The Importance of Non-Sexual Intimacy
What’s that Ludacris lyric, you want a lady in the streets and a freak in the sheets? Healthy sexuality means connecting with someone in the streets, sheets, and everywhere in between.
Yes, feeling so attracted to someone that you want to rip their clothes off will make you feel close. However, non-sexual intimacy can be equally as important.
From holding someone’s hand to snuggling up to watching a movie, building intimacy with someone takes all shapes and sizes. Intimacy comes from helping carry the groceries or bringing back some cough medicine when they have the flu. Apart from knowing the ways your partner likes to be kissed and caressed, real intimacy is about developing trust and respect. And these two things go way beyond the bedroom.
And if you need any more convincing, here are the reasons why non-sexual intimacy is important in sexual relationships.
Sex Is Vulnerable
There’s no way around it. I don’t care if you’re a sex icon god and you can do no wrong. I don’t care if prefer to have rough and dirty sex with no feelings involved. I’m not saying that all sex is about being in love or having feelings for someone. Or that you need to open up emotionally to enjoy someone physically. There is a lot to be said for having sex just to have sex. There doesn’t always have to be a deeper meaning.
I am saying, however, that there is an undeniable vulnerability to getting naked with someone. You’re removing your costume, your armor, your layer of protection from the outside world, and showing all of yourself to someone (or a group of people, IDK your life) and living in the moment without any distractions or differentiations. You are letting someone into your personal space. You’re letting someone touch you.
This is why trust and respect (and intimacy) is important. Whether you’re with your longterm partner or getting it on for the first time with a hookup, being able to trust the person you’re with allows you to fully let go, and fully enjoy. You don’t have to worry about making a weird noise or the way your belly looks from a certain angle or seeming needy if you ask to switch positions. You know that you and your boo are doing what feels good for both of you, and there’s a mutual understand that you respect each other and want each other to feel pleasure and sexy and good. And also feel comfortable and safe. What’s hotter than that?
Intimacy Nixes Insecurity
If you trust your partner, like really trust them, and you know that they would never try to hurt you — it’s easy to open up about your insecurities and fears and anxieties and to attack them together head-on. When you feel safe, you are more able to express how you feel about your body or what you’ve been going through with your family or that kinky thing that you’ve always wanted to try but have always been too sheepish to ask for. You’re also more open to accepting help security from someone that cares about you.
Everyone has things they feel unsure about. Everybody has desires and fantasies that they’ve thought about. Building non-sexual intimacy with someone helps you in sharing your darkest fears and fantasies with them. And when you feel secure, you’re more confident, more excited to try new things and less afraid to fail or look “weird” or “bad” or “wrong.” Non-sexual intimacy enables you and your partners to feel secure in your sexuality and desires and helps you and your partner create a space for you both to share and explore together.
Intimacy Is Good For You (And Your Sex Life)
Sex is like a little workout. It burns calories, gets your heart rate up, and gets you breathing deeply. Doing the dirty with some regularity can keep you and your boo in tune and in shape. More than that, sex releases oxytocin, a hormone related to love and intimacy, which can calm you down and help you with stress relief.
Of course, oxytocin can also be released from cuddling up with your crush, getting a back rub, or otherwise sharing space with the people you care about. Being affectionate in a non-sexual way with your partner helps you both nix anxiety and feel closer together. And being closer together (in a not sex way) will make your sex better.
Griffin Wynne is a non-binary writer, artist, and plain seltzer drinker. When they’re not discussing sex in the ~digital era~ or crying to the Dixie Chicks, Griffin enjoys camping, reading, used clothes, and documentaries about cults. They’re a Capricorn King, a genderless cowgirl, and a ’70s mama who is always down for dollar oysters and road trips. Griffin uses they/them pronouns and has the same birthday as Kyle Richards.