For demisexuals emotional intimacy is critically important in a relationship, especially if our partner expects physical intimacy.
Our standards are quite clear, we need an emotional connection before we’ll feel even an inkling of sexual attraction.
Physical intimacy is quite frequently an expected part of romantic relationships and demisexuals want this aspect of the relationship as much as anyone else. The difference, though, if we’re honest with ourselves and each other, physical intimacy is exponentially easier when we’re sexually attracted to the person.
This isn’t insurmountable, demisexuals are not condemned to a life void of sexual attraction and physical intimacy. It’s just necessary to build an emotional bond first.
How long does it take to build this bond
That honestly depends on the person, and the relationship. However if you would like to build an emotional bond, making time for actvities that will foster emotional intimacy is invaluable.
In my experience, emotional intimacy super charges that emotional connection we need in order to feel attraction. It feels good to love, care for and respect someone. It’s feels amazing to know they feel the same about you.
Perhaps the hardest part is that intimacy and connection of any kind require a person to allow themselves to be vulnerable. You have to put yourself out there and trust that while the other person could react poorly, they probably won’t.
Once you give yourself permission to be vulnerable whatever the consequences, you start to feel better, more confident, and more assertive. You begin to see that other person in a different. This, for demisexuals, could be the beginning of a budding sexual attraction.
Why is Emotional Intimacy Important for Demisexuals?
We know that love, romance and relationships have their own set of challenges. For demisexuals many of those challenges center around building an emotional connection strong enough to support sexual attraction.
The challenges and the disconnect between demisexuals and people who fall closer to allosexual on the spectrum can feel vast and insurmountable but there are some ways to bridge the gap and make sure everyone in the relationship gets what they need.
The truth is relationships take time and effort. They aren’t as easy and organic and romance novels, Mr. Disney and Hallmark Movies make it seem. Relationships are challenging, this is especially so when the people involved have differing needs and expectations with regards to physical and emotional intimacy.
Practical Ways to Build Emotional Intimacy in a Relationship
1. Hold Hands
As far as physical connections go holding hands is a great place to start. It takes a bit of trust, especially if you’re a demisexual who prefers not to be touched, but it can still be natural.
Hand holding lets you be a little bit vulnerable but shouldn’t be so much as to leave you feeling violated which is always a risk when we start working on getting close with somebody.
This is something you can do in public or in private. It’s a sweet non-invasive way to say, hey, I’m here and I care without actually using the words. By holding hands on the regular you’ll find you feel more connected, grounded and secure in your relationship.
So, grab their hand while you’re walking around the mall, sitting in the car, reading a book or watching tv. There is no right or wrong time to hold hands. It’s a physical act that runs relatively little risk of offending people.
There may come a time when holding hands comes naturally to you, it may come easier for some than others. But, for many demisexuals physical touch isn’t something they give or receive lightly. It’s a conscious effort, the result of a great deal of thought and deliberation, but it has the potential to be greatly rewarding.
2. Sleep Together (literally)
Let me get one thing clear, when I say sleep I literally mean sleep. This does not have to be sexual at all.
I know physical contact isn’t always comfortable or intuitive for some demisexuals and that’s ok. The good news is sleeping together doesn’t necessarily have to involve any touching.
The act of simply sleeping together – in the same room, at the same time – can be an oddly intimate, romantic and bonding experience.
Some ground rules, wear as few or as many clothes as you’re comfortable with. Physical contact can be as limited or intensive and you desire. You can spoon, hold hands, sleep on opposite sides of the beds, even on separate beds in the same room. There is no right or wrong way to do this.
This builds intimacy and emotional connection in the relationship because sleeping is a vulnerable time. But letting someone in, and likewise having someone let us in, creates a sense of security and closeness that is hard to replicate.
This is another time where I’m going to stress there doesn’t need to be anything sexual about this act. There will probably be nudity involved involved in this. The act and experience will be intimate, but it need not be sexual. With that said, it can be if you want.
The goal here is to build trust. Trust that your partner won’t pass judgement on your body and the insecurities you try to hide from everyone else, trust that the person you’re with will take care of you.
So get naked, help each other wash the stress of the day away, dry each other off. Take care of one another and watch the bond grow. Look into their eyes and know they’ve got you no matter what.
You’ll leave the shower knowing your partner has your back and that you can trust them to take respect and care for you.
4. Bake Cookies
Joint activities and common experiences are wonderful for building emotional bonds.
I suggest baking cookies because kitchens are general close quarters and high stress areas. By working together as a team you can whip up the perfect batch of cookies and enjoy them together.
This is also a wonderful time to get to know your partner better. You’ll find out if they’re detail focused or more of a big picture person. Do they clean as they go, or wait until everything is done?
You can also use this time to hold hands, casually touch each other, enjoy the close proximity necessitated by being in the kitchen together. You’ll be forced to work together or risk not having edible cookies.
Furthermore with a clear goal in mind, minimal eye contact and distractions a plenty, you might both find yourselves willing to talk about things you don’t usually discuss. Childhood memories of making cookies with grandma, the time you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar… While not top secret, sharing those stories will likely lead to feeling supported, protected and connected.
5. Actively Listen
I’ve worked with people for a number of years now and one thing that always strikes me is how little we actually listen.
Don’t get me wrong, by and large we are incredible talkers! Doesn’t it feel good to talk and know that someone is listening to you, that you’re being heard?
Give your partner a chance to express themselves. Ask probing questions, summarize and paraphrase to show you are not only interested in what they’re saying but that we’re actually listening and understanding.
Truly listening also has the benefit of helping us feel closer to the talker. We might get to know them in a way few others have before. Often when our relationships (friendly or romantic) in nature start to feel stuck it’s because we’ve forgotten to listen.
We all need a safe place to vent and share our frustrations. Relationships provide a readily available framework for this. Be a good listener, and watch your emotional bonds grow and flourish.
6. Have Fun and be Silly
I can’t stress enough how important shared experiences are in bonding and creating emotional intimacy.
The best part is that these experiences can be free and completely spontaneous. Have an impromptu photo shoot, go for a walk to the part and act like kids. Laugh, have fun, enjoy yourselves.
Play your favorite childhood games together. Build a blanket fort in your living room and spend the weekend hiding from the world and binge watching Game of Thrones.
The fun factor will make you want to spend more time together. It will also create a sort of safe place where you’re able to let your guard down.
Give yourself permission to laugh so hard your stomach hurts. The mutual trust required to let your guard down and pull back the vail of well adjusted adult can only serve to build a level of emotional intimacy many would love the chance to experience.
7.Seek their Advice
It’s a heady feeling when someone asks for our advice or opinions on pretty much any matter. Let your partner know how much you value their opinions and perspective by asking for their input on an upcoming decision or just get their advice on dealing with a diffiicult situation at work.
The more you trust your partner to help in your times of struggles the more you’ll feel connected to them.
Best of all, even if they don’t know the answer or don’t have valuable advice or insight to offer you’ll feel better simply for getting the words out and expressing the feelings that are troubling you.
8. Be Incredibly Honest
Here is your chance to be vulnerable and share your secrets and fears, your most unpopular opinions. This can be scary!
Giving yourself permission to be vulnerable with your partner, as difficult as it might be, gives you the opportunity to feel safe with and close to your partner.
Letting our partner or anyone else see the parts of ourselves that we’re ashamed of, the things we’d rather keep hidden is one of the most intimate things we can do with another person.
Not only does it reaffirm that we can indeed trust that person, but it lets them know how much we trust them and encourages them to do the same.
Spend some of your time together sharing your thoughts, talking without filtering yourself. You’ll find yourself feeling closer to your partner because of it.
9. Be Each Other’s Cheerleader
It feels amazing to know people believe in you and want you to succeed. Emotionally, it’s powerful to know that you have someone fighting in your court, someone to help you get through the difficult times.
While you will always encourage each other to live the life they most want and achieve all their dreams. You can also support each other with the more mundane things as well, going to the gym and eating well.
Knowing your partner will unconditionally support all your dreams and goals no matter what can only serve to reinforce your relationship and emotional bond.
Focusing on building emotional intimacy can be critical in developing the sexual attraction a demisexual needs to be in a physically intimate relationship.
When we’re focusing on emotional intimacy, it’s important to remember our boundaries and how to enforce them. Obviously, you’ll have to step outside of your comfort zone but it should never be unbearable.
Above all, you’re building emotional intimacy because you believe they’re someone worth building that connection with. Give yourself permission to be as vulnerable and intimate as you want to be.