Non-Sexual Intimacy and How It Keeps The Flame Alive

Discovering non sexual intimacy
How We Know Intimacy And What’s Changed
Simon and Garfunkel once wrote, “I am a rock, I’m an island..and a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries”. Covid-19 and isolation came hand in hand leading to a world where normalcy ceased and our relationships were the first, to be thoroughly affected. While some tried to hold their loved ones close separated by large distances, others were trying to balance their sanity being boxed in with their families and spouses 24/7. 

Walking this thin line has led to a lot of changes around the descriptions of “love” and “intimacy”. The toll distance or increased proximity alike have taken on couples has been prominent and has affected mental health, leading to a lot of unasked questions about assurance and warmth. According to “The no-sex guide to intimacy” by the Guardian, there are several ways to portray closeness and fervour in one’s relationship than just sex. 

Intimacy For Ourselves 

Keeping an open mind about smaller, more nuanced actions of care and attentiveness is the first step to describing “intimacy”. Actions that go beyond sexual touches, such as cuddling, holding hands, and putting our head on someone’s shoulder show that care and support are the pillars of intimacy and bring people closer together. 

According to sex therapist, Kate Moyle the sense of being prioritised, special and cherished” describes intimacy. The freedom to completely be oneself and vulnerable and receive acceptance without judgement leads to openness and indicates more actions of intimacy.

For Aman (name changed), coming back months after being stuck in a foreign country to his partner was terrifying. Having seen her through a screen for so long, he couldn’t wait to hold her but he wondered if it would feel different...strange even. But when he finally met Shreya, the embrace said it all. A kiss on the forehead and the longest hug he’d ever had was the “best feeling in the world”, he exclaimed. 

Often overlooked are mundane regular activities that we do with our partners which fall into non-sexual intimacy. Activities like eating together, engaging in conversations about our day and how close we are to that person while speaking are unconscious actions that go towards building emotional intimacy. 

“We always have one meal together, no matter what,” says Uma when asked about intimacy with her partner Samantha M. It doesn’t matter how busy we are with our lives and what’s going on around us, we sit together, no tv, no digital distractions and enjoy each other’s company. It connects us at the end of the day. 

Practicing intimacy can go beyond partners, but touch is an essential aspect that stimulates the immune system and reduces stress. 

Simmering” In Intimacy 

Why touch could lead to anticipation and greater sexual arousal, in the long run, is what therapist Stephen Snyder’s book “Love Worth Making: How To Have Ridiculously Great Sex In A Long Lasting Relationship” is all about. Beyond sex, he says, making time to sample the most important part of the sex response cycle-arousal is essential. As arousal has both mental and physical facets, it’s all about wholeheartedly enjoying our time with our partners and taking in all senses of that experience. He continues, by stating that arousal isnt a painful state-it doesnt have to be relieved immediately by sexual release. Simmering”, is described as quick snatches of sexualised physical contact and should be practiced to keep spontaneity in the picture and keep the element of surprise alive. 

According to trends on intimacy, post-sex aftercare has been discussed quite extensively, showcasing the importance of assurance and comfort after sexual pleasure. The detachment that was seen post-sex led to instances of conflict and bitterness in partners, therefore aftercare became a facet of intimacy that needed to be discussed, and even more so now since the digital world has somehow found its way into our bedrooms. 

There are so many untapped emotional landscapes and psychological nuances to be understood around affection and intimacy, and sometimes it all starts with a simple touch.

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