10 Ways To Create Intimacy Without Sex

By Gwen Farrell··  8 min read
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What does intimacy mean to us? Whether you’ve been with your man for six months or six years, intimacy is just as crucial to the longevity of a healthy emotional relationship as it is to a physical one.

Any couple can prioritize and regularly engage in the physical side of their relationship; any individual has the ability to be physically intimate with another. But are we able to create true intimacy in our relationship, without sex, outside the confines of the bedroom? Let’s explore 10 ways to do just that.

But First, What Is Intimacy?

It’s probably pretty easy for most of us to define intimacy in the physical sense, and sex is indeed an indispensable aspect of a healthy marriage. When we hear the word “intimacy,” sex is the first thing we think of, and we likely think of it in a quantitative or dichotomic sense – how often we’re having it, or if it’s “good” or “bad” (versus having sex mindfully, and being more descriptive and communicative when it comes to how we feel about it). But intimacy as a whole, outside of just our sex lives, is something we can examine qualitatively, namely, in assessing how much we’re investing in our relationship. 

1. Be Vulnerable

Intimacy is, in its very nature, the decision to be entirely vulnerable with someone else. Being vulnerable, whether it’s about our past mistakes, deepest secrets, fears, or insecurities, can help us constructively build deeper intimacy with our boyfriend or husband. 

In being vulnerable, we’re trusting that whatever we’re sharing with him won’t ever be used against us through judgment or resentment. We’re also communicating through this action that we trust him enough to share these delicate and sensitive pieces about ourselves, and that he’ll use this knowledge to better understand us as a whole person with complexities, not just as his wife or girlfriend on a superficial level. 

We’re trusting that whatever we’re sharing with him won’t ever be used against us.

2. Tackle Projects Together

Having different interests and passions is not only acceptable in a relationship, it’s something that should be encouraged. This makes it all the more special when we do come together to take part in projects, hobbies, and activities we share with our better half. There’s something so rewarding about working towards a goal with the person we love most, and it has the ability to create a closeness that you don’t share with anyone else. This could be anything from working on the house together, exploring a new hobby and taking a class as a date night, or researching a place you’ve always wanted to visit.

3. Flirt

“Dating” your spouse is nothing new, and for good reason. It’s great advice! Flirting during the dating stage is definitely an exciting way to turn up the heat, but making it a priority long after your first (or even twentieth) date can be even hotter. It doesn't matter if it’s a cheesy comment or a sincere text, flirting with your husband can reintroduce the excitement and unpredictability of those fresh, early days of a relationship – only it’s so much better now that you know each other and are committed to one another for good.

4. Make Plans

Nothing says commitment or dedication like making plans with your man. Whether it’s planning a vacation or your wedding together, deciding to try for a baby, or even something as small as what you’ll do over the weekend, making plans implicitly tells the other person, “I want you to be included in my life and I choose you, both right now and in the future.” 

Making plans can indicate the health and potential of a relationship.

Making plans can indicate the health and potential of a relationship – no one wants to dream up a vacation six months from now with someone they’re not planning on staying with! Not only that, but making plans together is a validating, affirming action that lets us know how much this other person cares for and trusts us. You can get coffee or grab brunch with anyone, but really solidifying your future together through goals you want to achieve as a couple is a profound way to grow the intimacy between you.

5. Have Inside Jokes

Is there anything better than reminiscing on fond memories, or remembering something that only the two of you share together and understand? Inside jokes are the most unique way to gently poke your husband and say, Hey, remember that? (And, I love you.) 

Whether it’s weird joke, touching memory, or even just a reference to your favorite TV show you routinely watch together, sharing these funny and admittedly stupid little things is such a simple tactic to tease your S.O. or tell them you’re thinking of them in the middle of the day. In a world where we tend to share everything about ourselves with everyone, these are special because they’re just between the two of you.

6. Touch Him Meaningfully

Sex is the main event when it comes to physical expression in a relationship, but it doesn’t always have to be. Touching your boyfriend or husband – intentionally and meaningfully – whether in passing or during a deeper moment is a simple yet profound technique to communicate to them the depth of your devotion and admiration. It can be a quick peck, a squeeze of the hand, or even brushing the hair away from their face; physical intimacy doesn’t always have to be the main event to be moving and significant. 

7. Make Small Gestures

The big gestures – the first I love you, the proposal, the wedding – are the key points we remember in our relationships, but it’s the little things, the small gestures, which keep them going during the day-to-day. 

The little things feed and nurture our relationship.

A relationship can’t subsist on only the “big” things. We need the small offers, the simple gestures, and the little things to feed and nurture our relationship, just as we’d tend to a garden. We cut out the weeds and make sure our plants are getting proper water and sunlight, and our dedication to curating intimacy should be the same. Doing the chores our spouse hates doing, making meals for him, simply taking care of him – and more importantly, not expecting anything in return – ensures that we’re making an effort and fueling the daily wellbeing of our relationship outside of the big gestures. 

8. Study His Love Language

It’s one thing to know your love language, but do you know your man’s? What’s more, is it something you discuss once in a while or a gesture you actively employ for them, every day? Incorporating physical touch, acts of service, words of affirmation, quality time, or giving him gifts – or even a combination or mixture of those five love languages – is one of the most genuine ways to show how much we appreciate and care for him. It’s not just a matter of learning which one he prefers, though, but studying it and finding different ways to use it in your everyday life together. Employing his love language in demonstrating the ways you care for him (and having him do the same) can foster an environment of sincere intimacy between the two of you.

9. Enjoy the Pillow Talk

We’re talking about pillow talk here…literally. Late at night or in the early morning hours after the alarm goes off, there’s nothing sweeter than curling up next to your husband and going over the minutiae of the day, or getting in some extra cuddling before getting up. If you have kids, these moments might be even more precious, but truly, there’s little more that’s satisfying than going to sleep and waking up next to the same person, and starting and ending each day with them next to you.

10. Make Sure He Knows He’s Loved

Let’s get (really) serious for just a second here. If something were to happen to you or your man, would he know how truly and completely he’s loved? Would you know how deeply he cares for you? We shouldn’t let a day go by without letting the person who’s most important to us know how full and wonderful they make our lives. Whenever we have the chance to tell him we love him, we should take it without hesitation. One day we might be glad we did.

Closing Thoughts

Sex might be the easiest way to create intimacy, but it definitely isn’t the only way. And it isn’t something that we can expect to come easily to us. Relationships are hard work, but putting in effort doesn’t have to feel like a burden. Some of the most memorable, beloved moments we share with our one and only can start by having the desire to deepen our connection with him. As long as we have that desire, true intimacy is always possible. 

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