Intimacy refers to the level of closeness between two people.
There are four main types of intimacy which include emotional, physical, spiritual, and intellectual or mental. Emotional intimacy refers to the emotional closeness and safety one feels. Physical intimacy includes safe touch and physical connection. Spiritual intimacy is the sharing of values and beliefs. Intellectual intimacy refers to the level of comfortability with sharing your thoughts and ideas (Arzt & Sookdeo, 2023). I often hear misconceptions that intimacy in a relationship means sex or physical closeness. For some people, to feel intimate means to feel emotionally close or connected, which does not always include a sexual relationship.
Intimacy is the connection between two people
If intimacy is the connection between two people, then it would make sense that intimacy is needed throughout a marriage or long-term relationship. Research shows that strong intimacy in a couple relationship improves stress reduction (van Lankveld et al., 2018). So how can you increase intimacy with your partner? To start, it could be beneficial for you both to identify your needs—please see link below for link to universal needs resource. Your needs can help you figure out what form of intimacy will be helpful for you. For example, if you have a need to feel heard, then increasing space for intellectual or emotional intimacy might fulfill that. If your need is affection, then maybe physical intimacy is what will help you feel more connected. If your intimacy needs to not match your partner, try not to worry! Is there a need for a type of intimacy that you both are craving? Try to foster that first.
Intimacy is not only important for a romantic relationship, but for platonic relationships too.
When I hear the word intimacy, I think of having a secure attachment with someone; this could be a friend, partner, or parent. Having healthy relationships with intimacy are not only beneficial to our emotional wellbeing, but also our physical health (Umberson & Montez, 2010). We all have a desire to feel connected to others, to feel safe, and to feel like we belong.