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wundayatta's avatar

What is non-sexual intimacy in a relationship like?

Asked by wundayatta (58568points) March 15th, 2010

I picture myself lying down and looking into my love’s eyes for a long long time. I imagine being able to trust her enough to talk about anything—especially the things that shame me and that she might see as a threat. I imagine being able to be hurt and still know I am loved.

Those are just my sort of romantic notions. But I don’t know if they really count. I don’t know what is healthy, so I’d like to hear what others have to say.

Are there everyday things that are part of intimacy? Or is it a kind of internal thing—an attitude or a feeling? What is intimacy not? What does pseudo intimacy look like?

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26 Answers

Chongalicious's avatar

My boyfriend does all those things described in the first paragraph with me :) It’s amazing… and all notions count, because not everyone has the same definition of intimacy and love. Everyday things such as cooking together and being close while doing that I would consider intimate; or even when your partner feeds you! It’s an internal thing as well because you come up with your own definition of it and hope someone else feels the same way as you do about things, one thing I would not consider to be intimacy is something like porn, lol but anyways it’s just basically having an extreme feeling of being connected with someone and trusting that they will understand you, no matter what happens.

phoebusg's avatar

I start there, when dating even. If the partner is unable to be mentally intimate… I just politely click on the next button :)

To answer the question. I think yes, not only are they parts of intimacy. But probably the most important parts. Sexual intimacy can blind us, due to the physiological reactions – dopamine rush and so forth. It’s good to start with mental intimacy. As an added bonus, it makes the later intimacy much stronger. And creates a relationship that is not based on a frivolous and unstable thing such as passion. That flame will come and go many times over…

drhat77's avatar

Marriage. Except it has intimacy (unlike the marriage).

Seriosuly, it’s like the feeling that you want to do anything for the person you love, and you hurt when they hurt, and you want to comfort them. Blah blah blah etc.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think it’s about being connected in silence and in deep conversation – it’s about sharing inside jokes and laughter and the ability to ‘read each other’s thoughts and feelings’. It’s about energy felt between your bodies that is disarming in a non-sexual way, something that makes you gravitate to your loved one, to want to be on top of them and know that you’re undeniably home.

njnyjobs's avatar

a phone call in the middle of the day to ask how the person is doing, or if they had taken their brake. . . . creating a comfortable atmosphere for both of you. . . . anticipating the needs of the other person. . . . talking sweet nothings.

marinelife's avatar

Intimacy is a shared smile or laugh.

Intimacy is feeling comfortable talking about anything with your partner and talking about everything with them.

Intimacy is knowing what the other person is thinking by the look on their face.

Intimacy is feeling the warmth of their presence with a phone call or a note.

CMaz's avatar

It is like ice cream, without the nuts.

Disc2021's avatar

The best way I could describe it is to say it’s like absolute comfort. Almost like the comfort you have with being alone… only you’re not? You feel a strong sense of connection, almost as if you’re a part of your partner.

It’s exhilarating. I guess the opposite would be to be in a purely sexual relationship with someone, or a non-fulfilling relationship with someone. One of those situations where you’re with someone but you still feel lonely.

Facade's avatar

Couldn’t say. Everything feels sexual to me in some way.

crazy_twilight_chick's avatar

its actually really nice. at least for me it is.a sexual relationship is no fun b/c what if after you do that the person leaves you? you wouldn’t like that. i think you & your girlfriend should have a non-sexual relationship until you BOTH are ready to do anything.

cak's avatar

Being sick has changed some things our marriage. It’s not always the best time for physical intimacy; however, the change has been amazing. I can sit in a room and say nothing to my husband and feel so secure and comfortable. He even says one look or smile is like a thousand words spoken between us. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I’ll feel his hand on mine – or on my shoulder. I don’t think there is a word that can describe that feeling. I just love the feel of his touch.

I have a collection of sticky notes that he has left me over the years, the total exceeds 300 notes. They are now collected in a book, in the order that I received them. Something about getting a note that says, “I can’t wait to see your smile when I come home later” is so wonderful, it just makes my entire day great. I don’t care how I feel, it’s just the best feeling.

It’s the simple look across a room. The smile, the laughter shared at night about something silly. It’s waking up and just watching him sleep.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Holding hands. Cuddling without any intent of it leading to something more – and because both of you want to, instead of feeling obligated or good for the first few minutes but the you get achy and yr leg goes numb…
My best friend and I are strictly platonic, but we occasionally sleep together (zzzzz/REM sleep, not sex sleep) because it’s so comforting and safe to know that the other is there for us if we feel like crap or a bugler breaks in.

It’s being more comfortable and able to be yourself that you thought you could be around another human being.

Bronny's avatar

you guys are making me feel all tinkle-y inside. minus the feeding each other part. that’s slightly sickening.

Seek's avatar

Intimacy is having a 250 lb crazy metalhead call you in the middle of the sweaty workday, surrounded by fellow construction workers, just to say “My lub noo, and a man too”.

when my hubby and I were dating, half of his cell phone’s keyboard stopped working, so instead of texting “I love you”, he came up with “my lub noo”. We still use it. Our son is “the man”

Bronny's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr love that! that is the simple but special kind of thing that is part of an emotionally intimate relationship. very sweet.

ratboy's avatar

It’s like watching The TV while its unplugged.

liminal's avatar

It is when the unquenchable fire, the one that lies in the very marrow of our bones, leaves us with a restless hunger that reaches for another and are met. We find ourselves companioned where restlessness dwells and we experience acceptance, rest, union, and a special knowing that only the connected understand.

davidbetterman's avatar

Better than Gold.

Silhouette's avatar

Nonsexual intimacy is catching your partners eye in a crowded room and sharing an inside joke without ever saying a word. The casual pat you give her arm as you pass her in the hallway on your way to the john. Little tiny things that show your partner you are listening to them and you care.

Trillian's avatar

@Silhouette has it right for sure. Non verbal communication of a shared thought or secret held in common is a great feeling.

MrsDufresne's avatar

@wundayatta That is the way [I think] love should be. When you said: “I imagine being able to be hurt and still know I am loved.” The tears welled up in my eyes and I could feel the tightness in my throat, because I know that is the way real love should feel.

However many people have too much pain themselves, to be that strong for someone else. It is rare to find someone who can love that selflessly.

And even if someone could love that unconditionally~ wisdom, experience, heartache and time have had to have contributed to that ability.

Having true intimacy with someone is like having your internal organs have their own free will. Your heart being outside of your chest, with a brain of it’s own, walking around. The vulnerability is excruciating.

But the peace, freedom and serenity that comes from two emotionally being one is worth, (at least to me), that risk.

Great question.

@liminal Exquisitely worded.

prolificus's avatar

@wundayatta asks: Are there everyday things that are part of intimacy?

Yes. It’s discovering and encouraging each other’s strengths. It’s guarding and complementing each other’s weaknesses. It’s division of housework so that one cooks, the other cleans – because the one who cooks hates to clean, and the one who cleans hates to cook. It’s asking each other nine-million questions and listening to mundane responses. It’s the taking care of each other in sickness and in health. It’s the searching for the special candy one loves that cannot be found in the region. It’s the listening to one vent about mother issues, work issues, and the guy who cut in front on the highway. It’s the driving 900 miles to get a puppy one always wanted, even though it wasn’t a mutual desire. It’s all this and more, the mundane and the sublime, that fill the everyday elements of intimacy.

@wundayatta asks: Or is it a kind of internal thing—an attitude or a feeling?

It’s internal and external. Feeling deeply in the heart allows intimacy to be expressed and received deeply from the heart.

@wundayatta asks: What is intimacy not? What does pseudo intimacy look like?

Intimacy is not simply a feeling. It is not something to be imagined, but experienced.  It is something built over time, more than something spontaneously created or sparked by chemistry.  It is something mutually developed in an environment of trust and safety, not based soley on assumptions or observations.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It’s imagining you can’t imagine your daily life without that other person but without the sex. It’s kind of tortuous, really.

Violet's avatar

We love to spoon, and we also love to cuddle and watch TV on the bed and on the couch. We sit on opposite sides of the couch, and sit on each others feet, or rest out feet of the other’s lap.

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