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Let's talk about non-sexual intimacy.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is something effortlessly warm about non-sexual intimacy. Hear me out. Passionate sex may be the definition of romance or the textbook example of “love” in the movies, but there’s a lot more to a meaningful relationship beyond the confines of physical touch. Whether you’re sharing a preview into your deepest, most authentic self with a new partner, or you’re expressing untapped forms of emotional intimacy (in whatever way that means to you) with a longtime love, a new level of connection might be exactly what you need. 

I’m not a relationship expert, and everyone has their own experiences, memories (good and bad), and beliefs on what it means to be in a healthy and loving relationship. Recently, though, my understanding of love has shifted. The word “love” clearly comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. “Love you” feels very different from “love ya.” “I love you” seems to carry a lot of weight, and for most, they don’t use the phrase lightly. “I’m in love with you” feels richer, deeper, and more vulnerable. 

But it doesn’t matter if you are “in love” or have “lots of love” (LOL), there’s an inherent level of intimacy in each. Sometimes sex and physical expression of love are what you need most, and that is natural, normal, and desirable. Other times, it’s just as important to express non-sexual intimacy with someone you love. Who knows, maybe it will take your physical connection to a whole new level, or you’ll fall deeper into infatuation. My point is, at the end of the day, there’s a lot of ways to magnify love and foster a raw connection – whether sexual or not. 

Now, non-sexual intimacy may feel awkward or out of place, and you may not know where to begin. Luckily, there’s no right or wrong way to go about it, and the following 15 ideas are lovely ways to express and explore the valleys and peaks of non-sexual intimacy. Let loose, have fun, and say yes. I think you’ll be pleased. 

1. Make a reservation.

Schedule a date or book an activity. Make a dinner reservation at a new restaurant, reserve kayaks for a few hours in the afternoon, attend a yoga class before work, grab coffee at lunch, or buy tickets to see a play. Make a reservation and hold yourselves accountable. It’s easy to fall into the trap of ordering in and watching TV on the couch (there is nothing wrong with that, BTW), but pretend you’re a new couple and explore. Put it in your calendar and make a memory.

2. Ask questions.

Google “deep questions to ask your partner” and go to town. Trust me. It may sound cheesy, but once you get into the groove, it’s a great way to self-reflect, dive a little deeper into your relationship, and hear each other out. Pour a glass of wine, brew a pot of tea, or snack on your favorite Trader Joe’s item and let the conversation flow. You’ll be surprised what you find out. 

3. Experiment with “outercourse.”

There’s a reason foreplay is the appetizer for sex. It’s fun, hot, and sets the tone for the main entree. But try experimenting with foreplay without taking off your clothes. Kiss, touch, rub, dry hump, and whisper. Get to the brink, then stop. Go to dinner, finish the workday, or wait a few hours. It’ll make things that much more exciting. 

4. Hold hands.

Holding hands may seem elementary, but there is something special about connecting while walking side-by-side. Maybe you stroll around the block or walk to the grocery store, but maintaining closeness is a perfect (and easy!) form of non-sexual intimacy.

5. Try something new. 

A new experience is a great way to feel close to your partner and create a memory. It can be as basic as trying a new sushi roll, or as adventurous as traveling to a new country, but experiencing something together for the first time is inherently connecting. 

6. Complete a puzzle. 

It may not sound sexy or romantic, but conquering a 500+ piece puzzle takes patience and teamwork. Better yet, it’s fun to start a large puzzle and work on it over the course of a few days. It’s relaxing, a great way to unwind, and you’re both showing your commitment to each other and the venture.

7. Give each other a massage. 

Yes, a massage is physical, but it’s also rooted in care. Take turns massaging each other and let loose. Feel comfortable in the hands of someone else, close your eyes, and be present. 

8. Read the same book. 

Find a novel you’re both interested in and read together. Set a goal of each reading 10 to 20 pages a day and discuss your thoughts as you move along. It’s like your own mini book club.

9. Take a bath. 

Load on the bubbles, light a candle, play your favorite album, and soak away the day with someone you love. It’s steamy, but you’ll enjoy the closeness.

10. Cuddle.

Cuddle, snuggle, spoon, etc, etc, etc. Lie side-by-side and appreciate the connection and innocence. Talk, giggle, or fall asleep. There’s no pressure. 

11. Send a meaningful message. 

 If you’re in a long-distance relationship, send a letter in the mail. If you live together, send a sweet text message at lunch to check-in and say hi. Create a connection without being in the same space. It goes a long way. 

12. Have a slow morning.

If you’re able, take it slow one weekend morning. Wake up without an alarm, lie in bed for as long as you want, make breakfast together, sip coffee, and enjoy the time without distractions. 

13. Put your phone away at dinner. 

It can be too easy to check your phone during a meal, but make an effort to put it away. Whether you’re at a restaurant or in your own apartment, turn off notifications, silence ringers, and place your phone in the other room. Focus on the present and ignore the virtual world around you.

14. Have those uncomfortable conversations. 

Relationships are not always sunshine and rainbows, and it’s okay to sit in discomfort. If something is bothering you or feels off, have the conversation, and talk it through. It will likely be uncomfortable, but it will bring you closer.

15. Say I love you.

If you feel it, say it. Don’t hold back or sensor yourself. I love you! Love you! Love ya! I’m in love with you! Say what you mean and love what you say.


When it comes to non-sexual intimacy, find what makes you feel good and light a new spark. It’s fun, and in my personal opinion, there’s something alluring about a non-physical connection. Signal your love, dive a little deeper, and keep a finger on the pulse of your relationship, because at the end of the day, love in all forms wins.