Last year, when health officials recommended limiting or ceasing hugs, handshakes, and other physical displays of affection in order to limit the spread of the virus, many of us had to learn other ways to stay close to our loved ones. As the pandemic winds down and life starts returning to normal, it seems like a good time to reflect on intimacy—physical and emotional—and how we like to display affection and draw close to one another.

Intimacy in relationships is defined as a feeling of closeness—emotionally, physically, and sometimes even spiritually. This week at Verily, we’re looking at the various ways we cultivate intimacy and exploring times when we might experience intimate acts—like kissing and sex—that are void of emotional closeness.

In our Dating Unscripted column, a writer discusses kissing and how a flawed understanding about this intimate act has impacted her experience of it. Another article shares personal experiences from married women about the things they wish they knew about sex and what they’ve learned about intimacy in their marriages. Finally, an article about hospitality reminds us that intimacy isn’t limited to physical displays of affection—closeness in relationships can develop from simple acts like inviting a friend into your home.

We want to hear from you, too. How do you like to build the feeling of closeness in your relationships (friendships, romantic, or familial relationships)? Tell us here.