Prefacing this with: I’m somewhat grey in that I have a sex-drive, just no real sexual attraction. And I tend to play non-asexual routes in games anyway, because I live vicariously through characters to some extent. But through personal experiences–
I enjoy cuddling and physical contact. Warmth is good, and I will lay on people if they let me. Soft pecking kisses are nice. Hugs, golden. Any more intense kissing? I don’t get anything out of, and honestly that makes it really strange to do. Like, I know there’s supposed to be a “Good” way to do that, but it all feels the same to me, so I’m just stuck trying to figure out what my partner wants my face to be doing.
Personally I’m okay with more intense physical intimacy, I just won’t initiate it, and I probably won’t respond to it normally unless I’m pretending (I’m fine with playing along like this, but it really is all mirroring). I don’t desire it (aside from out of pure curiosity), and I’m unable to empathize enough with my partner to know how s/he wants to pace things. So I’ll just stick to whatever.
This, in combination with the fact that I have zero moral, religious, or otherwise personal objections to sex, has the alternate side effect of, I’ve been pretty much game for whatever pace my partner wants to set (even if it’s “very fast”) so long as everything is done safely.
I should point out that this is very much a personal thing, and I’ve heard the opposite from friends in that they feel obligated to have a physically intimate relationship, despite not being interested. And it just kinda… made things stressful and uninteresting.
As for non-physical intimacy, I’m much more shy. Endearments and “I love you” mean a lot, still. I’m also usually jumpy about them, because asexual relationships don’t feel “normal” to me yet (they SHOULD and they ARE and… but… when most of your knowledge comes from media portrayals. Sex sells.)–so there’s usually a part of me in my head going “But do you mean it the same way he does?”
Physical attraction still plays a part, to me. Just not quite in the same way. I can tell when someone is good looking. But I don’t fantasize about people–I’m not turned on by a person’s looks or actions, I just like looking at them. So in narrative, I’m okay with an RO being described as, “He has bright, expressive eyes” but not “You wanted to just run your tongue all over his abs.” Things like that or even as simple as saying “He was hot” or anything along those lines shut me down like nobody’s business.
For me, physical aspects I’m drawn to are eyes, scents, and the sound of someone’s voice. I notice those a lot.
There’s also the emotional connection. Being able to just be with a person. Comfortable being held by them. Kindness. Energy.
The most important part for me would be to clean the narration of physical arousal. It’s okay to have attractive characters–or to even note that they’re attractive. It’s another thing for me to be physically, sexually attracted to them. Fantasizing is a no, unless it’s “I want to be held”.
That and a way to define an intimate relationship with characters. Explicitly with questions and “Are you comfortable with this”'s? A lot of ace routes shut down sex altogether, but I actually prefer the idea of maybe if I’m comfortable with it, trying some things with my partner (I’m not against sex, and I want my partner to be happy too, right?), which is why I usually avoid ace routes.
Lastly, as more of a side thing, I do enjoy flirting for fun, and I feel like that’s an underrated thing. I don’t blush easily, because I don’t put the same stock in flirting/physical attraction, so I can have a lot of fun with this (provided the other party is aware–I don’t like leading anyone on).