While so many single people meet St. Valentine's Day with a collective yawn, there are likely quite a few couples who feel similarly. With the holiday season barely ended, who needs yet another occasion requiring gifts, dinner reservations, or any effort whatsoever?
On the other hand, how many other holidays imply sex? It would seem wasteful for couples not to take advantage of the one day every year when society oozes romance. And while romance takes so many forms, from Lady and the Tramp to ladies (or gentlemen) being tramps, the implicit reward is sex.
To get the ball rolling, take a walk down the ''spice aisle.'' There are plenty of upstanding retailers eager to help same-sex couples get their Valentine's Day groove on, and more than ready with advice.
''It's best to ask us,'' says Cindy Belcher of the Pleasure Place (202-483-3297, www.pleasureplace.com) with local shops in Dupont Circle and Georgetown. ''We pride ourselves in our ability to help customers.''
For the couple new to experimenting with anything along the lines of ''marital aids,'' Belcher's newbie suggestion is simple, safe and slippery: flavored body oils.
''Flavored body oils come from many different companies, in different packaging, in different flavors. There's a lot for people to choose from. There are fruit flavors, there's champagne. The chocolate body oil is very popular around Valentine's Day. It's a mainstay.''
Over at Night Dreams (301-986-4711, www.nightdreams.com), with branches in Bethesda and Tysons Corner, Nancy Poursedehi says that while the phrase ''strap-on dildo'' might sound intimidating, lesbian couples who enter her shop have little trouble diving in.
''Most women couples who come in here go straight to the strap-on section,'' she says. ''We have a basic, starter, strap-on kit. We have all types of beginners' kits.''
If a strap-on dildo kit is a bit too fast for you, Poursedehi says Night Dreams' range of gifts goes practically to the kiddie level for the bashful, including romantic-coupon books tailored to both lesbian and gay-male couples.
At the Leather Rack (202-797-7401, www.leatherrack.com) in Dupont Circle, Chaz Dean says a good Valentine's gift may be the tie that binds.
''We have a variety of blindfolds, for starters,'' Dean promises. ''We have some that are basically cloth; one that's leather with fleece lining. When people say they want to try something new, I direct them to the bondage -- basic bondage with Velcro straps.''
For more detailed suggestions, the Leather Rack also offers the ''Dear Big Daddy Advice Column'' online. So if there's still any doubt about how to woo your Valentine this year, perhaps Daddy knows best.