12 Stages of Physical Intimacy

With all our busy-ness, I am often asked by women, how can I get into the mood for sexual intimacy? For that matter, I am often asked by men, how can I get a woman in the mood for sexual intimacy?

It’s no secret that when women are in their “do, do, do” mode, running around checking things off their “to-do” list, they are in their masculine mode. Doing activities, setting and reaching goals, happen to increase testosterone levels in a woman’s body, and then we wonder why women are not open to sexual intimacy after a long day of Doing. In order to be OPEN, women need to be in their feminine mode rather than in their masculine mode – the feminine is the RECEPTIVE.

This is why women tend to need physical foreplay more than men do to help get them in the mood. I thought it would be helpful to post these “12 Stages of Physical Intimacy” that I actually found on author Jenny Hansen’s blog, teaching authors how to write better sex scenes in their romance novels!

These happen to be the stages we move through when we are young and just beginning to discover our sexuality.

Single people who are dating can use these stages as a guideline for how quickly – or slowly! – to move to greater physical intimacy with each other, and take things at their own pace.

Couples can use these stages to sprinkle them throughout the day or evening out with each other, leading to an eventual hot night later!

Based on the work of Desmond Morris, Intimate Behavior: A Zoologist’s Classic Study of Human Intimacy, I present here the 12 Stages of Physical Intimacy:

1. Eye to body – the first registering of an “overall impression” of the other. A man will not approach a woman without this step.

2. Eye to eye – the first step of active interaction, along with all its vulnerability or tension.

3. Voice to voice – once you have met, you start to speak to each other.

4. Hand to hand (or arm) – a touch of the hand or arm is breaking the first boundary of physical intimacy.

5. Arm to shoulder – when one puts their arm around the other’s shoulder, it is a gateway to more intimacy. You are within range to smell, to kiss…

6. Arm to waist or back – a warm hand against the small of the back is an indication that one is allowed to be touched right above their bottom by the other!

7. Mouth to mouth – a kiss takes us to an entirely new level of intimacy. Depending on how the kiss progresses, several more intimacy levels may be skipped!

8. Hand to head – caressing the other’s face, stroking their hair, especially while kissing!

9. Hand to body – this again moves us into an entirely new level of physical intimacy, moving towards the ultimate lovemaking act.

10. Mouth to breast – this is intimate skin-to-skin contact, where a woman starts secreting the bonding hormone oxytocin. It is difficult to go back once we get to this point!

11. Hand to genitals – again moving to a new level of physical intimacy. The author skipped over “mouth to genitals” – I would insert that here (no pun intended!).

12. Genitals to genitals – the ultimate sex act, complete union in physical intimacy.

I love itemizing these stages, because there is SO much we can do in the first 9 stages to bring us closer physically without getting “hot and heavy” right away. A little imagination and creativity with these stages can create much playful satisfaction, inspiring a woman to be more open and receptive at the pace that is particularly right for her.

Was this helpful?  Leave a comment below to let me know what you think!

2 thoughts on “12 Stages of Physical Intimacy”

  1. Nijole:

    Stage 3 needs to be expanded, but I do not know the correct term to use. The term would be a single word that expressed non-touch communication (sharing of ideas and feelings). Examples are: speech, American Sign Language, writing (penmanship and key board), physical Sign Language (opening arms as an invitation for a hug, pointing to an open mouth (I am hungry), actions used by a pre-talking toddler to communicate.

    There is also missing granting permission to be touched beyond a hand shake. This can vary with time and circumstances. A newly married friend was no longer receptive to being greeted with a hug (our standard greeting for years).

    1. Thank you for your suggestion! The original researcher of these 12 stages did not include non-touch communication – perhaps because he was focused on the stages of Physical Intimacy rather than non-physical? Although I agree that body language (including sign language) is part of communication. Perhaps it falls under Stage 1 – Eye to Body. I’m not sure that the pre-toddler communication is a good analogy for the stages of physical intimacy between adults that eventually lead to sexual union.
      Re: the granting of permission to be touched, that’s a great point which I included in my newsletter, and touched on in this article twice – at the beginning and at the end, alluding to everyone proceeding along this scale at the pace that is comfortable for them! ;->. I assume that since we’re all mutually consenting adults, we understand that boundaries need to be respected. But thank you for the clarification!

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