Sobriety is one of the greatest gifts that you can give yourself. Booze-free living provides the mental clarity to embrace who you are while navigating the world from a macro perspective. This type of presence is also an excellent addition to Valentine’s Day, whether you are single or coupled up. Being completely present with your loved one(s) can add depth to your existing bond.
You could be learning to love yourself, currently dating someone new, planning to hang out with your besties, spending some time alone with your partner, trying to get through a breakup, or anything in between. Regardless of how you’re spending this Hallmark holiday, here are a few ways to make it sexy AF while staying sober AF.
If You’re Solo and Proud of It
Take a note from Leslie Knope with the spirit of Galentine’s Day. While this technically means brunch with your girlfriends on the day before Valentine’s Day, it’s really just a day to celebrate your friends of any gender. If you plan on spending the day solo, mindset coach Amanda Kuda recommends something she calls Counting I Love Yous. “Be open to what romance looks like,” she says. “Romance doesn’t have to mean sex. Spend 24 hours collecting indirect ‘I love yous’: lingering eye contact while ordering a coffee, someone holding the door open for you, or a casual nod while walking down the street. We take these as normal gestures, but it’s really someone taking the time to care about you.”
If You Want to Let Your Freak Flag Fly
Experiment! Is there something you or your partner(s) want to try in bed? If you want to spice it up but you don’t know where to start, here are a few ideas…
Watch/Read Porn: The porn we grew up watching is vastly different from the porn being made today. Some of today’s top porn stars are actually sober and thriving! There are also more women behind the camera than ever before. Allow you and your partner(s) to explore different sites together. If you’re not into the visual component, try reading some erotica together.
Ask For What You Want: If someone’s lucky enough to have sex with you, they should want to hear what you want them to do to you (and visa versa). This may sound like a no brainer, but asking for what we want in bed can be challenging — especially for folks assigned female at birth. Learning the nuances of how to pleasure the vulva is lacking in most sex-ed programs, so we’re left to fend for ourselves when it comes to learning what we like. Use this day (and every day) to amplify your voice in the bedroom.
If You Can’t Find a Baby Sitter
Childcare is tough to come by during the pandemic, so you may be out of luck if you want to spend time with your honey sans kiddos. But that’s okay! Cook a nice meal together as a family, selecting the recipe as a team, then delegating tasks out to different family members. Depending on the age of the children, they can help you cook (with supervision). Or maybe they can just hang out and be cute while you’re in the kitchen. (Of course, busy parents know that ordering takeout is always a guilt-free option, too!) “Once you put the kiddos to bed, you and your beloved can take a bath,” says Tayor Smith, a lawyer and new mom, “Enjoy the quiet while you can. Take turns bathing each other and relaxing together.”
If You Have a Friends with Benefits
“Right now, while in lockdown, we’re all being deprived of senses other than visual,” says David Ortmann, queer sex therapist and author of Sexual Outsiders.“Alcohol and drug use damage our sensory richness. Sobriety is a great chance to indulge the senses that we’re reclaiming and learning how to use”. Try different types of chocolates or do a coffee/tea tasting. These activities can keep things light with your FWB while still having a good time.
If You Need A Little Nudge to Get Sexy
Let’s be honest. Sometimes we’re just not in the mood. We’re living in a very unsexy time so it’s only natural to have those external forces affect our sex drives. Holidays like Valentine’s Day can create some additional, unneeded anxiety. We don’t have to have S*E*X just because of what the calendar says. Instead, try prioritizing some intimacy time. Dim the lights, burn some candles, and reconnect with yourself or your loved one(s). Intimacy can be about mental connection more than a physical connection. Snuggle while chatting about a shared memory. Sync your breath while making eye contact. Gently touch each other along the arms, hips, and legs. Using card decks as conversation starters can also be a fun way to get the juices flowing (pun intended). Single folks can use this time to turn inward and maybe even indulge in some #selflove.
Above all else, remember that enthusiastic consent is the sexiest addition to any Valentine’s Day celebration. There is no pressure to leave your comfort zone — especially in the bedroom. If and when you’re ready, there are lots of fun activities to try. Until then, just enjoy each other (or yourself!). It really is just another day, so take it one day at a time.