Episode 256: The Problem With The 5 Love Languages

January 9, 2024 by Justin Lehmiller

Sex and Psychology Podcast
Sex and Psychology Podcast
Episode 256: The Problem With The 5 Love Languages

“The Five Love Languages” is a wildly popular, bestselling book that came out just over 30 years ago. Since its arrival, the love languages have become a massive cultural phenomenon. However, despite enormous popularity, there’s a surprising lack of scientific backing for the concept. In fact, research suggests that the key principles and ideas behind the love languages just don’t hold up. So is this still a useful framework for understanding love? Let’s talk about it.

My guests today are Drs. Amy Muise and Emily Impett. Dr. Muise is an assistant professor and York Research Chair at York University. She is director of the Sexual Health and Relationship (SHaRe) Lab. Dr. Impett is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto and director of the Relationships and Well-Being lab. Amy and Emily have been close collaborators for nearly 14 years and they have published over 60 papers together on sexuality and relationships!

Some of the topics we explore in this episode include:

  • What are the five love languages?
  • What’s the problem with claiming that there are only five languages to communicate love?
  • Is there any evidence supporting the idea that people who speak their partner’s love language are happier in relationships?
  • Are there more scientifically sound ways of understanding love than the love languages?
  • Is it okay to still like the love languages idea even if the data don’t support it?

Make sure to check out the Instagram pages for Amy and Emily’s labs, @share.research and @utmrawlab.

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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