Intimacy can be a terrifying experience, opening yourself to someone is scary, especially if you’re worried that they might not be receptive or may even react poorly. While having sex with your partner can be exciting, learning how to be intimate without having intercourse is incredibly sexy. You can boost intimacy in your relationship without having sex. There are lots of ways to spice up your romance *outside* of the bedroom.
Intimacy goes beyond sexual intercourse—it is not just sex.
When someone says the word intimacy, it’s often a code word for sex. But thinking like that leaves out the ways you can be intimate with your partner without "going all the way." According to Merriam-Webster, intimacy is defined as a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.
Expressing yourselves in sensual ways can enhance intimacy.
Intimacy is about closeness, about being together and about creating and maintaining a relationship. Great sex at a frequency that satisfies both partners is important for a successful relationship, but it’s not the foundation. Intimacy is the key to relational happiness.
Relationship should revolve around sex
Sex in a relationship is like an added bonus, not what the whole relationship should revolve around. It’s a great way to feel connected and it certainly feels good (or at least it should), but there are plenty of ways to be emotional, mentally, and physically intimate with your significant other that doesn’t involve going all the way.
Emotional intimacy means being honest with your thoughts and feelings, even when they’re uncomfortable. Be willing to share your needs, hopes, and fears with your partner. While opening up can be scary, a good partner will be supportive and try to understand you better. Psychology Today suggests that setting a time limit, making a list of things to talk about, and acknowledging your partner’s willingness to talk all help to make emotional conversations easier.
Express gratitude for one thing your partner did no matter how small the act. If your partner has cooked dinner, did the dishes, washed clothes or simply did something to save you the trouble – say thank you. If he doesn’t return the favor by showing gratitude, he may just begin to learn from your good example.
Make ‘em laugh
Finding ways to laugh and find humor in life is integral to coping with illness and pain and helps bring you closer to your partner.
Ask personal questions.
Even after being with someone for a long time, there are still some deeply personal things you don’t know about each other. Asking questions can help each of you to open up and think about what has impacted you, what drives you, and how you relate to each other.
Smile at each other
Research has shown that when you smile, your heart rate lowers, your breathing slows down, and your body relaxes. These things together can help to lower your overall level of stress. If your partner is having a flare-up from chronic illness, just imagine what a quick smile session can do for them.
You might think of holding hands as something for the early dating days but it's a good way of maintaining closeness and intimacy throughout a relationship, even one that's lasted decades. Holding hands is the perfect way to let your partner know that you are there for them, you have their back and that they can trust you.
Touch each other non-sexually
The power of touch is amazing. It’s instinctual for humans to touch each other as a sign of protection and love. Make a point of touching your partner throughout the day. That could be kissing, hugs, stroking his cheek, even running your fingers through his hair.