Do you often crave intimacy and connection with your partner, but aren’t always in the mood for sex?
It’s normal for things to get boring and monotonous in a long-term relationship.
However, there are plenty of ways to be intimate without getting under the covers. Physical intimacy comes in many forms beyond just intercourse.
Cuddling, hugging, holding hands, and giving massages are all activities that can release oxytocin in the body and help you bond with your partner.
So turn off the TV, put away your phones, and focus on connecting with your partner in new ways. Your love life will improve as a result!
But before you grab your partner for a quick make-out session, let’s look at the definition of intimate…
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE INTIMATE?
Intimacy means being real and vulnerable with someone.
It involves showing your authentic self and letting another person get closer to you, even though you know you could get hurt in the process.
To be intimate with someone, you have to let down your walls and allow them to see your true personality.
It can be scary to be vulnerable but with the right person, it can be totally rewarding.
When was the last time you gazed into each other’s eyes, made out like teenagers, danced together in the living room, or flirted via text?
Engaging in playful, romantic behaviors on a regular basis will increase your love and affection for each other.
Focusing solely on physical intimacy can limit your connections and relationships.
Open yourself up to the meaningful interactions that nurture your emotional bond with your partner. For example, you can:
• Explore deep conversations where you share your hopes, dreams, fears, and secrets. Having an intimate conversation with your partner is a great way to deepen your bond.
Really listen to understand their perspective, not just reply. Make eye contact, give your full attention, and validate their feelings.
These heart-to-heart talks build closeness through empathy and vulnerability.
• Engage in playful or adventurous activities together. Try cooking a new recipe, hiking at a local park, dancing, or simply acting silly with each other.
Laughter and joy release endorphins that strengthen your emotional intimacy.
• Express affection openly and often. Hold hands, hug, kiss, and cuddle with your significant other.
Play with their hair while you talk or give them a back rub. Simple touches convey your care, warmth, and physical attraction.
• Surprise your partner with small gifts or acts of kindness to show you’re thinking of them.
Write a heartfelt love letter or poem. Compliment them and show appreciation for who they are and what they do.
• Make quality time for meaningful rituals just between the two of you.
Have a weekly date night, cook breakfast together on Sundays, or take a walk after dinner every day. Prioritizing intimacy will bring you closer together.
• Focus on emotional intimacy, affection, quality time, and open communication.
Your relationship will thrive when built on a strong foundation of intimacy beyond just physical or sexual connections.
True closeness comes from nurturing all aspects of your bond. Here are other good reasons why you should work to improve your emotional connection:
THE BENEFITS OF NON-SEXUAL INTIMACY
Non-sexual intimacy can be beneficial in so many ways.
Staying physically and emotionally connected with your partner without having sex can lead to:
1. Deeper connection
Cuddling, kissing, holding hands, and engaging in other acts of affection can enhance feelings of closeness and bonding between a couple.
Taking sex off the table allows you to focus on truly connecting with your partner through eye contact, conversation, and quality time together.
2. Stress relief
Non-sexual touch releases endorphins that act as natural painkillers and mood boosters.
Cuddling up with your loved one can lower blood pressure, decrease anxiety, and lull you into a state of calm.
The warmth and physical contact provides a sense of comfort and security that helps wash away the worries and tensions of the day.
3. Better communication
Without the expectation of sex, you’re able to openly discuss anything and everything without distraction.
Share your hopes, dreams, fears, and secrets to gain a deeper understanding of each other.
Make eye contact, give your full attention, and listen without judgment.
Communication is the foundation of a healthy relationship, so take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen your emotional and intellectual connection.
4. Flexibility and compromise
Focusing on non-sexual intimacy requires you both to be creative, open-minded, and willing to meet in the middle.
Try new activities you both enjoy, like a couples massage, dancing, cooking together, or engaging in an exercise routine side by side.
Step out of your comfort zone and compromise when needed. Flexibility and a willingness to try new things will serve your relationship well.
Non-sexual intimacy has a place in every healthy relationship. Make the time to strengthen your connection with your partner and your love life will thrive!
Here are a few things you can do to bond with your partner without sex.
HOW TO BE INTIMATE WITHOUT SEX
Trying new ways to be physically close and emotionally intimate with your significant other can rekindle passion and bring fresh energy to your relationship.
However, getting intimate with your partner doesn’t always have to lead to sex. There are many playful ways to be close without going all the way.
Shift the focus from goal-oriented sex to simply enjoying the present moment of togetherness.
Get playful, be spontaneous, and have fun connecting in creative ways without the expectation of intercourse. Here are some bonding ideas to try:
1. Massage each other
Give each other a sensual massage with scented oil. Start with the shoulders and neck, then work your way down.
Massaging releases feel-good hormones that reduce stress and boost intimacy. Take turns so you both have a chance to relax into the experience.
2. Soak in a bubble bath
There’s something about sharing a warm bath that brings couples closer together. Pour in a foaming bubble bath, light a few candles, and hop in.
Wash each other’s hair, give foot rubs, laugh, talk, and simply enjoy being together in a low-key, unhurried way.
3. Make out
Revisit the early days of your relationship and spend time just kissing, touching, and exploring.
Start slowly by gently caressing each other’s faces. Work your way into longer, more passionate kisses as the tension builds.
Forget about “going all the way” and make out like two teenagers discovering the joy of physical intimacy for the first time.
4. Gaze into each other’s eyes
Maintaining eye contact with someone you love helps to build intimacy.
Sit facing each other, take a few deep breaths to relax, and gently gaze into each other’s eyes for a few moments.
This simple exercise increases intimacy and connection through the power of focused attention and open-hearted presence with your partner.
5. Express appreciation
Showing appreciation for all the good things you do for each other can increase your bond.
Say “I appreciate you because…” and share something you genuinely value about your partner.
Hearing what they love about you in return will make you feel loved and connected.
6. Give compliments
Showering your partner with nice compliments and words of affirmation is a great way to foster an emotional connection with them.
Tell your significant other what you find attractive about them, inside and out.
Compliment their character, accomplishments, talents, sense of humor, or style.
7. Engage in deep conversation
Having meaningful conversations with your partner is another great way to increase your emotional intimacy.
Talk about your hopes, dreams, fears, struggles, values, or childhood memories.
Listen without judgment and share what’s in your heart. These types of deep conversations create intimacy.
8. Be affectionate
Showing love and affection to your partner is one of the best ways to be intimate without sex.
Hold hands, hug, kiss, cuddle, or caress each other. Physical affection releases feel-good hormones that reduce stress and boost bonding.
Even simple touches like a hand on the shoulder or a quick kiss can go a long way toward maintaining emotional and physical intimacy with your partner.
9. Engage in shared hobbies
Exploring common interests with your significant other can lead to a mutually satisfying relationship.
Try to engage in interactive activities regularly. Bond over hobbies, TV shows, books, music, or humanitarian causes you both care about.
New shared experiences release dopamine in the brain, which can help to increase your bond.
There are many ways to strengthen your connection with your partner without having sex.
Focus on emotional intimacy, quality time together, nurturing communication, and affectionate touch.
Intimacy is a journey, not a destination, so learn to appreciate each moment of closeness and express your affection often.
Building intimacy in a romantic relationship takes effort but the rewards are well worth it.
Give your partner your full presence, speak from the heart, listen without judgment, and watch your connection deepen over time.
About The Author
Jennifer Dagi is happily married to her best friend and the love of her life.
As a relationship coach, she is passionate about helping couples build healthy and happy relationships.
She strongly believes communication and intimacy are the most important ingredients for building a successful relationship.
Join her on a fabulous journey to improve your love life one step at a time and don't forget to subscribe for weekly blog updates.