When people hear the word “intimacy,” sex is usually the first thing that comes to mind. In reality, there are tons of other ways to be intimate with your partner that don’t involve sex. Practicing other types of intimacy might just be what you and your partner need to spice up your love life.
What Other Types Of Intimacy Are There?
Intimacy is all about feeling close and connected with your partner, which means there are an infinite amount of ways to fulfill this desire. If we group the different types of intimacy into general categories, there are four types of intimacy that we as humans crave in our relationships. This includes: emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual.
Each type of intimacy can be met with numerous forms of love from our partners. The beauty of intimacy is that every person’s preferences will differ, making every relationship unique! Sprinkling all four types of intimacy into your relationship can help you and your partner to feel fulfilled and most connected to one another.
Emotional intimacy is all about feeling safe enough to be vulnerable with your partner and share your honest feelings. This can be basic communication about your boundaries and needs in the relationship, or even sharing your deepest desires, fears, or dreams with one another. Whatever the case may be, these topics are extremely personal, so it’s important you both feel seen, heard, respected and supported when sharing.
Physical intimacy is the most obvious and involves having physical comfort and closeness with your partner. You might have guessed it, but this is the category that sex fits into. Other forms of intimate touch are things like hand holding, hugging, kissing, cuddling, or even giving eachother massages.
Mental intimacy, also referred to as intellectual intimacy, revolves around sharing your honest perspectives, opinions and thoughts without fear of judgement. To truly explore this type of intimacy, these conversations need to be met with respect from your partner regardless if they have a difference in opinion. Having constructive conversations like this can be about anything from political views, finances, parenting, household chores, or trying new things together.
The term “spiritual intimacy” sounds like it has everything to do with religion, but it’s actually a lot more than that. Spiritual intimacy is more about having a mutual respect for one another’s higher level ideas or core beliefs, which can involve religious practices, but doesn’t have to. However you define your own spirituality, you should feel comfortable expressing it around your partner without judgment, and maybe even be open to practicing it together.
How Can You Start Practicing The Four Types Of Intimacy?
If you want to improve intimacy with your partner and don’t know where to start, the best thing to do is have an open and honest conversation about it. This in itself is a form of emotional and mental intimacy, so you’re already off to a great start! Approach the conversation from a place of love and express your desire to connect on a deeper level with your partner.
Take things slow when exploring new types of intimacy that you’re not as comfortable with. If physical intimacy doesn’t come easy to you and your partner, try starting small by holding hands when you’re sitting on the couch together or walking around in public. Or if you recognize that your partner struggles with emotional intimacy and expressing their feelings, try gently asking them questions to open up room for a conversation that they might be uncomfortable initiating.
No matter which type of intimacy it is that you’d like to practice and improve with your partner, start small and work your way up overtime. It won’t happen overnight, but with consistent and mindful practice from both parties, you can really make amazing progress in your relationship.
Intimacy comes in all different shapes and sizes, and how couples view intimacy can differ widely amongst relationships. But one thing is certain: relationships revolve around intimacy and it’s the most important thing that will bring you and your partner closer together. It takes time and practice, but if you and your partner work together to focus on all four types of intimacy, you can develop a deeper sense of love and care for each other than you ever would have thought possible.