Written by Paula Brečak for Self Studies
The understanding of love languages has become so common today that asking How do you receive love? is almost as simple as asking What is your favorite pasta dish? and the answers seem to come just as instinctively. Even if you are not familiar with the origin of this theory of communication in intimate relationships, you have probably heard of the five love languages themselves: acts of service, physical touch, receiving gifts, quality time, and words of affirmation. These love languages were conceptualized in a 1992 book by Gary Chapman, an American Baptist pastor and an expert in adult education. For years, he provided marriage counseling to his parishioners and soon began noticing how a lot of problems in relationships come from miscommunication around the ways in which we express and receive love. Today, his love languages help couples become aware and make it clear to each other how they like to receive love, so they can show each other their affection in ways that are successfully perceived and understood.
And Where is Sex?
As Self Studies is a sexual wellness brand, we couldn’t help but wonder - where does sex fit into all these love languages? Sure, an easy and very obvious answer is that sex falls under the category of physical touch. In reality, sex and sexuality are much more than simply touching or being touched. Sexuality, sexual wellness, and sexual energy can seep into all aspects of our lives, relationships, and communication, and should not be confined to spaces of physical intercourse alone. Let us try and add to the love languages then so they reflect the Self Studies’ understanding of the importance of sexual wellness and including holistic sexuality into your communication style, whatever it may be.
Acts of Service
While the original acts of service may include vacuuming the floor or surprising your partner with a cup of fresh coffee in bed, we would like to suggest a few more sexually minded ideas… Acts of service in general are about making your partner’s life easier by doing a chore they would usually do, and thus by volunteering your time and energy so they can enjoy their time and energy more.
Include sexual wellness into your acts of service by, instead of just picking up the groceries, also remembering to pick up lubricant - and preferably paying attention that it is your partner’s favorite one. You could also draw your partner a bath and give them the time and space to connect with their own sexuality without distractions.
If your partner is always the one thinking about birth control and making sure your condom drawer is well stocked, perhaps you take on the responsibility of buying and making sure you always have condoms. Though safe sex really is a service to you both.
The love language of receiving gifts might sound materialistic, but in reality it is not really about the stuff. Here it is really the intention and the thought that count. People whose love language is receiving gifts like to know that someone was thinking about them and put some effort into getting them a thoughtful gift they love.
To show that you are also thinking about their pleasure and wellness, a perfect gift for a person that prefers this love language is a sex toy. Show your partner that you were paying attention and know what kind of stimulation they enjoy, by getting them just the right toy, whether it be for solo play or partner play.
A gift does not have to cost much, or at all. It can also take the form of a DIY project, such as a hot and enticing (semi-)nude photo! Perhaps sent when they least expect it…
Original quality time refers to giving your partner your undivided attention and spending time engaging in quality conversations and quality activities. Let us also add quality sex to that. This kind of sex is not really about sex as such, not even pleasure necessarily. It is about spending time with your partner and being aware of them and your connection.
Quality time that integrates sexual energy can also be making a sexual fantasy come true, giving all of yourself into it, and really connecting through vulnerability. Quality time perhaps shouldn’t include any outside stimulans, but we feel comfortable recommending some couples games that will offer prompts to help you open up and connect in conversation about sexuality and pleasure in the most quality way.
Words of Affirmation
Word of affirmation are associated with saying I love you, I appreciate you, I am proud of you, or giving a compliment. But what if the words that affirm your partner and show them love are a bit more…spicy. Try dirty talk. Make it kinky or not, but make those words of affirmation loaded with sexual energy and desire. As we said before, sex does not necessarily have to do anything with physical touch.
It doesn’t even require you to be in the same room, as those kinky words of affirmation can be expressed through texts, or more correctly, sexts. Tell your love not only how much you love them, but also how much you want them, desire them, how much pleasure you take in them, and see how such sexual communication informs and strengthens your sexual wellness.
As we arrive at the fifth and the final love language, does sex really fall only under the category of physical touch? Considering all the ways that sexuality can be incorporated in every one of the five love languages, we do not think so. When it does come to the physical touch, do not simplify it either. Sex can mean many things and take many forms.
Communicating love and affection through physical touch and sexuality can specifically look like mindful sex. During such a sexual experience, you are fully present, not thinking about the groceries or the film you watched earlier. Instead, each one of your senses is actively focusing on what is happening with yours and your partner’s bodies. It may not be easy nor come naturally, so do not beat yourself up if you start smelling whatever the neighbors are cooking and then begin thinking about the food you will have afterwards. Instead, just turn the attention of your senses towards your partner again, towards their smell, their presence, and how it all makes you feel. Show them that you are paying attention to them by knowing their erogenous zones, what they like and how they like it. Show them that you are listening and remembering, and that your touch can offer both firmness and gentless, if that is what they like.
Sex and sexuality are not just one distinct part of a relationship, of how you communicate, or how you express care and fondness for each other. Sexuality also exists in words, in looks, in giving your partner time or gifts, or unburdening them of a chore so they can give some extra attention to their own sensuality and pleasure. Interlace sexual pleasure and energy with whatever your preferred love language is, and see how it improves your sexual wellness and your sexual communication.