Celebrate Valentine's Day, your way.
Valentine's Day. That day of the year when it feels like everyone gets a Valentine's card, gets to go out for dinner, or a movie, gets flowers or cuddly bears. All loved-up.
Valentine's can look different for everyone
There can be a lot of pressure this time of year. It's easy to compare yourself to others and compare yourself to what everyone else might be doing. But it's not always like that. Valentine's can look different for everyone – and that's ok!
Whether you're with your bae, celebrating independence with your bestie or chilling at home… do it your way.
Do whatever makes you feel happy. How you show love and to whom this Valentine's is up to you!
Is it really all about sex?
Sometimes there's pressure to go all the way on Valentine's Day. Sometimes we're ready for it and other times we're not and there are many different ways to show affection.
You can show you care by giving little acts of kindness by making someone breakfast in bed or giving flowers. Sometimes it's enough just to spend time together! Or, if you're apart, send them a text to let them know you're thinking of them.
50 ways to Show Love without Sex
Staying close friends without having sex is OK. From cuddles to kind words, you can enjoy intimacy with your person without "the big decision". Here are some ideas for ways to show you love them without sex.
Ultimately, the decision to have sex for the first time or anytime is YOURS. Whatever you choose – make sure sex is safe and consensual.
How will I know when I'm ready… to have sex?
Someone who cares about you, won't push you into things when you aren't ready. Whatever you do together, whether it's kissing, touching, or sex, make sure you communicate what you are comfortable with and listen to your partner!
Sex can be casual, it can be serious, or it can just be fun. Check out our Are you ready to have sex page, to give you food for thought before you make a decision.
Safe Sex is best and be clear on consent
And make sure you both understand what consent really means. It doesn't matter if you are in a relationship or if sex has already started, under the law you can change your mind. 'NO means NO'. So find out what consent actually means – it's too important not to. Be clear on your consent.
The Morning after the night before
Hopefully you had a good time but if the night didn't go as you wanted and you're feeling low about it, talk to someone.
Check in with yourself, your friends, your partner
How are you feeling? Do you feel good? If you feel low or awkward afterwards, talk to someone or each other about how you're feeling. Be kind to yourself.
If you've had unplanned and/or unprotected sex
It is possible to prevent pregnancy, if you act fast. You may not be aware that the Copper IUD, one type of Long Acting Reversible Contraception, can be used as emergency contraception and then continues to provide ongoing convenient protection against unplanned pregnancy.
Find your local service for emergency contraception (your GP, pharmacies and sexual health services are there to help in confidence).
And you can get a free STI test kit here STI testing.
If you need more serious help
Not all relationships are heart-eyes and roses
If you're already in a relationship and are struggling with a relationship conundrum? Are they good for you? Do they make you do things you don't want to? Do you get put down, criticised or monitored?
If you think this might be you, we've got some useful info about controlling and abuse behaviour, where you can find out about the signs, and who you can talk to for support and advice.
Have fun and take care of you
Valentine's Day should be fun and all about love. Think about what makes you happy and how you want to show some love. We are here to help you make sense of it and to offer you all the help you need figuring out this special day.
This Valentine's Day – do it your way
You can find all the local support you need with mental health, sexual health, contraception and more in your borough!