14 Non-Lame Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

Valentine's Day exists to celebrate love, relationships, and sex. Unfortunately, due to commercial and societal pressures, the stress it often brings can lead to high pressure situations and disappointment. And even if you truly don't care about Valentine's Day and won't be disappointed, at the very least, it's nice when your partner puts in a little extra effort to make you feel appreciated.
While a standard dinner date might be the go-to, it isn't for everyone. And since we're all busy (and planning takes time and energy that many us rarely have), we've rounded up Valentine's Day date ideas that will get you and your partner out of your comfort zones. From couple's massages to burlesque shows, these dates will not only provide excitement and pleasure but remind you why you fell for your partner in the first place.
Of course, it's up to you to book the actual date, but these ideas will hopefully do most of the planning leg work for you. Read on for our list of non-lame Valentine's Day date ideas. And don't forget to check back, since we will be updating the list with more ideas as the big day approaches.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Go sex toy shopping.

Rather than simply using your favorite sex toys on Valentine's Day, take the excitement a step further by visiting your local sex toy shop and splurging on something together. If you're in a new relationship and don't yet own toys you've purchased as a couple, Valentine's Day is the perfect time to do so. Using a sex toy you've picked out together adds an extra element of romance, compared to resorting to that old vibrator you've owned since high school.

For some, visiting a sex toy boutique can be intimidating, but try to remember that this is fun and you can really do no wrong as long as you're following your desires and checking in with your partner to make sure they're on board.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Attend a burlesque show.

Not only are burlesque shows erotic, vibrant, and classy AF, they're also incredibly inclusive of body diversity, from plus-size dancers to a variety of age ranges. This Valentine's Day, purchase tickets to a burlesque show and support your local dancers while snuggling up to your date in a dimly-lit booth as you're teased and tantalized by an art form that dates back centuries. If you're feeling extra adventurous, purchase a pair of nipple tassels to wear under your going out outfit, and surprise your partner with a strip tease once you're back home.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Practice seduction magic.

Whereas sex magic is about harnessing sexual energy to produce desired results, sexual or not, seduction magic is all about bringing lovers closer together.

"Seduction magic is about pleasuring, teasing, and conquering someone or breaking down your own inhibitions. It incorporates rituals based on the art of tease, the senses, and mating rituals," says Cat Cabral, priestess of Wicca and creator of Moonage Magic, a website that provides "practical magic for the modern witch."

A couple of ways to practice seduction magic on a night in include lighting red or pink candles and taking a magic bath with your partner. "Red candles symbolize sexuality, Mars, a virile and powerful energy, whereas pink candles represent traditional feminine qualities of Venus, receptive love," Cabral says.

As a recipe for a magic bath soak, Cabral says roses, jasmine, and vanilla are wonderful ingredients to soak in, in herbal format or as essential oils. Single? Fear not. Lighting candles and enjoying a Valentine's Day bath work just as well solo (not to mention, the tub may be comfier!). "Valentine's Day should be a manifestation of love and lust, especially for yourself," Cabral says.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Spice things up (literally) by cooking something new.

Cooking is sensual by definition, from the smells of spices wafting through your apartment, to the sounds of sizzling veggies in a pan. Plus, reservations can be hard to come by on Valentine's Day, so it's often much more intimate to cook a meal for your partner. For extra oomph, try cooking something new (maybe a dish that potentially has aphrodisiac powers). And for even more oomph, don an apron and nothing else — just be careful if you're cooking with hot chili powder.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Worship Mary Jane.

If you and your partner live in a legal state and enjoy marijuana, adding cannabis to your Valentine's Day can heighten the experience (beyond making those boxed chocolates seem extra tasty).

Studies suggest that weed has the potential to heighten sexual pleasure (as of now, the research is promising but small in scale). And many people report that weed changes their sex lives for the better. As with everything, though, moderation is key.

"A little goes a long way, because too much weed can leave you lethargic and unfocused," says Molly Peckler, a cannabis-friendly dating coach.

If you're interested in cannabis-enhanced sex without the high (or if you're just not into smoking, vaping, or edibles), try Foria Pleasure, the non-psychoactive coconut oil and cannabis pleasure mist.

"The only downside to Foria is the planning ahead," Peckler says. "You have to wait at least 30 minutes after it’s been applied for it to take effect, but your patience will be rewarded."
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Throw a dinner party with friends.

Regardless of your relationship status or format, everyone deserves to celebrate love on Valentine's Day, whether you're coupled, single, or poly. Consider swapping out traditional couple-oriented Valentine's Day plans for a dinner party with friends. Everyone can bring a dish (and plenty of wine), which can release the pressure of what can be a very commercial holiday since you're enjoying the company of friends. If you have an adventurous crew, throw it back to your teenage years with a post-dinner game of suck and blow. (Not sure how to play? Maybe it's time to revisit Clueless).

And hey, with the right group of open-minded friends, a Valentine's Day dinner party may seamlessly transition into post dinner group sex.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Enjoy a couple's massage.

Nothing kills arousal like stress. Not to mention, warming up on Valentine's Day with cozy sex positions like lotus is almost impossible with cramped legs and a sore back from a desk job. So before you head home to get your hands on one another, treat yourselves to a couple's massage and enjoy the touch of professionals. Along with working out those knots in your back, massage has the potential to ease everything from headaches to anxiety to insomnia.

Typically, a couple's massage involves a private room with two tables, so you and your partner can simultaneously experience the pleasure of touch heightened with aromatherapy and massage oil. When the massage has concluded, you'll hopefully be feeling calm enough to enter a state of mindfulness conducive to mind-blowing sex.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Attend a sex party.

If you're looking for a Valentine's Day fit for your memoir, skip the dinner date and attend a sex party. Even if you're in a relationship and not ready to open it up to sleeping with other people, attending a sex party as a couple can add the eroticism that the familiarity of monogamy can erode.

"There are many things couples can do at sex parties besides having sex with other people," says Effy Blue, relationship coach and educator (who also spoke with R29 about previously). "They can have sex with each other and experience exhibitionism. They can also watch together — watching is participating." Before attending your first sex party, Blue recommends reading her Play Party Etiquette book available here.

Talk to your partner before going, and figure out what your boundaries are and how to communicate your limits when you're actually at the party. Like Blue said, you don't have to go whole hog and have sex with other people to get something out of it — you and your partner can stick within your comfort zones, and then go home and make use of the sexual tension built up from the party. You may even find that the arousal lasts well beyond Valentine's Day.

"Sex parties make for great dirty talk for months to come afterward," Blue says.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Splurge on a prix fixe meal out.

If you're interested in traditional romance on Valentine's Day, but you want a date that's different than the Italian restaurant around the corner where the hostess knows you by name, consider splurging on a prix fixe meal. Many high-end restaurants offer prix fixe options on holidays, although you'll want to make reservations ahead of time.

With prix fixe menus, there are multiple courses with a only a few choices, typically in smaller portions, and all diners are asked to order the same thing. It's a delicious way to feel like royalty, and as prix fixe meals involve several courses, there's more than enough time to stare into one another's eyes. Bonus: They usually come with wine pairings and dessert.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Get out of town.

This year, Valentine's Day falls on a Wednesday, and for those of us with demanding jobs, scheduling enough time for multi-orgasm sex or multi-course meals on a weekday may simply be out of the question. But who says you have to celebrate your relationship on the actual holiday? Instead, get out of town the weekend before or after.

"Communicate and say, 'Listen, Valentine's is great, and I want to celebrate with you, but I don’t want there to be crazy pressure that we have to go out to dinner when everyone is trying to get a reservation, and everything is super expensive,'" says Madeleine Castellanos, MD, an NYC-based sex therapist and author of Wanting to Want: What Kills Your Sex Life and How to Keep It Alive.

If you have the funds, consider a weekend getaway to somewhere cozy, quiet, and remote. In my experience, less cell phone service means more sex.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Attend a comedy show.

Valentine’s Day can be stressful. The solution? Buy a pair of comedy tickets, sit back, and let a professional comedian remedy your stress with the best medicine: laughter. It might seem counterintuitive, but sometimes a lighthearted activity is the best way to show how much you love and appreciate your partner.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Celebrate with sex and pizza.

You know the old joke about how sex and pizza are alike: Even when they're bad, they're still good. Enjoy both by simply ordering a pizza and having as much sex as possible with your partner (but no need to settle for bad sex or pizza — you deserve the good stuff). Life doesn't get much better than that.
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Romance each other under the stars.

Embrace your inner space nerd with a trip to a planetarium this Valentine's Day. Most planetariums host special Valentine's Day programs, complete with wine, chocolate, and a guided tour of the universe. But if you're not super into the idea of celebrating with other people and you live in a place where you can find a secluded bit of grass away from city lights, then make you're own romance under the stars. Bring along wine, snacks, and a blanket, and spend the night picking out the constellations you know (or making up funny names for the ones you don't).
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illustrated by Tristan Offit.
Go on a food tour of your city.

Valentine's Day is on a Wednesday this year, which makes it the perfect day to play hooky from work and take your love on a food adventure. Choose your favorite food — cheese, donuts, ice cream, or whatever — and spend the day hitting up all of the best food spots in your city.

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