Intimacy, hmmm, don’t we always conclude that the word is all about physical love and sex? A large population needs to understand that intimacy in relationships is beyond just the physical acts of love. They are, indeed, the binding forces of keeping people together and happy. While physical intimacy is one type, there are many other types of intimacy in a relationship that we should know about. Why? So we don’t invalidate our needs thinking we’re asking for too much or are being asked of too much.
What is intimacy, really? It’s that feeling of belongingness, closeness, bond, and love that we feel for our partners. It’s a wholesome connection that one can feel from their heart, mind, and soul. A relationship without intimacy of any type is heading towards a dead end. Not that one should seek all 10 types of intimacy to perfection. That’s being over expectant. But, having them all in proportions that make you and your PARTNER feel in love and a healthy relationship is the perfect amount.
As social creatures, we all require intimacy. Becoming one another’s safety nets and growing comfortable with each other’s aspirations and goals is a major sign of intimacy. Why do you think couples grow apart? Because they grow older? Because they’ve already spent so many years together? No! it’s because of the lack of intimacy. When new romances transform into strengthened relationships, intimacy acts as the source of togetherness. It’s not just about sex!
Let’s talk about the 10 types of intimacy in relationships and explore how they keep us together in bliss. We’ll also talk about how intimacy is the key to building stronger and healthier relationships.
10 Types of Intimacy in a Relationship
1. Physical Intimacy
Let’s begin with the most known and obvious of the many types of intimacy in relationships, physical intimacy. I’ve said it before, I say it again, it’s not just about the sex. The craving for being close to one another with actions like hugging, kissing, laying down next to each other, cuddling, holding hands, etc., are all part of physical intimacy. The closeness and comfort that come with physical proximity are, undoubtedly significant for intimacy.
How do you improve physical intimacy?
- Be gentle
- Don’t emphasize only having sex
- Try expressing emotions and feelings with touch
- Talk about it with your partner when you feel a lack of physical touch
- Reciprocate touch with touch
2. Emotional Intimacy
Unfortunately, most couples don’t even consider the point of emotional intimacy as relevant in their relationship. Emotional intimacy is in fact one of the most important types of intimacy considering it is what helps a relationship last. Being friends, lending an ear, being responsive to emotions, feeling comfort, is all part of emotional intimacy. You can look at it this way, when something happens, who do you want to share it with first? If your partner is not among the first few people, there’s a lack of emotional intimacy!
How do you improve emotional intimacy?
We’ll be taking this up separately because I believe it demands more than just a few points. Couples should work on emotional intimacy more than anything else!
3. Conflict Intimacy
Be honest, of the many types of intimacy, did you expect something conflict intimacy to be on this list? Well, no matter how well a couple is bonded, conflicts tend to arise, and there’s no way around it other than dealing with them. But conflict intimacy entails how maturely and respectfully a couple can handle these conflicts without letting things blow out of proportion.
There’s a difference between putting an end to a fight and working on the issues. A couple with good conflict intimacy will be able to do the latter and build a better relationship space.
How do you improve conflict intimacy?
- Ace high level of emotional intimacy
- Have a voice; speak things up
- Respond; don’t react
- Accept conflicts as a part of life, not the end of everything
4. Sexual Intimacy
Yes, I told you before, physical intimacy is not the same as sexual intimacy, and here’s why! Among all the types of intimacy in relationships, this is the one most people know of, and try fixing these issues only. Sometimes, there’s a dry spell in sexual intimacy. It is the pressure and worry that follow that creates a dip in sexual intimacy. Why let it bother you so much? There’s always a way out. Enjoy sex when you’re together. It’s a bodily need and a relationship satisfies this need. But does a lack of sexual intimacy mean the end of a relationship, hell no! It eventually gets better.
How do you improve sexual intimacy?
- Be in the moment- nothing else matters during these moments of intimacy
- Try new things (that’s comfortable for both partners)
- Understand each other’s wants
- Talk about it- when there’s good sexual intimacy, and definitely where there’s a lack of it
- Let things flow naturally
5. Spiritual Intimacy
The name “spiritual” itself suggests how this is different and yet important alongside the other types of intimacy in a relationship. A relationship should have a profound meaning, much like we aim for our lives too. When two partners share a spiritual bond, they’re much calmer when it comes to bridging gaps and calming a raging storm. Retrospect your spiritual beliefs. See if you can meet mid-way. It is the spirituality that sets several of our values and principles. Being of two different spiritual beliefs could come in the way you plan your lives together. Something to think about!
How do you improve spiritual intimacy?
- Don’t be afraid of sharing your spiritual beliefs
- Be present together but in silence; meditate as a couple
- Move on from past mistakes; forgive & forget
- Be mindful about the things you speak
- Pray together/ take spiritual getaways
6. Intellectual Intimacy
Are you on the same level as your partner when it comes to sharing thoughts and ideas? A couple can’t be mushy all the time. There has to be space for intellectual conversations and discussions, where it feels challenging enough to be a part of it. Most couples get bored of their partners due to a lack of intellectual intimacy. But a couple with high intellectual intimacy can talk about anything underneath the sun, knowing it’s merely a discussion, and they’re both entitled to an opinion. Of the many types of intimacy in a relationship, this one requires much attention.
How do you improve intellectual intimacy?
- Read together; make book recommendations
- Encourage healthy discussions
- Understand each other’s decisions
- Back each other when it comes to intellect
- Take intellectual trips together
Remember, sapiosexual is the new sexy!
7. Experiential Intimacy
In simple words, it’s the experiences that count and amount to experiential intimacy. Among the many types of intimacy, this one becomes lost, not finding enough space in a relationship. Make the time you spend together memorable. They’re the experiences that help you bond because they live with you forever in the form of memories. Now whether you want these memories or experiences to be filled with love or with bitterness is in your hands.
Note: Experiential intimacy doesn’t suggest leaving everything aside and clinging together all day long. It means, whatever time you have for each other, spend it happily and distraction-free.
How do you improve experiential intimacy?
- Create a journal to write your experiences (share this journal)
- I’m sure you already have a bucket list; start achieving them together!
- Spend time with each other minus the distractions
- Find a hobby you both can enjoy
- Couple time is couple time; friends are not invited!
8. Creative Intimacy
The word creative itself brings a smile to many faces. But it doesn’t just mean doing creative things together. It also means doing creative things for each other. One of the most interesting types of intimacy in relationships, this type defines the efforts that couples take to remind each other of the love they share and the goals they want to achieve. Surprise each other; don’t ask, “What do you need for your birthday?” Cultivate the habit of, “I hope you love your birthday surprise.” It doesn’t matter if you’ve just known each other or married long, be creative in your love. Leave cards, send texts, plan surprises, bring home a rose- do whatever you can and want!
How do you improve creative intimacy?
- Leave cards for each other
- Plan surprises
- Send cute texts
- Bring home a rose/chocolate
- Pamper- offer massages
- The sky is the limit! Think, feel, action!
9. Work Intimacy
Nope, this isn’t about your office. We’re talking about the types of intimacy in a relationship, remember? And do we forget that there’s also work to split in a relationship? The chores shouldn’t be one person’s burden only. Split work, and do it with grace. If one of you is responsible for buying the groceries and the other for cooking, ensure you do it without cribbing. Contribute to your relationship like you contribute to your tasks at work. In fact, the former is more important!
How do you improve work intimacy?
- Split chores once and for all
- Avoid nagging; remind gently
- Don’t find faults in each other’s work
- Respect space of doing the work
- Don’t center your lives around it
10. Communication Intimacy
OMG! Communication keeps coming up, doesn’t it? Like, there’s nothing else! Well, there is. But Communication is the key! If you’re unable to convey things the way you think and feel them, then it’s not a healthy relationship. Also significant among the types of intimacy in a relationship, communication intimacy means being able to speak up and express when you’re uncomfortable. It also means having your partner listen to you without being dismissing or uninterested in the things you say.
How do you improve communication intimacy?
- There’s no space for fear
- Find the right time to speak
- Don’t respond condescendingly
- Be polite
- Express, don’t argue
- Listen, don’t hear!
So, you see, there’s not one but 10 types of intimacy in a relationship that we need to work upon to build a healthy relationship. Now, this doesn’t mean you theorize your love. You don’t have to sit with this as a note whenever you’re doing something together. All of this happens in the subconscious mind but only when we train the mind. Ask for what you think you deserve and offer the same in return! Work on your relationship’s intimacy on a large scale.
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Happy Intimacy to you!
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