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The Story of...An Intimacy Educator

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we asked STACEY MURPHY, 42, co-owner of a ‘romance boutique’ in Orlando, for advice about the often-elusive ways of love.

Photo By Mark Losh Photography

“I have always been giving people relationship advice ever since I was in high school—constantly,” says Murphy, who, with her husband owns Blissful Lotus, a “romance boutique” at 1810 N. Orange Avenue, where she hosts intimacy workshops for women and couples, and sells everything from self-help books to sexy lingerie. “I remember one time I said to a person, ‘I don’t even have a boyfriend. Why are you asking me for relationship advice?’ And they said, ‘Because you give very good, practical advice.’”

“With romance, we like to believe that it comes naturally. But what we’ve found with a lot of people is that there’s a hesitation to tap into that [natural impulse] from various societal conditioning or societal issues. Men are raised that they have to be tough and strong, [so] it’s harder for them to tap into that.”

“A lot of women, whether it’s right or wrong, have these high expectations about Valentine’s Day. Other than marriage and your anniversary, it’s like the crescendo of showing how much you love this other person. And then, on the other end, men go through this major anxiety because they’re like, ‘I don’t know what the heck to do!’ They get lost.”

“Valentine’s Day is one day that a lot of people get engaged. And a lot of people break up. Both ways. Sometimes the true meaning of it gets lost. It’s about appreciation and showing your love for the other person.”

“Those who are not in a relationship, [sometimes] come to hate Valentine’s Day because they feel left out. Just because you don’t have a partner in your life doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy this day. Buy yourself flowers. I’ve had people that actually have ordered flowers and had them sent to their job for them to receive the flowers. And then on the little card it says, ‘I love you.’”

Whether or not it’s Valentine’s Day, flirting can be an effective way to make a romantic connection, providing it’s done correctly. “It’s about being subtle. It’s not about hitting them over the head with: I want to be in your space.”

“The first thing you would do [when flirting] is compliment them. But you would compliment them in a way that would not make them feel uncomfortable. With men, sometimes why they get shot down so quickly is they come up with these kooky lines.” But if the conversation goes well, it can lead to tactile flirting.

“For a man, if he puts the hand on the shoulder, that’s OK. No reaching over and hugging. That comes later. For guys, don’t [put your hand] on the woman’s leg. This is where sometimes you have double standards. If a woman puts her hand on a guy’s knee, she’s really giving him an indication.”

“One of the things the recession has shown us is that when the money is gone, all you have is each other. When everything else goes crumbling down, what’s important are the people in your life, the relationships that you have.”

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