Expert Tips for Taking the Pressure Off Valentine's Day
When we all start assuming that Valentine's day (or any day, for that matter) needs to include sex, it can create a bit of a high-pressure situation. And pressure is a major boner-killer.
We're guilty of it here at Kinkly too. We have tips galore on how to have the hottest sex, choose the best sexy gift and have the sexiest time ever on Valentine's Day. Hey, it's just what we're into. But here's the thing: When we all start assuming that Valentine's Day (or any day, for that matter) needs to include sex, it can create a bit of a high-pressure situation. And pressure is a major boner-killer. After all, the best sex happens when we're happy, relaxed and receptive to our partners. So how can you take the pressure off and just enjoy each other's (or your own!) company on Valentine's day? We got some tips from relationship experts on how to have a good time, whether you get naked or not.
Make Every Day Valentine's Day
I believe that Valentine’s Day can do more harm than good in many cases.
A holiday centered around romance, love and sex sounds great on the surface, but its intention is often obscured by commercialism and accompanied by the pressure to perform according to gendered expectations. In many cases, it also relegates romantic gestures to special occasions and suggests that thoughtfulness, intimacy and eroticism are special as opposed to essential components of a happy relationship.
Performing thoughtful gestures on a regular basis will likely be more impactful than pulling out all the stops once a year in February. Instead of buying your partner a present or making a dinner reservation this year, why not make a note in your calendar to do something thoughtful each week (or day) for the upcoming year? Meaningful favors like putting gas in their car or offering a hand massage can take as little as sixty seconds, but have an impact that lasts a lifetime.
-Dr. Jess O'Reilly, resident sexologist at Astroglide
Suck It Up and Do Something Nice
Sometimes, because things fall through the cracks, or we get busy or stressed, or there are overdrafts, or crazy clients, the love we show each other seems to flow a bit more slowly. Worse, of course, is that when the flow slows is usually when we need it most, right? When we're stressed and crazy and busy and overtired, that's when we need most to feel that love and desire and - dare I say it - romance. And that's where Valentine's Day comes in. It's not a once-a-year-you-have-to-be-romantic holiday, in my view. It's a reminder to take a look at the romance you MEAN to be showing - and step it up a bit if you've been slack lately.
-Heather Claus, owner of DatingKinky.com
Reach Out and Touch Someone
I have given 10,000 hours of massages, during my career as a massage therapist. This has given me several epiphanies, one of which is that intimacy is not about sex. Intimacy is all about touch.
Many people feel pressured to increase intimacy on Valentine's Day, because its supposed to be the "romantic" day. So they buy roses and chocolates and gift cards, and do a special dinner, only to find that intimacy has not been increased by doing these things.
The reason that intimacy has not been increased, is that intimacy is about how you look at your partner, and about how you touch them.
Massage is the ultimate way to increase both of these. While massaging your partner, watch their face, frequently, to get feedback about what's working for them. It is easy to "read" pleasure. If you see pleasure on their face, then keep doing more of that.
Listen for sighs of relief, or "that feels good, yes, right there", and keep doing that.
Much intimacy is lost when couples stop "reading" each other. This becomes magnified when making love: If you lose eye contact for too long, or if you don't "listen," then you will be out of touch, with what your partner really enjoys.
-Janice Rosenthal, massage therapist and owner of Garden of Essences
Stretch It Out
The physical act of practicing yoga poses (asanas) with a partner can create physical intimacy without the pressure of being sexual with each other. This can be very powerful, say for a couple who has been together for some time and has lost some of the time spent in foreplay, or just touching. Practicing yoga together helps a couple work as a team and learn to communicate with each other more effectively ... Learning to be present with one another is one of the most powerful ways to take the pressure off, and to truly enjoy your partner's company!
-Daisy and Darrin Zeer, yoga therapists at Lovers’ Yoga
Get In Sync
Most people don’t realize just how connected and good synchronized breathing will make them feel until they try it. Find about five minutes so that you and your partner can lie down somewhere comfortable and won’t be disturbed. Before bed or in the morning are great.
Lay on your sides in a “spooning” position. The person in front is the “leader.” Couples take turns with each person alternating being the “leader.”
The “leader” inhales through their nose deep to their belly for six seconds, holds the breath for four seconds, and exhales for 12 seconds. They exhale initially through their mouth making an “ahhhh” or “ohhhh” sound, then close their mouth making an “mmmmm” sound where they can feel their throat vibrate.
The “follower” spoons their partner and copies their breathing pace and sounds. When you sync you’ll hear a difference in your sounds together.
Try this for about five minutes. Change the times for breathing if you run out of breath or can go longer.
Focus on the sound and how it feels “being together” in sync.
The next time, switch “leader” and “follower” roles.