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Tuesday, 20 February, 2001, 12:18 GMT
Is romance dead?
Is romance dead?
Young people prefer having sex to receiving chocolates and red roses from their loved ones, according to a survey.

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?

HAVE YOUR SAY 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.
Neil White, Scotland

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.
Esteban Lorenzo, France


Romance leaves you open to a broken heart and that's the last thing anyone wants in our almost Darwinistic society

Romeo, Scotland
I must point out that the forms or interviewers probably only gave the unfortunate victims of this survey a choice of Chocolate OR sex. Romance is not dead, it's just shunned by today's society because it's a vunerability. Romance leaves you open to a broken heart and that's the last thing anyone wants in our almost Darwinistic society.
Romeo, Scotland

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.
Mike , UK


Real romance will never die

Margaret Metcalfe, UK
I dislike these artificially-hyped 'special days', Valentine's, Mother's Day, even Christmas now - all are a means to get us to spend money. Real romance will never die. My partner and I fell in love three years ago in our 60s and we're still as committed to each other and as passionately-loving. We don't need the marriage certificate to prove our commitment. We each wear a ring for each other and we made our vows in private. Romance is someone who phones me at work and says 'are you having a good day?', or kisses me good night and tucks me up when I'm asleep and he comes in from his late shift. Romance is someone to go on holiday with and share memorable experiences, to share your life with and be warm and caring...I could go on, but you get the picture!
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?
Keith, UK in CR

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?
Carolyn, California, USA

Romance isn't dead, it's just becoming more personal to the individual.
Catherine Penfold, UK in USA

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.
John, England

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.
Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK


Romance does exist although its hard to find among today's sexually charged society

Rory McShane, N Ireland
Romance does exist although its hard to find among today's sexually charged society. To many people sex comes before love and we have a scenario where people cheat easily and change partners like used cars. Its hard to find real romance in a world where many people will perform the closest aspects of a relationship with someone they met half a hour ago.
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
Kate, UK

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?
Rich Emmerson, UK

The only thing that bothers me is that so many people seem to see sex as unromantic compared to chocolates, flowers etc.
Nick, UK


Many a long lasting love affair has started out with a deep and enduring friendship

Sandra Duncan, Maritime Canada
I cannot help but feel that skipping the valuable courtship phase has major social and personal ramifications. Many a long lasting love affair has started out with a deep and enduring friendship. Wasn't the 1940's, Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, film just voted the most romantic movie, well ahead of the steamy Titanic love affair? Proving that many other people feel the same.
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?
Peter Smith, UK

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!!!!
Terry Odger

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.
Mike, England


Mankind is becoming increasingly practical

Andrej, Russia
Mankind is becoming increasingly practical. What's the point of wasting time on courting and purchasing chocolate, when you're going to end up having sex anyhow?
Andrej, Russia

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.
Peter Bolton, UK in USA

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.
Brendan, UK

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)
Andrew, GBR


Goodness there are some real killjoys about

Gerry, Scotland
Goodness there are some real killjoys about. Maybe we all are too cynical and yes, Valentines Day has become an enormous rip-off, but some of the most beautiful music and stories were written in the name of love; vive la difference; vive l'amour.
Gerry, Scotland

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.
Colin, England

Chocolates? Flowers? An expensive meal for two? It's all prostitution in the end.
Paddy, UK

We have to accept the Freudian philosophy that all actions are sexually motivated. Sex is good but sex coupled with romance is sensational.
Ahmed, UK


Roll on romance, it's nice to be spoilt any day of the year!

Kate, UK
I told my boyfriend not to bother with flowers and expensive gifts because the prices at this time of year are ridiculous! But then I did wake up to breakfast in bed with a single red rose! - Far cheaper and more effective! Roll on romance, it's nice to be spoilt any day of the year!
Kate, UK

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.
Faye, USA

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!
Ian, Scotland

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.
Andy, US

So many cynics here! Romance will never fade... end of story!
Máire, US


We all express romance differently and under subject to different stimulus

Demetri W, UK
Who said romance is dead...the media? We all express romance differently and under subject to different stimulus. To some it is through chocolates, champagne and flowers, to others, via something else...it's very easy to judge one another and blame "greedy merchants" but romance is a personal emotion, and one that is constantly being measured and put into a box by us all. Live and let live.
Demetri W, UK

Feminism killed romance!
Suki Singh, UK

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.
Peter, UK

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¿.
Robert, England

Most correspondents sound like they are in need of sex AND love very badly.
Jessica, Cambridge, UK

Stop moaning, it would be nice just to get something. Valentine's Day is there to make single people feel miserable and unloved
Lou, UK


We can be romantic to each other any time of the year, not just this one particular day

Jo, UK
I don't think romance is dead, just don't see the point in having society dictate to me that today I must pay over the odds to shower my fiancée with gifts. If my other half brought me presents on Valentine's Day I would be upset, he wouldn't be buying them because he loved me but because he "has" to as dictated by society. We can be romantic to each other any time of the year, not just this one particular day.
Jo, UK

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.
Steven, UK


Romance is alive and well and in the most unexpected of places

Katie, UK
Romance is alive and well and in the most unexpected of places. My boyfriend is a geordie which some people might think means my chances of romance are pretty slim. It couldn't be more opposite. I've had two cards from him already today, and I am being taken out for a meal at a mystery location tonight. I'm feeling like a very lucky lady!
Katie, UK

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.
M. M. Zaman, UK in US


Britain is a decidedly non-romantic country

Eva W., UK
Britain is a decidedly non-romantic country where young people grow up very enlightened about sex but completely ignorant of courtship and the joy of anticipation. It is a cultural thing and, sadly, nothing much can be done about it with attitudes repeating themselves down the generation line. This is not to say that Valentine's day is anything to do with romance. It is a commercial rip-off and very shallow.
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.
Justin Berkovi, UK

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...
Andy Millward, UK


Romance is not dead, it's just that those who can think for themselves increasingly resent being expected to pay an exorbitant premium for roses

John B, UK
Romance is not dead, it's just that those who can think for themselves increasingly resent being expected to pay an exorbitant premium for roses and dinner out. I refuse to pay £50+ for a dozen roses, or to be half of many couples lining a faceless restaurant with as many tacky "table for 2"'s crammed in as possible while service is slow and prices are high.
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!
Samin Rayan, Iranian student, UK

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!
Rebecca Southwell, UK


A card to a stranger isn't romantic, it just shows you're interested!

Imogen Taylor, England
What rot. People of all ages have been having sex since we evolved. We haven't thought up something new, you know! Romance is something you only get when you love and are loved. A card to a stranger isn't romantic, it just shows you're interested!
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?
Mark B, UK

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!
Wendy, UK

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.
Adrian Y, UK

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.
Jose Fernandez, Netherlands


The day is just another piece of crass superstition anyway

Martin Bentley, UK
The same people that killed Christmas have killed romance with their cheesy pre-packaged commercial manipulation of emotions. That said the day is just another piece of crass superstition anyway.
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!
Richard N, UK


No wonder young people would rather have sex! It's much cheaper

Adam, England
Yes I think Valentine's Day is dead and so it should be. However romance is very much alive and kicking! I make sure I show my girlfriend how much I care all year round and not just one day a year! Valentine's Day is hyped by people selling cards, chocolates and flowers at over-inflated prices. No wonder young people would rather have sex! It's much cheaper.
Adam, England

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.
Peter, Netherlands

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.
Caron, England


Seeing her happy made all the difference to me

Clive Mitchell, UK
Last night it was flowers and a meal out. This morning, card, chocolates and breakfast in bed while I did the washing up. Sex? No thanks. Not with my rotten cold and stinking headache (and the kids running around), but seeing her happy made all the difference to me.
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.
Alex Banks, Wales, Living in Sweden

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...
Ed Vista, England


Hands up anyone who is surprised

Julian, Wiltshire, UK
Hands up anyone who is surprised! In a society that no longer attaches any particular stigma to sex, or even encourages it, how many people would choose never to have sex and instead have a box of chocolates and some flowers? If WE think that way, why on earth should we expect our kids to? And if we educate them sensibly so they at least understand contraception, what harm can it do?
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.
Jane, Cardiff, Wales

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!!!!!
Philip Levy, UK

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