How to Heat Things Up in the Bedroom on Valentine’s Day

Cape Town’s most famous sexologist reveals the keys to spicing up a shag on Cupid’s birthday

Valentine’s Day. The glass-half-full types like to think of it as the most important day of the year for lovers. The glass-half-empty types would argue that it’s a holiday that feels as uninspired as a Hallmark greeting card written by an overworked call centre agent.

Regardless of whether you love it or love to hate it, one thing seems to be true: the 14th of February is becoming less about roses and romance and more about sex. In 2013, the American company GoodinBed.com polled 2000 people and found that 85% of men and women considered sex to be the centrepiece of their Valentine’s Day plans – not candlelit dinners or expensive gifts. And while the research integrity of a site that has a vested interest in ‘revolutionising people’s lives in the sack’ may be questionable, what we can get behind is the idea that it feels somewhat obligatory to get it on under the sigil of Cupid’s cocked bow.

More so than on any other day, there’s a certain amount of pressure to ‘be carnal’, as one not-so-famous literary character put it. And while there’s not a dearth of advice in the sex department – be naughty, be nice, wear sexy lingerie, buy her diamonds, have a threesome, make his fantasies come true, tie her up – the fact is, everyone’s relationship is different.

So we consulted Cape Town’s foremost sexpert, Dr Eve (she also happens to be an internationally accredited couple and sex therapist), to get the skinny on a few more realistic approaches to heating things up in the bedroom on Valentine’s Day.

CapeTownMagazine.com: How does the idea of sexpectation on Valentine’s Day play into the overall experience?

Dr Eve: There is definitely a huge amount of pressure placed on couples sexually. For one, there’s the expectation that something out of the ordinary is supposed to happen, like first-time sex or a proposal of some sort. Otherwise, there’s often the expectation of some sort of pay-off. If one partner takes the other out for dinner or spends a lot of money on an expensive gift, there’s this belief that they’re due a great shag afterwards.  

CapeTownMagazine.com : Okay, so are great sexpectations a bad thing?

Dr Eve: Certainly not all the time. They can make Valentine’s Day really hot. There’s a certain permissiveness to push boundaries on the day.

CapeTownMagazine.com: Right. Following on from that, we saw that GoodinBed.com also found that people were more likely to try something new sexually on Valentine’s Day. If someone IS looking to spice up the old routine, how would you recommend they go about negotiating it?

Dr Eve: Trying something new can be an incredibly difficult thing to approach. It demands a certain level of communication, and in my experience, one of the biggest problems that couples have is that they don’t talk: before, during or after sex. There’s no conversation at all.

CapeTownMagazine.com: Okay, but why is communication such a crucial part of experimenting?

Dr Eve: Aside from the fact that not talking might mean you never find out what your other half is fantasising about, communication is important because you need to make your partner feel safe if you’re introducing something new. You need to check in with them.

CapeTownMagazine.com: And if you have the communication thing down, what else is important?

Dr Eve: Be confident. If you want to bring in a toy, try it before on your own  – get comfortable with it. Confidence is a huge turn-on, and at the end of the day, your partner takes cues from you. Getting embarrassed about your idea or making excuses about why you want to try some spanking or bondage or whatever is not going to go over well.

CapeTownMagazine.com: What if you really want to get into something seriously kinky, but you’re too shy to bring it up?

Dr Eve: If you really want something that your partner’s not doing, keep in mind teachable moments. Have a relevant article, porn, a toy or some erotic literature by the bed. Find some way to trigger a conversation about what you want.

CapeTownMagazine.com: Let’s shift gears a bit. Apart from trying something new, how else can you heat things up on Valentine’s Day?

Dr Eve: It’s the elements of surprise and fun that make people excited. Anything predictable is not going to heat things up. Get creative. Start sexting or send a sexy selfie. Message your partner a picture of your crotch. Just get involved early in the day, so by the time evening comes, you’ve really got something going.

CapeTownMagazine.com: What else? Give us more!

Dr Eve: It’s all about sensuality – the stimulation of the five senses. You want to create a space that makes you feel alive, awakened. Get some aromatic oils, screw in a red light bulb to give the bedroom a different sort of feel or put on some sexy music – I don’t know how anyone has sex without music. Light some candles and throw a scarf over a lamp. It can be simple, small. You don’t have to break the bank and buy a piece of jewellery or spend a lot of cash on an expensive dinner.

CapeTownMagazine.com: Speaking of which, what could you buy for the bedroom that wouldn’t burn a hole in your pocket?

Dr Eve: Lube. Or just anything that’s outside of what you normally do. At my shop we even sell one-size-fits-all lingerie for between R200 and R300.

CapeTownMagazine.com: And if you do really want to spoil your partner?

Dr Eve: Promise to do the same thing the next day. You don’t want to set yourself up for something that’s not sustainable.

CapeTownMagazine.com: What about those couples who’ve been together since the birth of carbon dating? What Valentine’s Day bedroom advice do you have for the long-term lovers?

Dr Eve: If you’re in a long-term relationship, you lose the art of courtship. Everybody longs for those initial stages. A very cool thing to do is to take out your memory box or sift through old photos. Go back to the first time you kissed, reminisce about the first time you saw each other. That gets people very excited. Forget about all the challenges you’ve faced over the years, take that stress away and return to where it all started. Try to remember why you liked each other in the first place. It’s so important to do that.

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Dr Eve runs a private couple and sex therapy practice out of her Sea Point office, and she also owns and operates an adult store in the same space (there’s also an online store). She currently lectures part-time at the University of Cape Town’s medical school and leads a regular segment about sexual improvement and bridging partner divides on Redi Tlhabi’s show on Radio 702/Cape Talk.
Sexual Health Center | 504 The Equinox | 154 Main Road | Sea Point | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 439 4004

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Wondering where you can woo your partner before you get it on? Check out our overview of Cape Town’s best Valentine’s Day dinner spots.

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