Valentine’s Day: A Non-Cheesy Gift Guide


Mystery Train <3

On Valentine’s Day, you should suck, but your gift shouldn’t.

Personally, I’ve always preferred being given a gift that’s useful, rather than something that feels like a thoughtless gesture (especially when that thoughtless gesture has like 40 grams of fat in it). Sure, flowers are pretty, but when your date shows up with flowers on a special occasion–an anniversary, V-day, a birthday, etc–that’s a surefire sign that he or she put no thought into your gift at all. Flowers are a nice gesture at random times, like, “I was walking home from work and impulsively bought you flowers” type of thing. But on V-day, you want to make a little bit more of an effort, ya know? (And that does not include chocolate–are you literally trying to sabotage me? WTF?!) Below are some gift suggestions that your Valentine will actually be able to use, and/or will at least trick them into thinking you’re somewhat sophisticated. 

1. How to Think More About Sex

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This book, written by the philosopher Alain de Botton, is an insightful, non self-helpy look at the intimate and exciting experience that is s-e-x. It makes a great gift because it’s both thoughtful and erotic, and the book itself looks very chic and festive. To quote de Botton, “The more closely we analyze what we consider ‘sexy,’ the more clearly we will understand that eroticism is the feeling of excitement we experience at finding another human being who shares our values and our sense of the meaning of existence.” 






2. A Lover’s Discourse


This book, written by Roland Barthes, is of course a classic. But classic isn’t bad! I think this is a good gift for someone who you’re on the brink of getting serious with–it feels romantic and genuine, and it’s also one of Patti Smith’s favorites, which makes it #cool. The book is a series of “fragments,” some from literature and some from Barthes’ own philosophical thought, on a lover’s point of view








3. Bedding


Bed are generally where people bang, so gifting bedding for V-day is sort of relevant, yet simultaneously extremely functional. Bedding is randomly expensive! It’s also the type of thing that people are often less likely to splurge on for themselves, so when someone else buys you really glamorous or cool bedding, it’s always exciting. I happen to like the prints of the bedding at Urban Outfitters, because I’m a hipster stereotype with an indie sensibility.

4. Bad Behavior


This book of short stories, by Mary Gaitskill, is one of my favorite books ever. (I once wrote an essay about its influence on my early writing.) Bad Behavior is largely about sex–it’s honest, brutal and beautiful, and never cheesy or cheap. (Also, FYI, the darkly erotic film Secretary, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, was adapted from a story in the book.) This is a great gift for someone who you’ve recently started dating, but with whom you haven’t yet reached your kinky potential.







5. Tenga Iroha vibrator


What is better than the gift of orgasm? The Iroha is my fave vibrator of all time.

6. The Ethical Slut


This book is a practical guide to polyamory, open relationships and other open adventures. So basically, if you’re trying to hint to the person you’re fucking that you don’t want to be monogamous, this is the perfect gift for you!










7. American Ecstasy


This hot and beautiful photography book, by Barbara Nitke, is compiled of artistic photos taken behind-the-scenes on porn sets in the 80s. This is the perfect gift for the slutty and/or perverted Valentine.




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