The 5 "Love Languages"

Do you know about the "5 Love Languages"?

A framework developed by marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman, the five love languages are a way of categorizing the way different people like to show and receive affection.

1. Words of Affirmation: Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

2. Quality Time: In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

3. Receiving Gifts: Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.

4. Acts of Service: Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most wants to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.

5. Physical Touch: This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.

- The above descriptions are taken from an interview with Dr. Chapman that you can read here.

Why am I bringing this up?

Yesterday I had a tattoo appointment. My artist & I both love cooking, and he made us dinner while he worked on me. I felt so appreciated and cared for enjoying the meal he made for us after an intense tattoo session & realized cooking is a huge aspect of my love language!

My love language is a combo mostly of 'acts of service' with a little bit of 'gift giving', really - both giving & receiving.  This doesn't mean the other ways of showing affection mean nothing to me - I'm also super into touch & quality time, and of course like hearing words of affirmation!

However, acts of service are the most natural feeling way for me to feel appreciated or show that I care. If you've ever had my cooking, you know.

So... it's all a little pop psychology-y... but I think important and useful info can definitely be gleaned from this way of looking at things.

I've found learning about each language an incredibly useful way to learn how to show affection with each of my partners, friends, lovers and clients in a way that feels natural and meaningful to them.

For example - my partner of several years. Her love language is physical touch! I can get a little wrapped up in the cerebral side of things, forget I'm on planet Earth, etc. (if you want to get into more pop-psychology-but-maybe-there's-actually-something-to-it you can blame the Libra in me) - and I had to put a lot of intention into learning to ground myself and engage in physical touch with her during every day activities like talking, cooking, shopping, etc.... not just while cuddling or having sex or sleeping next to each other.

Or, take one of my submissive playmates, whose language is 'words of affirmation'. Hearing "you're a good boy", or "good job!" or "thank you, you've been so helpful" (that's us getting both our itches scratched at the same time!) - is what makes him feel the warmest and fuzziest and most appreciated.

Being able to put a name to these different ways of showing affection has vastly improved my communication in different relationships, and in turn, the relationships themselves. We'll all of course have our native language, but there's something to be said for all the opportunities of communication opened by being polylingual!

What's your love language?

Communication is Sexy: Moans, Groans, and Feedback

    Communication is the introduction to every fulfilling encounter. I begin our interaction with email because it gives us both a chance to compose our thoughts, without the pressure of time imposed on every word. (Plus, candidly: I’m a Millenial and talking on the phone stresses me out. We don’t call each other unless something is gravely wrong!)

Far from being impersonal, the written word is a reminder of handwritten notes of devotion from days gone by... It’s an important way of getting to know each other and builds the framework of how we’ll communicate when we meet. Our first, digital interactions are a sweet aphrodisiac.

When we meet in the flesh, that communication is renewed. Though we may feel the urge to tear each other’s clothes off, we take a breath, a few moments. We introduce ourselves; it may feel like we already know each other. Maybe it feels like we’re perfect strangers. Both are jolts of excitement. Either way, we’ll have already chatted about some of what will happen… but we aren’t sure how exactly the dice will fall, especially when we’re exploring a new experience.

This is why ongoing communication is so necessary and so sexy among play partners, whether we are well known to each other or experiencing the new buddings of desire.

I want to know how you feel. I want to know what you’re deeply enjoying, what’s pleasant, and what might not be working for you. Everyone is different, and I don’t assume that you’ll enjoy every single thing that we explore. I want to find what drives you. This is why every kind of feedback begets greater intimacy.  

My intention is to give you the confidence to communication with me freely, to let me know where you are, how you’re feeling. For me, that’s the greatest pleasure of having another creature with you in your moment of pleasure: we get to talk, laugh, flirt, and tell one another how it’s all feeling.

So, why are we all so quiet? Trust me, it isn’t just you.

I was recently speaking with my cohort Charli Gallo regarding the subject of quiet sex. I said it was a habit I had to unlearn as an adult, and she confirmed my experience. ...and how many play parties, orgies, and naked birthday parties have we been to together?! It clearly isn’t a matter of experience that taught us to be so tongue-tied.

I suspect many of us have similar roots in our learned habit of sexual self-censorship.

In our first experiences of masturbation, it is very likely there was someone sharing the room, or close by down the hall. Lacking privacy, we bit pillows, our hands, hid beneath the blankets to find our solitude. As we grew older, we locked ourselves in bathrooms and locker room stalls to find a few peaceful moments of quiet during puberty. Old habits die hard.

If you were raised religious, like I was, or as a woman, like I was, those things add additional layers of shame and the drive to conceal your desire and the pursuit of pleasure to the mix.

I know where I learned to hide my voice.

Summer camp. Funny how our shared fantasies grow from realities. I bunked in a cabin in the woods of Maine with six girls and our counselor. I couldn’t spend six weeks keeping my hands to myself every night, so I learned how to be quiet.

I separated pleasure from sound, touch from expression. It took me me years to begin to unravel this teenage habit.

Now, I take great pleasure in hearing myself gasp, growl, yelp with enjoyment, no less than in telling my partner to move their head or their hand to give me greater pleasure. It turns me on to hear you turned on.

If this is an experience you relate to, know that I don’t expect you to unlearn it on your own.

What I want you to know is my desire to hear from you - in your affect, your sighing, your moaning, the way your body responds. I want to create a space where you can experience your body, our bodies, and the great pleasures we have to offer each other without worry or shame.