Almost 30 years ago, Gary Chapman penned a book that changed the way we view relationships. In The Five Love Languages, he put forward a theory that everyone expresses their love in different ways, most of which fall into five categories: acts of service, physical touch, quality time, words of affirmation and receiving gifts.
Understanding your partner’s love language—or languages, as the case may be—can do wonders for a relationship. After all, if you know the most effective ways to their heart, you can save yourself from pouring thought and effort into the other ways that aren’t as impactful.
But how do the five love languages relate to your sex life? We break it down below.
Acts of service
Though sex should ideally be a reciprocal thing, once in a while dedicate yourself to satisfying all of your partner’s sexual whims. This might include oral sex if that’s what they’re into, or simply prioritizing their pleasure over yours (of course, only do things that you are comfortable with),
This is pretty much a given during sex, but the way you touch your partner can make a huge difference. Savor the foreplay and take your time caressing, stroking, and kissing each other. You can also build up to it during the day, by cuddling, holding hands or massaging each other (surreptitious groping also works a charm if you’re both into it).
Instead of letting your mind wander during sex to mundane things like walking the dog or needing to go grocery shopping, focus on being present. People can usually tell when their partner’s mind is elsewhere during coitus, so be sure to focus on the task at hand, making eye contact with your partner and taking things slowly (our guide to the art of mindful sex might help).
Words of affirmation
Being vocal about what you love about your partner’s body and how much they turn you on during sex is the surefire way to engage this particular love language. And it can also be a gateway to dirty talk, which—as we’ve mentioned—is a stellar means of spicing up a relationship in general.
The great thing about this one is that it benefits you too. Surprise your partner with a gift that might help liven things up in the bedroom—sexy underwear, sex toys, erotic literature, blindfolds, tickets to a sex workshop, or anything else that you think might get their pulse racing.
If you’re not quite sure what your love language is, you can take the quiz here.