By Amy Osmond Cook

Hello, holidays! Aside from the huge boon this season is to retailers, there’s no other time of year when online dating sites see their biggest spikes in activity. Romance-seekers start wondering: Who do I bring to my company party? Who should I enroll in my family’s festivities? Who’s my plus-one to my coupled best friends’ snowsport weekend? And who’d be in for the ride if they knew I couldn’t have intercourse?

Make no mistake: There are millions of people who remain silent and grapple with that question, and it’s confidence-shattering enough to cause them to dodge dating altogether. Health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, cancers and related treatments, traumas, congenital abnormalities, and even PTSD can preclude individuals from engaging in sexual intercourse — as would be expected in the course of a romantic relationship.

Dating Advice for the Holidays

Related Link: Expert Relationship Advice: First Comes Love – Now What? Creating Intimacy Without Intercourse

This makes modern-day dating especially tough. There is one online dating site, RomanceOnly.com, that completely eliminates the need to disclose this dilemma. Afterall, Sex-C (sexually-challenged) men and women are no different from anyone else in their needs for affection, companionship, and attraction-based physical connection. Sex-C individuals are also in the same holiday-ting quandary as the rest of singledom. Rather than sidelining the pursuit of someone special, here is some dating advice to improve the Sex-C adult’s chances of kindling a real connection this season.

Jingle, Jingle: Get Out and Mingle!

A person who sees themselves as different in a shameful way can experience crushed self-confidence, which in turn can cause them to avoid social interactions. But in truth, getting outside of oneself, if even just to smile at a stranger, can really make a difference in restoring self-confidence. Talk to that person in line next to you at the grocery store. Accept invitations to parties — and don’t hesitate to go alone! Join a local Meetup group. You’ll not only meet fascinating people, but by being open to being out there, you’ll increase your chances of meeting someone special.

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“Remember it’s a numbers game,” says Laura Brashier, the visionary behind the world’s premier Sex-C dating website. Any measure that helps you to be open and upfront from the beginning about the awful quandary of “when and how do I share my secret” serves as one less stressor in dating. But it all starts with building confidence, and that starts with meeting people and finding a common interest. Shared commonalities are the cornerstone of any fulfilling relationship. “True pleasure can be found in a variety of social connections and relationships.”

Spread Holiday Cheer: Go Volunteer!

When people desire a deeper and more satisfying relationship, character counts. You’re not defined by your inability to have intercourse! The holidays abound with opportunities to work alongside other volunteers looking to help those in need. It’s another wonderful chance to get out and do something good for others that will make you feel even better about yourself. If the person next to you is attractive or interesting, don’t hold back in asking them out! Start with something simple, like a coffee date — you’ll know in 30 minutes if there’s a connection.

Date ideas like hiking, dancing, attending concerts, pairing up to take an art or cooking class, spending a couple hours at a museum together, or trying a restaurant that’s new to both people are all ways to gauge common interests. They’re great avenues by which two people can share interesting and meaningful things together, which are building blocks for a solid relationship — friendships and romantic partnerships alike!

“The benefits of such activities extend beyond the immediate pleasure of being together,” says HealthyWomen.org. “The new interests will stimulate your brain and provide numerous new opportunities for conversation.” Finding things in common makes for a nice beginning.

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Naughty or Nice: Sex-C Delights

Once you feel you’ve found that special someone to take beyond the mistletoe, there are plenty of options for physical delights outside of intercourse. When you think about sexiness, the authentic allure of a desired person goes beyond the temporal desire of sex itself and rests on a physically sensual connection. It’s a spark, an undeniable urge to share yourself physically with another. RomanceOnly.com offers articles that cover alternatives to intercourse that can spice up any couple’s physical connection.

According to Michael Castleman, M.A., great sex without intercourse means experimenting, which can feel strange. But he says, “Novelty is key to sexual zing. Doing things differently stimulates the brain to release dopamine, and dopamine heightens erotic intensity. Once you get on board with sex without intercourse, it’s pretty easy. It involves the same leisurely, playful, whole-body touching, caressing, and massage that sex therapists recommend to all lovers.”

So for all you Sex-C people, make your holidays merry and bright by putting yourself out there. You have nothing to lose but being alone! Go to some of your local community events, listen to music, and just put yourself out there. Say yes even if you’re tired! When you do meet someone, and even if that the person doesn’t seem like The One, go and just have fun. Always date safely with exit options. The bottom line is that you deserve the companionship you’re after, and you can’t find it until you connect with others.

Cheers to 2018!

For more information about and articles by our relationship expert Dr. Amy Osmond Cook, click here.