10 Ways to Maintain Intimacy Without Sex

Asexuality, like other sexualities and genders, is a spectrum. That means there are some people, like me, who really enjoy having sex despite identifying as ace. Other people don’t enjoy it, or just can’t tolerate it at all. But sex isn’t the only thing– physical or otherwise– that fosters intimacy. There are lots of great ways to maintain closeness and intimacy with your partner or partners that don’t involve sex!

Napping

It should come to no surprise to anyone that I love naps. I love naps alone, I love naps with my partner, I love planned naps and I love impromptu naps. I even love napping on public transit. (Come on, like you’ve never nodded off to the sounds of a bus engine.) Napping with a new partner, or someone you’ve been with for a long time, can foster those feelings of comfortable relaxation simply because that’s what you need in order to sleep in the middle of the day!

Shopping

Grocery shopping, thrifting, or furniture hunting can all apply to this one. Checking off the items on your to-buy list can be really fun! Or is that just me and every Virgo ever? Regardless, shopping for things that you’ll use together creates a fun air of anticipatory glee. Just think of how what you’ll make with your groceries, or how good you’ll look on your next date night with that new outfit! Having your partner there just compounds that feeling of looking forward to your next adventure together.

Regular check ins

Setting aside time every week or every two weeks that’s scheduled as check in time can really help eliminate any rising tension or resentment, which does anything but foster intimacy and closeness. And because it’s scheduled time, there’s no anxiety around asking your partner for a sit down, or getting a text in the middle of the day that just says “can we talk tonight?” because that never feels good. Check ins don’t have to just be about things to work on either! They can also be a great time to acknowledge your partner’s efforts in maintaining your relationship, overcoming a stressful thing in their lives, or managing conflict well. It’s a wonderful opportunity to help your partner feel seen instead of always harping on bad stuff.

Bathing

Steamy showers don’t need to be sexual! Lathering up with your significant other is a fun way to get naked together without the pressure of having sex. Shower sex is overrated in my opinion anyway, but that’s for another post. Water is not lube, people!

Cooking

Get a glass of wine and hang out in the kitchen. As a lover of trying out new recipes, I think cooking can be such a fun couples’ activity. If it sucks, order takeout! If it rocks, well, breaking bread is a common form of bonding for people. Kids have tea parties, adults have dinner parties. Cooking together requires teamwork, especially if your recipe is more advanced, and a feeling of accomplishment at the end of an evening can help bring you closer together.

Touch 

Whether it’s holding hands more, cuddling more, regular back rubs, or just making sure there’s skin on skin contact that isn’t sexual, incorporating more intentional touch into your regular interactions helps you feel closer to your partner simply because you are! Skin on skin contact is important for bonding with newborns, so why wouldn’t it be important for adults too? Touch starvation is a real thing, so get to cuddlin’.

Retrospective dates

Go back to where you first met, or where you had your first date, or where you or your partner proposed. Relive the first few months of when you were getting to know each other and reminisce on those butterfly feelings!

Meeting families

If you or your partner are on good terms with your families, or chosen families, meeting new people from your partner’s life is a great way to understand more about who they are and where they come from. You’ll be able to better relate to your partner’s stories and memories when you can put a face to the name, and they can do the same for you!

More dating

If you’re into it, and your partner is into it, you could both date someone as a couple! Polyamory is seeing more and more conversation in mainstream discussions, and it can definitely be an idea to explore. The compersion is real, folks. Just be sure your relationship is in a place where you can have an honest discussion about whether or not you both would be okay with it. It’s not for everyone (myself included!) and that’s okay! Self-awareness and honesty are the keys on this one.

Love and appreciation notes

Having physical, tangible, easy to reference notes and proof of your affection for one another can be invaluable. (Hello #AnxietyLife.) When there’s distance in your relationship, whether physical or emotional, having reminders of your love for one another can be a really powerful way to remind your partner that you still care for them and want to put the work into your relationship. I keep a few funny or romantic greeting cards for my partner for days when I know he’s feeling down or just needs a pick-me-up. It’s never gotten me a complaint yet!

Intimacy can take many forms, and it doesn’t have to be physical or sexual. Taking time out of your relationship to refocus on some non-sexual forms of communication and closeness can really foster a deeper connection. I hope this list gives you some ideas for the next time you want to show your partner (Or partners! Yay poly life!) how much you care.

Though this post was sponsored, all opinions and stories are my own. Thank you to the wonderful sponsors who support me and let me create personal content like this!

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