If you feel uncomfortable, and are a "touch" person and want to be free to express that side of you to her?
Could talk about it and tell her you feel uncomfortable not expressing naturally. And ask if she'd welcome that kind of touching from you. Figure out the boundaries here.
Not all people are "touchy" people to the same degree that you are. Just because she expresses herself in different ways doesn't mean she doesn't dig you.
The thing is that I don't know how to practice a relationship that doesn't have that passion and intimacy. I use both to build relationships, without them - I do not know what to do beyond being just friends.
Could decide to learn this new skill then -- creating emotional intimacy via words first rather than touching first. Could just ASK. You are in the "get to know each other better" time -- so could get on with getting to know each other better.
its a pleasant, intimate conversation, and it feels totally natural for me to put my arm around her, but at the same time, I get the opposite message from her body language. I end up not putting my arm around her while still feeling the strong desire to, which ends feeling extremely awkward and unnatural to me - like we are more buddies than lovers. I would be OK with being buddies and I would be OK with being lovers - I don't have any idea how to do neither/both/whatever this is. There seems like there is a mixed message with her.
Could choose to clarify. Maybe you need help in forming the words? Could keep it simple. Maybe something like...
"I really like you. I'd love to put my arms around you. I hesitate because it seems from your body language that you might not want that right now. But I wanted to check in because I'm still learning all your body language cues -- did I guess right?"
And see what she says.
Could not make it bigger than it is -- just open mouth and ASK.