March 4, 2015

Sometimes when couples are struggling with sexual intimacy all physical closeness might be avoided. There is a fear that touching could lead to more than what is wanted. Most couples have seasons when their sexual relationship is at best complicated and sometimes just avoided entirely.

I first heard the expression “non-sexual touch” at a FamilyLife Weekend Getaway marriage conference. The speakers, Neil and Sharol Josephson, explained that sometimes just saying “this is non-sexual touch” can relieve the fear that being affectionate may lead to sex, when one or both partners are not prepared for sexual intimacy.

Addressing the fear directly may remove pressure and provide a way to rebuilding physical closeness and re-establishing trust and warmth. Holding hands, sitting with your arm around your spouse, a light touch or back rub with no expectation of sexual intimacy are examples of non-sexual touch. Something as simple as being intentional with a kiss or a hug to say “hello” and “goodbye” can keep your physical relationship warm and inviting.

Action: Discuss the level of physical closeness “non-sexual touch” in your relationship. Are you satisfied with your level of physical closeness? Do you ever avoid physical touch because of the fear it might lead to an expectation of sexual intimacy?

Written by Mike Woodard

Mike Woodard

Mike is married to Karen, he is father of 4 and grandfather of 2. Backpacking is his favourite past time. Science and theology are his educational background, a biology degree from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in Christian Studies from Trinity Western Seminary. Mike is the Associate Director of FamilyLife Canada. For more of his story visit