For many couples, sex is the most intimate act, but relationship experts say that you can still be intimate with your partner even without having sex. "Real joy and lasting pleasure comes from a deep and authentic emotional connection with another human being," said therapist Paul Hokemeyer via Fox News.
"Consider the situation in casual sex or hookups. People may be having great sex but without emotional closeness, it will cause them to feel more empty and alone than if they are in an emotionally fulfilling relationship that doesn't include sex," said another expert, Susan Whitbourne, a psychology professor, in the same report.
Below are five ways couples can be intimate without getting naked.
1. Ditch the digital attachments. Set aside time together, either enjoying a hobby, a meal or just talking in the bedroom, without the electronic gadgets interrupting you. "By allowing technology to interfere with or interrupt conversations, activities, and time with romantic partners - even when unintentional or for brief moments - individuals may be sending implicit messages about what they value most, leading to conflict and negative outcomes in personal life and relationships," according to a team of researchers from The Pennsylvania State University.
2. Touch often. In many long-term relationships, a touch only indicates one thing - someone wants to get some! Relieve how it was the first time you got together by holding hands, hug and stroke each other without signaling for sex. If you have the time, indulge in giving massages to each other once in a while.
3. Enjoy a shared interest beyond parenting the children. Try to do this regularly. Go biking together, join a reading group, enlist in a photography or painting class, become gym buddies, or find a local band whose gigs you can watch and follow from time to time. Here are five enriching hobbies that don't cost a lot of money.
4. Have pillow talks. When was the last time you've had real talk with your partner? Ideally, pillow talks occur after sex, but you can still have these intimate conversations without getting sexual. "The point of pillow talk, though, is for two people to enjoy each other's presence through conversation, in a somewhat spontaneous way, but in a way that will let both parties go to bed with clear heads," according to the Urban Dictionary.
5. Give each other surprises. It doesn't have to be extravagant. It doesn't have to involve long preparations. It can be as simple as leaving a note on the medicine cabinet, preparing her breakfast in bed, or buying that book he's been wanting to read. These gestures show you care about each other in small, simple ways, too. Remember how you did the same things while you were in the early years of dating?