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Lori Bryant Woolridge Headshot

Valentine's Day Call to Women: Take February 14th Back!

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Valentine's Day is a lot more pressure-packed than most women care to admit. If you're single and dateless, it can be yet another depressing reminder that you're alone. If you're taken or married and have been for years, monotony raises its ugly head, and the pressure to take the old and make it new and sexy and exciting can be intimidating. Then there's the age-old worry about the 'gift' and what it says about the state of your relationship.

Like I said, way too much pressure. Married or single, it's time to take ownership of Cupid's little holiday and get that winged baby off your back.

For Single Women:

So single ladies ... this first part's for you. Celebrating the lover in you is just as important, just as legitimate, and can be just as enticing as celebrating the lover next to you. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Stop Hatin' Others
This applies to friends who have lovers, your ex who dropped you via email right after New Years, all the employees of Hallmark, Whitman Candies and 1-800-flowers combined and most importantly YOURSELF for feeling like less of a woman because some florist association decided to pick February 14th as the one day of the year to cash in, and then picked a fat baby with wings and a bow and arrow as it's mascot, all without taking into consideration how women without significant others might feel. (Okay, I don't know the above to be fact, but it sure feels that way and seems like a perfectly legitimate explanation.)

2. Start Lovin' Yourself
Treat yourself to five star lover treatment. Get up in the morning and put on your sexiest undies and most flattering outfit. Get your hair done and make sure your makeup is flawless. Feel good about the lover in you all day. That evening, pull out all your treats from your sensual trick bag -- the candles, champagne, the rose petal bath -- and let the one person you tell you love the least know that you love her the most. Make special plans for yourself, complete with a gift, just as you would give something to the great love of your life. Because after all, aren't you? If not, you should be.

3. Start Spreadin' The Love
You've heard the sayings: "You get back what you give," "What goes around, comes around." "Energy attracts like energy." Let your Valentine's Day gift to others be a genuine smile and kind word to everyone you meet. Not only will you feel happier and great about yourself, you'll feel the love returned.

The true tragedy surrounding this holiday of hearts is that it forces you to pour all of your attention and energy into one day when every day (or at least every other Tuesday) should be a holiday about sharing your heart and body with someone you love -- especially when that someone is you.

For Attached Women:

Valentine's Day can feel pressure-packed with the need to perform or even out perform past celebrations. The problem I always had was that just because the calendar said I was supposed to feel warm and loving and super sexy on said day, my mind and body didn't always cooperate. The reasons ranged from PMS (premenstrual syndrome) to LOF (lack of finances) to IYCPUYDWSISYM (If you can't pick up your drawers, why should I show you mine?). And even when the stars aligned and I was feeling loving and wanting to show that desire, time and kids were always an issue. So here are my top five tips to help you take the pressure off and get your passion on.

1. Don't Be Tied To The Calendar
Plan for a time when your evening can be successful. Let an amazing invitation be your gift on Feb. 14 for an evening yet to come -- one that falls on a more convenient day for both of you. You can do this finding or making a handmade invitation that creates anticipation and sets the mood for what's to come. Make sure the delivery is just as special!

2. Plan A Sexy Evening Showcasing The Sensual You
In other words, make this a night about your pleasure. I know this sounds selfish, but it's really not. I'm in no way suggesting that you don't incorporate his needs and desires into the evening, but as I always say, first seduce yourself and let him be an afterthought. Believe me this is one time a man is happy with the crumbs! He will happily reap the benefit of your arousal.

3. Pick A Theme
If you've ever given a kid's birthday party, you already recognize how much easier the planning becomes when you pick a theme and let everything -- from invitation to menu to throughout the day reminders -- revolve around it. Some theme ideas include: Champagne and Pearls; Passion Picnic; Bubbles and Blindfolds. See, already your mind is churning with the possibilities. And they don't have to be that grandiose either. Dinner and a Movie works just fine too. The key to success here is to make sure that the mood, presentation and mind-set are all tailored to fit you and your lover's sensibilities.

4. ... But Don't Recreate The Wheel
Our perceived lack of creativity (or lack of time and money) often stops us from doing a lot of things we'd like to do. Don't feel the need to recreate the wheel. Use someone else's creative ideas to fuel your own. For example: Take a book like "101 Grrreat Nights," then tear a suggested seduction out of the book and give it to your partner. Make it your own by picking a scenario that appeals to you, adding your personal twist to it and re-writing it by hand. Now it's cute and personal and it's become your idea not some author's. Plus you still get 1000 extra points for effort. So whether sentiment or sustenance, make your own sensual pie out of someone else's apples.

5. Give Gifts From The Heart
Gift giving can be tricky largely because Valentine's Day falls so soon after Christmas (and the Christmas bills) and because the holiday-related stuff in the stores can be really corny. I'd like to suggest you give a gift that keeps on giving and works on your relationship all year, not just this special day. A weekly make out session (sex not included!) Quarterly overnight pajama parties (kids not included). A bi-annual love connection sexcation (definitely no kids). Presents from the heart that have meaning and work towards lasting love and intimacy are the most romantic gifts of all.

So whether you are single or in a relationship, it's time to take February 14th back. Celebrate the beauty of love in your own way, on your own terms. Make Valentines Day, YOUR day!