3 Ideas for an Epic Sober Valentine's Day
Before I chose an alcohol-free lifestyle, I can’t remember a Valentine’s Day in my adult life that didn’t involve drinking. I remember getting dressed to the nines and clinking glasses of bubbles over candlelit dinners. Or knocking back a few wines to conjure up the courage to answer the door to my boyfriend in nothing but lingerie and heels. I remember a Valentine’s Day when I was single, banging on the bar for tequila shots with the girls, and dancing the blurry night away.
These days Valentine’s is different for me. It’s not as wild as it once was. Which I put down partly to the lack of alcohol, and largely due to age and having three kids! But just because I’m not getting smashed and pashing my husband in public, doesn’t mean Valentine’s Day is less enjoyable. In fact, with a bit of planning, Valentine’s Day sober can be more meaningful, and even more fun than Valentine’s Day with alcohol.
Last year, my husband and I stayed in for Valentine’s Day. After the kids were asleep, we set the mood in the lounge room with candles, incense, music, and cushions on the floor. We drank ceremonial cacao, which has a subtle elevating effect. An effect I can actually feel now that my body is no longer used to the artificial highs and lows of alcohol and other drugs. We took turns to speak about what we loved about the other, and the things we felt grateful for in the other person and our relationship. We did a tantric eye-gazing exercise, shared a raw dessert, and then moved things to the bedroom.
The next day we woke up fresh, we felt connected, and we remembered everything about the night before.
In this post, we share three ideas of things to do with your partner to enjoy Valentine’s without alcohol. And if you’re single but dating and these ideas don’t seem appropriate, try Lucy’s 5 Tips for Sober Dating.
1) Take an adventure together
Who said Valentine’s Day needs to be celebrated sitting (or lying!) down?
Sky-diving, rock climbing, white water rafting, mountain biking, scuba diving, or whatever adventure floats your boat, these kinds of activities cause all our senses to buzz to life as adrenaline is released, leaving us feeling alive. Sharing an adventurous experience with your partner is good clean fun, the riskiness connects you, and makes awesome shared memories. No alcohol required for this natural high.
2) The early morning mission
Why not make the most of your hangover-free lifestyle and celebrate Valentines’ Day by getting up at the crack of dawn to watch the sunrise together? You could throw in some adventure by hiking to an epic spot first, packing a picnic blanket and flasks of hot tea. Maybe your celebrations continue into the morning with some relaxation. A couples’ massage followed by a bubble bath and some time between the sheets.
3) Tantric Temple Night
Planning a Tantric Temple Night is a fun and enriching way to expand and celebrate your relationship on Valentine’s Day. It generally involves setting aside the evening to do some simple tantric practices together (think eye gazing, breathing together, expressing gratitude for each other and so on), connecting sexually in an intimate and sacred way, and treating yourselves to indulgent and decadent foods and drinks.
I’m no tantra expert, but my husband and I did a private tantra workshop with a Tantra instructor. She gave the following suggestions for making Temple Night a success (note: feel free to use some or all of the following suggestions – there are no hard and fast rules):
· Create a sacred space by ensuring the room is clean and visually appealing, lighting candles, burning incense, or diffusing essential oils, playing beautiful music, and having fresh flowers.
· Often dinner comes before sex which is not ideal for our energy. On temple night, either save dinner for afterwards, or make eating part of the experience by making a beautiful finger food platter.
· Wear something you feel sexy but comfortable in.
· Begin the session by honouring each other. You can do this by sitting knee-to-knee and taking turns to speak uninterrupted about the things you appreciate and are grateful for in the other person.
· Move on to five minutes of silent eye gazing. This is literally just looking into each other’s eyes, trying not to break eye contact by looking away for the full five minutes. Warning: this can feel incredibly strange and vulnerable at first, you might feel like laughing or crying. This is all ok. We are generally not used to feeling fully seen.
· Hand on heart. Still sitting knee-to-knee, you each place your right hand on your partner’s heart, and your left hand on top of your partner’s right hand. Take a moment to make eye contact and sync your breath. You then tune in to your heart, firstly by noticing your physical heart, feeling it beating. Then moving your awareness to your heart space generally and noticing how it feels. Expansive and open? Contracted and closed? Calm? Nervous? Then you can both close your eyes and focus on the connection between your hearts and hands.
· Consent, feelings and needs. Before the touching really begins, each partner shares how they are feeling and what kind of love making experience they need, essentially creating the terms and boundaries. This can be as simple as saying, I’m feeling vulnerable and need you to be really gentle, I don’t want you to touch/do XYZ but I’d love you to touch/do ABC. Or it could be the opposite – for example, giving them free reign unless you tell them to stop.
· Sensual touch. Now that you’re both feeling super connected and understand what the other wants, you can offer each other sensual touch. This is the foreplay. Sensual touch includes massaging, stroking lightly with your fingertips, running fabrics along the body, tickling with feathers – you name it! The point is to be creative, to celebrate and explore each other’s bodies without focusing on the genitals or orgasm.
· The grand finale. This may be sex, or something else, depending on each of your wants and needs.
· To close your temple night, you may like to have a candlelit bath together, or get dressed up and go for dinner.
I hope these ideas have given you some inspiration for an epic sober Valentine's Day.