindeer to show up and eat our cookies. As in many households, we have a countdown calendar we use. It’s got 24 little doors that we hide small treats behind and each day when the kids open a new door, they have something sweet to enjoy or fun to play with. This year, we’re in a new house and I can’t find our countdown calendar anywhere. To improvise, I found a DIY scratch off calendar in a craft store. They look like Christmas trees and they have 24 ornaments on them. You write a different treat or surprise on each ornament and the cover it with a scratch-off sticker. The kids scratch them off to reveal a new surprise each day. I had a TON of fun with them, this year. The kids are getting older and we’re all getting busier, so I used these as an excuse to build in some together-time to our increasingly chaotic December. Some of the treats were small: “get a candy cane” or “30 minutes later bedtime”. Some of the treats, though, were bigger and things we could all enjoy together: “movie night and hot chocolate”, “go look at Christmas lights together”, “craft night”. The kids get to save them up like coupons, as long as they cash them in some time before Christmas. Tonight, we’re eating hot dogs and making S’mores outside by the fire as a family because that’s what my 10-year-old scratched off on her calendar. It’s way better than spending all night with our faces in screens.

This inspired me. It occurred to me that this (or something like it) would make a pretty good way to build in some date nights and sexy times with a busy partner, too. I love sexy coupon books as much as the next guy, but lots of times when you get a pre-made coupon book many of the items are cheesy and overly generic because they’re made with a wide audience in mind – not you and your lover.

So, my gift to you is this. I’m going to help you wow and woo your partner(s).

Here’s my guide to making the ultimate coupon book for you and your lover(s).

The first step in this project is to brainstorm a list of things that make you and your partner feel happy and sexy. Think about things you each

Matthew Hamilton

enjoy doing separately and together. What’s your partner’s love language (if you don’t know, or you’re generally unfamiliar with the concept of the 5 Love Languages, check out the quiz)? Think about their love language while you’re writing this list. Also, think about things you both enjoy in and out of the bedroom. Let your list range from mild to wild, quick-and-easy to time-consuming. Remember that this is ultimately going to be a gift for them, so do your best to prioritize activities that they enjoy. Here are some things to consider while you’re making your list.

Expensive =/= Impressive.

What can you reasonably afford to do and what would really break the bank? It can feel wonderful to promise your lover a trip to a fancy restaurant or an overnight in your favorite bed and breakfast, but don’t over promise. Filling your list with unrealistic splurges will be disappointing for both of you. You could, conceivably, create a coupon book filled with date nights that don’t cost a single dime, so get creative. I have a friend who went on a group date where couples met at a thrift store and had 30 minutes and pre-set budget to pick outfits for each other that they then had to wear to dinner. It was playful and fun and they all had a great time.

Romance and foreplay are often about quality time.

Toa Heftiba

One of my favorite sayings is, “Everything you do inside the bedroom is sex, everything you do outside the bedroom is foreplay.” What that means is that, in your relationship, every interaction you have contributes to your whole sense of each other. What attracts you to your partner isn’t just about that thing they do with their tongue (though I’m sure that doesn’t hurt). Attraction is also about how you relate to each other when you’re not doin’ the deed. If you spend all your free time in front of Facebook, you’re likely to feel disconnected when it’s time to hit the hay. If, however, you’re using some of your free time to spend quality time together, you’ll discover that spark becomes much easier to light between the sheets.

Resist the urge to fill your coupon book with only sex acts. Also fill it with togetherness activities that will get you away from a screen and into a conversation with each other. Do you both like to read? One of your coupon activities could be a night where you go dig through a used bookstore together and each pick out a book you think the other will like, then share why you picked what you picked over coffee afterwards. Do you both like to play games? One of your coupon activities could be a board game night (make it spicy by rewarding the winner with sexy activity of their choosing).

Stress is a barrier to libido.

It’s hard to feel sexy when your house is a mess, or you’ve got a stack of bills waiting for your attention. Stress – big and small – is one of the most pervasive barriers to intimacy, arousal, and libido. Therefore, one of the most effective ways to get your partner’s motor running is to help remove something stressful in their lives – which frees up time for you to connect over something much more fun. Consider including coupons that help make their lives easier. For example, you could include a coupon that involves you folding their laundry while they take a hot bath. What are activities they enjoy doing but often don’t have time to? What chores do they resist the most? I, for one, feel a lot sexier when I don’t have to clean my kitchen. Some of the coupons could be two-parters that include date nights, sexy massages, or other sexy things you enjoy together. Some, though, should just be about taking something off your partner’s plate with no expectation of sexy time as a “reward”.

Toys are fun.

If you’re a couple (or more) who already own a large collection of toys, consider including coupons that feature your favorites, but also some that feature toys you don’t often have or take the time to use. Many folks can fall into what I call the toy-trap where you have a favorite or two, they become your go-to’s, you keep them handy (enough) and then toys that are harder to get to/more time consuming to use /not as handy become toys that rarely get used. Incorporate the less-frequently-used toys into your coupon book to add variety and excitement.

Alexander Popov

If you’re a couple (or more) who doesn’t often use toys, but are open to it, consider including a coupon where you take a trip to get a toy together.

Another fun activity is strolling through a mainstream space and finding sexy, creative, alternative uses for household items. In the kink community we call these “pervertables.” For instance, as in the thrift store suggestion above, give everyone participating a pre-set budget and some time in your local Target. Whoever comes back with the sexiest pervertable “wins” (there are no real losers in this game). Hint: Wooden spoons, soy candles, ice cube trays, and chocolate syrup can provide hours of entertainment in the right hands. Remember, friends, safety first. For example: Don’t put things inside your body unless you’re sure it’s body safe and don’t use any kind of material for tie downs without safety scissors close by.

Advance notice and expiration dates are your friends.

Some of your coupons may be quickly and easily executed, and some of them may be activities you need a few days’ notice for. Make sure to include that information, if it applies. Also, remember to include expiration dates. Expiration dates encourage your partner to use their coupons in a timely matter, instead of forgetting to cash them in at all (which can sometimes happen with these things). Don’t forget to check in. If you’ve got a date night coming up, maybe encourage them to use one of your coupons as part of it!

Jasmin Schreiber

Presentation is key. 

Okay, so now you’ve been brainstorming a list, consider how you’ll construct this gift. Decide if the items will be surprises, only revealed when each one is opened, or will your partner be able to see all their coupons at once and choose from them at will? Will it be a booklet of paper coupons? Consider using different colors for wild and mild events, or for events that take time or planning vs events that can be executed quickly or with short notice.

Here are some other ways you could format your gift:

  • Get a mason jar and some popsicle sticks. Write the “coupons” on the popsicle sticks and then have your partner choose them at random
  • Pre-determine the order and timing but making your partner a calendar. Some coupons could be just for Mondays/weekdays, some could be just for weekends.
  • Go to your local craft store and find scratch off stickers to make your own scratch offs!
  • Here’s a recipe for making your own fortune cookies (https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/9684/fortune-cookies-i/) . Hide your coupons in there.
  • I have a friend who’s very good at origami. They once wrote me about 50 sweet notes and writing prompts and other fun things on post its, folded them into cute shapes, and then put them in a small Chinese take out box. Whenever I had a bad day or just needed some extra love, I could pull one out and unfold it to see the message. That would be a very cool way to do this coupon project.
  • Have the “coupons” on your list correspond to various playing cards. Keep track in a journal or on a spreadsheet. When your partner is ready to choose one, have them shuffle the deck to reveal their treat. Maybe you share this spreadsheet with them, maybe you don’t and keep it a surprise.

I hope you enjoy making your coupon gifts for your lover(s). I hope you’re able to carve out some quality fun and sexy time with each other. I wish you a happy holiday season and a very happy new year.

*This article first appeared in the Kink Crate handbook. Head to KinkCrate.com to learn more about joining or check out their shop. 

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