WHAT ARE THE 4 TYPES OF INTIMACY?
Previously, before my couples counseling career, I thought that intimacy was just a polite way to refer to sex. In reality, that type of physical connection is really just one type of intimacy. Intimacy is the concept of fully knowing another person and loving them as they truly are. A level of transparency that requires you to be your most vulnerable self and connect with your partner both in and out of the bedroom. Intimacy describes the closeness and vulnerability we offer one another in relationships. Intimacy is much more than a physical connection, it includes physical, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional aspects. Let’s talk about the different types of intimacy in more detail, using the knowledge gained from my intimacy therapy work.
Intellectual intimacy is sharing thoughts, interests, and activities in common. It is human nature to desire spending time with people whom we can share ideas and projects with, those who see the world as we do and share the same passions. Dating couples eagerly discover the interests they share in common and often try to learn to like new things. Doing interesting things together over time remains a key part of a thriving relationship. As we share life and discuss ideas with one another, we grow our intellectual intimacy.
Having an intellectual connection can be fostered by simply having meaningful conversations daily will help you and partner to fall back in love, again and again.
Below Are Seven Questions That Will Begin to Help You and Your Partner Develop a Deeper Level of Intellectual Intimacy:
- What challenges have you had in your life that you are grateful for?
- What is one thing about me that you discovered, that you love about me? One thing you dislike?
- What is a major investment or goal you would like to accomplish this year?
- What is better than amazing, mind-blowing, passionate, and satisfying sex?
- What makes your partner attractive to you – physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually?
- What brings you the most joy in our relationship?
- What would you do if I changed my religious beliefs?
[Looking for more conversation starters? Check out How To Fall Back In Love With Your Spouse]
Emotional intimacy is the intimacy that comes from being heard. When someone listens to the pain in our hearts, we develop a connectedness. Emotional intimacy grows when we feel that someone has taken the time to understand us. Which can easily become neglected amidst our busy lives. Our closest relationships are built on a foundation of having our emotions validated.
5 Ways To Enhance Emotional Intimacy:
- Share your successes and struggles
- Write your partner a love letter
- Start weekly gratitude journaling together
- Create and complete a “bucket list” together
- Get comfortable being uncomfortable (vulnerability)
Spiritual intimacy is the intimacy that comes from sharing spiritual practices like prayer, meditation, and worship. Our hearts become strongly knit together when we join together in shared spiritual beliefs.
Spiritual intimacy has been shown to be a powerful indicator of successful marriages. A deeper bond is formed that shows that we are working together on the same team following spiritual leadership.
5 Ways To Enhance Spiritual Intimacy:
- Pray or meditate together
- Share the character lessons you are each learning from your sacred text
- Talk about the history of your beliefs, or any specific religion
- Get involved/volunteer together
- Read devotionals together
Physical intimacy is all forms of touching – from a handshake, hug, a kiss, or even sexual intercourse. Physical intimacy grows in a relationship as couples grow in their love for one another, and helps to rekindle the passion.
Physical intimacy thrives within the boundaries of a committed relationship; too much touch beyond the scope of the relationship brings heartache.
Relationships need boundaries around physical intimacy so that godly limits are observed. Sexual intimacy and physical intimacy is normally essential to a healthy marriage–too little touch and the relationship suffers.
[Looking to “heat things up” check out: How to Keep Stress From Tanking Your Sex Life]
5 Ways To Enhance Physical Intimacy:
- Enjoy a nice make-out session
- Lots of foreplay
- Explore the body through massage
- Have sex in another room
- Conscious Sensuality
Types of Intimacy
These four types of intimacy aspects are all connected; they move and grow together. As you strengthen one area it naturally builds on the others.
However, neglecting an area can also have damaging effects. Intimacy allows you to preserve the emotional or sexual connection and excitement (the butterflies) you had when you first met. As you know, maintaining a strong and intimate connection is critical to the success of your relationship. We have a responsibility to invest in opening and closing doors of intimacy in the right places with the right people. You can build your relationships by getting intentional about developing all layers of intimacy together!
So, if you desire to strengthen the intimacy with your partner, I highly encourage you to immediately put what you have learned to good use, starting today. Some say, “easier said than done” and I agree. However, many couples can benefit from the support of a great marriage counselor or relationship coach to assist with strengthening the intimacy in the relationship for a deeper connection. If this feels true for you, please know that help is here!
Wishing you all the best,
Meet Tomauro: an experienced marriage counselor, family therapist, relationship coach, premarital counselor, certified life coach, and individual therapist. She has a straightforward style and refreshing honesty that helps you gain both clarity and direction. Working with her allows you to create new understanding that promotes health and healing.
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If you’re ready to grow, we’re here to help. Connect with us, and let us know your hopes and goals. We’ll follow up with recommendations, and will help you schedule a first, free consultation.