Ever had a relationship problem that felt like your partner just fundamentally didn’t understand you, or vice versa? Honestly, who hasn’t! If you’re like me, you took to Google and it probably led you to the “What is your love language?” quiz at some point. The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, the book that encourages a new way of thinking about love, was written in 1995 and has recently re-emerged in popular culture.
Understanding the different ways of showing love helps you better understand your partner’s expectations and needs.
The five love languages are used to describe the way we want to be loved. This means that depending on our individual personality types, we may give and receive love differently than how our partners do. Understanding the different ways of showing love helps you better understand your partner’s expectations and needs. According to Dr. Chapman, there are five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.They have a formula and each of us is partial to one.
The theory is based on the idea that we all love in different ways. That way of thinking doesn’t just apply to our relationships with others, it affects how we treat ourselves as well. Understanding the ways you prefer to express love, as well as your partner’s, and understanding how you expression your love may be different, or even similar, means you understand when you’re loving your partner the way you prefer them to show you affection and when you’re loving your partner in their preferred method.
This love language is one of the clearest and easiest to understand. You either love being showered with gifts or you love to be the one doing the showering. And to be honest, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like a gift from time to time. But for this love language, it’s not necessarily about large or even expensive gifts. Think of it more along the lines of choosing a gift that shows you understand your partner and that you put thought into the gift. The quality and thoughtfulness are more important than the price tag of a gift.
Picking a gift that’s meaningful and tailored to their interests will be better received than something expensive that doesn’t resonate with them. Picking a flower from the backyard or standing in line to get their favorite cookie can be even more impactful as a gift than something more expensive. Has your partner been curious about a specific toy? Then surprise them with that toy! Maybe they’re curious about a new kink; then think about getting a book or erotica related to that topic.
It’s simple to see how touch can relate to sex, but I want you to think of “physical touch” as more than solely a sex thing. Think more about platonic touch: a foot rub on a bad day, holding hands while walking, a tender hug, a back massage. But with that being said, typically those who have the physical touch love language do feel that sex is among the most important forms of intimacy, and of course, this applies to masturbation as well.
When it comes to sex toys, the kind of person who has physical touch for their love language is probably not a newbie. So think of toys with as many points of contact as possible. Toys like the Vedo Hummer, Womanizer Duo, or B Vibe Anal Massage kit. Or you can add a physical aspect to your phone or video dates with an app-enabled toy that lets one partner use a sex toy while the other controls the intensity and rhythm of the sensations. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can add a blindfold to your play to heighten physical touch. When we take away one of our senses the others get more intense. So when your blindfolded and your partner is touching you, you can’t tell where their next kiss or caress will come from and the anticipation can add an exciting element to even the most vanilla playtime.
Words of Affirmation
Words of affirmation seem to be the most common among the love languages and can require the most thoughtfulness. If this is your love language, then you love receiving compliments and good communication makes you weak in the knees. You tend to feel your best when you’re sincerely praised and told how much you’re loved and appreciated, or even when you’re the one doing the praising. It’s not just about going through the motions, but rather…saying the words. Beyond actual declarations of love (though these can still be good), this includes all kinds of gratitude and appraisal. We’re talking, “Thanks for taking care of that chore,” and also “Wow, you’re a really great friend.”
Think of incorporating a ball gag so all the talking comes from you.
As you would imagine, the range of things to say will vastly range because people respond to different things. Be creative! Send a text, leave them a hand-written letter somewhere for them to find, create a short video or audio recording. Leave a note on their mirror, arrange food to spell a word that states a quality that you love about them, or send a photo of the two of you together and share what made them so special to you at that moment. And when you have a sexy time together, remember to affirm what you find hot about them, both physically as well as other qualities such as their sense of humor, creativeness, kindness, or intelligence. Words of affirmation don’t have to take much time, but with sincerity, their impact can be deep.
Acts of Service
This love language often appears in the considerate undertaking of tasks. Think along the lines of cooking, doing the dishes, insisting that you personally pick someone up from the airport. Acts of service are by no means solely domestic tasks. Think of it more as a form of love that’s enmeshed in gestures rather than declarations or objects. If you live together, take time to offer a foot rub, make their favorite snack, or clean up the dishes. Stay current on your own chores and do a little bit more.
When you are planning intimate time, think about what vibrators, lubricants, oils, sensations like a feather tickler, or activities your partner might be into and set the scene for everything to be available for playtime. Making sure toys are charged and cleaned and ready to go can be a huge turn on if your love language is acts of service! If you don’t live together, research a new book they might like to read, prepare a meal and drop it off, or create a physical or digital scrapbook with your special memories together.
Now that we’re spending more time with each other I want to specify that “quality time” does not mean all those hours you and your partner spend on opposite ends of your couch, staring at your individual phones. The main word to notice here is quality. It’s about sharing experiences such as great meals, traveling, crafting together, etc. When you think of it that way, I would suggest a vibrator that’s committed to ensuring that all your time together feels thoroughly well-spent.
Maybe quality time looks like practicing with rope and new ties.
Thinking about toys that can stimulate two people at once like the wearable We-Vibe vibrators that also have an app so if you do want to stay on opposite ends of the couch you can still stimulate your partner! Maybe quality time looks like practicing with rope and new ties. Or maybe it looks like taking turns giving each other a massage with some massage stones or even just having a date night with added lingerie. Take the time to tailor the quality time to your partner’s needs and then reap the benefits of making your partner happy!
Tailor it to your life!
Love languages are just one way to try and help our partner or loved ones feel loved during tough times of uncertainty, anxiety, and isolation from regular connections. With love, our ability to manage hard times is much better. If you’re currently in a relationship, platonic or romantic, that you’re hoping will last the test of time, then compromises are necessary, particularly if you figure out you both have different love languages. If you like “acts of service” and your boo likes “physical touch”, a great compromise would be asking them to help you fold some laundry, and then in return, you can be the big spoon, even though you’re not a big cuddler. Keep in mind, that while love languages are mostly geared towards romantic relationships, they can factor into and improve the way we relate and interact with everyone we love. Treat your friends and chosen family as well as you’d treat your romantic partners!