Picture this: it’s Valentine’s Day and you have a romantic evening planned for you and your honey. How do you prepare yourself and your bedroom for a night of passion and bliss? Do you light candles, lower the overhead lights, play soft, alluring music, perhaps use incense? Maybe you even spread rose petals on the bed and chill some champagne. Then you wear your best or newest little nightie and close the door on the outside world. It makes for a romantic event, doesn’t it?

But what do you typically do to create a mood for play sessions? I asked this to some friends of mine recently who have varying degrees of experience in relationships and just about every single one said that the don’t set the space at all. The only ritual that seems most common is that the submissive/bottom/slave disrobes.

Can’t we make the place in which we play more receptive to the same sort of passion and intimacy that we do for Valentine’s Day tryst? Sure we can! Just because we love rope, leather, floggers, and control doesn’t mean we can’t have the mood set beforehand. So, what do you do?


Just like in a romantic atmosphere, changing the lighting changes the mood. Harsh overhead lighting may be just the ticket for an interrogation or medical play scene but it won’t work for many of the other play styles that we love. Try using softer lighting such as candles or indirect lighting such as lamps pointed at the walls. It might even be interesting to try a Christmas strands of led lights or black lights.

What lighting does is changes our view of what we see. Our bodies don’t have as harsh lines, movements look smoother and your skin looks warmer and more inviting. According to InvitingHome.com, “Higher levels of lighting generally produce cheerful effects and stimulate people to alertness and activity, whereas lower levels tend to create an atmosphere of relaxation, intimacy, and restfulness.” Keep that in mind as you prepare the space for your next scene.


I know how touched I get when particular lyrics grip me or I hear a song on the radio that I’m mesmerized. Music helps to create moods which is why so much of our life’s events revolve around it. From singing happy birthday at parties to graduation marches and wedding marches, not to mention everyday driving in the car getting from point A to point B. So don’t overlook the power of music in your scenes.

You may not want to play the current popular hits while you are in the middle of a flogging, but there is a wide range of music that can create that perfect headspace for your to escape of focus on. Many Dominants I know swear by heavy beats and bass for impact play as it helps them keep rhythm (which helps bottoms get to space better) while submissives like ambient music for a softer intimate play like wax play or knife play because it relaxes them and soothes nerves.

If you have a good playlist it can enhance the quality of a play time, but a bad playlist is distracting. A search online will net you a wide variety of what people consider scene playlists and music recommendations if you are looking to build your play library. Personally, I like movie soundtracks because they often have a slow start, exciting build, crescendo and then declination much like the movie did. My current favorite soundtrack to play to is Queen of the Damned. Before that it was Matrix. But then I always have Dead Can Dance and Enigma on standby.

A Short List of Playlist Ideas

The Dungeon Master - Scene Music Lists

Submissive Guide  - 3 Music Playlists for Dungeon and Bedroom

Everyone has different musical tastes so if your partner and yourself don’t agree, try to mix the playlist so that both of you can get something from it.


Setting the outward scene is often easier than being ready for play. You typically need to be able to lose yourself in your partner and what is going on, to feel the intimacy and electricity between you. Thinking about overdue bills or housework prevents that. Take some time away from everything before you play to relax and prepare yourself for play; if you can. Take a bath or shower, read or listen to music and just shut off the world. It will help you connect to your emotions, reactions and natural responses to play.

If you can’t do that, then complete the chores before playing, send the kids to a babysitter and set up payment arrangements with the overdue bills. Get those thoughts out of your mind. Play is meant to be fun, it’s meant to be powerfully intimate and it’s meant to connect you to your partner. Why drag your life outside the playroom or bedroom into it?

Lastly, don’t take play so seriously. Have fun, enjoy yourself and if things don’t go perfectly - so what?  These aren’t the only things you can do to set the mood for play. What else would you add to this post? Please leave a comment!