Ask a Sex Coach- What Is Intimacy? There Are 4 Different Types of Intimacy. Part 1 of 2
Often, clients reach out to me because they no longer feel a "connection" with their partner. Usually, it is because their sex life isn't what it used to be. After our first couple of sessions, they quickly realize that the connection they had with their partner outside of the bedroom isn't really there either.
So, what does Intimacy really mean?
The definition of Intimacy in the Merriam Webster Dictionary is:
The state of being intimate: Familiarity
Something of a personal or private nature
Some Synonyms of Intimacy: Belonging, Chumminess, Closeness, Familiarity, Inseparability, and Nearness.
Think about how these words feel in your body. They feel great! Right?
An Antonym of Intimacy: Distance
Think about how this word feels in your body. Not so great. Right?
Now, take a moment to think about the word Intimacy and apply it to your relationship. How does that feel in your body? Does it feel good and make you happy? Or, are you feeling empty and sad?
Struggling with intimacy? Reach out to me and let's talk!
Physical intimacy is most commonly used in reference to sex. Is sex an important part of your relationship with your partner? Absolutely!
You can also show physical intimacy through hugging, kissing, hand holding, cuddling and skin to skin touching. Do you do these things without feeling like you have to have sex? I hope so!
When you think about intimacy, is the first thing you think of sex? If it is, you are not alone. That is word most people think of. Sex is about being as close to another human being as possible.
However, did you know there are at least 4 types of Intimacy that do not include sex or touching at all? All of these are just as important in a romantic relationship as sex. Maybe even more so. When you are humming along as the Intimate human being you are, things like an amazing sex life will often fall right into place or the bed, the car or the kitchen counter.
In today's blog, I will talk about 2 types of intimacy. Emotional and Intellectual.
Next week, I will talk about the other 2 types. Experiential and Spiritual.
So stay tuned!
1. Emotional Intimacy
Emotional intimacy involves candid and authentic sharing of thoughts and feelings. This means being able to tell each other your deepest fears, dreams, disappointments and most complicated emotions. You both also feel seen and really heard by one another.
Emotional intimacy means you both feel safe and comfortable with uninhibited expression around each other.
This is a "safe space" you both have cultivated by refraining from judgement or contempt when the other person is sharing.
We confide in the people we trust. We believe our partner is that person. They will not repeat anything we share in confidence. We also do not expect them to embarrass or belittle us.
Examples of Emotional intimacy
You and your partner have a long and meaningful conversation about what you want out of your relationship. You both come out of the conversation feeling closer than ever and more understood.
Your partner comes home and starts talking about something very stressful that happened at work. You are on your partners side of what happened. You ask questions to help them process what happened and validate their emotions.
Your partner confides in you that she is unhappy with her body since having the baby. She trusts that you will offer her comfort and help her come up with solution if she asks for it. She doesn't want you to dismiss her feelings by telling her she "looks fine."
How can you increase your Emotional intimacy?
You can cultivate Emotional Intimacy in your relationship by engaging in deeper more thoughtful conversations together, talking about emotions and experiences you don't usually share with others.
You can also ask your partner thoughtful questions and be curious about they way they think and feel. Listen to understand rather than waiting to respond. Be careful not to invalidate your partners feelings by saying things like, "Don't feel that way." Or, "You shouldn't feel that way." Instead, say things like " I totally understand how you could feel that way". Or, "I would feel that way too if it were me in that situation".
You need to create an environment that is conducive to an open and honest dialogue between the two of you.
2. Intellectual Intimacy
Intellectual intimacy is created when partners provide comfort with communicating beliefs and viewpoints.
Basically, each person in the relationship has the freedom to think for themselves and believes that their opinions are valued instead of feeling pressured to agree with the other partner.
This can encourage stimulating conversations. You feel closer to your partner who cares for you independent from your differences and respects your voice. So, what you believe and what you say matters.
Examples of Intellectual Intimacy
You and your partner debate the importance of a college education. You respect and honor each others opinons. You just enjoy hearing your partners thoughts about it.
You and your partner discuss the possibilities of other life in the universe. You both know there isn't a concrete answer to the question, "Are we alone in the universe?" Each of you can entertain ideas neither of you may have considered before.
You and your partner read and discuss a book together. You are both excited to compare your takeaways from the book instead of telling each other what you thought the author meant. It is talking about what it meant to you both as individuals.
How can you increase intellectual intimacy?
You can create more Intellectual Intimacy by sparking discussions where you and your partner have a different perspective. Make a conscious effort to really be open and listen when you have these discussions.
You can also have conversations about ideas and abstract concepts like art, education, or social issues you are both passionate about. Ideas you are exploring together.
This type of intimacy is about connecting through logic and philosophical conversations. Sharing your beautiful minds with one another.
Remember, long term relationships require more than just chemistry in the bedroom. You need to cultivate the chemistry outside the bedroom too.
When you are engaging in all 4 of the different types of intimacy in your relationship it will be stronger and you both will feel more connected to one another.
Next week, I will talk about two more types of intimacy needed to keep the chemistry and connection in your relationship. So, until then!
"People think that intimacy is about sex. But, intimacy is about truth. When you realize that you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them and their response is "you're safe with me"- that's intimacy". Taylor Jenkins Reid
My love and I at a local winery enjoying some intimate conversations over a glass of wine.
Sex and Intimacy Coach
Better Sex 4 U