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Sorry, But Valentine's Day Sex Is *Highly* Overrated

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I am, admittedly, a Valentine's Day Grinch. But if you're a V-Day fan, don't worry. I'm like the Grinch at the beginning of the book, when he's just sitting all salty on the top of his mountain, wearing tight shoes and unapologetically hating everything. I'm a benign Valentine's Day Grinch! I'm not here to take Cupid's Day away from you or even ruin it entirely. But can we talk about one thing? Can we all, finally, agree that Valentine's Day sex is overrated? Not bad! Not the worst thing ever! Not something that needs to be abolished! Just, you know, overrated.

Do I still have a few of you? Or have you all gone off to hate-share this article on social media and talk about what a Debbie Downer I am? No! There's still one or two of you here? OK, great! So let's talk about why Valentine's Day sex is in no way worth all the hullaballoo surrounding it. Oh, and just a fair warning: I'm going to be a total Debbie Downer about this.

To being, I must say that Valentine's Day is in and of itself stupid. Wildly stupid, in fact. It's not actually about love and romance, it's about selling overpriced flowers and candy and heart-shaped jewelry that no one really likes but pretends to like because we should all celebrate the "spirit of the holiday." (The Office covered this last one nicely, by the way.) It's been about capitalism and shoving forced romance down our proverbial throats since 1913, when Hallmark started making valentines. While we might have had more personalized tokens of love and affection before the Industrial Revolution, the advent of mass production created this super-specific, not particularly appealing Valentine's Day aesthetic. Everything is red or pink and heart or rose themed and is, in general, super over-the-top and gaudy.

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"Nu-uh!" you argue. "It is a romantic holiday! Commercialization doesn't take away from its history! Valentine's Day has roots in Ancient Rome to honor St. Valentine, the martyred patron saint of love!"

If I'm being generous, modern Valentine's Day is basically like the minimum wage of romance and affection.
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I should have known you were going to get pedantic about this (that is so you). Your didacticism, therefore, has forced me to get even more pedantic. For example, we have no idea exactly who Saint Valentine is. There were a whole bunch of dudes named Valentine who were martyred for (and made saints by) the Catholic Church in Roman times, and two and three (that's right, we don't even know the exact number!) were martyred on February 14. So there's that. But the whole idea of a celebration on or around February 14 pre-dates the saint. Like so many Christian holidays, this one has pagan roots, in this case Lupercalia, a pretty debaucherous holiday during which people sacrificed goats and dogs and then beat (apparently willing) women with the hides to make them fertile... because that's totally how fertility works.

So, from day one this holiday was stupid, unless you're into BDSM and goat meat, in which case good for you, you carnivorous little kinkster! But for those of us with no desire to be whipped with still-fresh animal hides or receive mass-produced cards, it's just one big nope.

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Sex is never an obligation. You never have to have sex and you're never accurate when you assume someone will have sex with you.

If I'm being generous, modern Valentine's Day is basically like the minimum wage of romance and affection. In that way, in theory, it serves a purpose. Because even if your partner is emotionally or romantically stingy, Valentine's Day presents one day when they are socially obligated to do more than they would when left to their own devices. But, like the minimum wage, it is insufficient and in need of an overhaul that recognizes what people actually need to live happy, healthy lives. Just as $7.25 an hour is completely inadequate to live on literally anywhere, a box of chocolate and cheesy lingerie just isn't going to do much of anything to stoke the fires of passion, ya know? It's so impersonal. Similarly, the idea of sex that is tied to this sh*tshow of a holiday is going to be pretty damn awful.

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Sex is never an obligation. You never have to have sex and you're never accurate when you assume someone will have sex with you. Still, there's the expectation between two regularly (or semi-regularly) sexually active people that some kind of randy shenanigans is going to (or is supposed to) go down on February 14. (PS: if there isn't an adult performer who works under the name Randy Shenanigans there absolutely should be.) So, right off the bat there's some kind of pressure to do something, which is the worst way to start any interaction between two people that doesn't involve an exchange of money or goods. And before the MRAs jump on me, I'm not saying that Valentine's Day sex is de facto coercive or abusive or assault... it's just kind of sh*tty. Because sometimes you're just not feeling it, and it's not like your hormones are aware it's a sexy holiday.

Not to get overly personal here, but I'm never one to turn up my nose at a good roll in the hay. But I'm also not one to stand on ceremony and that's what Valentine's Day sex feels like to me.

This is the least sexy reason to have sex. There's something to be said for the virtues of "appointment sex" (I also think of it as "homework sex"), sure. Sometimes it forces you out of a rut and, yes, at times it can start off boring and get fun. But here's the thing with Valentine's Day versus the sex you put on the calendar: with the latter, there's no real expectation of greatness, so if it's mediocre that's to be expected and if it turns out awesome then that's an unexpected surprise. But when it comes to Valentine's Day sex, the expectation is that it's going to be fantastic.

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Now maybe you're DTF and the fact that it's Valentine's Day is a convenient excuse. In that case, awesome! Happy Humping! This is a non-issue and I wish you joy in your various sexual escapades. But if you're not especially horny and you have the idea in your head that you're nevertheless going to have mindblowing, super-romantic sexytimes, that's a recipe for disappointment... which, I imagine, taste a lot like chalky chocolates filled with that weird strawberry cream stuff. (Does anyone like that flavor?)

Have sex only if you're in the mood and remember that if you're not, you're not missing out on anything worth having!
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Not to get overly personal here, but I'm never one to turn up my nose at a good roll in the hay. But I'm also not one to stand on ceremony and that's what Valentine's Day sex feels like to me. So, personally, I'm just leaving it up to my mood and taking Valentine's Day and the expectation of what that means out of the equation all together. Sure, sex could happen, but so could another episode of Forensic Files. Forensic Files fills a very specific niche in our lives and always lives up to (some very specific) expectations. But when we count on Valentine's Day sex to be a big flashy event we're always screwed. (See what I did there?)

So Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Have sex only if you're in the mood and remember that if you're not, you're not missing out on anything worth having!

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Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.

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