Ashley Kelsch: Start a New & Sensual Way of Life on Valentine’s Day
“Let’s feature affection, intimacy, self-love, love, spoiling – all those pleasures – throughout the year”
By Ashley Kelsch
Ashley Kelsch is Austin’s top certified, professional dating and relationship coach and former owner of Teddies for Betty’s, the lingerie boutique on 2nd Street that she ran for a decade. She offers one-on-one life-coaching programs to help clients acknowledge and understand limiting beliefs, to set boundaries and to learn how to change mindsets so they can get what they want in their romantic lives and feel empowered. Ashley helps men and women of all ages, single and married. She has a weekly podcast called Modern Renegades, and you can follow her on Instagram @AshleyMKelsch.
February 14th, the day we lose ourselves to affection, intimacy and romance.
We are just 48 hours from Valentine’s Day – during a pandemic this year. Did you make plans? Are you feeling romantic? Sexy? Ready for lingerie? A champagne-sipping, strawberries-served-to-your-mouth kind of night? This is the one day of the year we are encouraged to light candles, get out the massage oil, cue some sexy sounds for an evening of sensual caressing and mind-blowing sex our neighbors would complain about if they weren’t caught up in their own passionate night.
If only. Let me clarify: If only that’s actually how people spent Valentine’s Day. But the fact that we are talking about a culture that has placed a hallmark on celebrating your significant other JUST ONE DAY A YEAR gives me further reservations. Which I’ll get into.
But first, let’s address what is actually happening on February 14, a day I know professionally very well. After all, I did create and run Teddies for Bettys, a lingerie shop in the heart of Austin, for nearly 10 years.
The days leading up to this holiday were absolutely insane. To give you an idea, the daily sales we saw around Valentine’s Day were worth more or less what we would make in an entire month at other times of the year. It was bananas.
The nature of the rush was so predictable that it was borderline depressing. The amount of pressure people felt to buy red lingerie, chocolates and flowers – just for one day a year – was palpable. Many didn’t care about the details, rarely the price. “Please wrap it nicely … oh, and make sure you leave the receipt in the box in case they want to return it.”
I noticed that few people spent time creatively considering what they would like to give or how to design an evening around it. And why would they? It isn’t something they practice regularly in their day-to-day lives. The fact that a majority of people reserve only one day a year to spoiling their lover with lingerie, a romantic dinner, flowers and whatever other accoutrements apply is depressing.
I’ve been observing human behavior as it pertains to Valentine’s Day my entire life. Sound weird? Maybe, but it’s also my birthday. Cute, I know.
I have watched closely since grade school how this one day can cause a person to feel unloved and alone or – on the other hand – spoiled with a new appreciation for flowers but confused as to why just once a year.
Lingerie is for special occasions? Red is sexy and reserved for Valentine’s Day? He or she didn’t give me anything; he or she must not love me. I don’t have plans; I’m not desired. Have you ever paused to consider the emotional impact or pull this singular day has?
I was listening to my friend Alex mention that some of her friends have felt awkward in the past when out on Valentine’s Day for dinner because they are surrounded by all these other couples that are there for the same reason, so they’ve decided to celebrate a week in advance.
While she spoke, I couldn’t help but get this visual of a junior high dance where everyone is there but not really talking. You know why you’re there and embarrassed that you’re there all dressed up together… and then I thought this is the weirdest orgy I’ve ever imagined. Assuming I’ve imagined one before.
But seriously, dinner a week before Valentine’s Day is called “going out to dinner” or a “date night” at best.
Aside from Covid-19 restrictions, why are we reserving this one night a year to have a romantic dinner and the rescheduling it because everyone else is doing the same thing? (Admittedly, dinner out actually does feel special in these times). Why aren’t couples bringing home sexy lingerie on a Tuesday just because “I thought it would be hot?” Why aren’t women sending themselves flowers in the middle of January because “I work hard and want to treat myself?”
Do you know how far thoughtfulness goes when it’s “just because?”
We shouldn’t reserve one day a year to turn ourselves on. What if we single, married forever or newly dating persons started to romance the hell out of ourselves once a month? What might your relationship look like if you commit to Valentine’s Day-worthy romantic gestures like you commit to a workout routine, church, meetings at your job or wine night with friends?
Let’s feature affection, intimacy, self-love, love, spoiling – all those pleasures – throughout the years of our lives and not reserve the yumminess they provide for once a year in February.
I demand more for you. You deserve it.
For those of you who forgot that Valentine’s Day is this weekend, you still have time so don’t panic. I’m here for you! But you have to promise me that this is the beginning of your new life as a purveyor of pleasure. Go ahead and get the lingerie for the holiday but commit to wearing it more often.
Another idea: start cooking regularly with your lover. Personally, this is one of my favorite experiences. From talking about what we want to prepare, how and when, it’s like foreplay! In the kitchen you’re playfully taste testing … just thinking about it turns me on. If you intentionally decide that cooking together will be sexy, it will be.
What about sending a text that says, “Thinking of you,” followed by “What I’d like to do with you … “?
Ask yourself: What would turn me on? What would please me? Then, actually answer those questions. Fantasize about it. Start living it. This weekend and all the time.