4 Types of Intimacy You Can Count on to Strengthen Your Relationship

4 Types of Intimacy You Can Count on to Strengthen Your Relationship

How many types of intimacy can you name? Yes, sex is one of the main ways to get intimate with someone special but it’s far from the only opportunity.

Psychologists pinpoint four main kinds of intimacy that need to all be present for a harmonious, happy relationship. Each one of them can make the bond between two people stronger, which is why a focus solely on the physical is insufficient.

Emotional Intimacy

Many people need to get emotionally close before they can get physical with someone.

Emotional intimacy is difficult to achieve because it requires profound vulnerability. This is why many people feel afraid of it. In the absence of emotional intimacy, however, a relationship will remain shallow and it will potentially be unfulfilling for one or both people involved.

In order to get emotionally intimate with someone, you have to get comfortable with sharing your background, ideas, desires, fantasies and even past traumas. You will be confiding sensitive information, which is why a lot of trust is required for emotional intimacy to occur.

For many, emotional intimacy is the last one to develop and it indicates that a relationship has gotten serious.

Intellectual Intimacy

Yes, someone’s brain can be very, very sexy.

People need to be on a similar intellectual and mental level to experience this kind of intimacy.

Intellectual intimacy involves the exchange of ideas and viewpoints about some deeper and more serious issues. The focus could be on one’s values, fundamental beliefs, political views, understandings of the meaning of life, etc.

Lively discussions are very important to build intellectual intimacy. During such conversations, two people can discover whether they share the same points of view and life goals. In the absence of intellectual intimacy, partners can easily grow distant. As they will be pursuing different things in life, those who lack intellectual intimacy and compatibility could feel misunderstood and dissatisfied.

Spiritual Intimacy

What does intimacy have to do with spirituality? The short answer is “a lot.” Our spiritual beliefs can be defining for who we are and what we want in life.

Please understand there is a big difference between religion and spirituality. Many people who are not religious could have their specific spiritual beliefs about the meaning of life, how to live with purpose and leave something valuable behind.

Achieving spiritual intimacy can be difficult as people’s views and beliefs can be so very different.

It is possible to be compatible and happy in the presence of distinct spiritual beliefs.

Discussions are once again very important to understand what one’s partner believes in. and while you may disagree with their point of view, you can accept it as valid and important to them. Doing that would be enough to achieve harmony and give each other enough space to feel spiritually-wholesome in the relationship.

Physical Intimacy

While this is the one most people think of immediately, physical intimacy still has to be discussed.

Having sex and being physically intimate aren’t one and the same thing. People can be sexual with strangers and in that case, there will typically be no intimacy.

Once again – intimacy is about vulnerability.

Physical intimacy involves talking about one’s desires and fantasies. It involves a deep desire to please one’s partner and make the experience outstanding for them. If that means getting a couple friendly sex toy like a strap on dildo, then HotCherry will be a good place to start.

Many people with a prolific sexual background do not know how to get physically intimate. Like other types of intimacy, the physical one requires some work. Talking, experimenting in bed, checking in with a partner, seeking consent and learning how to read their signs are all a form of intimacy. Being present during the experience, maintaining eye contact and becoming comfortable with each other can also deliver wonderful results.

Strengthening Your Relationship through Intimacy

Deep, meaningful relationships involve all four kinds of intimacy mentioned above. 

For most of us, it is natural to seek intimacy. Real intimacy brings fulfilment, satisfaction and happiness.

People start fearing intimacy due to past experiences. When someone has been betrayed by a loved one, they find it more difficult to open up to someone new. Being vulnerable and trusting another human being could contribute to pain and hurt.

The trick here is to heal from past trauma and issues before moving on to a new relationship. Bringing old baggage into an experience with someone new isn’t fair to anyone involved. Yes, making the jump can be scary but it can also result in a massive reward.

If you are too afraid to open yourself up and seek intimacy in a relationship, working with a therapist may be a good idea. Once you understand what the root cause of your fear is, you’ll find it much easier to work through the challenges and start working on the establishment of a happy and fulfilling relationship.


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