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Translating the 5 Love Languages to Sex

Translating the 5 Love Languages to Sex

Over the eight years Gary Chapman spent counseling married couples, he noticed a trend: one half of the couple would report feeling unloved, even when the other protested that they were doing all that they could to express their feelings. In response to this, Chapman wrote the book The 5 Love Languages, which has remained on the best-sellers list for almost three decades.

In The 5 Love Languages, Chapman makes the argument that every person has a primary love language, that is, a preferred way of receiving love. The author describes the five love languages as:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Acts of Service
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch

  • Chapman goes on to explain the concept, including how some people have two main love languages and how love languages can change over time and between relationships. Perhaps the most important thing that Chapman wrote is that we need to show our love to our partners in their love language if we want their “love tank” to be full. Otherwise, they may be like Chapman's clients and wind up feeling unloved.

    This can be difficult for several reasons. First, if your love language differs from that of your partner, you might not appreciate the things that they require to feel loved. You may even find it silly and avoid it. Many people show love in their own love language. However, this is not always the case. If the way you most easily show love is not your partner's love language, they may feel that their love tank is empty. Of course, none of this matters if you don't show love in any love language.

    The 5 Love Languages has been helping couples fill their love tanks for over 25 years, encouraging people to rethink how they express love and the type of love they need and helping relationships in strife. But how exactly does this apply to what happens behind bedroom doors?

    For starters, it's literal. Many people do not want to engage in sexual activities with a partner if they feel unloved. Although there's a cliché about how women need to feel loved to want sex and men need sex to feel loved, many people want to feel a connection with their partner before they strip down. So reading the book and expressing your affection to your partner in their love language might rekindle a spark in your relationship if its dwindled over time.

    While this might not reply as much in casual situations, it's still important to keep in mind. A key takeaway that applies in any sexual situation is that we all have particular methods that make us the most comfortable and things that are the best at turning us on and giving us pleasure. The 5 Love Languages teaches us to look outside ourselves and what we consider “normal” to discover more about our partners and use that knowledge to make sex better for both of us.

    This lesson is harder than it may seem for some people, especially because we live in a society that discusses and portrays sex in such limited ways. Sex, as it's defined, is only penetration, and everything that comes before it is lesser. Heterosexual sex not only ends with a man's orgasm but requires it to be considered “real sex,” while a woman's orgasm is viewed as a bonus. The clitoris, a woman's orgasm, and activities designated as foreplay are all second-rate to

    Taking the proactive approach to learning about your partner's needs and desires, as suggested by The 5 Love Languages, can be especially helpful for people who have responsive sex desire. In comparison to those people with spontaneous sexual desire who can be turned on at, seemingly, the drop of a hat, those people with responsive desire need specific conditions to feel desire. While more men than women have spontaneous desire, and women are more likely to have responsive desire, plenty of men experience responsive desire, and the opposite is also true.

    Some people with responsive desire don't find themselves turned on until after sexual stimulation has happened, which makes foreplay activities such as kissing, heavy petting, massage, oral, and manual sex, just to name a few, important for their bodies to become fully aroused. So taking the time to learn your partner's desires can greatly improve your sexual experiences, even if all you do is take a moment to ask your date what kind of things put them at ease or get them in the mood. And these questions can easily be a type of flirting or foreplay in and of themselves.

    On top of that, being thoughtful and inquiring about your partner's preferences is one way to learn exactly what not to do. There are a variety of things that turn people off. This is known as the sexual inhibition system, which competes with our sexual excitation system. People with especially sensitive sexual inhibition systems may find it difficult to get turned on or stay turned on when exposed to one of their turn-offs. This can include anything from stress to poor body images to a word that a person finds especially unpleasant. Unfortunately, women find themselves frustrated yet again as their inhibition systems tend to be more sensitive than men's. Of course, there are always exceptions.

    All of this suggests ways you can have better sex by looking at the basis of love languages, even without incorporating specific love languages. While I'm not here to suggest what the love languages of sex could be, I can offer some advice along those lines.

    For people whose love language is physical touch, kissing, cuddling, and massage can be quite relaxing and make them feel appreciated and wanted. Make sure to explore every inch of your partner's body; try Tantric sex. They may appreciate physical contact such as hugs, kisses, and holding hands during the day that aren't necessarily sexual. A person with responsive desire whose love language is physical touch may doubly reap the rewards of touch as stimulation turns them on, too.

    Try focusing all your attention on your partner's sexual pleasure if their primary love language is acts of service. This may mean lavishing them with oral attention, ensuring that they orgasm (even if you don't), or trying activities such as body worship. You may find that you can tap into your submissive fantasies by serving your lover or even that being a caring dominant is one way to speak your partner's love language.

    Make sure to explicitly state how much you love, desire, and appreciate your partner if they find that words of affirmation is their love language, especially if you adore something about them that feeds into their self-consciousness. Get verbal with dirty talk, send them a sexy text during the day, or even write a piece of erotica about them. Reveal something vulnerable about yourself to foster your intimate connection with a partner.

    It can be easy to rush through sex, and while there's nothing wrong with a quickie, making sex a priority speaks to someone whose love language is quality time. Make sure to turn off your phone or TV and ignore any other distractions. Perhaps schedule a date night or sex to ensure you have plenty of time. Give your partner your rapt attention and help them to focus on the moment, too.

    You don't need to go broke if your partner's love language is receiving gifts; however, having a bit of disposable income can help. Many people are happy to receive a freshly-picked flower or a candy bar that implies, “I've been thinking of you,” without breaking the bank. To bring this inside the bedroom, consider a gift of  lingeriemassage oil, or a sex toy. There are edibles and vibrators designed specifically for couples. An act of service, such as giving a massage, may be received as a gift, too. You can amp up the erotic energy outside of the bedroom, too, by providing tickets for workshops or sexy shows and combine gifts with kink if you literally wrap something up with bondage rope.