Whereas sex creates a physical basis for intimacy, other actions can create an emotional and psychological basis. Some of these typically appear near the beginning of a relationship, to deepen it, while others appear later to demonstrate how close the two people have already come. Emotional and psychological connections are particularly helpful for restoring a damaged relationship.
Sharing secrets. This especially applies to talking about personal issues that aren't widely known. An exchange of secrets is a common ritual between "best friends" among girls and women, but appears elsewhere as well. Some things are only discussed among people with a common reference; veterans may be more comfortable discussing war memories with each other than civilians.
Ordering for someone in a restaurant. Acquiring food, without asking the other person what to get, shows a knowledge of their needs and desires. Providing food is also a gesture of support and sustenance.
Providing moral support at a major event. Helping someone get through a funeral, a trial, or other intense but not crisis situation is usually performed by a very dear friend. This is a situation where lovers or family members may be too close to the matter to be much use.
Crying on someone. When you cry, you tend to let your guard down. Most of the people close to you will see you cry at some point, so that can be a milestone in a relationship. Actually crying on someone, letting them hold you, is even more intimate.
Serving in a primary role for someone during a wedding. This includes the best man or maid of honor at a wedding, or stand-in for absent parents, etc. as well as the traditional family roles. One aspect of intimacy is sharing each other's lives, including ceremonies and transitions.
Comforting someone after a bad breakup. Moments of great vulnerability can bring people closer. While this role sometimes falls to family, breakup repair more often goes to a woman's female friends or a man's male friends.
Gazing into each other's eyes. Sustained eye contact is one of the best ways to make a conscious connection between people, hence the saying, "The eyes are the windows of the soul." It happens most often between lovers, or parent and child, but can be used for any kind of partner bonding.
Listening to someone's heartbeat or breathing. Close body contact, enough to carry soft personal sounds, tends to be comforting as well as connecting, as it touches on positive childhood memories for most people. It is shared between parent and child, sometimes between siblings, and later between lovers. Tight nonsexual partners may also do this.