Most people use the phrase “physical intimacy” and “sexual intimacy” interchangeably, and yet these two intimacies are very different. Knowing what physical intimacy is and how it impacts other areas of your marriage is crucial if you want to experience a healthy, lasting, and extraordinary marriage.

Do you remember how often you and your spouse touched in the early days of your relationship? Whether hugging, kissing, cuddling, or just being side by side, the physical connection was special.

Over time, physical intimacy is often one of the first areas where couples experience disconnection. Because of kids, stress, different schedules, and more, you share fewer loving touches and fall into roommate syndrome.

Touch is a simple yet powerful way to communicate your love. Don’t let common challenges hold you back from experiencing deep physical connection. Discover what you can do to protect your marriage and strengthen your Physical Intimacy Pillar.

What is Physical Intimacy?

Physical intimacy is the closeness and connection created through loving touch. It could include holding hands, kisses, cuddles, back massages, foot rubs, or any other non-sexual touch that you and your spouse enjoy. Physical intimacy is one of The 6 Pillars of Intimacy®, alongside emotional, financial, spiritual, recreational, and sexual intimacy. 

The primary difference between physical and sexual intimacy is that you can have physical intimacy without sexual intimacy. However, it’s virtually impossible to have sexual intimacy with your spouse without some aspect of physical intimacy.

Physical touch conveys security and belonging. It brings a sense of peace. Simple touches can signify to your spouse that they have your full attention and are important to you. As a result, you feel close and connected—in other words, intimate!

But physical intimacy is essential not only for your marriage but also for your health. Loving touch reduces cortisol, the stress hormone, and increases oxytocin, the love hormone. Additionally, physical touch from your spouse can lead to increased satisfaction in both your relationship and your life.

Common Physical Intimacy Challenges

First, many couples assume that physical intimacy and sexual intimacy are the same. As a result, they can grow physically disconnected despite sharing sexual touch. It is essential to share loving, non-sexual touch on a consistent basis.

Second, some couples struggle to discuss how, where, and when they like to be touched. Conversations like these require a strong foundation of emotional intimacy. With honesty and vulnerability, you can express expectations. This helps minimize frustration, resentment, and guessing what each other likes.

Third, there are many spouses who believe they are simply not “touchy-feely.” The truth is that everyone’s body was designed to touch and be touched; it has been a necessary component of life since the moment you were born. Your innate desire to connect with your spouse motivates you to be intimate in all of The 6 Pillars of Intimacy®, including your physical intimacy.

3 Steps to Building a Strong Pillar of Physical Intimacy

Loving, non-sexual touch plays an important role in providing strength and beauty to your marriage. Here are three steps to help you overcome common challenges and create a stronger marriage.

1. Discover your physical intimacy preferences.

Ask yourself, “When, where, and how do I like to be touched?”

Maybe hugs aren’t really your thing, but you like it when your spouse holds onto you in public. You might like passionate kisses or wish you could debrief about the day while cuddling together. Are you “touched out” by the end of the day? If so, you can plan to connect physically in the morning.

You don’t need to be touchy-feely or be all over your spouse 24/7 to have strong physical intimacy. Instead, figure out what works for the two of you.

2. Identify cracks in this pillar.

Cracks in the Physical Intimacy Pillar can develop for many reasons. Consider the following signs that this pillar has a crack:

  • Your kisses have gone from heart-racing make-out sessions to barely a peck on the cheek.
  • You feel like you have to beg your spouse to touch you.
  • Where you once used to cuddle up on the couch to watch a movie, you now find yourselves on opposite ends or on entirely separate couches.
  • Instead of holding hands or wrapping your arms around one another, you walk side-by-side and don’t touch at all.
  • You don’t know how your spouse likes to be touched.

All of The 6 Pillars of Intimacy® are interconnected, meaning that cracks in other pillars can lead to disconnection in your Physical Intimacy Pillar.

For example, it might feel weird (or even impossible) to reach out and touch your spouse if you’re stuck in a dysfunctional conflict cycle or experiencing a sexless marriage. Before you can strengthen your physical intimacy, you will have to address the deeper problem.

3. Be intentional with touch. 

Once you have identified a crack in your physical intimacy, you need to take action. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it will take a little effort.

Here are some ideas to help you strengthen this pillar:

  • Create a list of the touches that your spouse likes so you know what to do.
  • Set an alarm on your phone reminding you to touch them at various times.
  • Schedule time to hold each other for five or ten minutes.

It may take some practice before these loving touches become a habit. But it’s a habit worth building. And if you’re not touchy-feely, you will have to become intentional about touching your spouse and being receptive to their touches.

Take Your Next Step

A lack of physical intimacy can signify deep disconnection between you and your spouse. Things might look fine on the outside, but in reality, there’s tension between the two of you. It might feel uncomfortable to touch each other because it’s been so long. 

It takes time and work to repair cracks in your 6 Pillars of Intimacy®, and you may need the help of a counselor or marriage coach to improve your marriage. Click here to see if marriage coaching is right for you.

Watch the video below to rekindle the spark and restore the connection in your marriage today!

In the 6 Pillars of Intimacy®, you will discover secrets that have transformed countless marriages. Its ideas are simple, practical, and powerful. You’ll be inspired to look at your marriage through a new lens and be encouraged by its commonsense approach.

Alisa and Tony DiLorenzo's proven approach to building intimacy in marriage will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your spouse – starting today. Click HERE to get your copy today!

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