Together 2004
Published: February 4, 2004

Games of love
Romantic plans, board games and body frosting help rekindle the flame

by Sue Dremann

A knack for romance may not be an inherited trait, but we can probably all use a little help at times. Sheila Holmes, a maven of romance, helps couples rekindle that spark. Her Internet business, Romancing Your Lifemate, is one of a growing number of companies offering romance games, romance plans and everything from edible body frosting to a board gaming involving chocolate -- and stripping.

Holmes enjoys ministering to spouses who, after giving that box of candy and flowers, also want to be a wonderful lover and mate. She credits her wildly romantic marriage with providing her material for success.

Her husband is the incurable romantic. "After 37 years of marriage, my husband still stuns me," she said. "I thought, 'Why horde this? Why not share it?' "

Among her most successful products are custom-made romance plans. The plans are not only about physical intimacy, they are a sharing of the heart, she said, involving communication as well.

"People are so hungry for this, especially husbands. There's a joy in giving something to people that they need," Holmes said.

Plans can be as inexpensive as $10. A seduction involves more than just what happens in the bedroom. Plans can include ideas for love notes, romantic gestures and getaway ideas.

One husband wrote to Holmes after his wife suffered a spinal-cord injury while giving birth to their child. The injury lowered her self-esteem.

"The things you have taught me to romance her make her feel like the most beautiful woman in the world," he later wrote, Holmes said.

Love games can spark the imagination. "52 Weeks of Romance" comes with a satin pouch full of scratch-and-reveal cards with romantic I.O.Us, love notes, coupons, interlude ideas and more. Expressions of love, passion, and games of seduction are designed to keep the flame burning for each week of the year.
And "Simply Romantic Nights" contains 24 sealed envelopes with suggestions for romantic places where couples can spend time together, such as a stroll on a moonlit beach or a fireside chat in a cozy mountain cottage.

Intimate romantic board games, such as "An Enchanted Evening" take couples to new levels of discovery. Each player writes down a secret wish, and players follow instructions picked from a deck of cards as they move game pieces around the board. Some cards may suggest gentle touching; others may ask a question. The first player to reach the finish gets his or her wish fulfilled. Nobody loses.

Or how about a game of "Strip Chocolate"? It's a game of sensual pleasure. Your clothes will come off; the chocolate will go on, according to Chocoholics Divine Desserts, makers of the game and a number of chocolate body-frosting products.

Speaking of ecstasy, chocolate body frosting comes in five tasty flavors, including Espresso Dream, Wild Cherry Chocolate and Midnight Mocha. "Quickie recipes" accompany the 10-ounce jar. Just apply with a paintbrush.
If slathering on chocolate isn't tantalizing, it's also delicious over ice cream or fruit, said Mary Schenone, vice president of sales and marketing.

Body frosting evolved from the company's chocolate-sauce business as an alternative way to use the products, Schenone said. Gift sets with paint brushes, stencils with alluring messages that can be licked off -- even a chocolate body bar to cover one's loved one in chocolate are available.

There's even something for those who aren't going to have a happy Valentine's Day because love has taken a wrong turn. Chocoholics has created a chocolate voodoo doll. They suggest putting a spell on it -- or biting its head off.

Typically, women over the age of 50 purchase the products from retail stores. "They're popular for bridal showers and wedding gifts," Schenone said.

But men often purchase online, perhaps because they can do so anonymously, Schenone added.

Do they spark romance?

"I get teased a lot that the product must be working because I'm pregnant for the third time," she said.


Chocoholics Divine Desserts are at

Products are also available at:
Andronico's, Stanford Shopping Center, 327-5505
Draegers, Menlo Park 324-7700; and Los Altos, 948-4425
Piazza's Fine Foods, Palo Alto, 424-1629
Whole Foods Market (around Valentine's Day), Palo Alto, 948-4425