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Circles of Sexuality: Intimacy

Fishtown Wellness Center / Gender and Sexuality  / Circles of Sexuality: Intimacy

Circles of Sexuality: Intimacy

By Riley Fortier, M.Ed.

Circles of Sexuality

Intimacy is one of circles of sexuality that were created by Dennis Daily in 1981 to show a more holistic approach to sexuality. Daily created this model for a strengths-based approach to social work for client’s sexual wellbeing. The “circles” or categories of sexuality are: sensuality, intimacy, sexual identity, sexual health and reproduction, and sexualization. The following categories and descriptions have been slightly adapted from Daily’s original 1981 framework. 

This blog is going to focus on the second circle of sexuality, intimacy. To learn more about the other aspects of sexuality, check out my previous blog HERE.


Intimacy is the degree to which we express and have a need for closeness with another person. The components of intimacy are: 

  • caring 
  • Sharing
  • liking/loving
  • Trust
  • Vulnerability
  • Self-disclosure
  • emotional risk-taking


Who do you care for in your life? Your friends? Your chosen family? Your pets? (Also hopefully yourself?)

Sharing, in my opinion, is one of the most underrated forms of intimacy. Who do you want to share your life with, your feelings with, your dreams with? On the more physical side, who do you want to share space with, share food with?


This one is pretty self-explanatory! 


Trust is also another important part of intimacy. The two are intrinsically linked. 

Vulnerability can be someone’s greatest strength. The closeness and intimacy that comes with emotional vulnerability can be a great foundation for a strong and trusting relationship, romantic or not. 

Self-disclosure/emotional risk-taking

A lot of folks worry about the risk of loving someone because they don’t want to get hurt. Whereas, some people say that if you don’t take the risk, you might be missing out on a deep and supportive relationship. The more vulnerable and emotional risks you take, the closer you can be with someone, and a mutual emotional risk-taking can lead to a deep understanding and support of one another. 

More Info

Stay tuned for the next blog in this series titled, “Circles of Sexuality: Sexual Identity”.

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