How to Have the Best Valentine’s Day EverRelationships
Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, which means the pressure is on to find ways to celebrate.
Whether you look forward to the day of love, or you view it as more of a chore than an opportunity for romance, there’s no denying that V-day is big business. In 2016, American lovebirds spent $19.7 billion on Valentine’s Day, with the average person shelling out $146.
Love it, hate it or just tolerate it, Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it. Here are our best Valentine’s Day ideas for making this year’s day of love one to remember.
Think Outside the (Chocolate) Box
Valentine’s Day has been bemoaned as an overly commercialized holiday, but that doesn’t mean you have to go with the usual standbys of chocolate, roses or a stuffed teddy bear.
If you’ve approached February 14 in the past by making a last-minute dash to the corner drugstore to grab a card and some candy, it’s time to seriously upgrade your V-day game.
Start by thinking of ways you can truly surprise your significant other. It’s the thought that counts, so put some thought into how you can create the ultimate romantic evening. Start planning early (hint: not February 13), so you have plenty of time to make this Valentine’s Day one your partner won’t forget.
Skip the Usual Dining Out
Ideas for Valentine’s Day are often limited to dinner, a movie or dinner followed by a movie. Wash-rinse-repeat, right?
You have to admit, it sounds a little boring.
And if you’ve ever tried to snag a restaurant reservation on February 14, you already know it’s next to impossible. Even if you’re lucky enough to get a table, chances are the restaurant will be packed, the service will be slow and you’ll end up paying more than usual for special entrees and dessert items.
According to the National Restaurant Association, one-quarter of the U.S. population dines out on V-day — that’s about 80 million people. In fact, restaurants are so crowded on Valentine’s Day, one former maître d’ says people should avoid them altogether.
However, this doesn’t mean you have to forego a romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day.
Justin Lavelle, Chief Communications Officer for PeopleLooker, a site that allows you to run background checks on people you meet on internet dating sites, suggests preparing a home-cooked meal with a menu featuring “foods considered the sexiest of the bunch, like oysters, figs, fondue, chocolate-covered strawberries, anything with chilies and decadent chocolate desserts.”
Just because you’re eating in doesn’t mean you have to leave a romantic atmosphere out. If your typical dinners consist of eating cereal out of whatever clean container you can find, dust off your dining room table and find some real plates and utensils. Spice things up with some low lighting and candles, and have a playlist of sexy tunes ready to go. Also, don’t forget to serve your valentine!
If you’re not handy in the kitchen, no worries — keep dinner simple and save the Valentine’s Day fireworks for dessert.
If your significant other loves cupcakes, find a bakery that creates confectionary works of art and buy several of your loved one’s favorites. Or, if he or she really digs chocolate, set up a buffet of decadent chocolate desserts right at home. Make sure to include plenty of dark chocolate, which is one of our 5 favorite natural aphrodisiacs.
Make It Personal
Arguably, Valentine’s Day is the ultimate celebration of tangible expressions of affection.
From greeting cards and candles to red hearts and cheap chocolates, the tendency to commercialize love can make most people feel anything but romantic.
John Samuel at AskMen writes that “most guys get by doing the bare minimum for their significant others” on Valentine’s Day. To create an unforgettable Valentine’s experience, Samuel says men should focus on “the intangibles” — all the things you can’t buy that show you’re crazy in love with the other person.
There are many ways you can communicate your love without saying a word.
Try your hands at a sensual massage.
Consider treating your lover to a sexy massage that eases stress and sets the stage for more intense bedroom activities later in the night. If you indulged in a sumptuous dinner or unapologetic chocolate binge, this can be a great way to work off some calories.
Sex is about much more than the deed itself. Take the opportunity to explore your partner’s body, and don’t be afraid to tell them out loud what you love about them. Heat things up with some warming liquid or a flavored lubricant that will taste even more delicious on your valentine’s skin.
Have a “50 Shades” night.
You don’t have to be Christian Gray to dominate in the bedroom (and if we’re honest, we don’t think he’s that great anyway — certainly not when it comes to consent). No matter how sexually compatible you and your partner are, sex can get a little ho-hum and routine.
Put some sizzle back in your relationship by restocking your S&M toy box. If you decide to go this route, however, just make sure your other half is comfortable with exploring the more erotic side of sex — because side-eye is the last thing you want when you’re ready to hit the sheets.
Curious about dipping a toe in the kink waters but unsure where to start? We’ve got a guide for that, too.
We’re not talking glue sticks and pipe cleaners. Sometimes, the most romantic gifts are the ones you make yourself. Just check out these exquisite bas-relief sculptures made by artist Cheong-ah Hwang using nothing but recycled paper.
If your skills are a bit more limited, you can still make something your valentine will love. Kindle fond memories by putting together a photobook of your first year of dating, and add captions that let her know why the dates stand out in your mind.
If you’re not exactly Martha Stewart, focus on the things you’re good at. Are you a talented musician who moonlights in a band? Consider writing a song about your valentine.
Do you enjoy woodworking? Surprise her with a handcrafted piece of furniture made from real wood that will last for decades. Alaska native Ana White offers hundreds of DIY furniture-building tutorials on her website, which lets people create beautiful pieces with basic tools and beginner-level skills.
Dress up isn’t just for kids. You might be an accountant by day, but there’s no reason why you can’t take a walk on the wild side every once in a while. Role-playing allows couples to explore certain sides of their personalities they either can’t or won’t ordinarily show.
The best part about role-playing is you get to write the script and star in the show. Whether you want to go with doctor/nurse or boss/secretary, the only limit is your imagination. If you’re looking for inspiration — and a date night idea that might set your sofa on fire — you can watch porn together before you slip into your respective roles.
Be a candy gram (with benefits).
While your partner might love getting flowers in the middle of a busy workday, you can take the traditional floral delivery several steps higher by surprising them in person. Grab a bouquet of her favorites, make sure you look your best and show up unannounced.
Extend the Celebration
If you’re wondering what to do on Valentine’s Day, why limit your search to, well, Valentine’s Day?
There’s no reason why you have to confine your celebration to February 14. In fact, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t.
The cost of many items, including roses and hotels, jumps sharply on Valentine’s Day. You can avoid the price hike — and make the celebration last longer — by planning a getaway before or after February 14.
Whatever you plan, Lavelle says it’s important to focus on the other person’s wishes.
“Make sure it’s your partner’s top choice — not yours.” For example, you may dream of a mountain climbing adventure on Pike’s Peak, but this idea will quickly lose steam if your better half is terrified of heights.
If you like the idea of making your V-day last, but your budget is smaller than your plans, don’t worry — there are many ways you can get away without blowing up your bank account. You could plan a romantic couples retreat at home, or try one of these options:
Keep it local.
You might be surprised how much fun you can have in your own neighborhood. Unless you live in Hawaii, you probably don’t think of your town or region as particularly exotic. However, there’s a good chance your city has at least one attraction that’s worth a visit. Use sites like Priceline or Airbnb to find a great deal on a luxury hotel where you live.
Book an experience when you book your lodging.
Airbnb now offers “experiences” in addition to lodging, so you can buy everything from boxing lessons with a pro in Florence, Italy to a two-day excursion with a lead guitarist willing to give you a glimpse into the gritty Detroit rock and roll lifestyle.
Take it outside.
If all the local hotels are booked, or you can’t find one in your price range, take advantage of what nature has to offer. Camping offers numerous opportunities to spend quality time together. Pitch a tent and spend an evening looking at the stars, then experiment with something a little naughty like outdoor sex.
Camping also lets you truly unplug and disconnect, which is something that’s increasingly difficult to come by in today’s interconnected world.
If you decide to camp, make sure your partner is on board with the plan. Not everyone enjoys going rustic, so be careful about investing in a surprise camping getaway if you’re unsure how they feel about roughing it. Alternatively, you can try “glamping” by renting a cabin with bathroom facilities and central air conditioning.
Pro Tip: Don’t Ignore Valentine’s Day
Just because your partner doesn’t have February 14 circled on the calendar doesn’t mean they don’t care about it — even if they tell you it’s not a big deal … or that Valentine’s Day is dumb … or that they don’t want to celebrate.
As Louisa Peacock stated in The Telegraph, “When a woman says she doesn’t care about Valentine’s Day and doesn’t want to celebrate it, don’t believe her.”
Peacock said she was surprised how hurt she felt when her husband of 12 years failed to acknowledge Valentine’s Day — even though she told him repeatedly that she thought the holiday was silly and didn’t want anything. “I couldn’t help myself. I burst into tears. Ha! How completely absurd, I know.”
She adds, however, that even little romantic gestures, such as a post-it note on your lady’s pillow, is a good way to show you haven’t forgotten the big day, regardless of how many times she told you not to make a big deal out of it.
And don’t forget that the desire to feel special on Valentine’s Day isn’t exclusive to women. Regardless of our partner’s gender don’t assume that they won’t be hurt if you skip the romance on the big day.
A Little Love for the Singles
There’s no way around it: Valentine’s Day can be a major downer when you’re flying solo. Few things are more depressing when you’re single than being surrounded by lovey-dovey couples determined to blow the lid off PDAs.
Dating coach Harris O’Malley — who goes by the online moniker Dr. Nerdlove — says that being single doesn’t have to mean being miserable on Valentine’s Day.
To make it through V-day without sobbing into a glass of wine while you look at your old flame’s wedding photos, he suggests taking a break from social media, even if it’s just for 24 hours. “Closing Facebook and Twitter mean not only will you be cutting down on places to vent but you won’t be getting hit with quite as many VD reminders.”
O’Malley also suggests hooking up with other singles for drinks or a night on the town. “This is a holiday designed to make you feel like the loneliest bastard on the planet. I promise you: you’re not.”
Whatever you do, don’t let one day out of the year make you feel like a failure in the true love department. Just because you’re single on February 14 doesn’t mean you’re doomed to spend your life at a table for one. Check out these reasons to love being single,
Got any great ideas for Valentine’s Day?
Share the love by tweeting us your favorite Valentine’s Day gifts, date ideas, and romantic playlists: @ASTROGLIDE. If you’re stuck for ideas, read our guide to Valentine’s Day gifts for every stage of your relationship, from friends with benefits to lifelong partners!