The 9 Items You Need — And 3 You Don’t — In the Sex-Ready Bedroom.

Your bedroom has three main purposes. One is providing a comfortable place to sleep. The second is storing your wardrobe and making it convenient to get dressed each morning. And the third involves getting undressed and into bed, but not because it’s bedtime – it’s time for something much more fun. If you share your bedroom with a partner, then it’s the likeliest spot in your home for intimate encounters. So why not keep everything you might need for a sexy (which is not the same thing as sleazy) good time right there where you’ll need it? After all, when the mood strikes, you don’t want to break it with a ten-minute search for your lovemaking necessities. So go ahead and stock the following 12 items where they’ll be right at hand next time your bedroom starts sizzling.

Candles: The romantic glow of a candle is so hard to deny, it’s practically a cliché. But there’s a reason candles are at the top of the sexy list: they give just enough light to see your partner without being overly bright, the glow of a flame is universally flattering to every complexion, the dance and sway of the flame is very sensuous, and scented candles perfume the air with just enough fragrance to tickle your nose.

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Choose jasmine, rose, patchouli, vanilla or sandalwood: all scents said to be aphrodisiacs.

Mints: Ugh, morning breath is not conducive to romance. Keep a small tin of Altoids or other breath mints tucked away in your nightstand drawer, and you can freshen your breath without breaking the mood by heading to the bathroom and the toothbrush.

Music or white noise: It’s hard to let down your guard and get in the mood if you hear your teens playing a video game in the living room, or the blare of outside traffic is relentless. It’s also hard to relax if you fear being overheard by those same teens, or you don’t want to wake up your baby sleeping nearby. Either way, a sound machine that plays white noise or nature sounds is one way to create a cocoon of pleasant sound around your bed. Or even better, create a playlist of the songs or music that get you and your partner in the groove, and switch it on when things start to heat up.

Protection: It might not be romantic, but if you and your partner are not in a committed relationship, it’s time for protection. Keeping that protection in a bedside drawer makes it less likely that you’ll forego it “just this one time.”

Willing partner: While there’s no harm in occasionally pleasing your partner by having sex even though you aren’t much in the mood, that shouldn’t be a pattern. Both partners should take the time to romance each other outside the bedroom so that there will be sexy feelings inside the bedroom when the time is right. Kind words, appreciation and little gestures go far in promoting intimacy.

Toys: As kinky or as mild as you like it, there’s a sex toy for every preference. You aren’t likely to play with your toys during every encounter, but they are a nice way to spice things up now and again. When not in use, your toy collection definitely belongs in the nightstand drawer, safely hidden from the curious eyes of your kids or your pets.

Towel: The heat of passion can leave things a bit damp. No one wants to sleep on wet sheets, so keep a towel nearby – no need to pad down the hall to the linen closet – and you’ll be able to easily dry off when the heat dies down.

Soft sheets: Cheap, rough or pilled sheets are not sexy. They aren’t even comfortable in between sexy times, so why have them in your bedroom, the spot that should be the most comfortable in your home? No, you don’t need a set of satin sheets, which can be slippery and cold, but it’s worth splurging on good quality, 100% cotton (Egyptian or Pima cotton is best) sheets that feel good against your skin. After all, intimacy is a full-body experience, so pamper your entire body even further with sexy-soft sheets.

Feather: Feathers aren’t just for the birds. Tickly, soft and whispery sensuous, they are a wonderful way to raise goosebumps on your partner’s skin before or after things really get steamy. An ostrich feather adds exotic beauty to the mix, but any feather will do – you can find feathers at a crafts store or even in some pet shops, sold as toys for cats.

Okay, while it’s true that the following three entries are not items you can store in your bedroom, they are still important considerations in creating a bedroom that is ready and willing to get it on.

No clutter: While there are lots of items you can add to your bedroom to up its sexiness quotient, there are also things that turn a bedroom decidedly unsexy with their presence. Clutter of all types belongs to the second group. Piles of laundry that needs to be put away – or even worse, washed – is not sexy. Nor are dirty dishes, piles of papers, a teetering stack of magazines or an overabundance of cosmetics. It doesn’t take that long each day to keep your room neat and organized, but even if tidying isn’t a daily habit, take a few minutes to straighten the room up before getting down.

No pets: Fido and Mittens are your best furry friends, but it’s hard to focus on your partner when Fido’s big eyes are peering at you over the edge of the bed, wondering what’s going on; or even worse, he’s on the bed barking or sniffing at you. As for Mittens, no one wants a cat curled up on their legs when it’s time for romance. Before the kissing starts, make sure your pets are locked out of the room. And for good measure, lock your bedroom door to prevent any surprise visits from a child who “just needs a drink,” or a teen asking if he can have five dollars for lunch.

No work: If you have a busy career – or even just a job that pays the bills – you probably need to bring work home, at least occasionally. But the sight of your laptop or stack of files is the romance equivalent of a bucket of ice water dumped over your head: boom, there goes your focus and your excitement. If possible, banish your work necessities to the living room. If you use a corner of your bedroom as your home office, then at least close your laptop’s screen, move the stacks of files to the floor and stick your briefcase or work bag where it won’t distract you.

Over the years, your bedroom is hopefully going to be the site of many romantic encounters with your partner. You aren’t going to need everything on this list every time you make love. But having them close at hand when needed adds to the mood, the fun and the spontaneity.