Valentine's Day is here again, that holiday of love, questionable chocolate and dudes wandering through the lingerie section, trying not to look like a pervert while fondling the unmentionables. We don't know about you, but for us, Valentine's Day has always been a source of mucho confusion. Kinda like love itself, come to think of it. The gift-giving part alone is usually frustrating enough that, at some point, long-term celibacy begins to seem like a fair trade in exchange for never, ever again having to figure out what item constitutes the height of romance. After all: Flowers wilt, boxes of chocolate run about 40 percent of the kind anybody likes (I'm scowling at you, orange truffle) and sexy drawers are really only exciting the first time you pop out of the bathroom while wearing them. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

What's left beyond all the marketing gimmicks and consumerism, however, is love. And it is love that keeps us coming back for more, despite all the frustrations. When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, love turns out to be the stuff that dreams are made of, and as anybody who has been immersed in the warm, gooey embrace of true passion can tell you, there's no drug in the world that can compare.

So, this week, we put our usual cynicism and grousing on hold as we genuflect in the direction of Aphrodite, with highly questionable sex and relationship advice from our staff, much sounder advice from an honest-to-God sex therapist and entertainment editor Stephanie Smittle's survey of two of the state's finer rubber schlong and porno emporiums. It ain't perfect by any means. But then again, the same could be said of love as well. XOXO.



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