5 Non-Sexual Ways to Show Love
As survivors, many of us have trouble with sex because of our sexual assaults. We may engage in unsafe sex, such as not asking our partners’ STD/STI status before sex or not using protection during sex. Contrarily, we may avoid sex to avoid being triggered, or we may adopt a negative view of sex. Regardless of our individual struggles, our individual struggles can impact our individual romantic relationships.
This month, I wrote “3 Signs You May Not Be Ready To Date” and “How to Tell Your Partner Your Story.” In those blog posts, I gave ideas for handling sex. If you or a survivor you know is struggling with sex, please read those posts and pass them on. Also, please read this article on how to have safe sex.
In this blog post, I want to give you ideas for showing love in other ways. I sing about this in “hands.”, the second song of my debut album and sexual assault awareness project, HUMAN. In the bridge of “hands.” I sing, “Love me in all its forms.” Physical touch is one form, but there are four other forms that matter just as much.
1. Words of Affirmation
With this form of love, you could tell your partner why you love them. You could listen to them if they need to talk, empathize with their pain, and encourage them to keep going. If you want to have sex, you could tell them. You could describe what you want to do once you are ready for sex if you feel comfortable doing so.
2. Acts of Service
With this form of love, you could do things for your partner that makes their life easier. You could do a chore that they usually do, like washing the dishes or doing the laundry. You could offer to help them with something, like studying for a test or carrying things to their car. You could even show this form of love in the tiniest ways, like telling them that they have something on their face or putting the strands of their hair in place.
With this form of love, you could give your partner something that matters to them. You could buy them something to commemorate their favorite holiday or one of their milestones. If you are short on money, you could make something for your partner. You could give your partner a gift on any day for any reason.
4. Quality Time
With this form of love, you could spend one-on-one time with your partner. You could plan something special to do with them, like a date night or a trip. You could have long and fun conversations with them, putting your phone on silent to give them your undivided attention. To the point that is best for you, you could prioritize your time with them.
5. Physical Touch
This form of love is not just sex. It is also body language and non-sexual touch. If you want to and are ready to, you could show love in this form by sitting close to your partner, holding your partner’s hand, and more. Body language and non-sexual touch can trigger survivors, but they can also help survivors overcome their triggers.
The five forms of love above are called love languages. You can learn more about them here. Next month, I will start writing about how sexual assault affects survivors’ relationships with their bodies. This month, however, I hope that you learned about dating, sex, and love through “hands.” and stopsexualassault.org.
Sex is a good thing that is important in romantic relationships. However, you do not have to have sex to have a healthy romantic relationship. If you are not ready to have sex or engage in other forms of physical touch, you do not have to. You are worth someone who is willing to wait for you, get tested for you, and use protection for you.