Valentine’s Day originates from the Roman Festival of Lupercalia, which was a fertility festival celebrated from Feb. 13 to 15 and dates as far back as 44 B.C. During this festival, women would get (consensually?) whipped with the hides of slayed animals and there would be a matchmaking lottery, where people sleep with the person whose name they draw.
Other than potently depicting the existence of polyamory and BDSM through our history, the origin of this festival makes a pretty solid argument for rebellious couples to celebrate Valentine’s day on the original date, Feb. 15. The chocolate is on sale and you don’t have to make reservations either.
Yes, Valentine’s Day can be a silly, sexist, consumerist holiday that focuses on an ill-conceived notion of romantic love. However, knowing this on a cognitive level doesn’t take away from the pressure that is often felt on Valentine’s Day. Whether you have a partner, are single, or are somewhere in-between, this article is about ways to practice self-care and self-love on V-Day.
Fuck what popular culture says about celebrating Valentine’s Day.
Don’t feel pressure to follow a traditional sexist script where men exchange chocolate and flowers for sex. It’s 2019, men may like flowers too, women should enjoy sex as much as men, and relationships don’t only exist in the binary of male and female, so our sexual scripts need to be updated.
I remember my first boyfriend spent all his cash to buy me these fancy flowers on Valentine’s Day because he thought that was what he was supposed to do. He was then out of money, so I had to take him out for dinner. It wasn’t a big deal, but I would have much preferred splitting the meal instead of covering it and having to slowly watch the pretty flowers die. Also, here’s a list of alternative events you can join in on for V-Day.
Do what feels good
Ok, so you’ve blocked out a lifetime of gendered heteronormative messages about Valentine’s Day, great. Now think about the last time you felt connected, safe, and joyful? Where were you? Who were you with? What were you doing? What were you surrounded by?
Sure, it could be having lots of orgasms, but it could also be reading an interesting book, going to your favorite coffee shop, seeing a friend or wandering around and exploring Bushwick. Whatever it is, make it happen.
Learn to let go
Valentine’s Day is particularly difficult for those going through a breakup or are experiencing unrequited love. Fortunately, there is a zoo in Texas that will name a cockroach after your ex and then live stream it being feed it to a Meerkat on V-day. Or, this bar in Ridgewood will be offering a free drink if you bring a photo of your ex and shred it.
We all grieve differently, and when you are in that place, being surrounded by seemingly happy couples can feel like torture. This is going to sound like a bullshit cliché, but time really does heal all wounds. Perhaps this Valentine’s Day is going to be shit for you, even if you self-care to wazoo. If this is the case, own it and listen to Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks to feel all the feels and take solace in the fact that you will not feel the way you feel now forever.
Make a Plan
The times I have been most disappointed on Valentine’s Day are the times that I didn’t plan anything and instead waited around for someone or something to happen. We are socialized to expect grand gestures on Valentine’s Day. Your partner, who is a horrible planner 364 days of the year, isn’t going to gallantly step up and plan an incredible night on V-day. That crush, who hasn’t said a word to you all year, isn’t going to suddenly show up and offer oral sex. This is real life, and things don’t go down the way they do in the romcoms. If you want to have a great day, and not be disappointed, figure out how you want to spend your day and make it happen.
Switch up your sexual routine
Both in relationships and during solo play we often develop a sexual routine that works for us. This is great, because through experimentation we learn what feels good and what gets us off. However, once we figure this out we often get stuck in a routine and the experimentation stops.
Try something new. If you usually orgasm from clitoral stimulation, try vaginal stimulation. If you don’t usually engage in anal play, give it a go. If you usually receive blowjobs from your partner, perhaps try a happy ending massage. If you usually have sex on the bed, try having sex somewhere different. The possibilities are endless.
Not everything will be amazing, routines are developed for a reason, but how will you know what you do and don’t like without experimenting? If you are one to engage in substances, Kratom and Kava both have an enhancing effect on pleasure. Before your next sesh, or with a partner, go to Brooklyn Kava and ask them for an arousing concoction.
Prioritize your pleasure
There have been too many times where I have accidentally masturbated while watching strange Netflix shows (most recently The Ted Bundy Tapes), instead of fully enjoying and valuing the experience. Pleasure is an enriching, important part of our lives and we should treat it as such.
For women who are having trouble orgasming with their partner, Vanessa Martin has a FREE online series where she goes through the major sexual blockages experienced by women and how to work through them.
I also coach people that are dealing with sexual issues including trouble orgasming, lack of desire, navigating open relationships and sex after trauma. We all deserve pleasure, and sometimes, like all good things in life, it takes some work to get there.
And check our Valentine’s Day Self-Care Giveaway on Instagram, for a chance to win free sex toys, so you can prioritize yourself this V-Day!
Get something you don’t need
Life is hard, you deserve to Treat Yo Self. You’re an expert in what that means for you. This could be consumerist entertainment like an overpriced massage or concert tickets, but it could also be letting yourself binge a show without feeling guilty, or prioritizing your body by taking time to go to a yoga class or meditate (I’ve never successfully done this, but word on the street is it’s incredibly relaxing).
If you do all of these things you are likely to have a relaxing, pressure free Valentine’s Day. Either way, enjoy some cheap candy tomorrow.
All photos courtesy of Pixabay.