Our culture, more or less, predisposes us to think of ourselves as sexual creatures. From the movies we imbibe to the books we devour, our unending fascination with and interest in all things sexual has been well documented throughout ages of human civilizations. A book was even written on the topic of love languages, which includes physical touch. Knowing your spouse’s love language as well as your own, can be incredibly helpful.

Sex vs Physical touch: which matters more?

In romantic relationships, sex is an essential part of the dynamic. More than the sex, though, touch can be a much more important element in the relationship. Here’s why:

  1. It’s a form of communication

One of the many things more important than sex in a relationship is communication, Elite Daily says. Physical touch is a form of that. You can convey a lot in the tenderness of a touch. And the lack of one can signify deeper issues in a relationship. If you think yours revolves around sex more than it does around equal, fair and honest communication, then it might be time to talk things through with your partner and determine the level of commitment you both have to each other and the relationship. If you find it hard to articulate your thoughts or worry that you might not give voice to your emotions in a way that your partner will take seriously, then seeking out professional assistance can help. Look for an Allen-based therapist and ask for guidance in processing your emotions and marshaling your thoughts, arguments or points that you want to raise in a discussion with your romantic partner.

2. It’s not always sexual

A huge and important part of being lovers is being friends as well. Beyond the infatuation that happens during those first few months, beyond the belief that everything can be perfect, that there’s something fated about the way you two are drawn to each other—something raw and elemental—beyond all those things, there are parts of your days wherein sex doesn’t enter into the equation. When you look at each other and you see him tired, exhausted, see him overwhelmed with work and deadlines, and you reach out—a slight tap on the shoulder, a quick caress down the back, a hug from behind—there is absolutely a wealth of messages and emotions you can convey in a momentary gesture. And that can be more powerful, that can mean something more than a round or two of sex.

3. It’s a conversation

There are days when each of you will come home to the silence. And you’ll find yourself talking, just to try and fill in the air with sounds. But every word you toss out will feel like a conversational crowbar. When that happens, when your partner doesn’t want to talk and you hear instead the music turning on, the typing on the keys and him shifting in his chair, what else is there to say? What can do you but reach out, keep the contact brief and try to have your conversation with those sounds? When words seem too much, touch can bridge the gap. Touch can easily offer comfort when words can’t. It can be the best way to open up that conversation. It can be the best way to say, “I know you’re having a bad day. I’m here.”

4. Sex is easy, intimacy isn’t

A great sex life is all you need, said no couple ever. That’s why it’s often entertaining when you think about the sheer time and effort people spend thinking about sex, on doing it or wanting to do it. It’s surprising to realize that while sex is essential, it’s not what intimacy is all about. A successful marriage is often built on many things and one of those things is respect. A simple, comforting touch can easily express that thought, says the Huffington Post. That moment when you hold your lover in your arms after a long day, when you cuddle or give in to the urge to run your hand over her back before turning the pages of the book on your lap, that’s intimacy. The effect of a single, comforting touch—rendered in the moment you need it the most—can have the potential to reverberate throughout the rest of your life.

If you want to improve communication in your relationship but find yourself reluctant to rock the boat, then consult an Allen family counselor for help. Sex is supposed to be fun and enjoyable as much as it helps you both connect to each other. But it’s not the only way to build a relationship. With help from a counseling professional, you can find ways to nurture and grow your relationship beyond the sexual and physical side of things.