What Do Men Really Want For Valentine’s Day?

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Do men really have low-maintenance romantic needs as such as food and sex? Dinner at home followed by a session of love-making could be the perfect gift to celebrate with your honey this Valentine's Day. - www.theballeronabudget.com

Since my partner Jun and I recently moved into our new home, our expenses have been through the roof. Christmas already zapped a lot of our money, so naturally we’ve decided to be a lot more conservative about celebrating Valentine’s Day. So when I asked Jun a simple question – “what do you want for Valentine’s Day this year?” his immediate response was “probably just sex and dinner.”

After a good chuckle and the thought of my girlfriends laughing if I told them, I started to wonder: are cis-het (cisgender heterosexual) men’s romantic needs as simple and low-maintenance as food and sex? And if this was the answer, then how come many relationships today don’t seem to include some healthy sexual intimacy?

While we might chuckle that sex is an affordable solution to lavish and overpriced Valentine’s Day gifts, I wanted to share a few tidbits on why something as simple as dinner at home followed by a session of love-making could be the perfect way to celebrate with your honey this year.

1: Cooking Dinner is Cheap (Duh)

If Valentine’s Day is truly about love, then we do we feel obligated to buy pricey gifts for our significant other? According to the National Retail Federation, the average expected spending for men comes in at $229.54 for Valentine’s Day this year (2019), with women at $97.77. Talk about high expectations!

Why is spending so high? It’s become common practice for restaurants to change their menu for the weekend and charge insanely high prices, but it’s not just for the exotic menu and the romantic atmosphere. Thanks to modern consumerism, we tend to associate a successful Valentine’s Day celebration with a heavy price tag – in fact, the most expensive Valentine’s Day dinner came in at around $100,000! Because we place so much value on our Valentine’s Day experience, restaurants drive up prices to take advantage of the holiday.

You can create your own romantic atmosphere and try new dishes in the comfort of your own home, sans $100,000 restaurant bill. Cooking dinner for your SO or even making dinner together (because the ladies shouldn’t be expected to do this and not the man, am I right) can create a romantic atmosphere for you to bond. And who knows? The cute moments where he may have flour on his face from kneading pasta dough may make you fall in love with him all over again. I’d gladly choose that over paying $80+ on a dinner for two at a restaurant.

2: Physical Intimacy Can Bring You Closer

Especially true for married couples or domestic partnerships, long-term relationships eventually exit the honeymoon phase and settle into a new level of comfort with one another. We swap curve-hugging jeans for pajamas, curled locks with a sloppy bun, and flirtatious banter with complaints. And that usually means that sexual intimacy might not be present anymore either.

Whether it’s because you’re stressed about money, uncomfortable with your current weight, busy raising kids, or prioritizing work, it’s important for both partners to 1) feel accepted and desired by their partner and 2) show their partner that they are accepted and desired. Unfortunately, when life gets in the way, we tend to forget both principles, thus flushing down our partner’s and our own emotional needs down the drain. The result? A relationship devoid of intimacy.

This post from Psych Central summarizes the sexual needs of men in this case:

Although things are slowly changing, the two main emotions that are most acceptable for men to display are still sexual excitement and anger. The more tender emotions including fear, sadness, love, need, and longing are still considered “unmanly” to express. So it is not surprising that the tender emotions, which have to be expressed in some way, get bound to sexuality. In fact, channeling needs for comfort and soothing into sex is actually a clever compromise. After all, during sex men can unabashedly get held, stroked, kissed, hugged, and loved up all under the acceptable guise of a very manly act — that of sexual prowess.

When women are overwhelmed, they feel the need to talk it out with their partner for emotional support. However, when men are overwhelmed, they turn to sex for stress relief, emotional healing, and an intimate way to share their vulnerabilities with their partner. If one person’s emotional needs are not met, they may feel less inclined to reach out, causing a disconnection in the relationship. So if you’ve been going through this, right now might be a great time to rekindle that fire and show your partner that you still desire them.

Sex isn’t the end-all, be-all of physical intimacy, though: if there are factors in your relationship that don’t allow sex or perhaps you’re simply asexual, always remember that you can communicate your affection to a man through the power of touch. Consider creating a relaxing atmosphere for a relaxing massage or plan a movie night with homemade snacks and tons of blankets for a cuddling session. Oftentimes these gestures can be enough for a man to feel desired and secure in their relationship with you. And of course, don’t forget to spoil your partner with copious amounts of hugs and kisses on the daily – they cost nothing to give, but can make your partner feel like the richest man in the world.

3: Having Quality Conversations Can Deepen Bonds

With distractions like TV, phones, and social media, spending quality time with your partner can often feel impossible to have without disruption. Make it a goal to establish a “zero distraction rule” and make Valentine’s Day a day of reconnecting with each other and catching up on each other’s lives. In many modern-day domestic relationships, communication can falter as people grow comfortable with being in close proximity to each other often. But you would be surprised what a good uninterrupted conversation can reveal: concealed stress at work, challenging family drama, or perhaps even personal worries may surface, so consider holding space for your partner and listening to them to offer a sense of relief and safety. It sounds very simple, but working on having quality conversations with each other and focusing on your communication skills can really uplevel a relationship.

What are your Valentine’s Day plans? How do you feel about reigniting your relationship this holiday? Let’s chat in the comments below. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my newsletter for more holiday tips and ways to save money.

More Valentine’s Day Ideas:


Do men really have low-maintenance romantic needs as such as food and sex? Dinner at home followed by a session of love-making could be the perfect gift to celebrate with your honey this Valentine's Day. - www.theballeronabudget.com



  1. / 11:35 am

    Love this piece! Very interesting! I’m still in the honeymoon phase so we be getting it but thank you for the reminder that some form of intimacy is important in all stages!!

  2. Erica Caldon
    / 1:07 pm

    Hi there, I’ve been a fan of your Instagram page for awhile now, but never read your blog till today and I just wanted to reach out and say what a refreshing read it was! It’s honest, relevant, light-hearted and very genuine.
    Keep killin’ it!


  3. Nneka
    / 1:24 am

    Interesting read.

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