Ah yes, Valentine’s Day…chocolate, champagne, roses and the often unrealistic expectations for a night of unbridled romance. Feeling the pressure? You’re not alone. Both men and women can be stressed about having great sex on Valentine’s Day, but what if your mind, body and libido are just not that into it? To find out how to deal with this and other pressures to have the best romance ever on Valentine’s Day, we consulted with two relationship experts. The good news is, Valentine’s Day is not about being that “perfect” lover after all.
Psychologist Linda Young, Ph.D. specializes in relationships, and told us the first step is to release any expectations that Valentine’s Day has to be the “perfect” romantic evening:
Expectations of perfection are bound to fall short–whether about a man, job, meal or Valentine’s day treat. Plan something from the heart that suits who you are, and your sweetie’s tastes, and you won’t go wrong–especially if you keep a sense of humor about unforeseen mishaps.
She goes on to dispel the myth that Valentine’s Day is all about having the greatest sex of our lives. Instead, Young suggests that spending time with your partner is what really matters. From there, you can decide if having a special dinner together, holding hands, giving each other massages or having sex feels right.
And what about all that sexy lingerie that women feel pressured to wear on Valentine’s Day? Not everyone is comfortable dressing this way, but Young says this is as an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone:
Dim the lights a little, be playful and appreciate yourself differently—through your partner’s eyes! If you’re very uncomfortable, what’s at the root of your discomfort? Are you unhappy with your body? If your partner has seen you naked, he or she has already imagined you in the lingerie and loves the image. Do you believe only certain types of women wear sexy lingerie, and you’re not the type? Bust the myth. Think it makes you a sex object? If your partner loves you for all you are, loving you in lingerie does not make you an object.
Relationship expert, Dr. Jane Greer and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship, agrees and says the best way to make Valentine’s Day meaningful is to take the pressure off yourself to make it perfect. Instead, we should make it special simply by doing one thing that is an expression of our love for our partner so they feel important.
It’s a great opportunity to recapture the romance of the past by each of you sharing your favorite memory of a special romantic time in your past. When you talk about and share your past it’s a great way to rekindle the loving feelings in the present.
However, she says, don’t put unnecessary pressure on either one of you for the greatest night in the bedroom:
The quickest way to take the pleasure and excitement out of sex is to put pressure on yourself to make it great. That is guaranteed to usher in feeling anxious and the minute you’re dealing with anxiety it can and will run interference and spoil your being able to let go and feel good in bed. It’s OK to not be in the mood for sex–just let your partner know it’s up to him to get you in the mood.
And if you’re in the midst of a conflict in your relationship (and who isn’t from time to time?), Greer says Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time to bring some balance with positive loving feelings to offset the angry feelings and the intensity of the problems. Agree to a truce for the day and make it instead a time to do something you both enjoy. Doing so can help to ease the tension so that you can approach tackling your problems with renewed energy after the holiday.
The overall goal? Make valentine’s day about what is special to you as a couple. If you plan ahead you can make sure to do something that will make each of you feel special and good about the day, says Greer. It can be as simple as getting each other cards, sharing a glass of wine, going out to eat or staying home for a romantic dinner. Whatever it is, have a plan to do something out of the ordinary which will help to make it a happy holiday for both of you. Just remember to drop the expectations that the sex has to be perfect–if at all!