What is your definition of intimacy? If I’m being completely honest, the initial definition that came to my mind is a terrifying level of closeness. lol As oxymoronic as it sounds, I’m not afraid to admit that intimacy, especially in a romantic relationship, is incredibly scary. While it’s natural to not have passionate chemistry with every person you meet, when you do meet the right person, knowing & embracing all types of intimacy is the only way to surrender & be truly vulnerable enough with someone in order to fall in love with them.
Intimacy cannot be forced into a relationship; no matter how long & hard you may try. It takes two individuals who are ready & want to be vulnerable with one another to fall in love & experience all types of intimacy together. Let’s explore the different types of intimacy: Emotional, Experiential, Intellectual, Physical, & Spiritual.
Emotional intimacy is being able to be authentic & honest with your feelings. It’s when you’re able to freely share your innermost hopes, dreams, fears, & secrets without judgement. It’s being able to openly express your emotions & feelings for your partner. It’s understanding that your partner is a human being & accepting them for who they are when they’re angry, happy, sad, or scared. It’s making an effort to always listen, & understand how they feel, even when it’s hard.
Experiential intimacy is sharing different experiences with your partner. It’s going on exciting dates or fun trips that you plan & discover together. It can be baking or cooking new recipes together. It can be bungee jumping or taking a hot air balloon ride. It’s choosing stops along the way of a road trip that you will both enjoy or sharing your top priority “must-do” things when exploring a new city, state, or country. It’s what ultimately creates amazing, meaningful memories as well as inside jokes within your connection.
Intellectual intimacy is always feeling on the same page as your partner mentally. It’s being able to have deep & thought-provoking conversations. It’s feeling mentally challenged & open to expanding your perspective safely without fear of being attacked for your thoughts & opinions. It’s falling in love with your partner’s mind & their way of seeing the world.
Physical intimacy is self-explanatory. It includes being welcome in your partner’s personal space. It’s holding hands, hugging, kissing, massaging, & any forms of sexual activity. It involves consent, being comfortable, & feeling safe when being physically intimate with your partner as well. No one should ever feel pressured or shamed into being physically intimate, even within a committed relationship or marriage. It’s always feeling safe in your partner’s arms & whole-heartedly trusting them to love & respect your body.
Spiritual intimacy is sharing special & meaningful moments together. It can include religious practices, such as prayer or meditation, but it’s also being able to discuss your ethics & personal definition of spirituality without fear of being judged. To me, it also includes time spent together in nature: observing a peaceful sunset, going on hikes through different terrains, spending time at the beach in the ocean, or even appreciating a river, lake, or waterfall.
While intimacy still terrifies me, exploring the different types of intimacy while writing this blog post has actually helped me realize all the ways I’ve already experienced intimacy without even realizing it. And that’s why I think being with someone who makes you forget about being scared of intimacy is super important. Use your fear as a guide. If the person you’re with makes you scared to be intimate & vulnerable with them, take it as a huge red flag & reconsider your relationship. Because your desire to feel to closer to your partner needs to always be greater than your fear of being abandoned, disappointed, or hurt by them.
Couples often try to build a lasting relationship foundation through physical intimacy alone, while overlooking the importance of all the other non-physical types of intimacy. A healthy relationship involves being intimate, vulnerable, & taking a true leap of faith with your partner. But the truth is, when you find the right person, they’ll encourage & inspire you to engage in all types of intimacy, especially in a way that always makes you feel comfortable & safe.