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Tuesday, 20 February, 2001, 12:18 GMT
Is romance dead?
Young people prefer having sex to receiving chocolates and red roses from their loved ones, according to a survey.Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
The report by the International Planned Parenthood Federation - published on Valentine's Day - also reveals that between 70 and 80% of teenagers are sexually active.
Another Valentine poll shows that one in five young people don't want to get married, preferring to live with their partners instead.
So, is the traditional spirit of Valentine's Day dead, with romance and "courting" being replaced by the desire to have sex? And how is your Valentine's Day going, is it delightful or a disaster?
I'm 17 years of age and I'm sure this would make me a young person but I feel it's a gross stereotype to say that "young people prefer sex to romance". I'm an Evangelical Christian and seeing as I'm not married, when it comes to a choice of chocolates or sex, it's chocolates every time. Maybe if sex wasn't encouraged in Social Education for four years flat, others wouldn't be so inclined to go for the 'fun' option.
Valentine's Day is like a Road Chef on the Highway of Love. It's a place where you could stop and buy a tasteless but expensive meal or you could take this opportunity to just park up with the one you Love and appreciate the journey you've made together.
It sounds to me like a lot of the romantically uninclined cynics above would drive straight past. My advice to them is to slow down and take a look around; romance isn't dead at all.
A single long stemmed rose, candlelit dinner for two prepared by me, champagne, strawberries and chocolates for dessert. If that isn't romantic then I don't know what is. By the way I am not old (28) and I am married, but I still did this before I was not married. I guess that's what romance is about, being prepared to do that sort of thing for someone. Sex is all very well (and very nice too) but there is more to love than that.
Margaret Metcalfe, UK
You don't have to fork money out to be romantic. Homemade cards and gifts take much more creativity and show that the recipient is unique. Why do I need a card with a cheesy poem in it when I can write my own especially for my loved one?
Romance is never dead in people with loving hearts. The commercialism of Valentine's Day has nothing to do with romance. As for preferring sex to flowers or chocolates, or vice versa, who cares? If sex is what makes two people deliriously happy, then that's what they should give one another. On the other hand, some people enjoy the giving and receiving of little gifts or treats more exciting. After all, you may be having sex every day, but how often do you get breakfast in bed?
Romance isn't dead, it's just becoming more personal to the individual.
I refuse to pay rip-off prices for mass-produced "gifts". Last night my wife, knowing I am utterly cynical about marketing, was expecting an evening in with a jacket potato for dinner. Instead I bought some food, cooked her dinner (her favourite) and a bottle of pink champagne. It meant more to her than any mass-produced gift ever could. True romance will never die, but the chain stores are trying hard to bottle it.
Eventually, we all develop an overwhelming passion for that special someone ... whether we find it reciprocated or live in frustration, the power of love and courtship (with or without intimate relations) is a basic human emotion. Asking if "love" is dead is rather akin to asking if life over. We are a species of passions ... it's what makes us tick.
Rory McShane, N Ireland
Sex is nice, but it takes a lot more effort and emotional honesty to do something romantic or affectionate, Valentines Day or no Valentines Day
The whole argument seems to be flawed, because sex (remember the phrase "making love"?) can be the most romantic expression of a persons love and closeness for another if done right - why can't we have both?
The only thing that bothers me is that so many people seem to see sex as unromantic compared to chocolates, flowers etc.
Sandra Duncan, Maritime Canada
Romance can happen on any day of the year. Why do two people need to manufacture it on a holiday invented by other people?
Just get the women a new washing up set, or a frying pan and it keeps them happy while you score on the brownie points! Also a bunch of plastic roses is a must in emergencies, because like the plastic flowers your love will never die!!!!
I am in my 40s and a lady in her 20s asked me for a date. I arrived with flowers, opened the car door for her, pulled out her seat in the restaurant, put my coat around her when she was chilly, etc. At the end of the night she said, "I suppose you want your sex now for being so nice to me all night". She couldn't believe it when I explained that in my twenties I had always behaved in this way and NO I did not expect sex. She was absolutely flabbergasted. Romance IS dead and wasted on youth.
Not at all, why just today I wooed a woman with a red rose and she was overjoyed. I think there's still a place for old-fashioned, Clark Gable-style romance.
To say romance is dead suggests that it was alive in the first place, it isn't, it's just an illusion, smoke and mirrors driven by the human instinct to procreate, yet cloaked in a ridiculous ritual because we want to have sex.
So the young people of today would prefer sex to a box of chocolates?
So would I, and I'm 65! (Lucky if I get a peck on the cheek these days)
I have to disagree with Eva W. I think we are hung up about sex in the UK. The Netherlands has the most enlightened attitude in the world, and probably the lowest rate of teenage pregnancies. Sadly, I fear that the Dutch may be so sophisticated about the mechanics of sex, they may have missed the point about romance along the way.
Chocolates? Flowers? An expensive meal for two? It's all prostitution in the end.
We have to accept the Freudian philosophy that all actions are sexually motivated. Sex is good but sex coupled with romance is sensational.
I feel sorry for people who have
forgotten or have never learned that a little pampering and appreciation can make
a long winter a little warmer.
Romance and courtship is the nice name humans put on Mating, and why not? We do need to take time out and appreciate the ones we hold dear. You certainly don't need over priced roses to do that! Long Live Love!
Romance may not be dead, but it's certainly gasping for air. Do we REALLY need to save up and wait for Feb. 14 to prove how much our loved ones mean to us? When it's expected and planned, there's no thrill, no rush, no giggling excitement. Romance is meant to be spontaneous, mad, and impetuous. Why have a huge blow-out on Feb. 14? A bigger surprise is getting one perfect rose on Jan. 18. The set-up and expectation for Feb. 14 is sitcom fodder.
So many cynics here! Romance will never fade... end of story!
Demetri W, UK
Feminism killed romance!
If romance is dead, then the media do not help with their dribbling, sensationalist obsession with sex. We are the only animals who make truly loving gestures to one another and it should be celebrated and done all year round, not just on one day whose now sole purpose is to help company balance sheets. And this is speaking as a non-embittered singleton.
I feel tremendous pity for those poor souls who can't enjoy the day for what it is. It's a special day to show your deep love and desire towards another individual. Most of the doubters will have sad lonely lives. It's your loss¿.
Most correspondents sound like they are in need of sex AND love very badly.
Stop moaning, it would be nice just to get something. Valentine's Day is there to make single people feel miserable and unloved
Surely romance should be about spontaneity and surprise, and I can't think of anything less
spontaneous than Valentine's Day! Romance should be all year round, not just one day.
I always thought that the desire for sex was
the reason for romance and courting. If you could
get the former without the latter then I bet no one
would ever spend the time and effort on romance.
Eva W., UK
Romance is dead in our bleak, cynical world of personal success and status driven robots. Valentines Day is merely an excuse to go and spend more of our money, eat more and drink more. I am thinking of living in the countryside and going for long walks.
No, but all too easily forgotten amidst the continuous time pressures of an instant gratification society! As with anything, it pays to make an effort and will be rewarded in kind...
John B, UK
My boyfriend is working in USA, I thought I will go to visit him for a week, and during valentine's day, got the money, got the ticket, went to the embassy, and they refused to give me a short stay visa, saying that we are not sure you'll come back! What a great romantic day!
70-80% of teenagers are sexually active! I should be so lucky and I'm a foxy young woman in my prime at 23 years who would quite happily push aside romance for a night of hot, steamy passion!
Imogen Taylor, England
This is my plan for Valentines...a curry and bucket-loads of lager, followed by a session of drunken, incompetent sex. Who said romance is dead?
Romance is only dead if your version of it consists of an annual dousing of a dozen red roses, a bottle of bubbly and some chocs. Romance quantified, wrapped and sold - yuk!
At what point in history would young people have rather received chocolates and red roses to having sex? The Victorian Era perhaps? The desire to procreate will always be the first desire and a good job too as I wouldn't be sitting here writing this and you wouldn't be there reading it.
I have just had a reaction to a card I send. It said, I am not a romantic, i am a solist. Romance is so dead, bleh.
Martin Bentley, UK
In today's hectic world of both partners working hard at careers, good sex is rare due to stress. So more effort and thought goes into making sex successful than in 'secondary' gifts. For instance, what is the meaning of a box of chocolates in a sexless relationship? Are both partners reconciled to getting no nookie? Unfortunately there is little time for romance these days!
Maybe the rituals have changed. Maybe there is now more open acceptance of sexuality in our societies. Maybe the level of commitment expected before sexual intercourse takes place has diminished. But courtship rituals have always been about sex. A box of chocolates or a bunch of roses has never been an end in itself.
Is sex what they want, or is it that the media has made them think that they should want it?
Nowadays children feel pressurised by both the media and their peers into sexual relations before they are ready.
Clive Mitchell, UK
Romance isn't dead, it's just got fed up with rip-off Britain. The boyfriend might not be able to afford £60 for a dozen red roses, and even if he could, many girls I know would feel guilty about such an extravagant present.
Romance is not dead, although Valentine's Day is over-commercialised. Last year, a dozen red roses cost me £48, this year they cost £70 - an absolutely ludicrous amount to pay for some flowers! Nonetheless, the effect they have on my other half is priceless. Although next year I'll be contemplating growing my own...
Julian, Wiltshire, UK
It is hardly surprising that young people are more interested in sex than romance given the amount of sexual imagery they are subjected to every day in the media. In films and on television sex is all too often portrayed as the starting point of a relationship rather than what it should be, the culmination of a gradual process of getting to know one another.
Perhaps it is because the traditional Valentine has been commercialised too much. I was charged £50 to have a dozen roses sent to my loved one at work!! Anyone who has grown their own roses can only balk at that. Instead I went to my supermarket, bought flowers my girl likes, a Dido CD, a bottle of Cava and it was still cheaper than flower delivery and more importantly is what she wants. My point is perhaps the young realise that sex is better than getting ripped off by these greedy merchants!!!!!
14 Feb 01 | Health
Britons 'losing virginity at 15'
13 Feb 01 | Asia-Pacific
Virtual love seduces Japan
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