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Intimacy without sex: How to be intimate beyond sex

Seven ideas for a great evening in…

Sex is great – that’s a given.

But it’s not the only way to show love or to feel close to your partner. An intimate relationship is about more than just getting naked together. 

True intimacy comes from the deep bond between two people. If you and your other half are in the same place romantically, just holding hands can be enough to make you feel as overwhelmed by love. 

Unfortunately, in today’s fast-paced society, a desire for instant gratification and simplicity has left many of us struggling to create the intimate experiences that we crave. 

While you don’t have to give up on the physical stuff to have a better relationship, learning how to be intimate without taking your clothes off can do incredible things for your relationship. 

If sex is currently the only form of intimacy you have with your partner, it’s time to try something new.

Are you satisfied with your intimate relationship?

Satisfaction in a relationship doesn’t necessarily equate to a number of orgasms. 

Couples can have a fantastic sexual relationship, but struggle to connect on an emotional level. If your physical connection is great, but your emotional intimacy is lacking, it’s hard for either one of you to be totally satisfied. 

When you’re connected to your partner on a deeper level, everything you do together becomes more meaningful. 

Discovering how to be intimate outside of the bedroom could even make your sex life better. After all, when you can completely give yourself over to another person, it’s much easier to let loose and enjoy the ride. 

According to one study published in the American Sociological Review found that heterosexual women in college had more orgasms in relationships than in casual hookups. 

So, how do you rediscover how to be intimate without the sexual stuff?

Easy ways to enjoy intimacy without sex

Developing emotional intimacy with your partner (without the sex) is easier than you’d think. For most couples, it’s as simple as starting with more evenings spent cuddling. 

Go to bed and snuggle up together like you would after you’d just done the deed. You could even put on a little background music for good measure. 

Sometimes, just holding each other and feeling the warmth of your bodies intertwined will lead to something more – sometimes it won’t. The important thing is to not push anything. 

Listen to the sound of your lover’s heartbeat, inhale their scent, pay attention to the feeling of their hands on you. It’s those little experiences that develop an intimate relationship. 

Here are some other ideas on how to be intimate without the sex:

1. Talk more 

Conversations with your partner might not be quite as fun as sex – but they can still lead to wonderful experiences. There’s a reason why every couples counsellor will tell you that communication is key to a good relationship

You can’t have a truly intimate relationship with someone if you can’t talk to them about the important stuff. Initiate a conversation with your partner about something you’re passionate about. 

Ask questions and get to know each other better – even if you’ve been dating for years. True understanding stems from communication. 

Remember, not all of your conversations need to be huge ones about the meaning of life and your childhood. Even small discussions that open the door to new information about each other can make the world of difference to an intimate relationship. 

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2. Dance together

You don’t have to go out for a night on the town to create emotional intimacy with dancing. There’s something deeply romantic about moving in time with your partner and feeling their body close to yours (with clothes on). 

Dancing is a great form of exercise, but it’s particularly moving when you do it with someone you care about. 

Throw on your favorite songs and dance together around the comfort of your own home. Go to a nightclub and let the rhythm move you, without caring what other people think. This is your chance to forget about the rest of the world and focus on just the two of you. 

If you really want to get the most out of your dancing experience, you could even consider taking dance classes, then practicing with each other at home. 

3. Be childish together

Sometimes, our need to be close with someone comes from something deeper inside of our subconscious – a younger part of ourselves that longs to be cared for, or to care for someone else. 

Letting your inner child out to play with your partner is a great way to develop emotional intimacy, if you do it the right way

Build a fort together in your living room and have a pillow fight. Refuse to do adult chores for a day and allow each other to act like slobs. Play a game of truth or dare and learn something new about each other. 

That last idea is particularly useful, as it allows you to experiment with a few ideas from a sexual perspective too, while creating a basis for open-ness and honesty. 

Just make sure that the two of you know the rules of any games you play before you get started. This will reduce the risk of hurt feelings and accidents. 

4. Try something new together

Nothing ties people together quite like new experiences. Developing emotional intimacy doesn’t mean that you need to ignore sex entirely. You could consider discussing your fantasies with each other, and planning ways to bring them to life. 

The important thing to remember here is to be accepting of your other half. Don’t balk at any of the suggestions they make but let them know calmly and gently if you’re not interested in them. 

Trying new experiences doesn’t always have to be sexual either. You could consider taking a class together and learning how to bake or working on a DIY project that the two of you found on YouTube. 

Making something with your partner is an excellent way to develop a sense of accomplishment and build your teamwork skills. 

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5. Give each other a massage

You don’t need to be a professional to make your partner feel better after a long day. Grab some oils from an online store and rub your other half down in a warm and relaxing environment. 

Play some music to get the mood just right, and make sure that you light candles for that extra sexy vibe. You can even both think about getting naked for the experience, so the two of you can both enjoy the pleasure of skin-to-skin contact. 

Not only does a great massage help to remove any tension from your partner, but it also shows that you’re there to care for their physical needs in more than just a sexual way. 

If massage isn’t something you’re particularly good at, consider joining your other half in the shower (with their permission) and helping them with washing their hair. 

These intimate and caring acts can definitely lead to sex, but that doesn’t have to be their purpose. We all have physical needs beyond what goes on underneath the sheets. 

Does emotional intimacy create better sex?

Ultimately, emotional intimacy in your relationship is an excellent way to improve the connection you have with your partner. Without an emotional connection, the two of you won’t get far. 

However, developing better emotional intimacy can also have a massive impact on your sex life too. 

When you build a true intimate relationship with someone, the two of you feel more accepted and valued by the other person. That means you’ll be more open to talking about your fantasies, and what gives you pleasure. 

This makes it much easier to get a lot more of what you need in the bedroom. When you trust another person, you’re also more willing to take risks. 

Developing the trust in your intimate relationship means that you might decide to try things that you never would have considered before, which opens new doors to different realms of pleasure. 

Stronger emotional connections mean that you can both be your authentic selves in a relationship and understand what the other person wants. 

According to one meta-analysis in 2014, people with more open attitudes and authentic approaches to sexual pleasure are more able to explore their sexuality without guilt.

Less guilt and a more adventurous personality means more satisfying sex

See what happens when you try to add more intimacy to your relationship without the sexual stuff. 

You might be surprised at how much a little emotional intimacy can add to your relationship! 

ReWired: ReThink Your Life.