*Editor’s note:  Everyone has choices when it comes to their physical relationships and abstinence is one of those choices.  Today we have an article from guest writer Lisa Doerksen, sharing a few ideas for those who couples who do not choose to enter a sexual relationship.

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The pressure to have sex is huge these days, but it’s not necessary to enjoy a fulfilling, intimate relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend.  And while a choice of abstinence does require a commitment from both partners, it doesn’t mean kissing goodbye a great connection with the one you care about.  Here are five simple ways you can build intimacy with your partner while maintaining an abstinent relationship:

  1. Hold hands.  Holding hands offers the thrill of touch without risking doing something you may regret.  Going for a walk while holding hands offers a great opportunity to  connect with your partner and makes for a fantastically inexpensive date night!
  2. Cuddle.  Again, this option allows for physical connection without getting too physical.  an arm over the shoulders, a head resting on the chest, arms around each other’s waists all build a sense of connection with each other.  a quiet movie night cuddled up on the couch can be a great way to feel close to your partner.
  3. Be silly.  Laughing together is a wonderful way to feel close.  Whether you see a comedian or comedic movie and laugh together about the parts you both found funny, hit a photo booth and make silly faces or dig out the selfie stick for a little random fun, laughing together builds connection.
  4. Respect each other.  If you feel respected by your partner, you feel safe in the relationship.  Feeling safe is essential to building intimacy.  Be sure you know each other’s limits, likes and dislikes and RESPECT that.  It’s so much easier to feel close to someone you know your heart is safe with.
  5. Talk.  Talking may be the most important way to build intimacy with your partner.  Share your dreams and bucket lists with each other.  Tell your partner something about yourself that few people know, and let them share something with you.  The more you get to know each other, the closer your connection becomes.

These few simple ways will help build intimacy with your partner without the risk of regret. Take some time to explore each of these options.  You might just find the connection of your hearts and souls even better than the connection of your bodies.