An Infrared Sauna Date Is Basically the Romance Edition of Instagram Vs. Reality

Photo: Getty Images/technotr

Infrared saunas offer a whole host of science-backed benefits—like being helpful for lowering blood pressure, helping to alleviate chronic pain, boosting your mood, and improving circulation. And so many people anecdotally swear that time in the hot box clears up their complexions and doubles as a workout (infrared saunas can increase your heart rate). Plus, I'll be honest, the flattering light in them has opened up a whole new world of selfie opportunities for me. All of this, coupled with the idea that you don't have to be clothed, led me to think a visit to one may just make for a sexy date-night experience.

In the past, I've always gotten my infrared on solo, using it as a time to either read, blast rap music, or simply zone out. But there are options for two-seater seshes, and I've heard stories of people using infrared saunas for their date nights. Why not give my typical dinner-and-drink nights up for a romantic romp at my local HigherDose?

So, I recently asked my boyfriend if he wanted to join me for an infrared sauna session. Without hesitation, he said yes. He had never experienced this kind of sauna before, but said he's down for whatever we can do together. (What a keeper, right?) When the day came, he texted me a few hours before our sweat sesh: "Will I freak out?" I LOLed before responding "no, it's just incredibly hot but you feel like a newborn baby afterwards. Just drink water now!"

We get into the room and strip down to, well, nothing, then climb into the sauna—which is a large, glassed-in box with a wooden bench. I connect the speaker to my phone and turn on relaxing music to set the mood, then look over at him with a smile on my face, pleased and proud that I'm introducing him to such a buzzy and in-the-know wellness practice. "Into it?" I ask, to which he responded positively. But after 10, maybe 15 minutes pass, the heat starts to get to me.

Basically, what I'd imagined would be a sensual hangout slowly melted (literally) into a game of who can take the heat longer without complaining.

By the time I was halfway through the hour, I started to feel suffocated by the heat, slouching in discomfort. I felt like I looked like a dead fish, washed up and limp on a beach. The heat was so heavy, I didn't really want to talk, yet my boyfriend was still able to discuss his day. I could only answer his questions in brief words, and eventually just resorted to snapping my responses. Conversation became increasingly difficult, so what could've been an intimate opportunity to connect and open up became a session of quiet irritation. He tried being sweet and holding my hand, but I griped, "Don't touch me!" because I couldn't stand any added heat on my body. I couldn't even sit up anymore and position my body in a "cute" way (think: "paint me like one of your French girls")—I was purely in survival mode. We both had to take mini 30-second breaks to get out and chug a cup of water, which meant either he or I would get a full bare-ass view of the other (since we were too hot to put a towel on our skin). Basically, what I'd imagined would be a sensual hangout slowly melted (literally) into a game of who can take the heat longer without complaining.

When the session ended, we couldn't get out of the heat fast enough before battling over who would get the shower first. But really, I was just happy to breathe cool air again—and I did feel amazing and completely rejuvenated. My boyfriend? He claimed he could breakdance right then and there, and practically skipped out of the place. Bottom line? Infrared saunas remain great for a trusty detox, and it can be fun to endure the overwhelming heat with someone else. But in terms of a sexy experience? I'll reserve that for the bedroom.

Speaking of healthy relationships, here are serial-cheater traits to watch out for. And these are some expert tips for overcoming doubt in a relationship

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