5 Non-Sexual Ways To Touch Your Partner And Improve Your Relationship

According to science, the most successful relationships have the highest amount of "nonsexual touching." Learn how!
Publish date:
January 18, 2013
Dating, sexuality, good touch/bad touch

It is a well-documented fact that I am a bit physically awkward.

I don't need help -- as Tyler Perry would say, I Can Do Physically Awkward All By Myself. If there were a camera in my apartment, those fortunate (and creepy as balls) enough to be watching the live-feed would be displeased with what they found.

Because, while some naughty self-touching does occur, for the most part I spend my time at home doing things like somehow falling off my slippers (I know, right?), hitting my head and hip on every possible sharp corner, and pouring assorted sauces upon myself which I later remove with the warm and stale Doritos which take refuge in my vast underboob region.

If that’s what I’m like alone, you can only imagine what I’m like when other people are involved. Frankly, the fact that there have been no serious injuries is verging on miraculous.

There are no exceptions to this rule. I am challenged when it comes to interacting with others physically, no matter how close we are. When my dad and I try to say goodbye at the train station after a visit, a passing stranger would not be at fault were they to mistake us for two drunken, brawling brown bears who are also on roller-skates for the first time. I communicate my deep love for my best friend from college by invoking John Travolta in "Face/Off" and roughly dragging my fingers down her face while quietly saying, “Face/Off, dude.”

For the most part, I can chalk it up as part of my charm. This usually involves shrugging while sitting in a pile of horse feces and tossing my beret up in the air girlishly.

This is less feasible when it involves wooing. Because, let’s face it, being physical with the person you are dating, hope to be dating, or wish to continue dating and/or being married to is a big part of your life together. Just because I’m bad at being touchy doesn’t mean I don’t like it or recognize its importance. According to psychology professor Sonya Lyubomirsky, introducing more nonsexual touching and affection on a daily basis can keep your relationship functioning.

I think even the most touch-me-not folks among us will agree that when you’re feeling disconnected from a partner, something as simple as a hand on the small of your back can remind you of the charge you both have for each other.

The most successful relationships I’ve been in are the ones where we physically checked in with each other. And there’s a reason for that -- touching sustains our relationships. But, just like alcoholics acclimate to alcohol, and need more and more of it feel an effect, so it is with our love affairs -- we need more and more physical contact to sustain that feeling of “Damn I wish I Was Your Lover” style-romance.

The good news? This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have things shoved inside your holes at all times -- non-sexual touching totally counts.

Here are five non-sexual ways of touching the person whose potential absence makes you feel the most like falling to your knees and demanding answers from a god you heretofore did not believe in.

1.) Hand Holding.

Is your relationship running the very real risk of ending forever? Are you not OK with that? Why should you be?! CHANGE IS THE WORST. To prevent your partner from ever leaving you, show them you care by keeping their hand perpetually locked in your own vice-like grip. Cold weather making it a challenge to keep your entwined digits toasty? There’s a mitten for that.

2.) Head Slapping

My dad and one of my brothers have a hard time being all “I love you” to each other. So my dad, a fan of "NCIS," has taken to walking up behind him and whapping him upside the head while bellowing, “Gibbs!” If it worked for them -- it might work for you!

3.) Conga Dancing

You’re reading a book, he or she is walking past you to go to the bathroom, you know, more of the same on a Tuesday night. So let’s get weird up in here! Take this opportunity to grab their hips, and swing what Carmen Miranda gave you. What is more non-sexual than a Conga line for two, right?

4.) Putting Your Chin Directly Between Their Shoulder Blades

You know what is slightly more irritating than someone coming up to you when you are grumpy and wrapping their arms around you while asking in a sing-song voice, “Whatcha doing?” Doing all of this while also grinding their chin into the space in between your shoulder blades. If they’ve been thinking about leaving you, this will quickly change their thought process from, “What’s wrong with this relationship?” to, “Oh, my god, what is wrong with this person I let sleep in my bed?!”

5.) Find a Proxy

If you’ve made it to five, you’ve tried all of these tactics to no avail. If anything, your partner now makes sure to keep their back to the wall in your presence, inching along the room’s perimeter making sure they know where you are at all times. Don’t despair! You can use a proxy. While rubbing the dog’s ears, or fondling a table lamp, smile at them and say, “I’m pretending this is your boob.” Because, guys, that’s romance. That’s communication.

What ways of non-sexily checking in with your partner do you have? Do you like "NCIS"? Does anyone you know? You guys, when is it even on?