Understanding the Types of Intimacy: Your Guide

Types of Intimacy

When we talk about being intimate in a relationship, our minds often jump to sex.

After all, at its most fundamental level, the word “intimacy” simply means “the state of having a close, personal relationship or romantic relationship with someone.” There are plenty of ways to make this happen beyond sexual activity!

If you’re looking for ways to bring your partner closer, it’s worth considering the full spectrum of possibilities when it comes to intimacy in a relationship. Let’s take a look at the five main types of intimacy to consider.

1. Emotional Intimacy

This type of intimacy refers to how well you and your partner share your emotions with each other. On a basic level, it’s what we mean when we say that we “feel close” to our partner. Someone you’re intimate with on an emotional level is someone you feel comfortable being yourself with, being vulnerable with, and even crying with on occasion.

2. Intellectual Intimacy

When you feel comfortable with your partner’s beliefs, perspectives, and mindset, we call this intellectual intimacy. This type of mental intimacy occurs when you can engage in conversation about your opinions and views without worrying about conflicts. It’s also a good sign when you both enjoy hearing each other’s thoughts or your rationale behind certain behaviors.

3. Physical Intimacy

This is different from sexual intimacy in that it includes comfort with non-sexual physical touching. Cuddling, hugging, casual touching, and holding hands are all great examples of physical intimacy. These gestures show your partner that they are cherished without even needing words.

4. Sexual Intimacy

Sexual intimacy is, of course, one of the most widely known types of intimacy—and you’ll need both for a solid relationship. Sex without intimacy can be stressful in a relationship, and intimacy without sex can lead to worries and frustration over a dead bedroom. True sexual intimacy, on the other hand, is a great way to connect and turn physical actions into a demonstration of love.

5. Experiential Intimacy

One of the least-discussed types of intimacy, experiential intimacy refers to the intimacy involved in shared experiences. When you feel comfortable with casual cooperation and teamwork, when you have shared jokes and memories, and when you strengthen your bond with your collection of experiences, your experiential intimacy is strong.

Seek Different Types of Intimacy With Your Partner

Beyond sexual intimacy, it’s important to find a range of ways to connect with the person you love. From setting up more date nights to talking to your partner about their opinions and interests, little habits like these can help you create the intimacy you desire in your relationship. With a little effort, you can overcome any lingering intimacy issues to help your relationship stand the test of time! Looking for more tips to help your relationship flourish? Check out our other guides for additional insights.