There are many things to dislike about Valentine's Day. The crass consumerism, the misguided attempts at expressing love through expensive dinners and jewelry, all that waxy chocolate. But it's hard not to admire the way that Valentine's Day brazenly embraces love and lust with equal intensity. Most of us struggle with the distinction between love and lust. We try to figure out how they can fit together and how to stay in relationships when they don't. I've learned my greatest lessons about love and lust from sex toys. I think like most people, even after I started using sex toys on a regular basis, I considered them an imposition, something that you add to "regular sex" and therefore something essentially unnatural. The ease and consistency with which sex toys provided me with orgasms only further solidified in my mind the idea that they carried some special powers. And so I would use my vibrators often and with relish (figuratively of course) but I always felt a bit like I was cheating. I countered this cheating feeling by making sure that I had sex without sex toys too, I even kept a running tally in my mind of the number of times I had sex with and without sex toys. This had everything to do with this distinction between love and lust. Love, we're told, is a great virtue yet lust a sin. Sex with vibrators was too easy and too fun to be "natural". Sex with a partner and even solo sex that relied only on fantasy and friction took some commitment. It was sex with a work ethic and therefore nothing to feel guilty about. For me sex with sex toys equalled lust, sex without sex toys equalled love. I can't remember when the change happened, but somewhere along the way it did. Fuelled in part by the fact that, guilty or not, I couldn't get enough of this easy, fun, and lustful sex, I decided that I should stop keeping the mental tally and give into my lust. I reasoned that it was hypocritical of me to be preaching a message that everyone should get to dictate how they choose to be sexual while allowing my own sex life to be guided by someone else's expectations. It's been several years since I've allowed myself unlimited use of sex toys and a few things have happened since then. First, my fears about relying solely on sex toys haven't come to pass. Second, my sex life has much more love in it. It may be that opening up to what I fear allowed me to open up emotionally as well. It may be that letting myself do precisely what I want gave me the confidence to find deeper love in the sex I was having. It may just be a coincidence. I've learned not to question it. What I'd like to recommend is that in addition to the usual chocolate sex toys and diamond dinners this Valentine's Day, take a few moments to think about the ways you experience love and lust in your life, and whether or not you might do something differently to let the two cross paths a few extra times in the coming year.