THIS young couple only have sex once a year on Valentine's Day – and say the wait proves how committed they are.
Admin assistant Maria Simpson, 25, from Birmingham, and her fiance James Phillips, also 25, an IT systems engineer, have only had sex three times and plan to keep their annual pact until they're married.
Speaking exclusively to Fabulous, Maria says: “I know this may sound crazy but our Valentine’s Day sex pact is what keeps us committed and obsessed with each other.
"I think it's beautiful. It proves we have a real connection, because our relationship isn't all about sex.
"Only making love on February 14 makes James fancy me even more and shows us both we’re truly meant to be together.
"It sounds old fashioned, but James and I have different priorities.
"Until we get married, Valentine's Day will be the only time I give James the gift of sex."
The twenty-something pair, who met in January 2019, are not alone in valuing old fashioned romance over regular sex.
According to a recent survey, published in The Guardian, 40 per cent of 18-24-year-olds have never had sex and six per cent have sex less than once-a-year.
Millennials are blaming work pressure, exhaustion and valuing connections over sex for their flagging libidos.
For Maria and her man, the fact James travels all over the world for work meant regular sex wasn't possible for them at first.
Only having sex on Valentine's Day makes James fancy me even more. It sounds old fashioned, but James and I have different priorities. Until we get married, he only gets the gift of sex once a year
Maria says: "This isn't something which should be criticised.
"I'm sure some people will think it means we don't fancy each other, but our love making is even more special because of the build up.
"Sex is a much better gift than a bunch of roses.
"Frankly we don’t care if people don’t understand why we do this. We make our own rules and are proud of that.
"We kiss and cuddle but nothing else until Valentine's Day.
"If more people got to know each other properly before jumping into bed, I think there'd be less break ups.
"When we do have sex, it’s amazing. I can’t wait to finally get married and settle down once lockdown’s over."
When James and Maria met, they had both sworn off dating.
She says: "We had both come out of long-term relationships which ended badly.
"We were introduced by a mutual friend at a party and spent the night comparing notes about bad break-ups.
"We both realised regular sex didn't necessarily equal a happy relationship and said we wanted to make sure the next person we had sex with was The One.
"I was determined to take any new relationship slow. I didn't want to sleep with a bloke, only to have him dump me.
"A friend of mine was already happily married, after trying the approach of keeping sex to a minimum.
"So when James and I got together, we agreed we wouldn't sleep together.
"Then on Valentine's Day 2019, we had a few too many drinks and made love for the first time.
That's when we made our once a year pact – sex wasn't a priority for us. All my mates said our relationship would fail. Instead it flourished
"Despite being a bit tipsy, it was the first time I'd felt properly connected to a man – and James told me he felt the same.
"At the time, I was studying business and tourism at Open University while working full-time in Manchester.
"Meanwhile, James was set to fly to Tokyo to spend nine months training in IT systems installations with work.
"That’s when we made our once-a-year love pact. We knew we wanted to make it work long-distance, as sex wasn't a priority for us.
"I had to focus on university and James needed to make his training work.
"We didn’t have the money to fly back and forth to Japan either. Instead, we focused on texting and FaceTime.
"We spend thousands of hours just talking and getting to know each other in a long-distance relationship.
"All my mates said our relationship would fail. Instead it flourished. I wasn’t interested in looking at other guys.
"Meanwhile, James was too busy to date in between his work hours and our long calls.
"When James got back from his Asian secondment, it was January 2020.
"I suggested we wait until Valentine’s Day and make it the anniversary of our first love making date, and he agreed.
"Last year, when other couples were boasting with photos of rose petals, red balloons and floral bouquets on social media, we were just focussed on each other.
"The anticipation made the sex even more amazing and intense."
What James says
“When I met Maria, I knew she was special.
"We were both committed to working and studying, and when she suggested our sex pact I knew she was the one for me.
"Getting to know each other without putting physical stuff first made me fall even more in love with her.
"It works for us. Some people call it madness but I don't care.
"Valentine's Day is made even more special by the wait."
When the first lockdown happened in March 2020, James was already abroad in Melbourne, setting up new IT systems and undergoing company training, meaning the couple spent much of the year apart.
Maria says: "We've been making things work long-distance again, but James promised to be home for Valentine's Day so we could keep our sex pact.
"This gives us something to commit to – and has made us want each other even more.
"Long-distance relationships are hard, unless you do what we do.
"Our special rules make it fun and mean we're not missing out by being in different countries.
"In 2022, we're hoping to finally get married – with a small, intimate wedding on Valentine's Day.
"Once James and I finally say 'I do', we won't limit our sex sessions anymore.
"Until then, only Cupid's arrow can get me naked in the bedroom. I wouldn't have it any other way.
"Some of my friends think we are silly; others say we've got our priorities right.
"A few have even admitted they have sex less than us, despite living and working in the same town."
We previously spoke to a couple who only have sex once a year on Christmas Day, and got pregnant on December 25, 2019.
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