A wonderful goddess and I have been corresponding since she first showed up on Reuniting some months ago. We just spent an AWESOME, WONDERFUL two weeks together sharing bonding behaviors over the Christmas - New Year holidays. We agreed beforehand to not have any sort of intercourse, and we stuck with that plan.
During our discussions leading up to our visit, I suggested that we share lots of bonding behaviors (mainly hugging and cuddling). I also said I would love to sleep with her (with pajamas, without sex) but that it was up to her when and if we might do that. As it turned out, we cuddled the first evening we were together, and she felt safe enough to sleep with me every night.
The first five days, we spent a lot of time hugging and cuddling without any sort of sexual touching. We cuddled and listened to lots of music.
One day, after brunch, we were standing in the kitchen and hugged for five minutes. Me: "Want to lie down and cuddle for 15 minutes?" Her: "OK!" Five hours later, we got up and had supper. We both have been starved for physical affection for many years, so just those non-sexual bonding behaviors were heavenly for both of us.
Whenever I had a hand free, I would slowly and gently rub her back, which she loved, and it felt delicious when she did that to me, too. Often she would fall asleep in my arms after a couple minutes of stroking her back.
(I have given various sorts of massages in the past, but it always seemed like a chore to me because it was expected or demanded from me, and because there was no response to my touches, so I didn't know how and where to touch. She never asked me to rub her back. I just did it naturally, after noticing how nice it felt when she did it to me. She told me my back rubs were wonderful, and stiffened and relaxed when I touched her in various places, which let me know where she wanted to be touched the most. So I enjoyed it and did it willingly.)
One of the things she worried about before we met was that she snores, and she thought I wouldn't like that and wouldn't want to sleep with her because of that. After we were together and she brought it up, I said, "You probably won't believe me, but I don't mind it at all." It wasn't bad and it didn't keep me from sleeping. It was a joy to hold a real woman close to me, and I felt honored that she trusted me and felt safe enough with me to fall asleep in my arms. (She just told me that I snore too, but it didn't bother her and my snoring was "cute"!
During the first five days, I had plenty of erections, but didn't feel any need to "do" anything about them, and I told her that she didn't need to do anything about them either. She said she liked feeling them against her body. I didn't have any episodes of feeling uncomfortably horny or wanting an orgasm.
I'm glad we refrained from any sort of sexual touching for the first five days, because if we had jumped into sexual behaviors right away, we would have missed finding out how wonderful the non-sexual bonding behaviors are just by themselves.
After five days, we added in sexual touching (of breasts and penis) and kissing. I guess I'm not very sensitive because I didn't get anywhere near orgasm. But, she has very sensitive breasts. After I started gently squeezing and rubbing her nipples, she said, "On a 1-10 scale of wanting an orgasm, I'm at 20." I asked her several times during our visit to please not have an orgasm, because I didn't want to deal with POBF (post-orgasmic brain fallout) from her. She "touched herself" a few times for about a minute each time, and that seemed to relieve her sexual tension. During the times she was not aroused, she said firmly that she didn't want to have an orgasm (because she would feel terrible afterward), but when she was aroused, her resolve was not so strong.
I enjoyed touching and being touched, and enjoyed my and her sexual arousal, without feeling like I wanted to go for an orgasm - at least, during the times we were "making out". However, the first morning after we started the sexual touching, and a couple mornings after that, I woke up with a wired feeling like I have felt a few days after an orgasm. I mention that because I have rarely felt that way in this last year of orgasmic celibacy. So it was unusual and I don't know how to explain why I got that wired feeling. But it was not too uncomfortable or long-lasting.
She and I both noticed that if I would lie on top of her, and even if we pressed our pelvises together, it was very relaxing and dissipated the sexual tension for both of us. I would lose an erection within seconds, and she would lose the urge to have an orgasm within a minute or two. This was with clothing or pajamas on. I'm not sure what would happen with direct genital contact. (But early in my marriage with Zoe when we slept nude, I would often climb on top of Zoe in the morning because it was relaxing and quickly took the edge off my horniness.)
So I nominate "lying on top of each other" as a soothing bonding behavior, and not as an activity that is likely to get the partners overly aroused. (Marnia warns against lying on top of each other in the Exchanges section of her books. I don't think the warning is necessary. I think it's just another way of hugging.)
My purpose for proposing the visit were to enjoy lots of physical affection; to see if I could enjoy being with a woman 24 hours a day for two weeks without sex in the picture; to build up my confidence with dating and being around women; to show her that she is lovely and lovable (as I strongly suspected from our correspondence) and that she CAN attract the affectionate attention of a nice man; and to give her some "oxytocin therapy", to help her heal mentally (from some previous bad experiences with men, and from anxiety and rage attacks) and physically. She has acted a bit crazy at times on Reuniting, but it has always seemed to me that she was self-aware and in control of herself. (That's a lot better than Zoe, who seems completely unaware of how destructive some of her behaviors are.) On the third day we were together, she had a mild anxiety attack. (I might not have known she was having an anxiety attack if she hadn't told me.) I just held her calmly and talked to her. After an hour, she came out of it and was fine. Other than that anxiety attack, she seemed very sweet and normal for the whole visit. Before we got together, she had a question that had puzzled her for a long time: why relate to people? By the end of our visit, she had found an answer that satisfied her. She also said that the reasons she used to have for feeling rage no longer made sense to her, and the rage has gone away. So maybe the oxytocin therapy helped.
My visit was a Declaration of Independence from my wife. And after all that loving attention from her, I feel much more confident that if Zoe doesn't want me, I can find another long-term partner. She is (still) on my very short list of women that I would consider for a long-term relationship.
So, is sex necessary? (That's the title of a book by James Thurber and E.B. White.) This visit showed me that I can have a wonderful time with a women with just the bonding behaviors. I don't regret abstaining from sex in our brief time together. I think in a long-term relationship, I would like to practice some karezza as well, but there is no hurry; I feel no urgency about it.
Did I mention that the bonding behaviors are wonderful all by themselves?