10 Tips to Make This Summer the Summer of Love

The weather's not all that heats up in the summer. This can also be the season of love, whether you're single and looking for a relationship or in a committed partnership.

"Summer's a great time to develop a new relationship or to spice up the one that you already have," says Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great. "Summer brings with it such a sense of optimism."

Here's how to make this the steamiest summer ever in terms of romance.

1. Make the weather work to your advantage. Open your doors and windows to the warm breezes, put flowers everywhere, and inhale deeply. "Summer has such wonderful smells," Orbuch says. "And positive smells can increase the attraction between two people."

2. Shed those winter blues and resolve to be optimistic. "Just waking up to sunshine can have a positive effect on mood," Orbuch says. "And that optimism rubs off on other people as well." It's natural to want to be close to someone who's got a sunny, positive outlook on life, so strive for an upbeat attitude.

3. Summer's the perfect opportunity to show a little more skin, so make every inch count. Wear strapless tops in flattering colors, flirty sundresses, strappy sandals, and, of course, bathing suits.  And there's nothing wrong with adding a fun, floppy hat to your outfit.

4. If you can afford it, take a weekend share in a summer rental with a group of singles. "A summer house is a great way to meet people," says Brooke Wise, MBA, founder of Wise Matchmaking. "You're all in a house together by the beach, and weekend relationships can turn into serious relationships when the fall comes."

5. Use your creative juices to add an element of surprise into activities that can increase passion and romance. Plan a couples massage night, go to a wine tasting together, or stay up late watching erotic videos together.

6. If you're going out on a first date with someone, schedule something that takes advantage of the gorgeous weather. "Plan a picnic outside, or go to an arboretum," Orbuch says. "It's a little out of the ordinary and chances are it will help you reach your goal, which is a second date."

7. If you're single, take advantage of outdoor activities, like rooftop bars, movies in the park, and hiking clubs.

8. If you're a couple, take advantage of slower work schedules to do something together that you've been putting off due to lack of time. "Plan a getaway to a bed and breakfast," Wise says. "Or take a picnic to the park, just the two of you."

9. If you're a couple and you're feeling as if things are getting ho-hum and stale, plan something exciting together. Take a road trip, go up in a hot air balloon, or take a plane ride that lasts for at least two hours before you reach your destination, Wise says. That way, you'll feel far enough away from the kids to really relax together. (There's no time like the summer, when the kids are out of school, to leave them with grandparents for a few days.)

10. If you're single, save up and go on a singles trip, Wise suggests. "A trip to a faraway land, where you're traveling with others who are single, is a great way to meet someone," she says.