New Year’s Eve is almost upon us. Lots of people haven’t even decided what they’re going to do to celebrate. Others have plans, but they’re not very excited about them. The tricky thing about New Year’s is the same thing that causes us trouble at Christmas and Valentine’s Day – expectations. You want the night to be fun and exciting, and if you have a partner, romantic or sexy.

So, here are some suggestions for sexy ways to ring in the New Year that say, “Out with the old and in with the new!”

1. Learn to cook something together
New Year’s often means going out for dinner. But it can be hard to find a place to go. Restaurants are often already booked or too expensive. Or maybe the two of you can’t agree on a restaurant. So, why not stay in and cook something together? Preferably something you’ve never cooked before.

Cooking might seem like a chore. But that’s mostly when one person is stuck doing it and the other is whining about being hungry. So, why not ring in the New Year by making peace in the kitchen. You’ll have the chance to work together and learn something new. Plus you’ll be creating something together, which is always a great way to get closer.

Being in the kitchen can be very sexy. Feed one another when you need to taste your creation. Get close when you’re stirring that pot. And there’s no reason you can’t get into some trouble on your sofa while you’re waiting for the timer to go off!

2. Watch each other’s favorite movies
It may not sound very sexy at first. But nothing is sexier than watching someone else enjoy something that you really like. So, maybe he doesn’t usually like romantic comedies and maybe she’s not generally a big fan of cowboy epics. But why not settle in for a double feature and give it a go?

You’ll likely learn something from your partner as he or she shares his or her favorite parts of the film. And even if you don’t end up liking it very much, compromise is a very sexy gesture. So, just the very act of being willing to watch something that is not on your favorites list will likely make your partner very interested in more than just what’s on the screen.

3. Do the opposite of whatever you normally do
If you always go to dinner, stay in. If you always go to a wild party, opt for a romantic dinner for two. If you always do something as a family, spring for a sitter and leave the kids at home. The unexpected is always sexy.

So, give whoever usually makes the plans a break and take the reins yourself. Don’t think about what you do love to do each New Year’s. Think about what else you could love to do each New Year’s. You’ll be amazed at what options are out there – and you’ve likely never given them a second thought before.

4. Go to bed early
I know. It’s crazy. But there’s no law saying you have to watch the ball drop. Almost everyone has New Year’s Day off from work. But sleeping in doesn’t count nearly as much if you don’t go to bed until the wee hours of the night. So, why not grab your favorite snacks and DVDs, don your sexiest (or comfiest) pajamas and settle in for the night.

You could bring along some toys you’ve always wanted to try or pop in some porn on the TV. Or you could just snuggle and doze off in each other’s arms. Sexy is all about what feels good. So don’t force yourselves to stay up and count down if what you really want is to turn in and pass out – together, of course!

5. Stay the night in a local hotel
New Year’s can be a great time for a local vacation. Choose a hotel with a great restaurant or one that is within walking distance. You could stay at a romantic bed and breakfast or at a swanky hotel known for its sexy rooms. Some even have mini bars stocked with sex toys and other goodies.

Order room service. Stay somewhere with a pool and take a late night dip. Book a room with a hot tub. Or get there before your partner and set the scene with candles and other surprises. It doesn’t have to be expensive or far from home. All it has to be is a place where you can get lost in each other for a change and leave everything else behind.

6. Hire a chef 
Turn your own house into the perfect, sexy dining destination. Hire someone to prepare dinner for you. It doesn’t have to break the bank; lots of people offer their in-home cooking services for very reasonable prices. Set a beautiful table early in the day and then get all dressed up for a fancy night in.

Have your partner make him or herself scarce and then arrive at the front door like a new love or secret liaison. You can initiate a very sexy night of role-playing with the very simple gesture of letting someone else take command of the kitchen. And once the housekeeper goes home, you can do away with your inhibitions too and really ring in the New Year!

7. Be active
Go roller skating, rock wall climbing, bungee jumping or do something outdoors – New Year’s has become a time of overindulgence – overeating, over-drinking, over-sleeping. You end up starting the New Year feeling worse than you ever did in the last. Who needs it?

Why not do something fun and adventurous that will make you feel great instead? Most cities offer all kinds of activities. So, sign up and start the new year feeling like you can conquer anything instead of feeling like 2011 has already conquered you. There is nothing sexier than challenging yourself – especially together.

New Year’s Eve doesn’t have to be a night of mayhem or something you dread planning for. You can have a sexy time ringing in the New Year in lots of ways – all you have to do is a little brainstorming. You’ll be amazed at how differently you feel about taking on a whole New Year when you do it from a whole new perspective. Forget what everyone else is doing and think about what the two of you really want to do. New Year’s is a great time to recharge, reconnect, and set the tone for things to come.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and sexy New Year!

Jenny Block is a freelance writer based in Dallas. She is the author of "Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage." Her work appears in "One Big Happy Family," edited by Rebecca Walker and "It's a Girl: Women Writers on Raising Daughters," edited by Andrea Buchanan. Visit her website at www.jennyonthepage.com or check out her blog at www.jennyonthepage.blogspot.com.

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