Relationships 101

7 types of intimacy in a relationship

The types of intimacy- explored for you.
intimate couple laughing

Many of the couples these days complain that there is a lack of ‘intimacy’ in their relationships. But this ‘intimacy’ is often associated with sex, which is a mistake that should be avoided. Apart from sexual intimacy, there are many different types of intimacy in a relationship which one should be aware of and one should work on in order to build a strong and healthy relationship. Let us go through these different types of intimacy separately and know how to work on each one of them.

1. Physical intimacy

A very essential aspect of physical intimacy is to show affection towards each other through means of physical touch and contact. Holding each other’s hands, cuddling, kissing, hugging – all these are methods of showing physical intimacy towards your loved one. As a partner, you have to ensure that your physical touch is able to express your emotions and support to your better half.

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Tips to work on physical intimacy

  • First, get rid of this fear of making your partner feel awkward or offending him/her, otherwise you will not be able to reach the optimum level of physical intimacy
  • Try exploring the reasons behind the lack of physical intimacy. For this you have to note down your reactions to your loved one’s touch and understand why you are reacting in a particular way
  • If your partner is physically distant from you, then talk to him straightforwardly about it instead of beating around the bush. Having an honest conversation about it will help resolve any misunderstanding you both have with each other

2. Emotional intimacy

You are said to be emotionally intimate with your loved one only if you both are able to share your deepest, darkest desires and innermost thoughts with each other confidently. Emotionally intimate couples share both happy and sad moments with each other. They are emotionally connected with each other, and know their innermost feelings.

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Ways to make emotional intimacy stronger

  • The psychological makeup of your significant other needs to be thoroughly understood. Make sure that you are well aware of your partner’s joys, worries, hopes and desires
  • Even if you are emotionally distant as a person, you need to put efforts in the direction of being connected
  • You have to be ready to accept your partner with all his/her goodness and defects
  • In addition, you have to brave enough to show your true self to your loved one

Related reading: 5 questions to ask your partner when you want to build emotional intimacy in your relationship

3. Spiritual intimacy

Simply put, spiritual intimacy is achieved in a relationship when the couple starts sharing morals, values, spiritual beliefs, religious views, ethics, etc. and is able to come to terms with the meaning both the partners attach to their respective life.

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How to enhance spiritual intimacy?

  • Talk freely about your spiritual encounters and religious beliefs with your partner
  • Try to pray together with your loved one as much as possible
  • You can even boost the spiritual intimacy between the two of you by enjoying nature and its varied features. Spend time with each other in a beautiful scenic place in order to get in touch with your spiritual self

4. Intellectual intimacy

The couple is able to be intellectually intimate by sharing intellectual ideas and respecting the intellectual viewpoints of one another. Once you are intellectually intimate, you both can discuss important aspects of your relationship, like how to raise your children, how to create a budget, etc. in a much clearer and more confident manner.

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What will help nourish a couple’s intellectual intimacy?

  • Make the habit of reading and studying together with each other.
  • You must have conversations with your partner regarding your favourite genre of music, songs and lyrics
  • Even discussing things you like to do or about places you want to visit can help both of you develop mutual understanding

5. Experiential intimacy

As a couple you do not have to necessarily spend time with each other only. However, you both must take out time for each other and share some valuable experiences together. Experiential intimacy has more to do with sharing your day-to-day experiences and becoming close to each other.

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Tips to work on experiential intimacy

  • Create a list of things that you both can do together and also a separate list of things you both can do individually. The lists will help maintain a balance between your personal space and collective space
  • Try to find more and more things that you both like to do together to build the necessary intimacy
  • Take a walk with your partner, watch a movie with him/her, enjoy gardening together, etc. All these will help tackle the lack of experiential intimacy in your relationship

6. Conflict intimacy

When two people having different personalities come together, it is impossible to avoid conflicts in the relationship. However, conflict intimacy is important in order to ensure that the relationship can face any challenge whatsoever. This intimacy is achieved when the couple is able to resolve their differences by struggling yet understanding each other.

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Tips to have a respectful conflict intimacy

  • Learn to share your thoughts and opinions freely with your partner
  • Respect each other’s differences of opinions and try to take a logical view of the conflict
  • You have to transform your mind-set. You need to understand that conflicts are good for your relationship but managing them skilfully and with patience is what will lead to conflict intimacy

7. Creative intimacy

Creative intimacy basically means looking for creative ways to remind each other of the love, affection and bond that you both share with each other. The cute little things that couples do to make each other feel loved and appreciated is often ignored once married for sometime, which inturn affects the relationship.

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How can a couple work on creative intimacy?

  • You can make hand-written notes about the things you like in your significant other and hand it over to him/her daily
  • Send a letter to your partner asking about certain essential aspects of his/her life that he/she can share by writing a letter to you in return

8. Sexual intimacy

Now we come to the most common form of intimacy: Sexual intimacy. Sex should not amount to the shallow act of hooking up with each other just for satisfying sexual wants. Sexual encounters between the couple should become a more fulfilling and intimate experience; then only can sexual intimacy be truly achieved in a relationship.

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What will help enhance a couple’s sexual intimacy?

  • Avoid any kind of distraction while having sex with your partner, in order to understand each other’s sexual needs
  • Know what your sexual desires are and what makes you happy. Only then can you think about letting your desires known to your loved one
  • Communication is the key to enhance the sexual intimacy in the relationship. Share your likes and dislikes in relation to sex, honestly with your partner

Remember, in order to make true sense of your existence, find happiness, adapt to your life changes and ensure that your relationship survives the test of time – you have to take heed of the different types of intimacy and work on nourishing them effectively.

The five stages of intimacy – Find out where you are!

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