Valentine’s Day is a holiday few of us like but most of us feel compelled to participate in. Many people I know, friends and clients alike, resent the commercialism of this holiday and its authoritative “celebrate or else” feel. It’s true that no one likes to be told to be romantic and spontaneous; making it mandatory sort of kills the mood. And of course, those of us who are single, dislike being made feel like the “lesser species” just because we don’t have a partner.

Despite this holiday’s bad rap, however, I invite you to see it as an opportunity to subvert expectations and have fun. And since I’m a sexologist, the fun I’m talking about is of the sexy variety. Here are five ways for you to have a hot and spicy Valentine’s Day:

1. Single? You can (and should) have some sexy fun anyway. This Valentine’s Day, celebrate your own innate sexiness, especially if you are single. Popular culture dictates that we must be coupled up to experience sexual pleasure, but nothing could be further from the truth. Make this day all about you and your sensuality. Take this chance to examine how much you know about your body, sexual fantasies, and what gives you pleasure. If you don’t regularly pleasure yourself, this may be the day for you to start. Or if you do, try a new way of touching yourself; explore areas of your body you don’t normally pay attention to; or imagine a new fantasy scenario while you masturbate. Curl up with a tasty treat and watch an erotic movie or read a naughty story. In short, give yourself permission to have sexy fun and enjoy yourself. Remember: you will always be the most important sex partner you’ll ever have.

2. Explore sensual touch. Take this opportunity to create more sensual awareness of yourself and your partner. Often we literally lose touch with our partners as our relationship progresses. A great way to bring both heat and connection to your Valentine’s Day is to offer each other an erotic massage session. If you aren’t sure where to start, watch a sensual massage DVD together, and then take turns practicing on each other. You may learn things about each other’s bodies that will enrich your sex lives for years to come.

3. Try something new and unexpected. Valentine’s has become associated with boring cliches. Now is your chance to subvert this trend in your own life. Talk to your partner and see if he or she is open to trying something new this Valentine’s Day. It could be something as simple as a new sexual position. Or perhaps you’ll decide to try kissing differently, or exploring new erogenous zones on each other’s body. Perhaps there is a naughty fantasy that you’d like to play out. Why wait if you can both make it happen on Valentine’s Day? Before anything, make sure you get your partner’s consent, and agree to stay open minded and sensitive to each other’s needs and boundaries during your sexy experiment.

4. Start a sexy new tradition. Some of my favorite TV moments are Valentine’s Day episodes of the comedy show Modern Family, in which one of the main married couples, Claire and Phil, have a Valentine’s Day tradition of a sexy role-play. They both pretend to be strangers away from home, meeting in a bar for the first time. Claire and Phil’s alter egos are elaborate, and they spend a lot of time and attention creating and enacting their role-playing scenario. This reflects their general attitude towards sex and each other: they are partners in crime, open-minded and fun-loving. Their sex life, despite being together for 25 years, is still passionate and exciting. Why not take a page from their book and create your own sexy Valentine’s Day tradition? Make it something special to the two of you, something you both enjoy and can look forward to. Being co-conspirators with a sexy secret only you know can bring the two of you together in new and explosive ways.

5. Play with your toys! I’ve mentioned that a lot of us are growing tired of the blatant consumerism of Valentine’s Day, but there is a way to channel that pressure to shop into something that will actually pay off: a quality sex toy. In the new episode of my podcast, Get Sex-Smart, a fellow sex coach and I share what you need to know about sex toys – including how to overcome resistance to them; how to have fun with them; and how to pick the best one for your needs. If you feel hesitant, think of it as another sexy bonding experience with your partner. Visit a sex toy store together (like Good Vibrations for example), and take your time exploring the products. Today’s sex stores are brightly lit, non-threatening places with open-minded and well-educated staff who often have encyclopedic knowledge of their merchandise. If you don’t feel like going to a store or don’t have one near you, try the numerous websites such as the before mentioned Good Vibrations, Adam & Eve, Babeland, and others. Don’t forget that sex toys aren’t just dildoes and vibrators: you can purchase random fun things like massage oil; flavored lube; an erotic board game; blindfolds and cuffs; and much, much more. The key is having a playful attitude and opening up your horizons to the great variety of wonderful products available to take your sexual pleasure to a whole new level.

I hope you take the chance to break out of your routine this Valentine’s Day. After all, regardless of whether or not you have a partner, you can make Valentine’s Day sensual, fun and totally unforgettable: a new sexual beginning.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Valeria is a board certified clinical sexologist and sex & relationship expert and coach. In addition to hosting the Get Sex-Smart podcast, Dr. Valeria is the Official Guide to Sexuality for She offers coaching, online workshops, and live events for women, men, and couples. Dr. Valeria's approach is focused on sex-positivity, empowerment, and effective tools and solutions to help her clients and listeners create sexual pleasure and fulfillment in their lives and relationships.