“Humans are wired for connection.” We’ve all heard it before, and for good reason. People who feel strongly connected to others have lower rates of depression and anxiety than those who don’t. Strong social connection can impact our self-esteem and increase our ability to feel empathy toward others. Connectedness can literally even strengthen the immune system!
But somewhere along the line, our cultural understanding of human connection became conflated with romantic connection. We live in a world that assumes that a person without a romantic partner (or two, or three, or more) is sad, lonely, and incomplete--a paradigm which ignores those who choose to live free of romantic involvement.
In this moment, it can feel like we’re being bombarded with romantic messaging—coming out of the holidays where our families mention the lack of a partner(s) non-stop and launching into the red and pink Hallmark extravaganza that is Valentine’s Day. Even if one doesn’t typically experience loneliness due to “being single,” this constant messaging can make a person feel invisible and isolated. These feelings are complex! Here are some things that might help:
Pour your heart into community. There’s so much power and healing and joy in friendly intimacy. Who says you can’t care for your friends like you’d care for a romantic partner? Who says you can’t hug and kiss your friends (with their consent)? Who says you can’t take your friends on dates? There is endless tenderness, contentedness, and support to be found in the realm of platonic community.
Connect with yourself. When’s the last time you sat still and asked yourself what you want? It’s so important to do this in all aspects, but in this post, were talking ~sexually~. What’s something (or ten things) you’ve been wanting to try but just…haven’t? Schedule yourself a night in, make a list of what you want to do, gather supplies (online sex boutiques love to have sales around Valentine’s and they ship fast!), set the scene, and have a blast! In case you missed it, I’m talking about planned masturbation. And make it as cheesy as you want—rose petals, candles, your best sex playlist. Buy yourself a box of over-priced fancy chocolate. A night of intentional self-connection and tangible self-love can go a very, very long way (sexually and otherwise).
Remember that Valentine’s Day is literally just a function of capitalism. The reason we’re surrounded by hearts and teddy bears and flowers and pinks and reds this time of year isn’t because we have an inherent requirement to be in love, it’s because Valentine’s day is a $20 billion industry…all for just one single day.
I encourage you to explore and expand on these ideas—for your Valentine’s (or anti-Valentine’s or Valentine’s-adjacent) celebration. Find the nuances that work best for you. And here’s the thing: all this fun doesn’t have to end when the Valentine’s flood is over—in fact, I’d say February 14 is just the beginning. Besides, special edition raspberry goo-filled Ghirardelli chocolate squares taste even better when they’re 80% off anyway.
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