Exploring Different Types of Intimacy
Exploring Different Types of Intimacy
Explore Different Types of Intimacy
Getting close is more than physical!
Intimacy is a trendy word when talking about relationships. It has become a euphemism for sexual activity, but intimacy is much more than just sexual. Intimacy has four individual facets: physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental. Our comfort level with each type of intimacy depends on various factors. We will help you better understand each aspect to confidently and more openly explore all aspects of intimacy with yourself and with your partner(s). The first thing to note concerning intimacy is that all elements require vulnerability.
The Four Types of Intimacy
Physical intimacy is defined as a connection and communication built through friendship, platonic love, romantic love, and/or sexual activity. When exploring physical intimacy in your relationships, you can try a multitude of physical activities, but it is essential to try and get more vulnerable. Some physically intimate activities you can give a whirl are couple’s meditation and yoga, giving each other a massage, showering or taking a bath together, and spending some time in a deep embrace.
Emotional intimacy is the candid sharing of thoughts and feelings. This includes all emotions, not just the positive ones. Being emotionally intimate can look like scheduling time to chat about your fears or worries regarding something specific in your life, like school or your job. It can also be conversations about where you see yourself, your relationship, or your career in 5 years. Active listening is a great technique to practice if you are looking for more ways to better your communication to enhance emotional intimacy.
Spiritual intimacy does not have to be rooted in religion. Spiritual intimacy has to do with closeness in specific moments. These can be unexpected moments like celebrating something together or something more intentional like celebrating an anniversary. If you are a spiritual or religious person, you can cultivate intimacy with your practices with your partner. For example, invite them to spiritual service with you or ask if they want to join in a ritualistic practice. If you want to explore spiritual intimacy but aren’t religious or spiritual and don’t know where to start, try exploring your ethics and beliefs with a partner.
Mental intimacy is all about getting cerebral with your partner. Some great activities to engage in mental intimacy are reading together. This can be one partner reading aloud to the other or both of you reading the same book, like your own mini-book club. In addition, you can have debates with each other. We don’t recommend debating super heavy topics, but a discussion around the greatest movie of all time with each of you sharing your various points and details on why the movie you think is the best. You could also play a game of scrabble together to put your mind to work to develop words throughout the game while also spending quality time together.
Importance of All Forms of Intimacy
Now that you have an idea of the different aspects of intimacy, we can turn to why each one is important. Each aspect of intimacy is a different part of ourselves. Being in a relationship usually means that you share all the different parts of yourself with someone else. Prioritizing and engaging in all the forms of intimacy strengthens many components of your relationship, allows you to stay in touch with yourself while in a relationship, and get closer to your partner in more ways than one.
Balancing The Different Forms of Intimacy in Your Relationship
Knowing that all forms of intimacy impact our relationships and ourselves, it is important to take note of how much one form of intimacy shows up in your life and relationship. For many of us, one or two forms of intimacy may come easier than others. There is nothing wrong with that, but being heavily dependent on one type of intimacy can cause strain on a relationship, especially as you balance the responsibilities of adulthood, manage friendships, and all the other things you may have on your plate.
Take some time to reflect on your relationship. Think about the activities and dates you and your partner have done in the past one or two months. Have you gone out to dinner together more than anything else? Have you been having copious amounts of sex? Is all of your quality time spent reading separate books with no communication? Do you engage in debates that sometimes get a little heated? If you see a heavy trend for a specific activity after reviewing the past couple of months, you can see what form of intimacy you and your partner are engaging in most.
If you are engaging in one form of intimacy more than others, that is not to say there is a problem in your relationship. If you and your partner are both happy and engaged in your relationship, that is what matters. This will show you areas where you have room for more closeness with each other. You can explore all the different areas as you please, but you may be surprised at how you and your partner get to know each other through a type of intimacy you don’t typically engage in.
There are many different ways to get more intimate with your partner, not just in the bedroom. If you feel like you are falling into a rut or stalemate with your partner, intentionally exploring a new area of intimacy with your partner can significantly help you get out of the rut.