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With St Valentine’s Day coming up, many men will be thinking hard about how to please the lady in their life, with some fun and romance being planned.

Of course, this year there will be no romantic weekend getaways, so much of the focus will be on some more homespun means of providing a bit of joy, be it home cooking a romantic dinner, buying a beautiful gift or two, or simply waiting hand and foot on your loved one. 

Sadly for some, thinking hard and actually being hard are not always the same thing and the most enjoyable element of the occasion may be in jeopardy. That is why acquiring some cheap sildenafil may be as important as purchasing the chocolates or prosecco.

Of course, some might wonder what the fuss is really all about. Is Valentine’s Day just a bit of overly commercial nonsense? Is it really necessary for anyone in a good relationship to set aside a day to be especially nice to their partner when it might be a good idea to do this on 365 days a year rather than one?

The tradition starts with St Valentine himself, whose origins are somewhat uncertain. The main reason for this is there are no less than three St Valentines recognised by the Catholic church, all of whom have some kind of romantic associations, which led to them all being rather unromantically martyred. 

A priest named Valentine was the first candidate, as he defied a decree by Roman emperor Claudius II that soldiers should remain unmarried by carrying out weddings in secret, a subversive move that cost him his head when this was discovered. Claudius certainly didn’t seem to like his Valentines much, as a bishop by the same name was also given the chop.

The third candidate was a Valentine who helped Christians escape from Roman prisons, and who himself was thrown behind bars. It was while there, the story goes, that he fell in love with his jailor’s daughter and sent her a message addressed “from your Valentine” – the first Valentine’s greeting. Not that this led to him being spared the axe, of course.

As for the day of February 14th, there are some suggestions that it was chosen to replace the old pagan Roman feast of Lupercalia, a fertility god. When it came to fertility religions, there was always a close association between the agricultural version and the human kind, which meant the celebration always involved lots of sex.

However, the actual romantic focus of February 14th appears to have only really taken off in the Middle Ages, while the exchange of Valentine’s Cards started in the US in the 1700s. Nonetheless, the tradition is now very much part of modern life. 

February 14th 2021 will certainly be a far cry from those Roman times unless your idea of a romantic movie involves watching Gladiator or Spartacus. But while you may not be at risk of spending the day without a head, it may be a good move to act now to make sure you are not depriving yourself of something else.