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11 Of The Best Ways To Build Intimacy Without Sex

Happy, smiling couple embracing each other and looking into one another's eyes while building intimacy without sex.

Building intimacy without sex might sound tricky. That’s understandable, especially as the two typically go hand in hand. But, intimacy can manifest in many ways and physical touch isn’t the only form we can engage in as part of a romantic relationship. 

It’s important to have variety when it comes to nourishing ourselves and our significant other. Sex is just one way to be intimate with your partner, but there are plenty of other things that you can do together to foster a closer relationship. Looking to discover more about intimacy without sex? Check out 11 ways to be intimate without sex below!

How to Have Intimacy Without Sex: 11 Suggestions to Try

1. Talk, but also listen

Part of intimacy is feeling heard. But it’s also important to listen. “Intimacy is a process of discovery with one another,” says Joel Bennett in his book, Time and Intimacy. Over time, it may seem there’s nothing new to discover, but that’s not true. When you make a habit of sitting down with your partner, whether it’s asking about their day or delving into things you’ve never discussed before, you’re showing your partner that what they have to say matters. 

Often, shared silence between partners is a sign of comfort, and that’s okay. But if you’re concerned it’s because you have nothing left to say to one another, it’s time to take the conversation deeper. Talk about your hopes, dreams, and things you’d love to do together to get talking again.

2. Do something fun together

Date night is great, but have you ever gone to an amusement park with your partner, spent the day on a paddleboat, or even organized a picnic in the park? Simply spending time together, just the two of you, is a great way to be intimate without sex. 

Try something new together, like taking a cooking class or going to the gym. Not only will you be spending quality time with your partner, but you’ll also stimulate your brain and generate new topics of conversation.

3. Hold hands

It sounds simple, and it is, but holding hands can bring intimacy to your relationship in a way you might not have considered. We’ve all seen older couples holding hands in public. It elicits an immediate response of, “Isn’t that sweet?”

Why not bring that to your relationship? Holding hands creates an immediate connection with our partners and reminds them we care.

4. Take it further and touch

No, we’re not talking about sex, but intentional touch. Holding hands is wonderful, but maybe you want more? Try giving your partner a back rub or a full-blown massage. Touch their arm when you’re talking to them. Cuddle on the couch when you’re watching a romantic movie on Netflix. Little touches throughout the day remind our partners that we’re present and paying attention.

5. Try each other’s favorite things

When thinking about how to be intimate without sex, getting involved in your partner’s favorite things is a great place to start. Do they love hiking but usually go alone? Make a date to go together next time. 

Learning about each other’s favorite past times is not only a way to create intimacy without sex, but it gives you more to talk about. There aren’t many better things in life than seeing someone you love’s face light up when they’re talking about something they’re passionate about. Get in on the excitement and share that passion.

6. Shower together

This may seem like it leads to sex, and for some, it might. But showering together can be one of the most intimate things you can do, even when it doesn’t lead to sex. Wash your partner’s hair and take the time to trace the lines of their body. We all know how amazing it feels when our stylist washes our hair, imagine how much better it is coming from the person you love.

7. Try being spiritual 

Regardless of whether you subscribe to any certain religion or not, being spiritual with your partner can be a great way to foster a deeper connection. To start with, try sitting together and contemplating your thoughts.

This is simple but it’s actually one of the best ways to have intimacy without sex. You can say it out loud or keep it quiet, but the act of doing it together can help to create a deeper, more meaningful connection.

8. Share music 

I’ll admit, this is one of my favorite things intimate things to do with my partner. We open the YouTube app on our television and take turns being the DJ. For the most part, we listen to similar music, but it’s still fun to see what your partner chooses. 

Another great way to share music is to make your partner a playlist of romantic love songs that make you think of them. The days of mixed tapes may be largely behind us, but the feeling you’ll get from gifting one hasn’t gone anywhere.

9. Pretend you’re a new couple

Pretending you’re a new couple can help bring back that feeling your relationship might be missing. Take each other on dates, talk about something that you learned recently, or write each other love letters

There’re so many things we start to take for granted when we’ve been in a relationship for some time. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t get back some of that new relationship intimacy.

10. Relax and enjoy the routine

Routine doesn’t have to mean boring. When it comes to knowing how to build intimacy without sex, stability is key. Having a regular, stable routine means you don’t have to worry as much about what’s going to happen next. 

The world is prone to throwing a spanner in the works of even the best-laid plans. But when you’re in a relationship that thrives on working through situations together, you’re less likely to be waylaid by life’s many changes.

11. Plan and host an event 

A big part of intimacy is knowing that your partner has your back. Planning and hosting an event together will help to strengthen this as you’ll have to support each other and work as a team.

It doesn’t have to be a huge event. Plan something simple like a dinner party or a games night with friends and rediscover how well you and your partner work as one. Not only will this spark intimacy between you both, but it’ll also help to reaffirm your connection and feelings for one another.

Build a Stronger and Deeper Connection 

Being intimate can mean so many things. How intimacy without sex looks for you and your partner will be unique to your relationship. What’s important is to actively work together in order to maintain a good relationship

The day may come when sex has to be put on hold for one reason or another. Fostering intimacy on different levels prepares us for this and helps to create deeper, more meaningful connections within our relationship.

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