5 Ways To Feel Physically Close To Your Partner That Don't Involve Sex

When you hear the phrase "physically intimate," what does that mean to you? Probably sex, right? Sure, it can definitely mean that, but really sex should just be one of the ways that you express your love and physical connection. Maybe sex is the most fun way, but it's not always the most meaningful — or convenient. Fortunately, there are actually plenty of ways to feel physically close to your partner that don’t involve sex at all, but can still have a positive impact on the health and intimacy of your relationship.

How important is physical closeness to your relationship? According to Grace Lee, co-founder of A Good First Date Online, it's essential. "It cements an emotional bond between two people,” she tells Elite Daily. “To feel desired in a sexual way is one thing, but to be liked by somebody is more intimate and speaks to you as an individual. When somebody wants to just have sex with you, you could be anybody. But if somebody wants to hold your hand, cuddle, kiss you on the forehead while in a grocery store line — it feels more personal. These physical signals bolster the foundation to any relationship in a way that sex usually cannot."

It's also how we strengthen and reinforce our bonds, explains Sonya Schwartz, a relationship expert and owner of Her Aspiration. "Connecting physically besides sex builds trust and confidence within the couple,” Schwartz tells Elite Daily. “It helps the partners become comfortable to one another and improves their overall relationship." So, how can you put their advice to practical use? Here's what the experts say are great ways to be physically close to your partner, besides sex.


Chances are you’re already a big fan of this form of closeness, but Schwartz explains it doesn’t just feel nice to be curled up next to your partner — it’s good for the relationship as well. “Cuddling is the easiest way to connect physically besides sex,” she says. “Get a cozy blanket, put a good show or movie on, and just cuddle. Kisses and caresses shared besides sex boost morale, makes you feel more confident, and builds trust within the couple.”

This doesn't just have to be at home; you can also take cuddling out in the world in the form of sitting next to, instead of across from, one another, says Andrea Amour, founder and dating coach at UpDate Coaching. “Whether you're out to dinner with friends, out at dinner alone, with your family at Thanksgiving, choose to sit next to each other,” she tells Elite Daily. “It gives you the opportunity to hold hands under the table, lean in and make jokes, or lean over and give a kiss.”

2. Holding hands

Think holding hands is corny? Well, forget all that, because it’s a very effective way to build your bond. “Touching your partner’s hand also helps build trust and boosts confidence,” says Schwartz. Whether you’re at home or walking across the street, Lee encourages couples to hold hands. “Holding hands brings the two of you into the experience together,” she says. “Think about it, you can't text and hold hands at the same time nor can you walk five steps ahead. Being physically ‘bonded’ brings you both into the present moment, together.” In essence, by holding hands, you become both literally and figuratively a team, and that will carry over into the dynamic of the relationship.

Hugging and kissing

Never underestimate the importance of hugging and kissing in a relationship. While it may seem like a small thing, these acts of affection are powerful ways to stay connected. Even a casual peck is impactful, says Lee. “A kiss that doesn't lead to anything is a very sweet way to remind the person that you care for them,” she explains. “It could be a peck on the cheek or on top of the head. Because it is unexpected and non-sexual, the signal is more about caring and affection.” The same goes for hugging. ”Don't underestimate the power of a good hug! Take your partner in your arms and give them a warm two-second squeeze,” Lee advises. “Put your arm around their shoulder or waist and say something sweet.”

Schwartz says you shouldn’t shy away from a little PDA, either. “Besides sex and cuddling, you can increase intimacy by kissing and hugging,” she says. “When you’re in a public place, a quick kiss and a short hug will show the world you’re comfortable with each other and confident enough to show your feelings. When you’re alone, it helps to reassure your partner about how you feel.”

If you are comfortable with PDA, just make sure to keep it cute. “Holding hands, snuggling, side-hugging down the sidewalk, or kissing in front of other people are all ‘cute’ types of PDA,” Amour says.

Back rubs

You know how nice it feels when your partner gives you that quick neck rub because you look tired, or tense, or just because? Lee says that’s another great gesture that reinforces your bond through physical affection. “It shows that you want them to feel comfortable, to relax and show your support for what they're doing,”she says. “You aren't asking them to stop everything, but rather, you're meeting them in their environment.”

Netflix & (Actually) Chill

If you want to put all of these forms of affection into practice, then Amour suggests something outside the box: Netflix and actually chilling! “Watching TV gets a bad rep, but it's an easy way to connect at the end of a long day,” Amour explains. “Put away your phones and close your computer, grab a blanket, and watch something you both love. This is particularly true for people with physical love language, who need to feel physically connected to their partner each day.” Cozy up, hold hands, and sneak the occasional kiss or squeeze to really make the most of this experience.

While all of this affection may perhaps lead to sex, it’s important to remember that non-sexual affection is just as important. Don’t underestimate these quiet, sweet moments. “Physical affection increases/iterates the all important message: I love you, I want to be with you and most important - I love you specifically,” Lee concludes. “It's easy to find somebody that you want to have sex with but much harder to find somebody that you want to hold hands with.” So true. So very true.