Edit: My apologies to SoulRiser and Vesper for leaving out their submissions the first time this was posted and having to edit it in later! (Especially Vesper’s which was even later…)
Thank you to all those who participated in the April 2019 Carnival of Aces! The Call for Submissions was here. The Masterpost for that explains what the Carnival of Aces is can be found here: https://asexualagenda.wordpress.com/a-carnival-of-aces-masterpost/ and it looks like there are no future hosts lined up for this current month of May 2019, or for any future months. Please consider volunteering. Even if the topic has been done before it’s nice to get fresh perspectives. Even if you’ve hosted multiple times before, they welcome repeat hosts! Etc.
Without further ado, here are the submissions from this past month!
- Ettina wrote The Science of Five Love Languages, and an excerpt that sums up a lot of what Ettina covered is:
Unfortunately, although Chapman’s initial theory and writings have emphasized love languages in the context of many kinds of relationships, the empirical research overwhelmingly focuses on romantic relationships between heterosexual individuals. I would very much like to see research on the love languages in the contexts of queer relationships and non-romantic relationships, including parent-child relationships.
2. Next, Lib wrote The Languages of Luv, where this aromantic ace explains:
I’ll admit the title is me being just tad facetious because this topic physically pains me. As an aromantic I get major hebee jebees when people start tossing around words with romantic connotations particularly when the required reading for this topic is based on a book called “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate” (Thank you Wikipedia), but I’m going to suppress my baser instincts that are screaming at me to run for the hills and try to form a rational, and hopefully relatable, opinion on the “Languages of Honest Affection” (there, I fixed the title in my brain so I can stop freaking out over the L* word, *shudders*).
3. After that Perfect Number contributed What My Marriage Is Actually About (It’s Not Sex And It’s Not Jesus), and she put forth a lot of sweet examples of the love inside her marriage.
It’s about communication. About knowing each other so well, because we’ve lived together for so long, that we’ve both developed all kinds of little habits that complement each other. And actually, none of this is really “what marriage is about”- none of this was caused by us getting a marriage license and having a wedding. Instead, it’s because we’re in a long-term, loving, committed relationship. And as the amount of time we’ve been together increases, we gradually come to know each other more and more.
4. Blue Ice-Tea wrote Why Love Languages Matter, which unpacks a lot including:
As someone with a high need for affection but little interest in sex, I’m glad a language exists to help me articulate that need. True, I would always have said, “I like spending time with my friends”, just as I would always have said, “I’m not much interested in sex”. But having a specific terminology gives me an extra feeling of validation. It’s nice to be able to say, “Quality time is my love-language”, just as it’s nice to be able to say, “I’m on the asexual spectrum.”
For another, love languages are a reminder of the Platinum Rule: “Do unto others as they would be done by.” Not everyone likes to be shown affection in the same way. For me, touch is way up on my list of preferred love languages; gifts are right at the bottom. It’s good for the people close to me to know that presents do little for me but that I’m constantly craving hugs. Conversely, it’s good for me to remember that this may not be true of them. Some people are very touch-averse but love receiving gifts. It’s important that I respect this and express my affection for them in the ways they like to receive it.
5. Controlled Abandon wrote Gift giving: How it does and does not work as a love language for me which is a very personal post with lots of examples, and the post ends with:
I scored lowest for physical touch, which I think reflects my difficulty in figuring out how non-romantic, non-sexual physical touch works more than anything else. I’d really like there to be more physical touch in my life. The few times I’ve managed it (putting my arm around a friend, sitting close together on the couch, etc.) it has felt really good in a “humans are social creatures” sort of way. Most of the time, though, it just makes me antsy, because I can’t quite figure out how to be sure I’m not sending the wrong signals, or even when touch is appropriate or not. Culturally, physical touch (beyond handshakes and brief hugs) between adults who aren’t in a Relationship isn’t something we really do in North America, so it’s difficult. But I’d really like to figure it out.
6. SoulRiser submitted The Five Love Languages, and why I’m grateful for cats, which includes some interesting personal analysis comparing human relationships to the author’s relationship with cats. (I’m glad animal companionship was brought into this discussion.) This is one interesting comparison:
This may be because my parents absolutely lovedoing things for me, and always have. All sorts of things, including things that didn’t need to be done at all. I know it makes them feel good to do things for me, so I kind of allow it, but I’m not really comfortable with it….
…I don’t mind doing things for cats though, I’ll gladly feed them and make sure they’re as healthy as possible, and they’ll happily do all sorts of random weird nonsensical shit to make my life more interesting and make me laugh a lot.
7. Vesper submitted “love languages”?? communication tool., which was a very interesting personal post on how unexpectedly useful having the idea of the love languages turned out to be for their relationship with their partner.
i remember scoffing at the concept of “love languages” itself, however. no offense to those who find such things helpful, but the cynic & skeptic in me can’t help but scoff at self-help books in general—even more so when the subject matter is mental health, relationships and / or “love”. whether theory or research-based or not, the notion of there being five (specifically five) love languages and online tests that can help tell you what yours are was little different to me than the trendy, user-made personality quizzes of the early 00’s—which, for the record, is also how i view other theory / research-based tests, such as 16personalities.com, and the MBTI. regardless of my cynicism and skepticism, however, my curiosity did eventually win out. again. and in January 2018 i revisited the idea of ‘love languages’, trepidatiously sending the test link to my partner of but a mere week at the time.
during the course of our relationship thus far, we occasionally come back to the topic of these five ‘love languages’ when discussing random things. sometimes it’s just in the form of an offhanded observation or comment during conversations, like Caspian noticing how my busy lifestyle combined with the timezone difference of me being in Japan & them in the US made them hyperaware of just how important Quality Time is to them, for example. sometimes it was just me mentally taking notice of how my inability to help Caspian out with even the most mundane of things when they get home from a hard day at work, my inability to share food with them when they had none, etc etc—and how, for me, i guess so-called Acts of Service really is something that i like to do for loved ones, even though it would have never occurred to me that that was a thing that mattered to me prior to this.
8. demiandproud submitted two posts. First Christian Love, Queerly Considered, which analyzes conceptions of love in interesting ways, and one excerpt is:
Cis/heteronormative: whether queer people are accepted depends on whether they are thought to be loved and accepted by God. If one considers God’s love to be unconditional and people’s deeds less important, then the Christian (community) is likely to be very inclusive. If God is considered harsh; if certain behaviour or identities are considered to constitute a rejection of God, then the Christian (community) will reject those people.
Personally, the love I consider good based on my faith is equal, consensual and with a more communal focus than commonly found in the Western world.
I would be monogamous towards my partner, but mostly because that fits how I love, I’d hesitate to say others should be as well. I have found my love towards friends and family, philia and storge, to be truer reflections of God’s love for humans than what I felt when I dated, a chaste incarnation of eros.
I hate the near-obsession with marriage and ‘family focus’ I find in my current church. I consider churches that exclude queer people wrong because I very much believe God’s love to be unconditional.
After that she wrote Christian Love, Queerly Expressed, which includes moments like this regarding “Physical Affection”:
Adjusting my behaviour has made me aware of how much both affectionate touch and respecting people’s boundaries can be appreciated. Some friends complimented me for becoming a bit more sensitive. I’ve also personally benefited. Since touch is my “native” love language, it’s made it easier to express it, easier to know when I should and should not. Easier, also, to say no to others when they cross my boundaries and I am uncomfortable. It’s been a boon in my desire to show friends and family affection.
And this regarding “Quality Time”:
Communal: I have found quality time to be a powerful weapon when it comes to showing acceptance and rejection. Being asexual around my family has meant an increased acceptance over time, even when it was scary in the beginning. Also, I’ve come to see people suddenly not wishing to spend time as the surest sign something’s up.
In media and society, I’ve also found that seeing how much time and space there is for queer people is the best measure to gage acceptance. For example, some churches say queer people may attend but that they cannot be themselves while in church and won’t have a space in heaven. Disney claims to be an ally but only shows half a second of men dancing with each other in Beauty and the Beast. Marvel didn’t think Valkyrie’s bisexuality deserved screentime. On the flipside, Doctor Who makes Bill, a queer character, a companion for a whole season, has bit parts as well as recurring supporting roles for gay and lesbian people, single as well as married.
Individual: I’ve learned to make time to love my demisexual self. At the start of 2019, I resolved to have at least one ‘queer’ day every month, in which I read an LGBTQ+ book or go to a queer space or engage in an activity that speaks to my demisexual or panromantic identity. Each one feels like a spa day and leaves me refreshed for another month’s worth of heteronormativity. When I come up against queerphobia, my self-care is planning an extra date with myself.
9. Finally I, luvtheheaven, have also submitted some posts. I wrote 3 parts to mine.
Personal Life Reflections Part 1, and My Takeaways From Reading Some Of The Love Languages Books
Things That Frustrated Me While Reading Some Of The Love Languages Books
Personal Life Reflections Part 2, and Musings On Compatibility, Attraction, and Love Languages
And things I covered were varied but included:
As a thoughtful listener to these audiobooks, I started to hypothesize a bit about what makes a person value certain love languages so highly, however, and thought back a lot especially on my own experiences as a child. I felt deeply loved by my dad. My mother was abusive and I didn’t “feel loved” by her in the way feeling loved is defined in this book. Although I also reject the notion that she “didn’t love me”. (See my Gaslighting and Love blog post.)
There was also one part of the marriage book that was horrible with the compulsory sexuality/sex-normativity… I believe it stated that people are almost NEVER sexually incompatible, and everyone loves sex in the same way, they just need to feel loved first, with the love languages used effectively, and otherwise all men are compatible with all women and everything is easy and happy. He implied that sex is obviously important to everyone. And to the woman in what seemed to clearly be an abusive marriage to me, he insisted she initiate sex even when she didn’t want to, with no concept of consent brought up. Just. Make the other person feel loved as much as possible, in as many ways as possible, until it works and they start loving you back. It was… creepy and wrong.
For all the original Love Languages books’ faults, and there are a lot (see my previous post), one thing that I think most aces would actually really appreciate is how sex is very clearly not tied to love in the books, even in the marriage-specific book. Author Gary Chapman says problematic stuff about sex, for sure, but he also says if the only Physical Touch you go out of your way to give or receive is sexual, then Physical Touch is clearly not your primary love language. Other touch is kind of given priority in terms of what “counts” as Gary Chapman actually separates out sex and other touch, much like the ace community separated out Sexual Desire/Behavior from Sensual Desire/Behavior, defining “Sensual” as non-sexual touch. It’s an interesting way to look at a lot of this.
So… check out everyone’s posts, and leave them comments! I hope you enjoyed reading what people had to say for this Carnival of Aces topic. Thanks again to everyone who participated!