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How to Be Physically Intimate With Your Partner Without Having Sex

Being intimate with your partner is about so much more than having sex. Although having sex is an important part of physical intimacy in a romantic relationship, it is not where physical intimacy should stop or even start. It is important that you nurture your physical and emotional connection with your partner even when–or especially when–you are not having sex. 

Many relationships go through seasons where sex is happening less often than you would typically prefer. This is incredibly normal for a relationship and does not always mean that anything is wrong. For instance, you may not feel well or maybe it is a busy time at work. Maybe someone got injured last time and you need time to heal. Or maybe your sex drive is lower than usual and you just aren’t in the mood. Whatever the reason, when this happens, it is important to maintain your physical connection so that you and your partner do not feel neglected or distant from each other. Here are ___ ways to be physically intimate with your partner without having sex:

  • Kissing

Kissing is a crucial component of maintaining intimacy with your partner. How often do you really kiss your partner? Only when it leads to sex? Only for a brief second as they leave for work in the morning? During dry seasons, it is important that you share plenty of gentle and plenty of passionate kisses often to maintain a spark and send the message that you are still interested in each other.

  • Dancing

It does not matter if you are swing dancing, twerking, doing the hokey pokey, or having the time of your life like Patrick Swayze, dancing is an incredible way to feel and to be physically close to your partner without having sex. Consider taking dance lessons, going to the club, or even just dancing in the living room for a great way to feel and support each other’s bodies while moving to a rhythm. You may find that this non-sexual form of intimacy leads to sexual intimacy or you may find that you and your partner have a total of four left feet. Either way, you will walk away with a new shared experience that brought you physically close together.  

  • Exercising

It is a well-documented fact that exercising with a partner is good for your physical health, sex life, and overall relationship satisfaction. Much like dancing, exercising is a way to bring your bodies together in cooperation while flooding your system with endorphins. You can exercise simultaneously doing different things, take the same Zumba class, or even try some partnered workouts using each other’s body weight to gain strength and flexibility. However you choose to work out together, you may find that you gain a new appreciation for each other’s body and a new shared experience to enjoy. Even if you hate it, you hate it together and that’s all that matters.  

  • Walking

Okay so maybe you aren’t into lifting weights and treadmills give you the heebie jeebies. Nobody said you have to sweat to be physically intimate with your partner. Going for a short walk around the neighborhood holding hands or just being near each other is an easy and sustainable way to be close to one another without the added pressure to have sex or the possibility of miscommunicating your intentions. If you have hiking trails, a lake, beach, or park nearby, even better. You don’t have to be incredibly mobile to get the most out of this activity either. Whether you walk, use a wheelchair, push a stroller, or ride piggy-back, the point is that you are both on the same journey together and that you enjoy the time together.

  • Cuddling

It is important that you do not think of cuddling as just after-care or just something you did while you were dating before sex was on the table. Holding each other, rubbing or scratching each other’s backs, and spooning are ways to be close, share warmth, and feel safe together. Cuddling releases oxytocin, which is a chemical that not only makes you feel good but also bonds you to each other in a serious way. It is also one of the hormones released during sex, so you may find that you can be satisfied with this even if you can’t have sex. 

  • Massage

Now if you really want to spoil your partner while feeling close, this is the way to go. Back rubs get a bad reputation for being a gimmick some people use as a slick way to seduce their partners, but sometimes a massage is just a massage. Feeling your partner’s skin against yours with the objective of making them feel good can be a deeply intimate activity. Unlike getting a professional massage where there is an understanding that the massage therapist is completing a task for which they will be compensated, getting a massage from your partner is an act of service that makes you feel taken care of and loved. It is a great way to keep the physical intimacy of your relationship alive even when it does not lead to sex. 

  • Swimming

Getting in a few laps around the pool or falling down beneath the waves together has a lot of the same benefits of exercising or walking together with a few unique added perks. First, you are in bathing suits, which gives you a chance to enjoy each other’s bodies and hype each other up. Second, you’re all wet which can be appealing for other reasons. Finally, there is a freedom to get close to each other, hold each other, and maybe even carry each other with the buoyancy of the water to help support each other’s body weight. This liberates you to do things together that you may not normally be able to do. If you are swimming together at the beach or in a lake, you may even get to run away from sharks or snakes together. That’s another shared experience you will be able to have with your partner while feeling physically intimate together. 

  • Showering

Let’s take the intimacy shared while swimming one step further and let’s move things to the shower (or tub). Showering together is something many couples enjoy for numerous reasons. While shower sex can be complicated depending on the size of your shower or height differences, bathing together can be much more simple while being just as intimate. Soaping each other up, taking care of each other, and being close to each other with nothing in between is a great way to be intimate without having sex.

  • Spa Day

Another way to enjoy yourselves together is through having a spa day. You can do this as a DIY at-home date or even splurge on going to a spa together. Get a couple’s massage, put makeup on each other, do face masks, do each other’s nails, or take a mud bath together. Enjoy taking the time to relax together and spend time together in a physical way without necessarily having sex. 

  • Cooking

    There is an old saying that the fastest way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. Whether that is anatomically legitimate or not, the truth is that cooking and eating good food is a great experience to share with a loved one. You can take a cooking class together, have fun goofing off in the kitchen, or even feed each other. However you decide to do it, food is a good way to bond and experience something physical together.  

    Whatever activities you share, the point is to maintain intimacy with your partner in a way that brings you closer together and gives you new ways to bond. These activities can make excellent dates for a couple that is not having sex for whatever reason or it can be part of long-game foreplay for a couple that is. 

    For more tips and advice on ways to improve your intimate and sexual relationships, Dr. Stacy Friedman holds a Doctorate degree in Human Sexuality in addition to a Master in Clinical Sexology and is a Certified Sex Coach. She offers remote complimentary 15-minute consultations and ongoing coaching sessions. Call 1-561-899-7669 or visit today! 


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