I don’t know when it started, but it seems most press releases about Valentine’s Day have become around spicing up your sex life (or in the case of one received by a fellow freelancer I know, how to prevent STIs), from sexy hotel packages to sex toys and what not. I know that only 1% of the population is asexual, but it still seems an awfully sexualised holiday for something that is supposed to celebrate romantic love, and I personally don’t like that. I feel it’s like the Ann Summers version of De Beers myth of the diamond engagement ring, a marketing ploy to sell you more crotchless bodysuits and suspenders.
It’s no news that I’m no fan of Valentine’s Day as a general concept, as I believe celebrating love shouldn’t be forced by an occasion that pushes chocolates down your throat at the grocery store, but I still think that having sex isn’t the only way to celebrate love even if you are non-religious, or religious and married, and so someone who can have sex.
I can see why sex for a special night would work for married couples with little ones who make sex happen less than it used to when it was just the two of them and other situations with the same impact, and by all means if that’s your situation go for it and have fun; however, it strikes me as sad how much emphasis we put on one aspect of life and love when there are so many others, and under-appreciate the many things that couples who don’t have sex do which show their love.
So here are a few ideas of how to celebrate love without sex.
Have an unplugged night
If you want to have candlelight dinner by all means go for it, but it’s not necessary. Cook something special, or your usual dinner; order take-away, or go out in an overcrowded and overpriced restaurant: whatever floats your boat, but phones have to be off all night, no matter how tempted you are to post that gorgeous-looking dish on Instagram. Give your partner your undivided attention for a whole night, no Netflix as well as no chill. Talking is a great builder of intimacy, and even if February is a cold month in many parts of the world, consider taking a nice walk somewhere, even if it isn’t by the Seine in Paris.
Do something that you’ve always dreamt of, but never have done
Go to Paris or go bungee-jumping, it doesn’t matter. Treat Valentine’s Day or the following weekend as your corporate away day for team bonding, except for couples. It doesn’t have to involve awkward ice breakers or an escape room: you choose what experience you want to have, as long as the goal is to get closer to each other.
Go to the cinema or theatre instead of watching Netflix
If you’re not a couple that goes to the cinema or theatre much, and can’t remember the last time you really focused on watching something without scrolling through Twitter at the same time, or falling asleep in front of it, then consider changing your routine and go somewhere the phone needs to be in your pocket, and sleeping is frowned upon.
Do something that you don’t really like much, but the other person loves
Does you partner like sports more than you do? Or does your partner love ballet while you find it extremely boring? Is your partner an art lover who would spend a whole day in a gallery while you really cannot see the appeal? Is your partner totally obsessed with some wellness or religious retreat even though you are not one for spirituality? Have you never read Harry Potter in your life while your partner is a Potterhead who often neglects you to play Hogwarts Mysteries and really wants to go on the WB tour? Go with them anyway. It’s a selfless gesture that will make them feel loved, and you will see the world a bit more from their own eyes.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive either: if you’re not normally the one who does the chores in the home, do them.
I know my father never helps in the house, so I thought I’d mention this one too. If your partner takes care of the home way more than you do, lend a helping hand and give them some time off to rest, or if that’s really not feasible in your life just do it together and enjoy the time you are spending together. Guess what, you might enjoy it so much it becomes a habit that sticks!
What are your special ways to show love outside of the bedroom on Valentine’s Day?
This post is part of the Love Blog Challenge 2019 on the topic of Valentine’s Day