These Aren’t Your Sweetheart’s Valentine’s Day Events

When I had a several-year-long gig being single, I thought I disliked Valentine’s Day for the usual reasons. Not only didn’t I have a date for the Big Day, but everywhere I looked, everyone was espousing the joys of having a partner, being in love, blah blah blah. Then, I had a few Valentine’s Days as a couple — and I realized I still disliked it. My other half and I felt it was kind of cheesy to do something special for the day. At the same time, it was taboo to completely ignore it. So there February 14 sat, waiting for us do either too little or too much, then spend the next few days doing damage control.

It wasn’t until the last few years that I learned to love Valentine’s Day again — and I think living in San Francisco, a city that uses literally every holiday as an excuse to dress up and go out, has helped. Sure, it’s got more than its fair share of candlelit restaurants, swanky hotel suites, chocolatiers and florists. But it’s also got more creative, alternative and very naughty Valentine’s events than you can shake a whip at. Whether you’ve got a steady Valentine, are nursing a crush or are on the lookout for your next sweetie, check out these events to at a little spice to an otherwise too-sweet day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Love on Wheels: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s Pre-Valentine’s Day Bash
Café du Nord, Market Street near Church
6-9 pm

Are bicyclists better lovers? Find out for yourself at this popular event sponsored by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Kitten on the Keys will provide saucy bike songs to accompany the Love on Wheels Dating Game, where a lucky few will get a chance to date local celebrities including an adult film star and athletic bike racers via a question-and-answer game akin to the television game show. This party is free for SFBC members, and just $7 for non-members.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Good Vibrations After Hours Presents the Romance of Restraint
Good Vibrations, 1620 Polk Street
8-10 pm

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, beloved Bay Area professional dominant Mistress Morgana (star of Whipsmart) returns to teach the basics of bondage and the psychology of physical restraint. This popular beginner’s class covers safety, wrist and ankle cuffs, body harnesses, useful knots and tips for incorporating household objects into your play.

Everyone is welcome to this class, which costs $25. It’s a popular one, and pre-registration is suggested.

Friday, February 13, 2004
San Francisco Sex Information Presents the 10th Annual My Sucky Valentine
The San Francisco Citadel
245 8th Street (between Howard & Folsom)
Doors at 7 pm, show at 8 pm

Sour grapes, bitter chocolates and good writers on bad sex and tainted love combine for this event sponsored by San Francisco Sex Information. GV staffer and event founder Thomas Roche will MC the steamy, hot, sweaty readings and performances by the top erotic writers, burlesque dancers, varied adult dancers to the delectable beats of DJ Mermaid.

According to Roche, this popular annual event is “intended to be a humorous exploration of all the ways sex and love can be humiliating, degrading, frustrating and infuriating — not to mention hilarious, bizarre and inspiring by their very perversion. I find it incredibly empowering to talk about all this stuff onstage, and many of the readers have expressed the same feeling.

“Basically, in hosting this reading series I’m trying to both celebrate sex for sex’s sake and lampoon the very idea of romance. Plus, I’m just trying to make people laugh and — perhaps most importantly — give people something to enjoy about Valentine’s Day whether or not they’re happily partnered, unhappily partnered, happily single or unhappily single. Or anything in between.”

Along with the readings, check out the adult-themed silent auction going on throughout the evening with goods from the likes you can only imagine.

The cover is $10 to $20 sliding scale (no one turned away due to the current economy). Any donation to SFSI at MSV X of $25 gets you in free to the event and $40 gets you two free MSV X passes. All donations are fully tax deductible, as is any silent auction purchase.. All proceeds go to support the programs of San Francisco Sex Information

Saturday, February 14
Artwork SF Presents the Seventh Annual One Night Stand
A celebration of the human body and an exploration of sexuality through nude, erotic and fetish art.
Hotel Cosmo, 761 Post St (at Jones)

It may be only one night, but it’s got it all! View the erotic art exhibit and sale, listen in on erotic fiction and poetry readings, check out the films and live music, and get more than an eyeful of the artists paint wrestling. SFSI is sponsoring the theme rooms (ongoing demonstrations and information) “Sex Confessional,” “S&M/Sensual Power Play,” and “Talk Dirty To Me.” Costumes are encouraged, and you can bring back a memento of the evening via the special photo rooms and photographers.

One Night Stand costs $10 for advance tickets. Some of the event proceeds will benefit San Francisco Sex Information (SFSI). To RSVP and to receive Special Preview Invitation, go to:

Saturday, February 14, 2004
Writers with Drinks Spoken Word Variety Show
The Make-Out Room 3225 22nd. St (near Mission)
7-10 pm

Hosted and vamped by the irreverent Charlie Anders, this spoken word event calls itself “the cocktail of colloquy, the remix of rhetoric… literary meat mixed with dairy.” Writers from all walks — literary fiction, stand-up comedy, romance, erotica, science fiction, rants, non-fiction, poetry, mystery and “other” come together for one night of raucous reading. This event features Roxxie Rosen (Girljock), Oui Be Negroes , Tim’m T. West (Red Dirt, Deep Dickollective) and Pam Rosenthal (Almost a Gentleman, The Bookseller’s Daughter).

Pony up just $3 -$5 (sliding scale) at the door. Proceeds benefit Other Magazine.

Not up for going out? Stop by Good Vibrations to stock up on the best supplies for staying in. We put together dozens of kits to help you get the most out of your Valentine’s Day, whether you’re sharing it with someone or just pampering yourself.

In any case, no matter how you feel about Valentine’s Day, be good to yourself. As Thomas Roche eloquently put it, “there’s as much pain as pleasure in romance, dating and long-term relationships. Oftentimes more pain than pleasure, but most of us continue our quest for romantic bliss and/or partnered sexual enjoyment. I’m not entirely sure why, we just do. For me, no matter how many times I encounter an unpleasant or frustrating romantic situation, the next day I’m ready for further punishment.”

Here’s to being ready for more days of punishment — and hopefully at many more of pleasure.

Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations is the premiere sex-positive, women-principled adult toy retailer in the US. An iconic brand and one of the world's first sex toy shops to focus specifically on women's pleasure and sexual education, Good Vibrations was founded by Joani Blank in 1977 to provide women with a safe, welcoming and non-judgmental place to shop for erotic toys. Good Vibrations has always included all people across the gender spectrum, and is a place where customers can come for education, high quality products, and information promoting sexual health, pleasure and empowerment. Customers can shop Good Vibrations' expertly curated product selection across any of its nine retail locations or on the website, where they can also find a wealth of information pertaining to sexual pleasure, exploration and education.

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