By Emily King

3 Tips for avoiding pressure on Valentine’s Day

You made it through January. Congratulations. You’ve battled through the lofty expectations of a fresh start, along with the anxiety that comes skipping behind. Now, for February. The short and bittersweet month of romance. 

Valentine’s Day looks great on paper. Heart shaped chocolates, red roses, champagne and sizzling hot sex. Ooft. How could it be anything but wonderful? What’s the catch?


Stress is the body’s response to pressure and famously doesn’t gel well with desire. Sex hormones become repressed by cortisol, meaning that it can be difficult to feel aroused if you put too much pressure on yourself or a partner to perform sexually. It is remarkably easy to feel the pressure this time of the year. We’re surrounded by images telling us what our relationships should feel like, as well as what great sex looks like.

It is well-meaning to want to deliver an amazing night of sex for a partner, but be wary that it isn’t becoming a performance. I can’t be the only one who has found themselves in lingerie that even Houdini would struggle with? Feeling like a fraud in a piece of string was not sexy. Instead of bending to fulfil the commercial V-day prophecy, why not create your own? After all, the body doesn’t work according to the Gregorian calendar. 

1. Prioritise relaxation

Instead of pushing yourself to try new things, stick to your comfort zone. Celebrate your relationship doing what you do best. Even if that means squeezing each other's spots and eating super noodles. Relaxing into your authentic intimacy means you’ll avoid performance anxiety altogether. 

2. Reflect

Don't let traditions shame you. Use this day as an opportunity to talk about the highlights of your relationship. Focus on what you have done or can do, rather than what you’re not doing. This will leave you feeling positively motivated to invest in your relationship, not just for Valentine’s.

3. Mutual Masturbation

Afterall, masturbation is the ultimate anecdote to stress. This doesn’t even have to involve touching one another, yet it’s a deeply connective sexual experience. At the core of this activity is the willingness to learn about how to better pleasure your partner. This means that the pressure of trying to desperately please someone else is gone, and your sex life will improve in the process.

You aren’t a failure if you don’t have the best sex of your life on February 14th. The best expectations to have are none at all.