Dr. Jess on Sex: Straight from the heart this Valentine’s Day

Drop the clichéd plans and try a new way to celebrate love, and then do it all year long


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Instead of sending greeting cards, fundraise for a local charity

I don’t pretend to be a fan of Valentine’s Day, and most of the couples I meet report that the holiday tends to be a greater source of stress than intimacy. I am, however, a huge fan of love, so this Valentine’s Day, I encourage you to spread the love with alternative celebration suggestions.  ​ clich 

Volunteer! This is one of the most meaningful ways to celebrate love, and studies reveal that altruistic people have more sex and are consistently ranked as more attractive than their less generous peers. Find local opportunities at Volunteer Toronto or set aside an hour to donate blood (see blood.ca for locations). 

You can also spread the love online with Food For The Poor Canada (FFPC). This Valentine’s Day, North Toronto–based FFPC is encouraging couples to ditch the greeting cards in favour of #HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs. In this campaign, you can post a pic and a few words describing why you love your partner — to raise money and awareness for Torontonians building homes in Haiti. It’s a win-win, as public declarations are the love language of the digital age, and Haiti is in dire need of international aid in the aftermath of hurricane Matthew.

For a non-mushy date idea that costs less than couples’ therapy, look no further than the Rage Room (they have two locations, one at Battle Sports and one at the Riddle Room). The uptown location is hosting an anti–Valentine’s Day party, but you can visit either location any day of the week to channel your aggression and get your adrenaline pumping. Smash your way through plates and old electronic items with baseball bats and crowbars while dressed in protective armour.

Why not use V-Day as an inspiration to show love to a single friend, an elderly neighbour and/or your parents? Celebrate a day or two early and plan the “date” together with your partner so that you both benefit from the passion chemicals you release when you create anticipation and perform acts of kindness.

If you insist on indulging in Valentine’s Day gift giving, consider a thoughtful, homemade gift: write your lover a playful and shining mock dating profile to describe all of your lover’s best assets. You can put it in a frame or surprise your partner with an email with a catchy subject line like “Handsome worldly genius seeks adorable fun-loving partner.” Either way, you’ll both have a laugh, and it’s likely to lead to some exciting conversations.

However you choose to spend the day, remember to keep the love flowing all year long. Your partner is worth your effort every day. 

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Jess O’Reilly is a sought-after speaker, author and sexologist. SexWithDrJess.com.

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