What is intimacy?
Intimacy is the feeling of closeness and interconnectedness with another person. It is a foundation for a long and healthy relationship, whether that be romantic or platonic.
Physical intimacy is about creating feelings of closeness and connection using physical touch. This can include: sex, kissing, hugging, cuddling, holding hands, etc. This kind of touch releases oxytocin in the brain, the “happy” chemical.
Emotional intimacy is candid sharing of thoughts and feelings. It is the ability to tell someone your deepest fears and dreams, and feeling understood when you do. This creates a “safe space” for difficult emotions to arise. This type also means you don’t have a fear of being belittled when you do share these thoughts and feelings. Examples include: relationship check ins, telling your partner about something stressful that happened at work that day, or sharing past trauma.
Intellectual intimacy is the comfort with communicating beliefs and morals without worrying about potential conflict. Each person in the relationship has the ability to think for themselves and believe that their opinions are valued. Examples include: debating which Harry Potter move was the best, a couple reading a book together shares their takeaways from the book, or the couple debates if pineapple belongs on pizza.
Experiential intimacy is shared experiences that lead to private memories that intensify a connection. It is the bond created by the closeness from doing a shared activity. Examples include: a couple training for a marathon together, cooking a meal together, traveling somewhere that neither person has been to before.
Spiritual intimacy is the closeness that comes from sharing poignant moments together. This can include religion, but doesn’t have to. Examples include: a couple watching the sunset together, standing in quiet awe at the Grand Canyon, or reading passages from their religious text every night before bed.
Healthy relationships involve connecting on multiple levels, with multiple types of intimacy. Learning to communicate more effectively with your partner will aid in all of these five areas of intimacy.