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.
If you're interested, mark the date on your calendar, and please hold actual prompts until the "Poetry Fishbowl Open" post next week. Meanwhile, if you want to help with promotion, please feel free to link back here or repost this on your blog.
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One of my projects, Schrodinger's Heroes, is especially ace-friendly. It's about the imaginary fandom of an apocryphal television show. Of the main characters in Schrodinger's Heroes, Ash is canonically asexual and Alex is often written that way too. The show is about quantum science and saving the world from mayhem involving alternate dimensions. If you aren't already familiar with this project, you can read about the show and the main characters, or browse the menu post.
Are you thinking it would be fun to write about some asexual characters for Asexual Awareness Week, but you don't have any? Feel free to use these. The main characters started out as thumbnail descriptions in "101 Asexy Sex Scenes" by melannen, and then I fleshed them out to create an effective team of heroes for a crossover-friendly show that's easy to mix with other versions of itself or other fandoms altogether. Start from the original thumbnails, or my descriptions, or make up your own. If you decide to try your hand at this, please let me know and I'll link the results.
The following poem is fanfic about ace!Alex and ace!Ash getting fed up with the sexual members of the team and having an adventure on their own.
It was February,
and Bailey was making
erotic overtures again.
At first, Alex just rolled her eyes
and shooed him gently away.
As the calendar ticked toward 14,
Bailey became more persistent.
Finally Alex lost her temper
and threw him out in the hall,
then locked herself in her office.
She kept busy poring through old data,
looking for patterns in the manifold
that might help to identify
promising vectors or dimensions.
Alex was working on the vector
that dealt with sexual orientation
when she discovered a blip in the data.
So she called Ash and said,
"Hey, Ash, I found something interesting.
Come on over and help me check it out."
Ash let herself in with an idle swipe
at the electronic lock on the door.
"What have you got, Alex?" she asked.
Alex called up the data so far.
Ash poked casually at the display,
tapped a few keys, and nibbled on her bottom lip.
Alex leaned over and tweaked a few things.
Soon they were talking excitedly
about the patterns, and trying
this new program twist or that --
when suddenly, right there
in a quiet little corner of the manifold,
they found a dimension in which
almost everyone was asexual.
"You know," Ash said slowly,
"Quinn has been all over me
for the past week or so.
I could really use a vacation."
"Bailey won't leave me alone
this time of year," said Alex.
"I've been thinking about
how nice it would be if
we could just skip Valentine's Day."
Ash gave an enigmatic smile. "Maybe,"
she said, "or we could go see about
finding a version farther from home
and closer to heart."
Alex grinned and bounced in her seat.
"Just give me a few minutes to pack,"
the quantum physicist said.
So Alex and Ash fired up
the Teflon Tesseract and
snuck away with no one the wiser.
They strolled down streets
hand-in-hand and nobody stared.
They went to see movies where
people snuggled instead of smooching.
They picked up novel after novel
filled with actual plots.
The Valentine's Day decorations
were hands instead of hearts,
done in the pink of friendship
and the white of purity
rather than the red of passion.
The cards celebrated
"special friends" and not
boyfriends or girlfriends.
The rings were not gold but silver,
shaped like clasping hands
after an old Roman design.
Alex and Ash joined a flock of strangers
stenciling their handprints together
along the fence in a public park.
It was nice to be somewhere that
didn't insist on putting "just" in front of "friends."
They stopped to watch two new fathers
proudly showing off their baby.
"He's just out of the infant generator,"
one said to a friend.
Alex and Ash shared a look,
then quietly tracked down
the technical specifications
so people back home
could enjoy the option of
"Life always finds a way,"
Ash murmured happily.
They returned home
after the holiday had passed,
and smoothed the ruffled feathers
with suitable presents,
and quietly mailed the plans
for the infant generator
to a mutual friend in the sciences ...
and if the new rings
winking silver on their fingers
were noticed at all,
nobody said anything.
These are the stories from my extra prompts: "Saying Goodbye to Charlotte" features a Samhain ritual in which Anna mourns the memories and personality she lost to amnesia. "Learning from Lakshmi" follows Callie as she explores another aspect of divine work during Divali. "An Old Soldier Dies" is a hauntingly beautiful story about Richard coming to collect a soul on Fireworks Night.
The call for prompts is still open if you would like a story about autumn holidays.
You can also read a long, detailed review that I wrote about "The Many Writings of K.A. Jones" over on crowdfunding. That gives a patron-eye view of the project now that I've had enough time to play around with the cool features such as credits, character adoptions, and naming characters/structures.