As a method for showing affection, sex is easy. Too easy, probably. Do it right and everybody's happy. You've both hurdled trust and intimacy barriers together, and you felt great doing it. you've won
Nonsexual affection takes work. You don't always win. You don't always "anything". It's easy to go back a step (which is actually very true for sex as well) and you don't have the same intense physical or ego incentive that you might with sex.
But because it can involve more forethought, because it can be elaborate and emotionally rewarding, it can say a lot more. I don't worry about receiving "pillow talk" when I'm getting a hug.
Touch has always been a severely intimate event for me. Even today, when coworkers pat me on the back or touch my shoulder, I have to ask them to step back a bit. These are people I've known for months, and I enjoy their genuine and friendly attention. Now I'm in a relationship with seven people where the sexual connection ebbs and flows, and right now because of stress and other complication it's definitely ebbing. Unfortunately the more platonic forms of touching and feeling are disappearing as well. I can handle not getting laid. I have a battery
that I use to assist
in that coping mechanism.
But not feeling some of my partners running their hands across my shoulders and hips, or not ever being able to hold a certain asian at night is really distressing. The lack of physical reassurance even has that doubtful part of me wondering if the relationship is still there. And with the ever disappearing commodity of time doing exactly what it does best-- becoming more scarce-- I'm certain that no amount of sexuality could satisfy the emotional need that I have for these people.