For many lesbian couples, Valentine’s Day is a challenging and dreaded day. Even during a pandemic-free year. The lead up to Valentine’s Day can be fraught with anxiety.
Many couples ask:
“What gift should I buy my partner?”
“Will she want to go out?”
“Where should we go for dinner?”
“Will we be comfortable or feel awkward?”
This over-marketed Holiday of Love, usually smacks of stale heteronormative traditions, ideas, and prescribed behavior, according to Dr. Lynda Spann, founder, and chief therapist at the Lesbian Couples Institute (www.lesbiancouplesinstitute.com).
According to Dr. Spann, this time of year often leaves many lesbian couples feeling like misfits, or like the “token queer couple in an over-crowded restaurant or movie theatre on the biggest romance night of the year.”
The romance industry is progressing, but not fast enough. According to the U.S. Census, 1.1 million LGBTQ people in the U.S. are married to someone of the same sex, a number that's steadily increasing. For those who haven't officially tied the knot, more than 1.2 million LGBTQ people in the U.S. are in an unmarried same-sex relationship. According to Good Housekeeping, until a couple of years ago, it was nearly impossible for queer women to find any suitable Valentines Day cards designed for women who love women. Now, shoppers can find maybe four or five cards out of 1,000 that they feel truly represent them. Better than nothing. But not great.
With our cities on social distancing restrictions, restaurants only operating at 25% capacity, bars and dance venues closed— lesbian couples just might be off the hook. This year, Dr. Spann suggests that those in lesbian relationships may have a silver-lining opportunity to design a Valentine’s Day that’s free of those typical holiday pressures and joy-busters.
Dr. Spann provides a list of ideas below that may help couples with just that, and encourages them to think outside the heart-shaped box of chocolates and craft an experience that will infuse their relationship with laughter, affection, joy, creative energy and pleasure. She bemusedly refers to this this February 14th as a “red hot chance for reconnection.”
Here are her five Valentine’s Day ideas to spark creativity and romance:
Give each other full body massages. Maybe even with happy endings! Go all out and get some good massage oil. Heat up some river rocks in a roasting pan to put on your partner’s back, light a few candles, and play instrumental background music to set the tone.
Camp-out In Your Living Room:
Build a cozy fort in front of your fireplace. Stuff it with yoga mats, pillows, a book of poetry, and a lantern. String up some lights from your box of holiday decorations to add to the mood. Make some hot cocoa (with or without Baileys) to sip and make smores in the fireplace. Tell campfire stories, sing songs from your past, and read poems to each other. Giggle and cuddle in your cozy, comfy fort.
Do a Selfie Couples Shoot:
Take a ridiculous amount of couple selfies. Let yourself pose in ways that are silly, sexy, sultry, sophisticated, and spastic. Gather interesting props, outfits or none. Just have fun. Make an agreement ahead of time about who will get to see these pics. And how you’ll decide to share them on social media.
Create a Wine and Cheese Pairing Class for Two
Gather several cheeses, making sure that a few are new to you. And get a variety of wine to sip with the cheese. Create a rating sheet with each cheese. Write out the flavors you taste in the cheese and wine. Rate each on a scale of 1 to 10. And pick your favorite pairing.
Cook a Fancy Dinner Together
Alone in the house and feeling really brave? Cook with nothing but your aprons on. With or without clothes, treat yourself to whatever culinary finery that you’ve been craving. Anything you cook at home will be less expensive than dinner out. Find a recipe or two in your favorite cookbook or online. Crank up your favorite playlist, sip a cocktail or mocktail, feed your partner tastes as you go, dance a little while the meal finishes cooking. Set a beautiful table with linens if you like, a flower vase, and candles. Dim the lights, sit across from each other so you can gaze into each other’s eyes, chatter like you’re on your 4th date, play a fun questions game, and enjoy your delicious dinner.
For more information about Dr. Spann and her institute, visit www.lesbiancouplesinstitute.com.