Valentine’s Day…some of you may think it sucks, some of you may be single and find it triggering, some of you may absolutely adore it but just can’t think of anything to do, that’s as romantic as sharing a few bottles of wine. And then there’s those of you who have just started dating or thinking about dating again but are finding the whole sober-dating/sex thing too overwhelming. If you’ve recently started moderating your alcohol intake, then this may also be a time that you slip up and break some of your own rules.
Firstly, it’s important to remember that the glamorous cocktail bar scene, the sexy champagne-accompanied hot-tub scene, or even the romantic night-in-front-of-the-TV-with-wine scene that you have in your head right now is all smoke and mirrors – with a pinch of marketing and a dash of truth-bending memory. Eating good food in a great restaurant is just as delicious without alcohol, your friends are just as fun without alcohol, spending quality time with your partner is just as fulfilling without alcohol and yep…sex is even BETTER without alcohol. To top it off, you’ll get all of the good Valentine’s stuff without feeling like hammered s*&t the following day.
Single & sick of it?
You might be single and not give a damn about Valentine’s, or you could find that the whole affair provokes negative feelings, or you find it triggering, meaning it’s the time you’re most likely to reach for the bottle and drown your sorrows. If the latter sounds more like you, then this is the time to look after yourself and give yourself a little TLC. Stay home and avoid the smooching couples and hand-holding, either by yourself or with your children/mates/family, eat your absolute favourite food, run yourself a bath, watch something awesome, or fix something, create something – making sure you stock up on nice booze-free drinks to help ride the wave. Indulge yourself in your favourite things, knowing that tomorrow you won’t be nursing a hangover with a bucket of fried chicken and a litre of full-fat Coke. If you’re not one for staying in, then find a good bar for mindful drinkers and meet your mates, or sign up to an exercise class, meditation session, grab a buddy and get out for a long evening walk, or try one of these great booze-free anti-Valentines activities:
- Join Design My Night and Time Run for Anti-Valentine’s escape room experience
- Immerse yourself in hedonistic pleasure at The Vault Festival’s Bleeding Heart Ball – there will be alcohol around but your senses will be so overloaded that you won’t even think about it.
- Zizzi St Giles is banning couples on Valentine’s night, in partnership with Tastebuds.fm with live music and canapes – so book yourself a place and just ignore the Prosecco and go for one of their zero-proof cocktails instead!
Want to get jiggy without feeling squiffy?
For those of you who are in a relationship and would usually associate your Valentine’s night with alcohol, then try writing a list of the things that you both really like to do, or eat, then compare your lists and pick one that’s the most similar – or compromise and pick two – making that your Valentine’s plan. Get a pedicure together, go for a hike, go bowling, take a pottery class, book a spa, order the largest pizza you can find or just switch off your phones and go to bed with some alcohol-free fizz. If your partner would like to drink, then that’s OK – just ask them to be supportive and respectful, and remind them that you not drinking won’t change their night.
If you’re staying in, then make the most of Tesco’s Valentine’s Day offers including their alcohol-free options. But if you’d like to do something a little different then try one of these options out for size:
- Go on a coffee crawl. If you’re both into coffee and neither of you has heart problems, compile a map of your favourite coffee places and take yourselves on a coffee crawl – it’ll also guarantee that you’ll both be up all night.
- If you’re feeling extravagant then book a table at Sketch London for a fine-dining experience or afternoon tea, both accompanied by incredible alcohol-free cocktails or booze-free bubbles.
- Try a class together such as this Yo! Sushi, Sushi making workshop for couples.
- Go and play some mini golf at Swingers or Junkyard.
- Inamo restaurant not only has fantastic food, they also have great alcohol-free cocktails AND the tables are interactive – so you can order your food without speaking to anyone and play battleships with your other half while you’re waiting.
If you’re in the very early days of a relationship or are going on a new date for Valentine’s, then many of the above options should work for you, to ensure a comfortable ice-breaker of a night. Then there’s the part that so many people dread…the sober sex. It’s not until you give up drinking for a bit, whether it’s one month, one year or longer term, that you realise that you haven’t actually had very many, or any, first-time sexual encounters whilst being stone-cold sober. That alone can be a scary prospect, so when it comes to actually taking the plunge, what can you do to shake off any nerves now that there’s no booze-bravery to hide behind? Well, we can’t fix this completely for you, because it’s only after you’ve absolutely rocked someone’s world, and your own, whilst being sober as a judge, that you’ll start to believe in yourself.
Having said that, we’ve put together a couple of tips to help you out:
- Try masturbating before the date. Yep, you heard right! But why? Some of us, both men and women, may already be sexually confident with a high sex drive, whether we’re sober or not, so this is just a nice way to start the day and warm you up for later – and it’s also quite meditative. But for others, finding your sexual-self when sober can be tricky, as alcohol can provide a falsely inflated sense of hedonism and confidence, so you may not even be that sure of what you like anymore. Starting all over again, owning your body and learning these things about yourself is an important part of the journey and we’ll often feel more confident post-orgasm. It could help reduce the underlying sexual-anticipation throughout the date, too. Men: Try to avoid any Ben Stiller-style mishaps.
- Wear something that makes you feel good underneath your outfit. Sounds obvious but it works – and it doesn’t have to be full-blown sexy gear, it could just be your favourite flattering pants or boxer shorts. Failing that, go commando. Guys this is applicable to you too!
- In terms of outer clothing – if you really are nervous, then you’ll want to avoid anything that’s going to be super awkward to take off later. Think down to the smallest details: sharp jewellery, too many buttons, lace-up boots, super tight clothing.
- Check in with your partner. Firstly, make sure you’re both fully up for it before anyone makes a move. Then once the foreplay has commenced, communicate with each other to find out what you both like – this is key to you both having a good time.
The EXTRA good news is, you won’t have to wake up to someone you’re not attracted to and wonder how the hell it happened…or even what actually happened. Did you even have sex? Did you say or do anything embarrassing? As long as you’re both attracted to one another, even just sexually, the rest of your Valentine’s night and following morning should be golden.
If you’re thinking of doing a sober sprint, would like to cut down your drinking, stop for a while or quit completely – you can sign up to our FREE mailing list for advice, inspiration, events information and more. You can also join our private Facebook group to access our webinars live and to share stories, advice and support with like-minded people on different stages of their journeys. Want to keep socialising but not sure which places are good for alcohol-free drink choices? Head to our Club Soda pub guide where we list the best places for mindful drinkers.