Valentines Day: Skip the fancy meal and go straight to the sex!
February 10th, 2011
10:01 AM ET

Valentines Day: Skip the fancy meal and go straight to the sex!

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website, GoodInBed.

I may be a sex therapist, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel the pressure of Valentine’s Day just like any other guy.  Not only do I have to be “romantic” but, like many holidays, Valentine’s Day also seems to come with a built-in requirement to spend lots of money – which is not a libido-enhancer. So this year, I’m determined to do Valentine’s Day my way: affordable, and with an emphasis on sex.

That’s not to say it won’t be intimate, but this year there will be no extravagant dinner, no flimsy lingerie that will never get worn, no expensive jewelry bought at the last minute—and no possibility of not having sex. All obstacles to sex will be removed. According to CNN, more than 40 million Americans are stuck in sexless marriages, and sometimes it seems like my own sex life is going the way of my gym membership: less frequently used as time goes by, with sessions that are hard on the knees and don’t last nearly as long as I intended.

Here’s my strategy for the big day (which, alas, just so happens to fall this year on an ever-so romantically challenged Monday):

1.      First, I’ll wake up, make the coffee, and tell my wife that I had a really sexy dream about her last night. The brain is the biggest sex organ, and after you’ve had sex with someone about a thousand times, it’s the mental stuff that really stokes the flames. There are two types of sexual arousal—physiological and mental—but too often we emphasize the former at the expense of the latter. So I’ll tell my wife I had the sexiest dream ever about her, but keep the details to myself until later, or maybe offer a few tidbits via email during the day—a little anticipation goes a long way.

2.      Before we go head off to work, I’ll give my wife a 30-second hug. Sounds like a long time, but studies have shown that hugging for 20 to 30 seconds boosts levels of oxytocin, the feel-good “cuddle hormone” that helps bring couples closer.

3.      If we speak during the day, I’ll make an effort to stay positive. Experts believe that the happiest couples have five positive interactions (like cuddling, kissing, or having upbeat conversations) for every one negative interaction (such as bickering).

4.      At lunch, I’ll stop off at the drugstore for all of my Valentine’s Day supplies. That’s right: I’m doing my Valentine’s Day shopping at Duane Reade! And I’m not just talking about condoms. These days, you don’t have to look further than your local pharmacy to stock up on sexy accessories, from personal lubricants such as Astroglide, to products like K-Y Intense, which has been shown in studies to boost female arousal, to vibrators. Your local pharmacy has come a long way, baby! But if you’re still uncomfortable taking your products to the cash register and you want to eliminate the blush factor, you can also do your buying at online stores such as Pure Romance and Babeland which offer a vast array of products and advice. While I’m doing my shopping, I’ll also pick up some cleaning products. Yup: Ajax figures heavily into my romance strategy.

5.      Once I’m home, I’ll engage in some good old back-breaking “choreplay.” This is where the Windex comes in. Sure, cleaning house hardly seems romantic, but research suggests that getting busy washing those dishes could get you lucky between the sheets: Women whose partners help out around the house report being more satisfied with their relationships—in and out of the bedroom. “Choreplay” helps women stop stressing about everything else they have to do and promotes relaxation, which research shows is necessary for women to attain orgasmic bliss.

6.      I’ll probably pick up  a light dinner from our local Japanese fave— salmon is always a good choice as when you eat for your heart you’re eating for your sex life— and save some chocolate—which is known to increase mood-boosting brain chemicals—for later.

7.      We’ll prevent digital distractions by turning off our computers, iPad, and iPhones.

8.      Before transitioning seamlessly into the bedroom, I’ll help increase that oxytocin again with lots of hand-holding and hugging, as well as make sure she gets a big whiff of my natural scent, which seems to work as a natural aphrodisiac. Studies suggest that scent is an indicator of genetic compatibility: In fact, women rate a man’s smell as the most important feature for determining whether they’re attracted to him. I’ll also pull out our favorite porn flick. (Okay, that’s a joke. My wife and I don’t watch porn together. But I do have some sexy photos of her from when we first met and I couldn’t keep my hands off of her, and a little trip down memory lane will get things going.)  Also, I’ll make sure to have a nice bottle of red wine on hand. Two glasses each is perfect—enough to lower inhibitions, without lowering those all-important physiological responses.

9.      Inside the bedroom, I’ll do my best to add some touches that turn our crow’s nest into a love-nest: some candles to set the mood, fresh flowers for aromatherapy, and some music that will help lull her into the trance-like state that is so important to female arousal.

10.  Finally, we’ll enjoy lots of fun foreplay that includes sharing that fantasy (which I will not share with you, but I bet you have plenty of your own.) If you need some help in that department, feel free to check out my book 52 Weeks of Amazing Sex, which has—you guessed it—52 different sex-scenarios. If technology is your thing, try the new iPhone app Sex Life, which has lots of fun sex suggestions, or a sexy card game Private Affair, which helps couples communicate about sex.

Looking back over this plan, I realize it might sound like a lot of work. But honestly, it’s geared to be intimate, fun, romantic, sexy, and inexpensive. And, yes, it will still get us to bed with time to enjoy some post-coital "30 Rock" on Hulu.com, wake up with a kid between us in bed, and be ready to go to work on Tuesday.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

soundoff (383 Responses)
  1. j

    WOOO! I can only hope valentines day is as good as the other night with my ex.

    February 11, 2011 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Megs

    Dude, you're not getting laid on Valentine's Day. Get real. You need to learn how to wine and dine a girl.

    February 11, 2011 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • k

      Wine and dine is as boring as it comes. That can be done anytime. Massage oil, liquor, and nice dirty mind is where the fun is at!

      February 11, 2011 at 12:41 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      Yeah. for some women all it takes is waking up and saying "Wanna f-?" And some it takes years and lots of wining and dining. Problem is it's not always easy to tell which way to go when you first meet them.

      February 11, 2011 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
    • k

      That's why you be friends first and figure each other out. Too hard is just as bad as too easy. Anyone who has to be chased for years probably isn't worth it, just as someone who drops their pants at a snap isn't worth catching something from.

      February 11, 2011 at 12:58 | Report abuse |
  3. Adam

    Does this guy have kids? I get the impression they are childless or have a well-paid sitter to take care of the children. Must be nice.

    February 11, 2011 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeff

      Just say no to kids.

      February 11, 2011 at 12:45 | Report abuse |


      February 11, 2011 at 13:09 | Report abuse |
  4. Linton Dawson

    Another useless article on CNN.......

    February 11, 2011 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. DC

    Sarah I want you now.

    February 11, 2011 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Marco555

    V-Day is when you do crazy things like driving to White Castle and suddenly flying off down some dirt road to do it with the wife while she laughs hysterically. Recapture a little of the early days and let her know you still remember.

    February 11, 2011 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Frank

    # 11. Send wife out for a six pack, packe of smokes, and some beef jerky

    February 11, 2011 at 12:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Wayne Hooshlack

    Pay a professional, nest!

    February 11, 2011 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Rob

    Lonely day for you, you just spilled the beans! Now she's on to your tactics mister. Unless your wife doesn't read??

    February 11, 2011 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Claxton

    Many people don't know this – and apparently no one has told Hallmark or Hershey's – but St. Valentine's Day has actually been abolished. The Roman Catholic Church got rid of the feast day for St. Valentine in 1969 because no one knew exactly what either of the three Christian martyrs named Valentine did to deserve the honor. February 14 is, however, the feast day for St Cyril and St Methodius, two brothers and Christian missionaries who developed the Cyrillic alphabet.

    And for the record, my wife has bought me roses on St. Valentine's Day on several occasions over the years. She's actually bought flowers more often for me than I have for her, and that's during the course of a relationship that has lasted almost 14 years. We enjoy doing things for each other throughout the year, so there's none of this end-all be-all silliness that many folks get trapped in.

    February 11, 2011 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. CJ

    For valentines day I like to cut the duct tape off of her feet so she can enjoy a day of walking around the basement dungeon untethered. Then I give her a single candy heart and when I find out she didn't get me anything I yell bible verses at her and eat the candy heart myself. Then I leave, turn off the light and lock the iron door.


    February 11, 2011 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CJ

      Seriously tho? Valenties day is seriously insane. Shouldn't every day pretty much be what valentines day is supposed to be? We need one day designated FOR us to show our significant other that we love them? Lame.

      February 11, 2011 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    I thought i was on CNN not people magaziine...journalism whats that ? doesnt sem to exist anymore, at least not in the usa..

    February 11, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. James

    Ok here is my plan for getting some this weekend.......wine.....candy is dandy but liquor (ok wine is nto liquor) is quicker.....

    February 11, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Sarducar

    Adding Valentine may be a good idea...just saying..

    February 11, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Dave

    Nothing like a day of passive aggressive spousal manipulation to get those juices flowing!

    February 11, 2011 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • HEANN

      Whatever it takes to deliver my pearl necklace

      February 11, 2011 at 15:41 | Report abuse |
  16. Saxxon

    I see 2 things happening after this article:

    1) You're not getting any. Your old lady is expecting something big and expensive, and since she's not getting any, neither are you.

    2) A bunch of guys are going to follow this article step by step, and then they won't get any for the same reason as you. Now, you're going to have a bunch of guys looking for you to beat you up, because they followed your plan and missed out.

    February 11, 2011 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • CJ Topspin

      Hahahah...exactly. Because either you CAN get laid or you CANT. What you do on valentines day has nothing to do with it. If you are a mousy little dweeb and you pull up in an Enzo...there is a chance you are going to get laid. If you are an alpha male looking stud and made sure you picked an emotional cripple hot chick with the random tats...you are going to get laid.

      Valenties day is just a Fail contest where men are the unwitting contestants and women are the brutal judges.

      February 11, 2011 at 13:22 | Report abuse |
  17. Bephuddled

    Thanks Ian. You're surely my favorite read on the internet!

    February 11, 2011 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Tom, Long Beach, California

    well lets see, we men already have a percetionary penchant for a one track mind and while this plan is not unique, putting it in print just screwed it up for everyone.....get your pants back iAN

    February 11, 2011 at 13:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Tom, Long Beach, California


    February 11, 2011 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. mexican1008

    I'll have to agree and disagree with you all fine and not so fine ppl.. I will be having a great valentines day with my girls this weekend, you all better belive it..period...and don't even think about changing the subject..Thanks

    February 11, 2011 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Chris

    This article reads like it was written by Pepe' Le Pew

    February 11, 2011 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Noel

    THANK YOU for this article. How do we get every guy in America to read it? As a girl, all I really care about are the small things, and you are spot on about everything you wrote! The expensive flowers die, and the jewelry goes out of style in a week. It's the thought a man puts into a day or night that makes it special. It's the little things that count! And you explained why I love long hugs so much!

    February 11, 2011 at 13:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Nathan P.

    I wish I were that woman 😉

    February 11, 2011 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DrFood

      Which one? I see two.

      February 11, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse |
  24. KaiserHSoze

    Great advice for overcoming the pitfalls of a long term relationship. These suggestions also clearly illustrate the inner workings of a woman's mind in terms of the issues that cause her to be unhappy. With that said, this plan does seem a little manipulative, but getting laid is getting laid.

    February 11, 2011 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. jonas

    this guy must have roofied tons of chicks growing up

    February 11, 2011 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Vera

    Don't forget to exercise to reduce your risk of cancer!

    February 11, 2011 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DrFood

      Bouncy time is pretty poor exercise actually.

      February 11, 2011 at 14:02 | Report abuse |
  27. G

    Nice ideas but obviously there was no references on what to do with the kids. Oh yeah, a good number of us have kids. Good luck getting a baby sitter on Tuesday night, especially when it's your inlaws anniversary.

    February 11, 2011 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • HEANN

      If they are over the age of 5 leave the worthless things outside for a hour. If they are younger tell them to go to their room and stfu for an hour.

      February 11, 2011 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
    • humanzee

      What the hay - I say let 'em watch. They'll probably be fairly clueless anyway.

      But, oh the questions - just be prepared for the questions!!


      February 11, 2011 at 21:57 | Report abuse |
  28. johnnie

    I like to just slide in the old sausage first thing in the AM; -)

    February 11, 2011 at 13:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DrFood

      My shwingshwong is usually pretty rigid in the morning too.

      February 11, 2011 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
  29. Jeff

    I was looking for advice of what to do with my wife for V-day . . . but I'm so hot for this man right now . . . omg.

    February 11, 2011 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Com'on

    I find this article, well laughable! If your husband doesnt already help around the house and hug, kiss, and cuddle daily then I feel sorry for you! Hahaha...my husband doesn't have to wait til V-day to do this...he does this daily. Marriage is a partnership so splitting chores is a given..atleast I think so. Hooking up regularly is a given too, and we have 5 kids! Just wait til they go to bed and light the night up:)

    February 11, 2011 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. jake in texas

    hey sarah just came to my apartment asking for sugar in packets, and im like yea just have a seat, there on my couch, it has poopoo on it, so sit over on the chair, cool, so sugar huh what are you making over at you place sarah?? sugar plums with whipped cream and a cherry?? she said NO! im making iced tea!!!!!(in a very angry but monotone voice)

    she creeped me out and im wondering if sarah stayed in town from after the super bowl, theres all these yankees and tards that drive 50 in the left lane going down the highway. so sarah in texas, i dont think you are from texas cause, here in the best state, we know how to do 70 when we are in the left lane, and we know how to fuk

    February 11, 2011 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mudkip919

      Your sister?

      February 11, 2011 at 15:19 | Report abuse |
  32. DrFood

    *squeak! squeak! rubrubrub!*

    I made a clean spot honey. Could you go and put on the hotdog bun costume now?

    February 11, 2011 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Caloy

    This guy seems to rely on all the experts before making a move. Sooo glad I was born Italian!!

    February 11, 2011 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • HEANN

      What does a big nose have to do with anything? 😛
      sorry, just kidding

      February 11, 2011 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
  34. Michael

    After reading this article I'm thanking the good Lord I'm gay.

    February 11, 2011 at 14:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jake in texas

      Oh yea, thats right... its cool to eat corny poopoo logs fresh from the hairy butt-hole where you have you face buried.
      You should be thanking Satan for the nice spot he has for you in hell

      February 11, 2011 at 14:16 | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Jake In Texas is having trouble with the English language. Can some one help him express his thoughts?

      February 11, 2011 at 14:27 | Report abuse |
    • My Response

      I'm not sure anyone can help Jake. Also interesting, he seems to be better at being gay that you are.

      February 11, 2011 at 15:53 | Report abuse |
    • MJC

      Jake, you are an idiot. I think that says it best.

      February 11, 2011 at 16:34 | Report abuse |
  35. Lynn

    Ian – you forgot to mention Zestra which is proven to help the femail libido which KY etc...do not! Pick some of that up and other parts of your fantasy may not be necessary 🙂

    February 11, 2011 at 14:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Brooklyn4Ever

    Wow! What thought. I l ve it all except the Ajax stuff. Sounds like a truly pre-meditated plan. Hope they have lots and llots of fun!!

    February 11, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Drew

    Why is that almost every advice columnist tells you what you should do for the woman on Valentine's Day but few if any say what the woman can do for the man.It seems most often to be all one way. Perhapse most men just don't care really about the day but are trained to go through the motions or face the emotional consequences.

    February 11, 2011 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Antisocialite

      Dude...just get drunk. It's way easier.

      February 11, 2011 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
  38. sarah

    am i the only one thats entirely offended by an article that says hes essentially just trying to get laid. and wont even spring for dinner. i mean a 30 second hug wont do anything but irritate me.

    February 11, 2011 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. katie

    I think I'm going to barf...

    February 11, 2011 at 15:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Dan

    Want to enjoy yourself that day? Go out without her and find a one night stand...

    February 11, 2011 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • HEANN

      MMMMMMM some strange goes a long way

      February 11, 2011 at 15:33 | Report abuse |
  41. Mudkip919

    He doesn't mention that KY is really for buttsechs, the cornerstone of any romantic evening and something I will be enjoying with my wife this Valentines Day.

    February 11, 2011 at 15:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • k

      KY doesn't just have lubricants, but also body rubs. Some nice ones too.

      February 11, 2011 at 15:30 | Report abuse |
  42. Mike

    I tried following Dr. Gupta's advice, but all I got was a restraining order.

    February 11, 2011 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Mudkip919

    This actually reads just like an Onion article. Like something Smoove B would pen. It kind of makes me cringe that this is supposed to be serious.

    February 11, 2011 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. ed

    May everyone have a happy St. Valentines Day, just be careful on STDs.

    February 11, 2011 at 15:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. HEANN

    Im looking to tag some angry spiders this Valentines Day

    February 11, 2011 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. jay

    yeah good luck it probably wont work.

    February 11, 2011 at 15:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Me

    Thats a lot of steps to get some. Sure, cleaning helps but I guess only if you do it once a year. It doesnt get appreciated as much when you always help with the household, so I'm out on that.

    All in all... I'll go to work, come home... help fixing dinner, add some candles... have some dessert... sit on the couch for a bit watching a movie or something and start messing around. A good bit of tickling and some careful wrestling should do the trick. After that it'll be fun as usual. v-day really is just another day...

    February 11, 2011 at 15:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. I WISH!

    Hmm, all of that and he's guaranteeing that he'll be "getting some?" Lucky guy. I know some women who will take all of that attention as if he is being fun and nice and still not allow the guy to close the deal.

    February 11, 2011 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Another prude

    What a bunch of idiots.

    February 11, 2011 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mel

      "Listen to how cool I am! I can go online and write about all the booty I'm getting and how I'm gonna get it." Sounds like a bunch of losers I knew in high school who were desperate for validation.

      February 11, 2011 at 16:54 | Report abuse |
  50. Clarissa Porche

    I agree with Mindlayr...and I am originally from Texas. LOL

    February 11, 2011 at 16:03 | Report abuse | Reply
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