Hot Summer Nights: Love is in the Air

Summer days are hot, but according to North Shore residents, summer nights are when things really start to sizzle.

Darkness brings an aura of mystery and excitement; it heightens our senses. And there’s an abundance of sensuous stimuli out in the shadows. Nature at night is seriously sexy.

Love Bugs
To Alicia of Evanston, the evening song of crickets is romantic. “It’s the sound of summer, ” she says. For Jan, it’s “fireflies at dusk.”

Alicia and Jan are tuning into the universal language of love. Crickets chirp and fireflies flash for one primal purpose—to get laid.

Male crickets’ songs are all about seduction: a loud trill to attract a female, a soft croon to woo her, an aggressive screech to ward off other suitors.

Similarly, fireflies pulsate with light to attract mates. The amorous beetles literally radiate desire. As you might expect, females prefer the males who can sustain their flashes longest. Talk about a turn on.

With this orgy of insect love all around us, it’s no wonder our own animal instincts are aroused.

Scent –sation
Summer nights are filled with seductive scents. Marjorie Hess, garden manager of the rooftop garden of Chicago’s Gary Comer Youth Center, describes her romantic garden as “filled with white, fragrant flowers that bloom in the evening, such as nicotaina (flowering tobacco) and the flowering vine moonflower.”

“Their fragrance is intoxicating,” she explains.

The night flowers’ delicate, perfumed petals glow in the light of the moon, beckoning their nocturnal pollinating lovers—moths. The elegance of this refined courtship is heady stuff.

The summer moon is a catalyst for romance. Not only does it offer the perfect mood lighting, women are especially sensitive to its pull. Women’s estrogen levels are reported to rise with the waxing moon, peaking at the full moon. A full moon is energizing and the radiant moonlight makes women feel alluring and receptive to sex.

Men are affected by the full moon, too. According to astrologer Ms. Kate from Palatine, this is the time of month men feel best about themselves—happy, relaxed and responsive. “It makes men more pleasant and romantic,” she says.

If you’d like to make the most of the full moon, mark your calendar for the evenings of July 26 and August 24.

Picnic Pleasures
Nothing is more intimate than a nighttime picnic for two. It can be as simple as spreading a blanket at the beach and gazing at the stars or as sumptuous as a candlelit feast on Ravinia’s lawn. Make sure to pack some libido-boosting nibbles like fresh berries, tomatoes, basil and watermelon.

And of course, bring a bottle of wine or a round of cocktails, because alcohol lowers inhibitions. For that matter, so does darkness.