‘Twas the night before Valentine’s, and all through the house …
Just kidding. That would be some seriously cheesy nonsense. And if you’re like me, you’ve had just about enough of that after three weeks of walking into grocery stores and seeing entire aisles covered in pink hearts and lace. If you’re tired of the spectacle of Valentine’s Day but still hungry for connection— whether solo or partnered — then this handy guide is for you.
For the lovers
- Rather than guessing what your partner wants, ask them! Or if you really prefer surprises, figure out what your partner’s Love Language is and make your plans accordingly. The love languages, in case you need a refresher, are Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation andPhysical Touch. Unless your partner’s love language is Receiving Gifts, don’t break the bank on items that have been marked up 1000 percent and will soon be in the clearance aisle. Jewelry, chocolate, flowers and themed merchandise all fall into this category.
- For a sexy upgrade, take this quiz and find out your Erotic Blueprint type. Famed sexologist Jaiya created the Erotic Blueprint as a similar concept to the Love Languages, but for pleasure, desire and turn-ons. The five types are Energetic, Sensual, Sexual, Kinkyand Shapeshifter. It has been endlessly helpful finding a shared language for my partner(s) and I to talk about what we want and how best to get there.
- Release attachment to outcomes. This date comes and goes every year. Don’t put too much pressure on yourselves or each other to make it “perfect.” Perfection is not the goal. If you make it a massive stressor in your mind, one misstep could leave you feeling like all of your plans have been ruined. Plus, stress makes pleasure more challenging for most people — stay calm and enjoy the ride!
- If you’re queer, polyamorous or in something other than a cisgender heterosexual monogamous relationship, I see you. You’re not alone. Your celebrations can look however you want them to look. You may not be able to buy your cards from the grocery store, but I’m here to remind you that your love matters, too. Spend time with people who love and support your orientation, identity and relationship style.
For those rocking the solo life
- You have so many options for this holiday. The world is your oyster. My favorite thing to do is acts of kindness. Three years ago a few friends and I went to a women’s shelter in Los Angeles and gave out flowers and candy to the folks there. It was really wonderful to connect with the people there and to share a little bit of joy.
- Make time for self-indulgence in ways that feel good for you. Maybe it’s your favorite meal, a hot bath, a burlesque class or going for a hike in your favorite nature spot. Decadence is subjective, so give yourself permission to explore it for yourself. Taking a bubble bath while smoking a nice joint is definitely my favorite way to relax.
- Reach out to a friend or loved one that you don’t get to talk to as often as you’d like. See if you can schedule a video call or arrange a coffee date if you’re close in proximity. A lot of people feel disconnected this time of year, so if you have the emotional bandwidth, reaching out to check on your friends — especially the ones you normally consider strong — is a great idea. Social media is a total illusion, and you never know what someone is going through behind the scenes.
Whether you’re solo or partnered this year, I invite you to give yourself a break. There is so much stress in our world already, you don’t need to pile on more. Ideally, if you’re in a relationship, you’re showing your partner that you love them (and vice versa) 365 days a year. And if you’re not in a relationship, you still have people who love and care about you. You matter. You don’t need a romantic relationship to be whole. You are enough, exactly as you are.