Reclaim Romance This Valentine’s Day: What Does It Mean to You?

Between S&M erotica going mainstream and relationship trends like conscious uncoupling, we get a lot of conflicting information about what romance looks like. Since we’re all adults here and we’re allowed to decide these things for ourselves (and it’ll benefit us if we do) let’s take a step back and ask ourselves: WTF is my idea of romance, really?

Here’s a roundup of quotes from some independent thinkers who have redefined romance for themselves — and it’s not indicative of the standard fare. Let these percolate this V-day, and come up with your own for definition the stuff of love.

“Candles, music, flowers, and wine — these we all know are the stuff of romance, of sex and of love. But candles, flowers, music and wine are also the stuff of religious ritual, of our most sacred rites. Why is there this striking, but seldom noted commonality? Is it just accidental that passion is the word we use for both sexual and mystical experiences?”Riane Eisler, Sacred Pleasure

“Romantic, in the context of rom-coms, often means not taking no for an answer or continually hoping to impress someone with larger and more intricate schemes. But in real life, romance resides as often in smaller, more intimate things.”Margaret Eby, So What Is Romance, Anyway?

If we weren’t so needy, full of illusions about a magic rescue, so hooked on trying to own someone — in other words, if the conscious goal of romance were stretching our understanding of ourselves and others, romance could be a deep, intimate, sensual, empathetic way of learning.Gloria Steinem, Revolution Within

“Romance is the method to express with attention the feelings of love and affection you have for your partner… this is not necessarily referring to the physical attraction you have. Sex is for that. This is for displaying the respect and honour you have for your partner and their love that they are freely giving you.”Ron Modar Knight, A Guide to Romance

“Real romance is not what modern society has been taught to think it is. Real romance isn’t manufactured. It is completely individual.”Q Miller,

“The fact that we say ‘romance’ when we mean ‘love’ shows us that underneath our language there is a psychological muddle.”Robert Johnson, We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love

Here’s a good one: according to, romance is “a baseless, made-up story, usually full of exaggeration or fanciful invention.” I like this one because I think it’s as empowering as it is true. Romance is obviously totally subjective, but that doesn’t mean it’s arbitrary. Romance is, above all else, a story. We get to make it up. And we should. Because if we don’t know what our own personal criteria for romance is (what we want to feel like, what we want to receive, what we want to give, what we like and what we don’t like), how will anyone else? Get clear on what you want, and you’ll be way more likely to get it. And not just when it comes to romance. Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers.

Liked this redefinition exercise? Feel like you want to apply it to some other verbiage you use regularly? Here are a few other suggestions.

Tags: reclaiming romance, romance, valentine's day

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