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Intimate and sexual are two very different things, but we treat them as the same so often that we use one to mean the other. When someone is called an "intimate partner" or we hear the phrase "getting intimate" we understand that to mean sex.

Words become ideas, and ideas become reality - treating sex and intimacy the same leaves you with a whole lot of people who cannot be intimate without being sexual. Some of you reading this right now aren't really sure what non-sexual intimacy even looks like.


So let's talk about it.

One Reddit user asked:

What is the most intimate (non-sexual) experience you've ever had and will never leave you?

We made it about 4 responses in before we got all misty-eyed and we've been in our feels ever since. Some of these examples are beautiful, some are heartwrenching - some are a potent mix of both.

Grab some comfort carbs or a stuffie, we're going in.

Bears Cry Too

sad panda GIF Giphy

Four months after my mother died, I was out shopping for groceries. I helped a middle aged woman with getting something from a high shelf and thought nothing of it.

Later that day, I intervened and stopped the same woman from getting mugged.

She then looked at me and said the one thing my mother always told me when she was happy. "Thank ya baby, you're a life saver."

I promptly broke into a sobbing mess, letting out the pent up emotions that I had for the past four months. She just hugged me and let this giant ass teddy bear cry on her shoulder for an hour.

After that I never saw her again due to me moving across the country.

- BearWithABeer90

Shoulder Time

Back in 11th grade, this girl I used to sit on the bus with would occasionally hold my arm and rest her head on my shoulder.

When it first happened, I didn't understand. To this day, I still don't understand.

We weren't dating or anything. We've never talked or interacted that way otherwise. Honestly, the amount of distance she put between me felt pretty random at times.

Either way, she'd just... occasionally hog my arm on bus rides home.

I never said anything. I just accepted it and looked out of the window like usual. Gently let her know when the bus got to the stop.

It was a nice, warm feeling.

- rapidspinningturtle

A Cat And A Cry

When my mom died, I'd gone to visit her partner while we arranged the funeral.

I ended up getting locked out of their apartment. While waiting in the hall for her partner to get home, a stray cat wandering the building came up to me for scratches.

This was an old-ass cat, looking a bit scraggly, but affectionate all the same, AND VOCAL!

I just snuggled it close and had a good cry...like the cat knew I needed it in my life at that moment...and I did...

- 0xD153A53

6 Weeks Early

My daughter came into this world 6 weeks early. Small town USA hospital only had a hood for breathing and she needed 24 hour NICU.

Less than 8 hours after the C-section, they took her to a town 20 miles away while I had to stay for observation. For 4 days I was separated from her, getting updates via family and drs.

When I could finally get out, I walked into the NICU and she was crying while a lovely nurse held her. I spoke to her and she immediately looked toward my voice and stopped crying. I started crying.

This will never leave me.

- AllGood24

Runaways

Me and my sister ran away when we were 17.

On our second week on the road we stopped at this field where there was nothing but grass and trees as far as the eye can see. We got out of the car and sat on the ground in front of it.

For the first time since we had ran away I started to cry. I cried and screamed and trust me this was not pretty, this lasted for hours and the whole time my sister just held me.

I didn't cry out of regret or because I was homesick. I cried because it had to come to this - that this is what we had to resort to just so we could live a happy life.

When I finally stopped crying all she said to me was "Forever and always, we got each other." I'll take that moment with me to the grave.

- Dovakhin1906

Human Bodily Needs

Went on a major hike I was NOT prepared for. No jacket, no light, barely any food or water for 3000'+ altitude change and ~10 miles on a winter afternoon.

By the time we were near the top, it was dark. The peak was snowy and icy. We were exhausted, frigid, and had no idea how we'd survive the trip back down.

We had passed a group of students on our way up, and they thankfully decided to wait for us and rescue us. I was still walking, but so cold and tired I couldn't think or say much.

A girl came and put her extra jacket on me, pulling it on over my head, zipping it up to my chin, and putting the hood up. A boy passed me his extra gloves, and she slid my hands into them. She unwrapped food, closed my hand over it and guided it to my mouth. She held her water bottle to my lips.

It was the first time I'd had this full acknowledgement of all my bodily human needs if that makes sense. I felt extremely human, cared for and non-judged.

- hire-power

Did I Snore?

Sleep Reaction GIF Giphy

I was once on a connecting flight out of Chicago; I had come from Spain and was on my way home to California. I was on an MD80 (skinny, tight seats) and in a three-seat row between a very large Samoan woman and a very very large Chicago guy.

The two of them talked about food the entire flight, with the Chicago guy talking about bratwurst cooked in beer ("Ya come fer da brots, but ya stays fer da onions, ya know?") and her talking about Pisupo ("It's easy! Corned beef, eggs and rice—maybe little soy sauce.").

I tried to be polite and smile and be alert but my head was pounding, I was still a little drunk from the free wine on Iberia Airlines, I hadn't slept in days and I just nodded off. Woke up around an hour or so into the flight and found I had been fast asleep on this Samoan lady's very ample bosom.


I lifted my head and started to apologize but she pulled my arm under her and pulled my head back down into her neck and shoulder and said "Nonsense. C'mon sleep. I got you." Total darkness, all warmth and I could hear her breathe. It was like being in my mom's arms as a toddler.

She held me while I slept until we reached LAX. I'm just glad I didn't drool on her.

When I woke I asked "Did I snore?" She said "Did you snore?!?! Oh my god did he snore?!?!"

And everyone within three rows started cracking up. Everyone was so understanding of this weary traveler and she was so sweet, I'll never forget her.

- Shah357

Helping Mom Let Go 

Hugging my mom as she died in my arms.

It's been 5 years and she was in the hospital for a stroke, so it was not entirely unexpected. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

The last thing she heard was my voice telling her how much she was loved, the last thing she felt was me hugging her. I'd be a liar if I said I'm the same person I was before that.

No way in hell was it not going to happen as long as I could help it. It still hits out of nowhere sometimes, but it passes.

- tedlyb

I Knew I Mattered

Preface: Girl and I no longer with one another. Was in a very depressed low point of my life. I'm ok now. 👍

Was seeing a girl, a very kind and special one to my heart. I've been kind of deprived of affection before her.

One day after work, I came home and told her I quit smoking. That I didn't want to tell anyone because it has to be a personal battle I needed to win, but I told her anyway.

Her eyes got big, she smiled wildly, rushed over and planted a kiss on my lips. The kind that tells you it really means something. That it's real.

Her arms wrapped around me and she laughed at me because I had began to tear up I was so happy my self.

That feeling and that memory will never leave me until the day I die. That's when I knew I mattered to people.

- SuperVegetable

It Made Her Hate Me More

Getting into a sleeping bag with a very hypothermic girl who I didn't like very much (and the feeling was mutual) to try and bring her body temp up. Then having her cling to me like her life depended on it.

We were in a group of people out for a hike and we got caught in some bad weather. And no, it didn't make us like each other any better. If anything, I think it being me who was saving her life made her hate me more.

I haven't seen or spoken to her since a few months after this happened and it was over 20 years ago. So I'm going to say our friendship never really blossomed.

- ChemicalEmergency75



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