I love sex! I do. And I think sex is important to most healthy romantic relationships. The old adage is sex is about ten percent of any good relationship. However, when the sex is bad or missing it taints 90 percent of the relationship. Personally, I have found that to be very true.
Sex is one important form of intimacy you have with partner(s). There are lots of other ways to be intimate. We often forget to nourish and grow these non-sexual areas of intimacy. However, there is plenty of evidence that happy couples have many different forms of intimate behaviors.
Intimacy is the feeling of closeness to a partner. I can be simplified to that “warm, fuzzy feeling” you get when someone you love is around. It is the result of actions which show you love and care about someone and they do the same for you.
Here are ten inexpensive and non-sexual ways to grow the closeness of your relationships.
1. Bathe or Shower Together. So, as bad as the Cialis commercial is with the couple in the twin tubs looking out at the sunset together, there is a benefit to bathing with your partner. I am not talking about bumping uglies in the shower. I actually mean using the shower to get clean.
There is something very intimate about washing each other’s backs, scrubbing your partner’s hair, running your hands over their warm, wet body without it necessarily ending up in hot and steamy sex. Bathing together is not something most of us do with just any hook-up. It leads to touching and talking and a feeling of closeness.
2. Learn How to Make Their Coffee. This goes for everyone, even you D-types. Many people in power exchange relationships have it as part of the protocol that the s-type is the one to make the coffee in the morning and bring it to the D-type. I have had that dynamic and I really like it. Regardless of your arrangement, being able to make your partner(s) their coffee or tea the way they like it and bringing it to them is a gesture of care and closeness. It requires that you learn the way they like their coffee. You have to remember that and then do it. Bringing someone a cup of coffee as they get out of the shower or a cup of tea while they unwind at night is very considerate and caring.
3. Eat Together Without Your Phones. Eating together and attending to the other person during conversation is a huge way to say, “You matter.” Most of us are pretty addicted to our phones. Being able to put your phone away for just 30 minutes while you and the person you care about sit together and have a meal prioritizes each other and your conversation for that time period. You can focus on one another, talk about anything, and bond.
4. Go to Bed Together. This is difficult for some couples. Work schedules, family demands, and so on mean that you may not be tired or able to sleep at the same time all the time. But, when you can manage it, climbing into bed together, putting down your screens, turning off the lights and just curling up creates instant bonding. Lying next to someone, listening to them breathe and their heartbeat, combined with their body heat has been shown to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and lower overall stress.
5. Have Inside Jokes. As you get to know someone you will develop your own inside jokes. These are little quips you share or stories about things that happen when you were together. Revisiting these moments increases intimacy and bonding. Additionally, laughing with your partner increases both of your happiness and closeness.
6. Groom Each Other. I know this sounds very monkey-like. Monkeys groom each other to increase bonding in their tribe. It has the same benefit for humans. Brush each other’s hair, moisturize each other, learn to give your guy a shave or trim your girl’s lady bits. It is this gentle touching and time spent caring for each other that will increase your bonding.
7. Give mani/pedis. This goes for all genders. Everyone needs their feet cared for. Everyone has to clip their toenails and moisturize their feet. Many people find it a bit awkward to get into the right position to clip and file their toes. Simply doing this task for a partner is a great way to increase your connection.
People are more likely to take care of their own fingernails than their feet. However, doing your non-dominant hand can be awkward. Clipping and filing your partner’s nails can be a way of showing you care.
How To: 1) Get a tub big enough for at least one foot and fill it with water and a bit of Epsom salts for a soak. If you don’t have a tub take a hand towel and soak it with hot water (or water, then microwave for 1 minute). Wrap your partner’s feet in the hot towel and let sit for a few minutes. 2) Dry off a foot at a time. Clip the nails to a good length, then file them gently with an nail file. 3) Gently push the cuticles back, but do not cut the cuticles. 4) Use a pumice stone or a pedi-egg to rub off some of the callouses. Don’t take them totally off! Callouses are there for a reason. Taking too much off can hurt! 5) Get a good lotion or foot cream and gently massage it into the feet and lower legs for at least five minutes per side.
8) Start Couple’s Yoga. You don’t need to go to a class for this. You don’t need to do yoga daily to do this. Pretty much anyone can start couple’s yoga. There are a ton of sites, books, and apps which will provide you information on various positions. The thing is, you do it together.
Working out together in a cooperative manner increases bonding. Additionally, yoga will stretch you out, increase your energy, and generally make you feel better. Many of the couple’s yoga moves focus on helping each other improve their positions and increase the depth and effectiveness of the moves. You become a team working toward the same goal of both of you feeling great!
I practice yoga regularly. My partner does not. He is a runner and does weights and resistance work. Once a week we spend about half an hour doing yoga together. It helps us both keep focused on fitness goals and we are both able to deepen our stretching and strength building by practicing together. It’s Great!
9) Dance Together. “But I don’t dance!” Yeah, yeah. Sure. I know. I am not talking about busting out the Running Man in a club. Just take a minute when music is on at home and dance for a song or two. Nobody else has to see you. There is something incredibly romantic about dancing in your kitchen while you are making dinner, or during a song on your favorite talent competition show, or to a song while you are getting ready to go to a social function. It can be slow dancing, swing, or just flinging your arms and legs about and laughing together.
10) Learn to Cook Stuff They Love. When you cook for someone you show you care about them. Preparing food, the stuff required to keep them alive and healthy, is a choice to spend time doing something for the person you care about. We all have favorite foods Even if you are not much of a cook, it is worth it to take the time to figure out how to make two or three things that make your partner(s) happy.
One of the sure-fire dishes for just about everyone (except vegetarians, sorry) is a roast chicken. This is a simple comfort food that can be done very elegantly. The bonus, for about $15 you get get four meals out of it. I am a huge foodie and home cook (check out my Instagram under @AuntieVice).
Roast Chicken with Root Veg
1 whole roasting chicken, organic and free-range if you can afford it (or 4 legs and 4 thighs)
2 Tbsp butter
4 tsp salt
4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp tumeric
2 t sweet paprika
ground black pepper
3 russet or 7 yellow or red potatoes, washed
3 carrots, washed
1 yellow or red onion
1 fennel bulb
3 stalks celery, washed and trimmed
1/2 cup pitted olives, Kalamata, Arbequina or Andulusia are my favorite varieties
2 T olive oil
(Really, any combination of the above works. Don’t fret if you don’t have all the veg.)
Preheat oven to 425.
Cube the potatoes into 1″ cubes. Thinly slice the onion. Wash, peel and cube the turnips and parsnip into 1″ cubes, slice the celery on the bias about 1″ long, trim the top off the fennel, remove the core and slice thinly.
Place all the veg and the olives in the bottom of a roasting pan, dutch oven, tagine, or 9″ x 13″ baking pan.
Squeeze the lemon onto the veg. Add the 2 T olive oil.
Mix all the spices in a small bowl. Sprinkle half the mix onto the veg. Toss with your hands until the veg are coated.
Cut the butter into small cubes. Rub a small bit of butter and seasoning under the skin of the chicken. Arrange the pieces or the entire bird on the top of the veg. Place the squeezed lemon hull inside the bird cavity (if using a whole bird).
Bake for 45 mins to 1 hour. The leg on the whole bird should shake like a loose handshake (or a thermometer should read 165F).
Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes before serving.
If the bird browns too fast, cover the dish with aluminum foil.