“We rush into situations and we think that sex is the only way to build a connection. Sex does not build love. Don't get me wrong, sex is great, but it's not a “real love maker." A lot of women feel that if they can give a man good sex that she'll get his 'good love in return.' No queen, that's not how love works. You're not going to get what you want by simply laying down and playing house with someone. Partnership is bred from communication, understanding, commitment, honesty, friendship, and trust. Those things build true love." – Alex Elle

For a very long time, I thought the only way to attain intimacy in my relationship with my partner was to be intimate in the physical sense of the word. Intimacy is a word that has a few definitions, and although sexual intercourse can be one of them, the closeness and familiarity it alludes to is not limited to bedroom acts.

I love sex, but once writer and author Alex Elle took me to church and brought that point about intimacy home for me, I became a different woman when it came to being intimate with my partners. The girl who for so long felt like physicality was the only way to show my love had to grow into a woman who understood there's more to this thing than doo wop that thing.

But how does one establish and build intimacy when sex was all they knew?

Here are some simple yet effective ways to express love in your relationships without being physical:

Take a Long Walk

Sometimes, life hits you at full force and communication and quality time with your partner can easily become one of those things that see the backburner more often than not. A walk is a perfect cost-effective way to experience something together, catching up on one another's days, and enjoying the scenery along the way. It can be a perfect once a week check-in for couples on the go. Take things a step further by unplugging from your phones and social media throughout the duration of the walk. Challenge yourselves to be fully in the moment with your partner and see how connected you feel.

Kiss the Cook

Turn a chore or a mundane weeknight routine into an opportunity to spend time together one on one. Go through all of the steps of choosing a meal you'd like to share together, shopping for ingredients for the recipe, and then finally getting into the kitchen, taking turns with who tackles which component over a glass of wine. Cooking together is one of my favorite ways to connect and is incredibly underrated. When you take the time to bond like that, closeness is sure to follow.

It Takes Two to Make the Thing Go Right

Closeness builds intimacy and shared experiences help to further strengthen that. The hobby that you and your partner choose can be as simple as binge-watching a new favorite show together on Netflix or a little more complex and adventurous like ziplining, traveling, or taking a class in attempt to learn something new together. At least once a week, you and bae can partake in some bonding time together, sharing an experience mutual and exclusive to the two of you.

We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off

I think by far one of my favorite ways to build intimacy with my partner is in the bedroom and no, that doesn't necessarily mean sex. We lay in bed together, sometimes making our way to a cuddle position, but other times, indulging in silence as we sleep or look into each other's eyes and talk. Showing one another our current favorite songs is also on the agenda. It's beautiful to me because it's effortless. We just care about one another's presence in those moments. So laying together and forgetting the world can be yet another simple way to reinforce relationship intimacy.

What are some of your favorite ways to build intimacy with your love?

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