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The Importance of Intimacy in your Relationship

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

Intimacy is a cornerstone of most relationships; enjoying the closeness and connection that intimacy offers can strengthen and deepen a relationship. But what is intimacy really?


An intimate moment between two people, touching feet in bed

Intimacy can be a physical closeness or an emotional connection; it can be an intellectual bond or it can be experiential. Finding something that ties you with another person can be the basis for a more fulfilling sexual relationship. But Intimacy is not necessarily a prerequisite for sex and similarly, a sexual relationship might not always include a level of intimacy.


So if intimacy means different things to different people, let’s look at some of the different definitions of intimacy you might resonate with.


Physical

Physical intimacy is about physical touch between bodies. In a romantic relationship, that could mean holding hands, kissing, spooning or sex.


Emotional

Emotional intimacy is often the most important type of intimacy for a relationship. Being emotionally intimate with someone is about sharing personal feelings with the other person which leads to a feeling of being secure, being understood and being cared for. Emotional intimacy may display itself in conversations around your future, hopes and fears and stressful experiences and through these conversations you feel cared for by the other person.


Experiential

Experiential intimacy is developed through shared experiences; this might be spending quality time with each other or sharing hobbies and activities that you are both interested in. While solo experiences are important, sharing an experience can deepen an existing bond or be the foundation of a new relationship.


Intellectual

Intellectual intimacy is understanding how the other person's mind works, exchanging ideas and engaging in meaningful conversations. Think of the relationships where you stayed up all night talking and there was something electric and exciting about it. That’s the type of intellectual intimacy we’re talking about.


Intimacy isn't an immediate feeling or connection; it can take time to build upon this part of your relationship but it can enrich the existing connection you have with someone or be the foundation for starting a new relationship.


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