Relationship Advice

Just The Tips: Time For Intimacy

When's the right time to take the next step? Read this article to find out!

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Welcome back to Just the Tips, where college experts Angie and Cass answer your questions about love, relationships, and more. This week, we were asked about intimacy and sex, and we have answers for you!

1. What is a good way to show intimacy without sex?

Angie: Non-sexual intimacy, to me, starts when it's just you and your partner. But there are tons of types of intimacy — cuddling has an entirely different vibe to, say, crying. I think to have an intimate moment, you have to trust your partner completely, and enjoy being close to them. That's why cuddling is my go-to — it's a lovely way to be physically close and enjoy your partner's presence and body in a way that isn't sexual. A different way to show intimacy is to open up to your partner about something that you may not reveal to others. Sharing insecurities, worries, and other things that are tough to talk about can be extremely intimate, and it's a great way to show your partner that you trust them. Plus, when you're done, your partner will know a little more about you (or you about them) and that will often bring you even closer.

Cass: Intimacy is defined as closeness to another person, familiarity if you will. By that definition, intimacy is not about just sex and it shouldn't be. You can show intimacy through a variety of ways. Like Angie mentioned, cuddling is a good way to show physical intimacy without sex. Personally, I find the most intimate moments when I'm talking with someone about things they've been thinking about and just having that space as a way for them to process and work through what they're thinking about. Also just sharing a space with someone, sitting quietly and doing your own thing, can be intimate if you're enjoying your time with the other person. That also adds a new level to the relationship because it shows you can enjoy each other's time without necessarily needing to interact with each other, you can just exist together and be okay with that simplicity.

2. When, in your opinion, is it a good time to have sex in a relationship?

A: The easiest answer is when you're ready. But how do you know when you and your partner are on the same page? As always, communication is key to have a healthy relationship, so you have to find a way to make sure your partner is comfortable with the same activities as you. One way to figure out where they're at is to have a simple conversation: you can ask about their sexual history to find out if they move fast or slow (and this is a great way to make sure you're having safe sex — your partner's sexual history is important for your own sexual health!), and get an idea about pacing from there. You can also just straight up ask them if sex is something they're interested in doing. Or, if you find yourself in a particularly steamy moment, ask if it's okay to go a step further, and act on your partner's response.

The most important thing is to make sure you're both ready. If either of you seems unsure or hesitates, stop the encounter and either wait until you're sure or have a conversation about what you and your partner are comfortable with.

C: Once you talk to your partner! For some people, the idea of sex isn't the most present thing on their mind in a relationship, but that doesn't mean that it's something they are opposed to. Some people just really don't think about it, so your partner might not mention it unless they think you are also ready to have sex. You also need to feel comfortable with the idea of having sex and making sure you're doing it for yourself rather than for someone else. Also, you don't have to go all in all at once, you can test different boundaries and get comfortable with a person before doing the deed. Basically, just get consent from all parties and make sure that you're actually enjoying yourself.

Do you have a burning question about your relationship? Are you looking for advice for yourself or a friend? We're always taking questions — follow this link to tell us what you want to hear about next!

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13 Movies Every Couple Needs To Watch Before They Get Married

Let's be honest, Rachel McAdams is in all the best love stories.

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These 13 movies are the foundation of any long-lasting relationship, and I'm not joking. Each movie will show you something new about your partner, and make you ask each other the hard questions. How many kids do you want and how are you going to raise them? What would happen if you got into a horrible accident? Some are less serious though, like what if you could time travel?

I promise that not every one of these movies is a Nicholas Sparks classic, and I also promise that not every movie has Rachel McAdams in it!

1. "The Time Traveler's Wife"

This movie is both heartbreaking and amazing.

2. "About Time"

Let's be honest, Rachel McAdams is in all the best love stories. It's on Netflix right now, so grab some snacks and turn it on!

3. "Like Crazy"

This infamous Tumblr gif came from "Like Crazy." It's about a couple who goes long distance and build their life together. I used to cry every time I watched it, and I'm no crier! It also has the (now famous) Felicity Jones in it.

4. "The Notebook"

Every girl wants this kind of love.

5. "The Last Song"

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth are literally married now so if that isn't good luck, I don't know what is.

6. "Safe Haven"

You guessed it! This is another Nicholas Sparks classic. This movie has a dark twist as well, which men will love.

7. "Inside Out"

You may be thinking that this one is a bit weird. Well, this movie will help both you and your partner understand each other's emotions better.

8. "The Choice"

This movie is great because the female lead is feisty and extremely intelligent, which usually doesn't happen in love stories. How do you keep the love alive with a woman who is hard to get, and even harder to keep entertained?

9. "The Longest Ride"

Originally I could not stand the main female lead (Britt Robertson) but now she is in one of my favorite shows (For The People), so I have no choice. This movie had me on the end of my seat, and as a rom-com it is a must.

10. "The Age Of Adaline"

I began loving the name 'Adaline' thanks to this movie. This unlikely love story and self love journey really gets me.

11. "The Vow"

Imagine falling in love with someone and building a life, but an accident forces you to start all over?

12. "Titanic"

If they don't have any sort of reaction to this movie, they are probably not the one for you.

13. "Yours, Mine, & Ours"

Yours, Mine, & Ours is a true classic. Are you Helen or Frank Beardsley? You should figure that out before you tie the knot!

You're welcome!

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41 Thank-Yous To My Boyfriend Who Stood By My Side For Three Semesters And Graduation

Life will be scary and difficult sometimes, but as long as you're there to hold my hand, I know that I will always be OK.

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These last several semesters at college, I've learned so much and I've changed so much, all because of one person. A person that came at a time when things were going downhill, and completely flipped my life around. I will never forget how terrible I felt before I met you, and how much better I am with you by my side. Truly, I don't know where I would be without you. And that's why it will always be impossible to thank you enough for everything that you have done for me.

But you do deserve to know how much of an impact you have on me.

1. Thank you for being my shoulder to cry on when I was struggling to get through this last semester.

2. Thank you for always listening to me rant about problems I was having with my friends.

3. Thank you for never getting tired of me talking about the same things over and over again.

4. Thank you for never acting like my past trauma was baggage or a burden.

5. Thank you for trying your best to understand and to be considerate of my anxiety.

6. Thank you for being patient with me when I take so long to process everything and sort out my emotions.

7. Thank you for dealing with my mood swings and intense emotions.

8. Thank you for never judging me over things I get embarrassed about.

9. Thank you for sharing your opinions with me, even when I didn't want to hear them, but I needed to hear them.

10. Thank you for opening my eyes to toxic behavior that I was blind to.

11. Thank you for always looking out for my health and well-being, and my future.

12. Thank you for helping me grow up and mature.

13. Thank you for always wanting to talk things out.

14. Thank you for making me feel important.

15. Thank you for giving me a reason to live.

16. Thank you for showing me what true love is.

17. Thank you for being my best friend and partner in life.

18. Thank you for breaking my walls down but never breaking a promise.

19. Thank you for keeping my heart safe.

20. Thank you for giving me endless reassurance.

21. Thank you for never making me worry about the fate of our relationship.

22. Thank you for always putting me first.

23. Thank you for being loyal and committed to me.

24. Thank you for all of the memories and adventures.

25. Thank you for never getting annoyed about taking photos.

26. Thank you for the best summer of my life.

27. Thank you for making college a much better experience for me.

28. Thank you for always putting a smile on my face.

29. Thank you for always catering to me and trying to make me happy.

30. Thank you for all the little favors you do for me and everything else you might think goes unnoticed (but trust me, I notice and I appreciate it so much).

31. Thank you for supporting everything that I'm passionate about.

32. Thank you for always making an effort to change.

33. Thank you for always forgiving me when I make (loads of) mistakes.

34. Thank you for being a good influence on me.

35. Thank you for being my role model and inspiring me to be more like you.

36. Thank you for the amount of time, effort, and love that you've put into our relationship.

37. Thank you for shaping my future.

38. Thank you for making me so hopeful and excited about everything that we are going to do throughout our life together.

39. Thank you for thinking that I'm worth it.

40. Thank you for wanting to get married, have kids, and spend your life with me.

41. Thank you for making my dreams come true.

Now that we've graduated, for the first time, we're dealing with the fact that we don't have a set path laid out for us. Real life is more than what we're used to. We might struggle to find jobs. Heck, we might find jobs but hate them. It might take forever to save up money. Things might not go according to how we planned them in our heads. We're going to have to juggle a bunch of different elements all at once. Life will be scary and difficult sometimes, but as long as you're there to hold my hand, I know that I will always be OK.

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