3 Ways to be Intimate Without Being Physical

3 Ways to be Intimate Without Being Physical

Intimacy inside of the bedroom is important. When most people come to see me about relationship problems, it’s because they have not mastered ways to be intimate without being physical. I want to share three tips that I give most people in couples counseling or if they come alone and have relationship problems. Don’t forget; you can go alone if your significant other doesn’t want to participate.

I’m sharing three essential tips that work hand in hand with increasing sexual intimacy. If you can nail ways to be intimate without being physical, it gives a great launching pad to a good sex life.

Tip 1. Watching the patterns to see where you can break them.

One thing that I find surprising when people come in to talk about their relationship problems is that they have some trouble getting stuck in the facts of who is right and wrong, the proof, and all the details. The first thing I do is encourage people to step up and out and look at the dynamics going on because you can get a lot of information by doing that.

When I encourage people to do that, what I’m looking for is patterns. If there is a pattern going on, you need to disrupt part of the pattern (your part), and the whole pattern changes. Typically, if you look at an argument and you examine many of your arguments, you’ll find the same pattern.


I had a patient who was very frustrated at the pattern happening in his relationship. When he would talk about something difficult, his wife would shut down. She would stop talking or give in. She would agree with him, agree to do things his way, and he took that at face value. But then, she would talk under her breath, and he would get distraught. He would ask his wife what she said, and she would respond by saying, “nothing.” So this turned into an argument of whether she said something or not.

His question to me was, “how do I stop her from doing that? I’ve asked, I’ve begged. I’ve demanded she won’t change.” Shockingly, people don’t change because we want them to. What I did was, encourage him to change.

We started back to the beginning of the pattern. Which is where he said, “what did you say?” I advised him to simply stop saying that. It’s all in his power; it’s a simple thing to do. So when they ended with the agreement, and she said something under her breath, he didn’t say anything. He just went on about his business, and guess what? She had two options; she could come back and repeat it or drop it. So that alone changed a destructive pattern in their relationship. This is the type of thing I am encouraging you to look at in your relationship.

Sometimes people journal, I would say to journal with a purpose, not just write things down. Journal your arguments. After a month or so, go back and see if you find the pattern and where you alone can disrupt the pattern. 

Tip 2. The post-mortem discussion.

In medicine, we gather with fellow physicians and talk about what went wrong with a patient, surgery, etc. It’s a non-threatening collaborative approach to look back at something that may not have gone well or could have gone better. 

So many people don’t want to go back to those “bad discussions.” I understand that it’s hard to go back. I can’t think of one example where someone got the courage to go back and talk about something that went wrong and hasn’t had it come out better. The same way that you have been thinking about how the conversation could have gone better so is your significant other. Bring it up again, in a calm environment, and this is a way to get it all resolved- all of the feelings that came up afterward and whatever got you stirred up beforehand.

Typically, I give the template of saying something along the lines of, “Hey, that discussion didn’t go well, and I feel bad about it. Here’s what I think I did that contributed to that going wrong, so can we please try again?” “I’d like to say it this way, this time. And I’m interested in your viewpoint.” Go back to the postmortem. Otherwise, these blow-ups keep getting buried. We always talk about emotions getting buried and then blowing up. Blow-ups being buried can also blow up in time.

Tip 3. The preemptive strike.

The preemptive strike is a strategy that is so underutilized in relationships. In fact, when I recommend it, it seems like a foreign language to people. 

The preemptive strike is if you are having trouble with approaching a topic because you think your significant other is going to go crazy over it (which often doesn’t happen) or if you have anxiety over it, start with the anxiety. You don’t have to jump right into the discussion if you have anxiety over it. You can say, “look, I have to discuss something with you because it’s important to me, but I have this anxiety that it’s not going to go over well with you. I don’t want to argue.”

There is a much better chance that your significant other is going to be prepared if you confess the feeling of anxiety beforehand. They may be upset, but because you said you are concerned or anxious about it, they’ll probably display it better. 

There’s nothing wrong with revealing the pre-discussion, and there is nothing wrong with talking about your feelings about the upcoming discussion if you have them. 

Recap of the three ways to be intimate without being physical-

  1. Pay attention to the patterns to see where you can break them.
  2. Postmortem discussion.
  3. Pre-emptive strike.

These are the three things you can try in your relationship now this weekend! To see if you can change your relationship for the better and learn ways to be intimate without being physical, which will lead to a greater sex life!

Let me know how it goes! (757)340-8800.

For more topics, go to www.drldabney.com


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