Husbands: Did you know that one of the things that adds up to great sex for your wife is actually not sexual at all? Stay with us here. It’s actually something most women need and desire: Physical touch that doesn’t lead to sex. They need to feel secure that every physical expression from their husbands make isn’t with the expectation of moving toward intercourse. We surveyed 700 couples across the country for our book, The 5 Sex Needs of Men and Women, and more than 59-percent of women ranked nonsexual touch as a top sex need.

Guys, you may be thinking, “Wait a minute. Is there such a thing as nonsexual touch? Isn’t most touch between a husband and wife supposed to lead to sex?” The answers are yes and no. Simply put, nonsexual touch, or affection, is intimacy in and of itself. It’s not the means to an end. In many situations it is the end.

“Touch me. Don’t touch me.” Have you ever had that experience with your wife? One minute she wants to be touched; the next minute she doesn’t. No wonder men are confused! But men need to understand what kind of touch works well for a woman. More than 80-percent of a woman’s need for meaningful touch is nonsexual. Most psychologists will tell you a vast majority of women appreciate a hug, a touch, a kiss, holding hands – any physical sign that they are special.  

First, let’s differentiate between nonsexual touch and foreplay touch.

  • Nonsexual touch is loving affection. It may have the tone of sexual arousal “around” it, but the goal of nonsexual touch is not intercourse.
  • Foreplay touch, on the other hand, leads to sexual intimacy for a couple.

The problem is, to many men, touch is touch is touch. It all feels the same. But that’s not the case for his wife.

Guys, stay with us here. We know it may be difficult for you to understand how intimate touch can stay platonic. You start rubbing her shoulders, and you become aroused and think you’ve entered the sexual intimacy zone. She thinks she’s just getting an affectionate shoulder rub. And when you start to make your move, she resists and pulls back. What happened?

Many men have felt “out on the sofa” relationally, when they long to be “in bed” with their wives. When men go from nonsexual touch to trying to score – they won’t. It’s that simple. Some men keep trying this pursuit, keep failing, and keep shaking their heads in bewilderment.

The reality is that when you meet your wife’s needs for affection, you refresh her weary spirit and help her relax. You give to her, which begins to replenish her energy. When you touch her without expectation that you will end up between the sheets, she will feel much more secure with you and much more open to sexual activity later on.

But when you offer her touch that you think will move into the sexual intimacy zone, you could drain her spirit and push her over the edge. Why? Because if your wife is like most women, she spends her day meeting other people’s needs – giving, giving, giving. She gets tired and drained. When her husband comes home and moves right into the “take” mode, she doesn’t have anything to give. She’s empty. And that means sex isn’t going to happen for a long time. Your wife needs you to be a safe and non-threatening place for her. Nonsexual touch refuels her energy and creates that place of safety. Yes, she really does want to meet your sexual needs, but she needs time to refuel. You can help her do that through tender affection with no strings attached.  

Your wife needs your closeness, your nonsexual approach that communicates genuine caring. Here are six ways to show her you love her: