Love has always been a multifaceted, inclusive journey for me. With Valentine’s Day upon us, I can’t help but feel so grateful and empowered to express love in its many forms, and continue that energy throughout the year. And while Valentine’s Day has been commercialized to celebrate heterosexual, monogamous couples, today we’re free to celebrate love in an inclusive way.
What does inclusive love mean, anyways?
As a non-monogamous, bisexual woman with a massive network of family and close friends, I’ve got a lot of love to give. How do I shout love in my own way from the rooftops? To all my partners? My family? My fuck-buddies? Myself?
The thing is, love is love. It isn’t always romantic; it can be casual and from the heart. Love isn’t celebrated in one day; it can be celebrated ALWAYS. We can love in so many forms, and we aren’t confined to one definition. I’m talking to the couples, the multiple partners, the best friends, our families, and even a stranger in your Starbucks line! I’m taking you through the different ways and dynamics we experience love, and how to show that love each and every single day.
Self-Love Is The Most Important Love
Don’t let the couples facade fool you. Valentine’s Day should first and foremost be about giving sweet love to yourself, regardless of your partnered status. You see, love isn’t defined by what others feel for us — it STARTS with us. The more love we have for ourselves, the more love we can give to others.
Let me be clear: self-love looks different for everyone. I’m definitely not the kind of gal that can use a face mask and feel blissed out. Self-love can look like turning off your phone for some much needed stillness, or enjoying a coffee out by yourself. It can look like cleaning your space, and writing down your goals with incredible visualization of what you’re working towards.
As a sex blogger & pleasure activist, masturbation is the pinnacle of my idea of self-love. I practice self-pleasure often with a hot bath and my WaterSlyde. If you’re curious about my steamy bath ritual and want to learn how to make sweet sweet love to ya’self in the bath, check out my earlier article, Pleasure Revolution…The Bathtub Technique is Back!
Romance? We Got It. In So Many Forms!
Romantic love is one of the most dynamic things we can experience in life. Why? We experience a mix of romance, sexual attraction, & friendship all in one. *Cough Cough* the whole package some may say. Guess what? This kind of romantic love isn’t exclusive to monogamous couples, but inclusive to all styles of relationships! While love should be practiced year round, it’s normal to have interest in how people celebrate romantic love that looks different from yours.
Non-monogamy taught me that my love is absolutely boundless. I have love for many of my romantic partners, without the attachment of needing a relationship at this current moment. Learning their love languages, I make it a priority to express my gratitude in the ways that I can regardless of being present with each other.
With this wide understanding of love, there’s no right or wrong way to handle your relationships. Are you monogamous and want to be with your person for the rest of your life? That’s really beautiful, Lova babe. Are you polyamorous and go the extra mile to make all your partners feel loved & appreciated? That capacity to love is powerful. Are you single like me with multiple partners you can love without attachment? That’s also empowering AF.
Casual Love Is Still Love
Now, do we think love on Valentine’s has to be reserved for romance? Absolutely not! Ever since I was young, I made it a point to show gratitude to those I experience casual love with.
OK, so what is casual love?
I call it the type of love you have for your partners, or even your fuck buddies. The kind of love that says “I love and appreciate you for the good times, and orgasms we have together”. Send them a lovely card, voice memo, or gift to show them their presence is appreciated, even if it’s just for the sexy fun.
Give Love To Your Lova Babes
Any relationship in our life works a lot like romantic love — they take commitment, dedication, and you should probably know each other’s love languages. Have that best friend you don’t know what you would do without? The girl-gang that gets you through it all? Your mentor that is your shining star?
Include them in your adoration and show them with something they would love! Is that a big hug? A bottle of wine? A cuddle puddle with the gals? A card declaring your admiration for simply being in your life? Yes to all. Although, I’m a sucker for giving the gift that gives back: Pleasure. Check out these 8 Great Galentine’s Day Ideas to give the gift of self-care and pleasure to the Lova Babes you adore – any time of year!
Family Is Everything
Whether you want to express love for your family or chosen family, the time is now. I have the added benefit of having my sisters as my employees, and I take an opportunity to tell them everyday how grateful I am. Haven’t spoken to your grandparents in a while? Give them a call, it will make their week. Have someone in your chosen family that could use some support? Invite them over for a coffee or a zoom call to share space with them. Family, or the ones we choose as family, are truly our support systems.
Show Love, Just Because
Love knows no bounds, barriers, distances, or times. There is nothing more uplifting to me than showing love as an act of kindness to a stranger. Walking past someone? Pay them a compliment. Hold the door open for someone, or tip your Uber Eats driver a little extra during these times with a nice note. It’s truly priceless to extend the love we have to others, even if it’s a simple few seconds of our day.
You Don’t Need A Reason, Just Do It!
If there’s anything these times have taught us, it’s to express your love for those around you and yourself as much as possible. When we fill our cup with love, we also fill the same cup for those around us, radiating brightly with one of the most beautiful human emotions we could ever experience.
So, Lova Babe — how do you love? How do you enjoy showing your love? How can you include those around you in your love, and celebrate an inclusive Valentine’s Day? Ask yourself these easy questions, and go forward with love.
About The Author
Julieta Chiara is a sex-positive blogger and social media specialist, with a primary focus around female sexuality, empowerment, and normalization of sex education. She works with dozens of brands to write blogs and product reviews, create content, and raise awareness. You can find her on Instagram @julietachiara or her blog @ julietachiara.com.