Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Physical Intimacy (Non Sexual)

The Proposal (1872)

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For most men that title is a contradiction.  For most women that title makes perfect sense.  I want to address this type of intimacy, but I am guessing that it is more directed at men than at women. 

Togetherness

For physical intimacy to occur then it is obvious that two people need to be in close proximity together.  Let's face it there is many things that compete for our attention, time, and presence.  And our spouses tend to get pushed down the list when the pressure is on.  I am not suggesting that is right I am just making the observation of what tends to happen in life.  For physical intimacy to occur then you must be committed to being together (that is close enough to touch).  It seems almost silly that I would need to point this out but it is true if you are not close enough to touch then you are not going to have physical intimacy. 

Security

Security is to physical intimacy as trust is to emotional intimacy.  There has to be a sense of safety that is in all forms of intimacy.  Now at times this feeling of security is weakened either by past experiences with a spouse and/or past experiences in other intimate relationships.  It is a good idea to get these things out in the open to talk about.  If you do not think that you can do this or that your spouse will have understanding then may I recommend counseling.   A lack of physical intimacy will have lasting impact on your marriage and lead to feelings of distance and detachment.  So ignoring insecurities does not lead to improved intimacy in my opinion.  One thing more, if physical abuse or sexual abuse is occurring it needs to be addressed before the feeling of insecurity can be addressed.  Stated another way, physical safety trumps physical intimacy!  If you are in an abusive relationship Focus Ministries offers some information and support.  Just click on the link to go to their web site. 

Touch

Physical intimacy is a feeling of closeness that occurs with a touch that is desired, warm, and affectionate.  Notice the touch is desired.  There may be times that you touch your spouse, but if the touch is not desired then it is not physical intimacy.  A woman desires to be physically close with her husband without the expectation of sexual advances.  That is not to say that women do not want to be sexual, but rather they have an need for physical closeness that is not purely sexual.  Men who do not learn this and act accordingly risk making physical touch aversive to their wives leading to less and not more intimacy.  The quality of warmth in touch is descriptive of the motivation behind the touch.  It ought to be rooted in love with the intent of meeting the spouse's need for physical intimacy.  For women generally a warm touch is a gentle touch.  For men a warm touch is one that expresses loyalty and devotion.  Affection in touch is a physical expression of the care concern and compassion that you have for your spouse.  For example:  "I have a sore neck." is code for "please rub my neck."  and a gentle touch speaks more care and concern than a million words could ever say. 

I am speaking in generalities in this post.  The types of wanted touch are very individualistic.  If you don't have a clear idea of what kind of touch your spouse appreciates then I would suggest striking up a conversation. I met this one couple that had been married for a long time.  The husband though he was doing good holding her hand on the couch every night before bed.  To his surprise he discovered that his wife had a much different perspective.  She felt he was more in tune with the TV and sitting on the couch with him was better than no touch which is what would happen if she did not sit with him.   But it was not physical intimacy for her. 

Ideas for Physical Intimacy

Hugs
Back Rubs
Holding hands
Snuggling
walks (not speed walking)
Foot massage
Body massage
Gentle touch to the face
Arm around shoulder
Hand on thigh or knee (Remember Non-sexual)
Spooning (keep it non-sexual)
fingers through hair
Kissing
Gentle touch on the shoulder
body caress (non-sexual and make sure it is wanted)
Sitting close enough that bodies touch
Arm around waist
Playful (Wanted) tickling
Scratching those hard to reach places

If you have other ideas then please feel free to add to the list with a post in the comment section. 

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