I’ve never celebrated Valentine’s Day. I hated how cheesy movies usually depict it, although my inability to keep a relationship for more than a few months may actually have been the real reason. But this is 2020, and I’m in a (somewhat) healthy relationship, so why not try to catch up on all those previous disgustingly romantic dinners and create the perfect Valentine’s date?
Since listing all the best restaurants to have dinner in London would be boring, I’ve decided to look at Google Trends’ most searched terms linked to Valentine’s Day 2020. I wanted to see what people actually search for when preparing a lovey-dovey meal for their partner, casual hook-up, friends.
In the UK, I discovered that what romantics googled the most was ‘Marks & Spencer’s Valentine’s Day’ meal deals. The truth is, once I realised that this was how this piece was going to turn out, I almost gave it up. But who was I to turn my nose up at a good ol’ M&S meal deal? After a few minutes of scrolling down the website and checking how much I would have to spend on each offer, I saw the perfect opportunity, the one that changed my mind—the love sausage.
Upon reflection, I still can’t tell you why the love sausage was the last push I needed. I’ve been a vegetarian for quite a while, therefore that “bacon-wrapped British pork sausage with a hint of truffle” was not going to be “the star of [my] breakfast in bed,” and it definitely was not going to “set pulses racing.” It just looked funny, and even though it didn’t end up on my menu that night, it pushed me to go to M&S and take a selfie with the infamous love sausage.
On the website, I also saw the ‘Nuts about you’ cheesecake, which I decided not to buy later on. By now, you must be wondering if I even bought anything at Marks & Spencer, or if this is just an excuse for me to ramble about sausages and nuts, and you would be right, I didn’t buy anything at M&S. The thought of eating a meal deal for my first proper Valentine’s dinner made the experience ten times worse.
So I decided to put my main focus on another country. Forgetting about the UK for a moment, I headed over to the US. For Americans, the most searched term was ‘Starbucks Valentine’s Day mug’. I’ll be honest straight away, I did not get a mug, either. The simple fact that there are no Starbucks near my house—only two Costas in a row—discouraged me in one Google search.
That’s when it hit me, creating the perfect Valentine’s dinner date was not about planning this elaborate evening—perfection is subjective. I spent my evening eating broccoli soup (that I didn’t make, should I add) with fancy bread and that was enough. News flash everybody: the perfect Valentine’s dinner date does not exist, or at least it varies depending on the relationship.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), this year, spending on Valentine’s Day is taking off, with up to $196.31 spent per lover this year. That’s up 21 per cent from last year. And this makes me wonder, do any of these people live in London? Spending a whole week of my rent on whoever I’m dating feels like a bit of a stretch. So, yes, I boycotted the M&S love sausage and didn’t bother to leave the comfort of Dalston to find a Starbucks and the perfect Valentine’s Day special edition mug, but the main thing is that I tried. I did my research, gave you the best options—I just failed to put them into practice.
Hopefully, this failed attempt at creating the perfect V-Day dinner date will be a lesson for each and every one of us. My last piece of advice? Whether you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, don’t stress it. Treat yourself. And ignore Google Trends.
“Love is a losing game” sang Amy Winehouse in 2006.
Whether your sentimental status is currently on the same page as her anguishing words or not, you must feel it coming too—the dreadful Valentine’s Day. And if love is a losing game, Valentine’s Day is, without a doubt, the lamest one ever. The festivity has the reputation of being a materialistic celebration of monogamous and heterosexual traditional couples, and fairly so. In other words, Valentine’s Day is the feast of love’s many stereotypes, not Saint Valentine’s Feast.
In order to break free from Valentine’s Day traditional outcomes and survive this heart-shaped day that feels like a week for most of us, I shortlisted five sex tech products that will improve your love life, whether you’re coupled-up, single, or somewhere in between. Each of these products and devices will not only make your sex life and relationships more festive, but these might even open up your spectrum of pleasure by breaking the boundaries and taboos surrounding it and by empowering you to feel more comfortable with your sexuality. Okay, I’ll stop teasing you now, here we go.
1. The Osé, and all things Lora DiCarlo
This is a fundamental one, and not only because it was the sex tech company’s first device, but because it is amazing. Osé uses micro-robotics inspired by human movements to give its users a full-bodied climax. How? By aiming for both clitoral and G-spot orgasms simultaneously. The award-winning robotic massager designed for hands-free orgasms made the headlines in 2019 after getting banned from CES.
Shortly after that, DiCarlo’s founder Lora Haddock DiCarlo fought the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and rewrote the rules to create a safer and more inclusive environment at CES. This gave sex tech the space and recognition it deserves. This year, Lora DiCarlo introduced its two additional devices at CES 2020: the Baci, a “microrobotic pleasure device that simulates the feel and motion of the human lips and tongue,” and the Onda, a product which replicates the movements of human fingers.
So even if the Osé isn’t for you, don’t stress, Lora DiCarlo has plenty of other high-end choices.
2. OMGYes subscription
Not all sex tech comes in the shape of a vibrator. For those who are interested in discovering more about sexual pleasure, female orgasm, or just to expand their sex and body education, OMGyes is the right platform for you. This website merges academic research with catchy insights on the universe of sexuality, providing subscribers with two seasons of episodes covering new innovative investigations presented through engaging videos.
Because, at the end of the day, pleasure is all about knowing your body.
3. The Lioness
The Lioness is that one product that blurs the line between sex tech and digital health. By using AI and data visualisation, this vibrator delivers way more than just orgasms: it provides users with all the information required to know more about their orgasm’s patterns. The Lioness’ sensors track pressure, tension and temperature and lets users access the information via the app that comes with it. Charts will show repetitive patterns, forwarding the understanding of female sexual pleasure through data-based technology.
4. Interactive sex toys
For those who are in a long-distance relationship, I haven’t forgotten about you. Interactive sex toys could help you bridge the geographical gap. Regardless of the distance, many of Lovense’s products allow couples to have long-distance sex by connecting both sex toys via Bluetooth. Once the partners are both online and active on the app, one of the two can send a notification to start the session.
The toys respond to the person’s movements and send feedback to their partner. This way, one has the impression of feeling the other person’s touch from a distance (the whole practice can be accompanied by a video call or texts). In case of privacy concerns: all data that passes through Lovense’ servers are fully encrypted, so go for it.
5. XConfessions subscription
Everyone loves PornHub and its genius marketing strategy, but if this year’s Valentine’s Day is about expanding your understanding of sex and relationships, it might be good to subscribe to alternative film platforms too––you know, for research.
Famous director and producer in the porn industry Erika Lust started XConfessions in 2013 as an online space for people to share their sexual confessions, but over the years, it has grown into a global community of like-minded people seeking inclusive and varied erotica film.
Today, the website has organically grown into a platform where filmmakers, performers, and artists turn people’s sexual confessions into explicit short movies. If someone’s anonymous confession is picked to be turned into a film, the person gets rewarded with a free access pass to the site. XConfessions is a creative way of exploring pornography while keeping this gigantic industry challenged and diverse.
Based on this list, it looks like love doesn’t have to be a losing game after all.