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The One Trick to Feeling Closer and Avoiding Disappointment on Valentine’s Day

If you’re planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a partner, you may have thoughtful cards, expensive restaurant reservations or jewelry on the brain. But here’s something else to put at the tippy-top of your V-Day to-do list: having sex. And not just going through the motions or making sure to get ‘er done before passing out after a decadent meal — but making time to do it before you go out (or stay in) and celebrate.

The “fuck first” rule, originally coined by relationship guru and podcaster Dan Savage (to my knowledge), may sound basic, but it has some benefits you may not have considered. Beyond being a smart logistical move — you’ll have enough energy for a solid romp and avoid restaurant crowds with a later dinner reservation — it can bring you closer emotionally too.

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“Generally speaking, people have a lot of disappointment about Valentine’s Day,” says loveologist and sex educator Wendy Strgar, author of Love That Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy . “You think you’ll get a gift or a card that makes you feel appreciated or validated in a way that your relationship, maybe, hasn’t been able to do on an everyday basis. It’s pretty much a recipe for disappointment.”

Connecting physically before doing anything else on a romantic holiday or anniversary can help dispel some of the tension and sky-high expectations that some partners have, making both people able to enjoy each other more organically. “It’s a way to clear the air and be really present on your date,” says Strgar. “You know how if you have sex when you’re in a fight and it suddenly becomes a lot easier to talk about tough issues right afterward? Sex helps us immediately accept the other person as they are and the relationship as it is.”

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It can also level the playing field regarding sexual expectations. “Men and women have opposite emotional and sexual mechanisms,” says Strgar. “Biologically, women generally need to feel emotionally connected in order to be turned on by their partners, whereas men need to have sex in order to get that feeling of emotional closeness.” Whether you’re in a relationship with a man or a woman, taking responsibility for your sexuality, your needs and what you need to get off is empowering and healthy. It’s something you should be doing regularly, but especially on a day that’s focused on love and relationships.

It sounds simple, but tweaking your plans to prioritize getting some action first on Valentine’s Day could be the difference between a meh, unmemorable holiday and one that helps you and your S.O. connect deeply and authentically — and have some fun while you’re at it.

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