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Intimacy is beautiful. Not only does it feel good — it’s also rare to come by these days. It’s important to know that intimacy is only intimacy when both parties feel that it is. Men tend to experience intimacy on shallower levels as they tend to be more closed off. That is, of course, until they open up and decide to be vulnerable with someone else.

In the end, intimacy is what makes people feel truly safe with each other – and this is especially true for women. While knowing that someone loves you is important – there are also ways to be intimate in addition to saying those precious 3 little words.

Here are 9 ways a man can be intimate without saying “I love you”:

#1 Make dinner

Rule number one, all men should know how to cook. You don’t need to be a Food Network, but you should be able to survive without having to order out.

Cooking for yourself is much healthier anyway – and cooking for your woman is just plain sexy and intimate all at the same time.

Just setting the table, lighting a few candles, maybe a little background music and a really great meal goes a long way.

#2 Go stargazing

There is something about stars – watching them is incredibly soothing. And having someone you love with you just makes the whole experience all the more intimate. There is something magical about it and yet you also feel more grounded – and have more understanding of how tiny we really are.

#3 Take a road trip with a vague destination

Hitting the road for a few hours alone with somewhat of a destination is totally awesome. You are about to make a memory together – you won’t be sharing it with anyone else. Everything from the car you take, the music you listen to, the food you eat and what you talk about – all of it is part of an incredible time you will be talking about years later.

#4 Make her feel at home – her home, not just yours

When she starts to feel at home because she has a key and places to keep her things, she starts to feel like this could really work out. It’s not just serving a functional role – but she sees that he’s willing to inconvenience himself in order to accommodate her needs.

#5 Making her feel protected

While there are plenty of women who are capable of protecting themselves, there are also plenty who are not. Regardless, any straight woman in the world desires a man who is willing to protect her if or when a moment presents itself. It’s one thing that she can handle herself, but she also expects you to fight for her. The moment she realizes her man has put himself harm’s way in order to protect her is the moment the true nature of love is revealed.

#6 Holding her even when she’s sick

Intimacy is not only about life’s most beautiful moments – it’s also about the messy ones. Things like night sweats, dry heaves, stuffy noses and less-than-perfect attitudes. Protecting your woman also includes making sure she overcomes an illness and regains her health. Once again, it’s about risking your own health, your own well-being, in order to help the woman you love. The same quality will also be true for your children – they will need the same fatherly protection. So why not start now?

#7 Forming close bonds with her parents

We don’t get to pick our families – some are better than others, but the truth is you got what you got so make the most of it! Creating traditions with family members is like saying, “I love you so much I want us to get to know each other’s families and spend time together.”

#8 Being fully present

Being fully present is more than just physically being the same space. Really listening also means that you are focused mentally and emotionally on her needs. Turning off the TV or the computer monitor while talking may help not distract you so you can be fully present. Women feel they can entrust you with matters of their heart because you will choose them over whatever task you are doing.

#9 Not expecting sex after every intimate occasion

Okay, so let’s say you just had an incredibly romantic evening – which probably involved one of the previous 8 things. Not expecting sex after each time is huge. Just being intimate demonstrates that you are really doing what you are doing just to please your partner – not always to get something in return. So go ahead, wow her and woo her without expectation and you will likely see more of an interest physically as well.