Below are 27 intimacy ideas that will intensify and deepen the intimacy in your relationship…perfect for creating a closer & stronger bond with your partner. First, I explain the different types of intimacy and why a lack of intimacy can destroy your relationship.
What is intimacy?
The simple answer is that intimacy is our closeness or connectedness with others. . However…
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Intimacy is anything but simple.
You may not be able to increase the intimacy in your relationship by just adding a bunch of intimacy ideas to your to-do list. It requires you to do more than go through the motions and you sometimes need to be creative when considering ways to be intimate with your partner.
Keep in mind…
There are different types of intimacy. Below are the three main types of intimacy that are often talked about. However, other forms of intimacy can exist.
Emotional intimacy is most often expressed through verbal communication.
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Sharing – When you talk about your hopes, dreams, feelings, insecurities, and all those other vulnerable topics, you engage in emotional intimacy.
But, emotional intimacy is not just about you!
Listening – Listening is also an important aspect of emotional intimacy.
If you’re not willing to give a friend, family member, or significant other(s) a chance to open up to you, your relationship will be very one-sided. Both people need to feel support for true emotional intimacy.
This form of intimacy usually requires time to build. Emotional intimacy doesn’t always stay at the same level, varying in intensity and changing over time . Sometimes you’ll feel closer than others, and that’s okay.
Since you’re on the Bad Girls Bible, you’re probably the most interested in sexual intimacy, which includes all sorts of touching for sexual pleasure.
- Passionate kissing
- Giving a yoni massage
- Having intimate sex or even kinky sex
- Outercourse, such as dry humping
- Oral sex (use these cunnilingus tips or a give your partner a blow job)
- Manual sex (tips for fingering yourself and hand jobs)
You can probably think of other examples of sexual intimacy. For example, in the digital age, interactions we have over text, voice, or video could be types of sexual intimacy.
Related: How to Have Phone Sex
Remember, sexual intimacy can occur by touching someone or being touched by someone else.
Because intimacy is about connection, it helps to explain why makeup sex is so good.
Physical intimacy involves all non-sexual touching. It ranges from high fives to being in the perfect cuddling position together. Hugging, kissing, holding hands, and just being physically close to someone can all be examples of physical intimacy, too.
Intimacy involving touch stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin, also known as the bonding hormone. This complements physical pleasure and emotional connection by calming your body.
Sensual intimacy? – Sometimes people describe a another category: sensual intimacy. This can include the type of kissing, cuddling, and massaging that you wouldn’t normally do with someone but might do with some very close friends. Sensual intimacy could also include making out.
However, some people don’t see sensual intimacy as its own separate thing. Instead, they view it as part of physical or sexual intimacy.
As you can probably guess, it can be difficult to completely separate the types of intimacy from each other. That may explain why some people struggle with casual sex.
Intimacy type = relationship type? – The types of intimacy we experience can help to define a relationship or our expectations of it. For example, you probably have emotional intimacy with friends and family. These relationships might also involve physical intimacy in the form of hugging, cuddling, or other signs of physical affection.
Most friendships don’t involve sexual intimacy, however.
On the other hand, relationships can be incredibly satisfying when you combine all types of intimacy, which often happens in romantic relationships.
I cover the 27 intimacy ideas and ways to be intimate without sex further down this page, but first,
I need to talk about the…
Problems With Intimacy…& The Lack Of It
Before we get to the intimacy ideas, let’s discuss what can go wrong with intimacy.
Lacking One Type of Intimacy
Problems can arise if you neglect one form of intimacy and your partner desires other types. It’s why a good relationship needs more than just good sex. You need emotional intimacy and non-sexual physical intimacy for a well-rounded relationship.
Issues when it’s only sexual intimacy – Some people can feel especially hurt when their partners only touch them when they want sex. Those partners desire hugs, kisses, cuddles, hand-holding, and other types of physical intimacy for their own sake, not just because they’ll lead to sex, for example. Only making the effort for sexual intimacy can make a partner feel like they’re used for sex.
However, according to a 2018 study that has been cited over 70 times, researchers found that higher levels of intimacy are associated with higher sexual desire which is, in turn, associated with higher odds of sex happening with your partner . In other words…
Ignoring emotional intimacy in your relationship could hurt your sex life.
Inability to be Vulnerable
Intimacy, no matter what type, requires some vulnerability. When people struggle to be vulnerable, their relationships may suffer from a lack of intimacy.
Some common examples of intimacy issues involve the fear of losing control, whether that be letting go enough to be sexually intimate or giving control up to someone else. This might stem from trauma experienced in a person’s lifetime.
Other symptoms of an inability to be vulnerable include:
- Fear of physical sex
- Difficulty opening up emotionally
- Avoiding physical touch
- Rushing to have sex too soon
Intimacy can also break down when people lack good communication skills or there’s a lot of conflict in a relationship. Stress can also affect relationship intimacy, as can disabilities or illness.
The culture around you can also make it easier or harder to be intimate. For example, many people are raised in a sex-negative culture, and they internalize that messaging. They may still have a biological or emotional urge to have sex but cannot enjoy it–sometimes even in situations where sex would be culturally accepted.
Although less directly related to sex, when intimacy and autonomy within a relationship are imbalanced, the relationship can become unhealthy. Instead of trying more intimacy ideas, build your independence in a healthy way.
Now, let’s start with 11 sexual intimacy ideas, before I cover an additional 9 physical intimacy ideas and a further 7 ways to be intimate without sex.
11 Sexual Intimacy Ideas
The ideas below will help you to bring back the intimacy you once shared with your partner.
1. Focus on Making Love
You’ve probably heard that that’s a difference between making love and having sex. Maybe you’ve even experienced it yourself. But if you haven’t–or if you want more than just sexual intimacy–then making love might be key.
For some people, making love might mean slow, sensual sex (more about slow sex). It could also be focusing on your emotions over the physical sensations or prioritizing your partner’s pleasure over your own.
If you’re struggling to make love or just enjoy sex in general, you might benefit from incorporating mindfulness into your sex life. It can help get you out of your head, stop judging yourself, and be in the moment.
2. Keep the Lights On
Now, we’re not saying that you can’t be sexually intimate in the dark. But keeping the lights on lets you see each other’s bodies and make eye contact during sex.
If you’re self-conscious about your body, keeping the lights on requires a lot of vulnerability, which can be great for intimacy!
3. Involve Your Whole Body
Sex, even casual sex, isn’t just about clitoral stimulation. You have countless body parts that can touch every inch of your partner’s body.
So kiss, caress, squeeze, lick, rub, and otherwise make as much skin contact as possible.
4. Increase the Intensity
These things can increase intimacy in multiple ways. First, they can require more trust than “vanilla” sex. Secondly, sex that is more physically intense may just make you feel everything more intensely.
Blindfolds – Psst, if you don’t necessarily want more physical intensity, using a blindfold can boost the mental intensity of sex.
Finally, more intense sex may involve more planning and sexual communication, which increases communication skills and builds emotional intimacy, too. Knowing that they can safely do BDSM with all the vulnerability it requires is the ultimate intimacy for some.
5. Speak Up
Say more intimate things before, during, and after sex. Express your feelings for your partner, whether they are emotional or a desire for them sexually. “I love you” can be powerful, but so can “I can’t wait to feel you.”
Give your partner a compliment, like telling them how much you appreciate all they do for you. Let them know how much you enjoy being close to them and having sex to them. This can even be part of your praise kink play.
Don’t just keep it inside the bedroom. Sometimes saying these things when you’re not necessarily thinking about sex can be super meaningful.
6. More Coreplay
Some people think of foreplay as less than intercourse. The truth is, for many people, it’s more important than penetration. That’s why it’s important to think of intimate activities such as making out, mutual masturbation or oral sex as part of the main attraction or the core of your sexual techniques.
Spend more time on them to lengthen your sessions and deepen intimacy. Doing so will allow you to become more physically and mentally aroused and horny, which is good for pleasure and orgasms.
7. Practice Post-Coital Intimacy
When someone rushes off after sex, it can hurt your intimacy. So take a little time after sex to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Intimacy after sex doesn’t necessarily have to be cuddling. It could mean falling asleep next to each other or in each other’s arms. Or you might sit in bed and talk instead of running out of the room to clean.
Because kissing is so intimate, many avoid doing it during casual sex encounters. However, their sexual intimacy might suffer if they do. Furthermore, if you ignore kissing with your romantic partner, sex might be missing the emotional intimacy they crave.
There are many ways to kiss romantically or sexually, starting with the basics:
- Closed-mouth kisses
- Open-mouth kisses without tongue
- Deep, French kisses
Not everyone likes to kiss the same way. Some prefer more tongue action or like chewing on their partner’s lips. You can usually gauge what your partner likes by how they kiss.
9. Sensual Massage
Sensual massage covers a few suggestions above, including increasing skin contact and making foreplay last longer. Physical contact offers all the benefits of oxytocin while relaxing your muscles. This helps your brain relax, too.
10. Exploring Fantasies
This intimacy idea can boost sexual chemistry while strengthening the connection you have with your partner.
Sharing fantasies requires you to open up despite the fear that your partner might judge you. However, it’s a great tip for intimacy because many couples discover they have overlapping sexual interests. This means they get to explore them together!
11. Sensate Focus
This intimate activity for a couple was originally designed by sex researchers Masters and Johnson to help their patients with intimacy issues. It’s a good way to bring intimacy back into your relationship and bedroom.
Sensate focus teaches you how to intimate without sex (at first), even though it’s a physically intimate thing to do. It can be done under the supervision of a therapist, or you can give this intimate activity a whirl on your own.
Sensate focus involves multiple phases, each becoming a bit more sexual than the last. Cornell university explains sensate focus in more detail.
9 Physical Intimacy Examples
You might be surprised by the many forms that physical intimacy can take when reading the following intimacy ideas. And these ways to be intimate without sex are great if your relationship has become unbalanced.
It might seem odd, but sight can contribute to physical intimacy. It starts with seeing someone else–and being seen by them. Direct eye contact is more intimate, which might be why some people find doing so uncomfortable.
Kissing is an obvious example of physical intimacy, but it doesn’t have to be on the mouth. For example, you could kiss someone on the head (forehead, cheek, hair), hand, or shoulder.
Your voice is another way to achieve intimacy that’s technically physical. After all, hearing relies on physical body parts!
We’re not just talking about what you say here but how you say it. The tone and volume of your voice say a lot about your feelings, intent, and level of closeness. A lowered pitch or volume during pillow talk isn’t something you’d likely share with many people. Similarly, allowing yourself to sound unsure or choked up also expresses vulnerability.
Even singing with someone when someone can hear you can feel intimate.
4. Holding Hands
Holding hands is a form of physical intimacy that is considered PG, so you can do it in public if you want to experiment with more ways to be intimate without sex. You can hold the hand of your relatives, partner, or friends. It might be a casual handhold, or you can intertwine your fingers.
Massage is literally a hands-on type of physical intimacy. Most people enjoy having other, non-erogenous zones massaged, including:
You can switch things up by using massage oil, hot stones, and massage stones or other tools designed for deeper pressure.
Hugging is another form of physical intimacy that we often share with a lot of people, although not everyone is a fan of hugging. A hug is a great way to show care or to know you’re cared about. There’s nothing like a tight hug that you feel deep within your bones that lets the stress melt from your body.
Not all hugs are the same. You might feel enveloped by someone larger than you or enjoy leaning back against someone who is hugging you from behind. There’s the more casual side hug.
When dealing with someone who is taller, you can hug their waist or reach up to their shoulders. If you’re hugging someone small, you can pick them up off the ground as you do.
Dancing doesn’t just involve physical touch. It involves movement and working together to find a rhythm. You need to feel the music and your partner’s body language (a skill useful in all sorts of intimacy) to be good at it.
You don’t need to go out to enjoy dancing, either. Turn on some music–or don’t–and enjoy a slow dance with your partner in the living room. Sway under the stars together while your car radio plays in the background. You don’t even need music if the mood strikes!
You need to be pretty close to someone to feel their breath, which makes it a unique example of physical intimacy. That might also be one reason why it can feel so uncomfortable if you’re close enough to feel a stranger’s breath on you!
However, blowing cool or warm breath across your partner’s skin or breathing in sync with each other (an element of tantric sex) can be positive when you want to express or intimacy.
Washing your partner’s body or hair can be an incredibly intimate act. To practice this intimacy exercise as a type of non-sexual intimacy, focus on caring for your partner. It’s truly about helping them feel better and not just a precursor to sex.
You can continue this intimate act by shaving their body, drying them off, brushing their hair, and helping them dress if it works for you as a couple.
How to be intimate without sex
If you want to be intimate without sex, these non-sexual intimacy ideas might be right up your alley
1. Share Your Personal Feelings
We already touched on this above, but sharing your feelings with someone helps to build emotional intimacy and is beneficial for all close relationships.
Sharing your feelings shows a willingness to open up, which your loved ones will likely take note of. This helps you to feel closer.
Of course, sharing is a two-way street, and the willingness to listen to others and offer support (especially without judgment) also builds intimacy. You may even be surprised how listening makes you feel closer than talking because you’re so flattered that someone chose to open up to you.
2. Resolve Your Issues
If you want emotional intimacy with your partner, you need to work on any issues you have, even if it’s difficult. Some people try to deny problems in their relationship–along with the feelings that go with those problems–but that can easily lead to resentment or your feelings exploding in an unproductive way.
Not only does a willingness to work through issues show that you’re committed to your significant other and relationship, but working on your emotional intimacy this way can also improve your sexual intimacy. Relationship problems can show up as problems in the bedroom in the following ways.
- Lack of sexual desire
- Difficulty becoming aroused – 20 tips to turn a guy on fast
- Painful sex
- Inability to orgasm – Why you can’t orgasm – 15 reasons & the solutions
Some couples even head to sex therapy because they think someone is wrong sexually, only for their sessions to reveal problems outside the bedroom.
3. Plan the Future
This example of intimacy is more powerful than it seems on the surface.
Planning the future doesn’t just mean life-altering things such as marriage, buying a house, or starting a family. It could mean planning the next week’s grocery list, scheduling a date, or purchasing tickets for a concert or vacation. All of these things say, “I want to do things with you in the future.”
Collaborating with someone to plan also shows that you care about their feelings and input, so they’ll feel closer to you.
Of course, sometimes taking control to plan a surprise can be great for non-sexual intimacy!
4. Introduce Them to Your Friends and Family
Introducing a romantic partner to your loved ones is a great way to build intimacy.
For many people, introducing someone they’re dating to friends and family is a sign that they’re committed to their relationship. Most people don’t do this without some consideration, and getting others’ opinions can even help determine if a relationship is a good for you.
It’s flattering when someone wants you to meet the people in their life.
However, this can go wrong if your family doesn’t have healthy relationships and communication, if you rush into it, or if your partner doesn’t feel the same level of commitment as you do.
5. Teach Them About Your Background
This is kind of a broad idea. You might automatically think about cultural differences, especially if you and your partner are from different places. It’s exciting to share your traditions, food, holidays, and other things.
However, sharing your past experiences is also a powerful way to be intimate without sex. Learning more about your partner’s past can help you understand why your partner thinks and acts the way they do (the next tip for intimacy).
Chances are, there are things about your loved one’s experience that you never considered. Some couples are even surprised to learn how different they are, even if they have a lot in common.
6. Make an Effort to Understand Your Partner
It’s easy to think that the way we see the world is the right or only way. However, our perspectives are colored by our experiences, including how the world sees us, and even biology, such as hormones or brain chemistry. Everyone sees the world in a unique light because of this.
Even if you and your partner see eye to eye on some things, you probably don’t agree on everything. This becomes an issue when disagreements happen and someone feels hurt, disrespected, or ignored. When this happens, an argument over something small can blow way out of proportion, contributing to intimacy issues.
So you need to make an effort to understand your partner.
It might feel unnatural. You might be tempted to think that you shouldn’t have to do this. But this type of compromise is part of a healthy relationship–as long as your partner makes a similar effort for you and you recognize that no one can understand someone 100% of the time!
You may need to work on your communication skills or even seek therapy, whether alone or together, to get this right. However, a first step to understanding your partner is active listening.
We often listen just to respond to what someone has to say (sometimes even cutting them off before they’re finished). Pay attention to your thoughts during your next conversation, and you’ll see! Were you preparing what you wanted to say? Could you have missed something your partner was saying?
And even if you’re not planning how you’ll reply, you might be filtering their words in some way or they might be struggling to communicate well.
This act of intimacy involves:
- The speaker talks for a few minutes about a single topic.
- The listener repeats what their partner said in their own words (paraphrasing).
- The speaker confirms or corrects the listener’s interpretation.
- The listener asks open-ended and nonjudgmental questions.
After the listener understands the speaker’s point of view, the speaker could go on to another topic, or the roles could switch.
When done correctly, this intimacy exercise prevents interruptions, assumptions, and defensiveness. Active listening gives you a chance to confirm how your partner feels and what they’re saying, which can often help people from digging in their heels or getting too upset because they’re worried they won’t be truly heard.
However, you must respect the rules of active listening if you want it to work.
Another great communication tool to add is asking whether someone wants comfort (a crying shoulder or a listening ear) or solutions (advice). You can literally ask what your loved one needs advice or to vent.
If they only want to be heard, you validate them and avoid overstepping, which can happen when giving advice. But if they’re unsure of what to do, you’ll know it’s okay to make suggestions.
7. Take Care of Them
You can easily achieve intimacy without sex by taking care of your partner. There are countless acts of intimacy you can do to show you care, even if some of them seem like they’re practical and not the most intimate act. Many involve non-physical intimacy, while others help your partner feel physically better, even if you never touch them.
- Make them food or drink (chicken soup for a sick person is a classic intimacy example)
- Bring them a pillow or blanket
- Cover them up when they fall asleep
- Prepare a bath
- Buy something helpful for them
- Do a chore or run an errand for them
- Purchase a service for them
- Give them time without the kids or pets
- Provide them a free, quiet time to enjoy their hobbies
- Make sure they take medication, drink water, and care for their physical health
- Handle schedules, finances, or other practical concerns
These acts of intimacy go a long way when someone is sick, injured, or stressed. However, most people will appreciate them even if they feel fine.
Intimacy examples to be more intimate than you currently are as a couple
Focusing on intimacy can help you rekindle romance to bring back intimacy in your relationship. You don’t necessarily need intimate ideas. You may just need to discover how to be more sexually intimate when you’ve got a lot on your plate, for example. The tips for intimacy below can help with that.
If you don’t make the time and put in the effort, your intimacy will suffer. That’s why people recommend scheduling sex to couples who feel distant.
When it comes to emotional intimacy, check in with each other. You might put a state-of-the-union talk on your calendar once a week (or less). This gives you the chance to discuss your relationship.
Remember to talk about other things and not just running your shared household. Those topics (running your household) can take over your discussions. Go deeper and don’t be afraid to talk about big-picture ideas and feelings.
Make sure you engage in at least some physical intimacy that doesn’t lead to sex. Cuddle while watching TV. Hold hands when in the car running errands. Kiss each other good morning and good night.
Obviously, you can use many of the intimacy examples above to increase your intimacy. Perhaps you used to incorporate more of them into your life and relationship but just need a reminder to do so. Well, here it is!
Intimacy can be incredibly varied.
You might do something with your loved ones that makes you feel incredibly close that we’ve left off this list. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as it works for you, and you don’t need to try intimacy ideas that don’t appeal to you.
The beauty of intimacy is that it comes in many forms and flavors. If you’re missing intimacy, you can (re)build it with all these ways to be intimate with your partner. And now, you have some great ideas on how to go about that
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