So now we know that there are different ways of connecting and being intimate with our partners, apart from just sexually. In this article, I will focus on the ways in which you can explore the 8 different types of intimacy. Here are a few suggestions that you can use as a baseline and create new ways of experiencing intimacy in your relationships.
Physical Intimacy is not sexual intimacy and is based on the physical contact between partners. Talking about what is comfortable is a great way to start and here are some examples of how you can work on physical intimacy in your relationship:
· a light touch on the shoulder giving support to when your partner could be upset
· hugging before your partner leaves or returns from work
· a kiss (peck) on the forehead, cheek, hand
· cuddling when watching a movie or falling asleep
· stroking their hair lightly and looking at them in admiration
· holding hands
Emotional intimacy is being naked with your emotions and a great way of knowing that your partner has your back, no matter what happens. Here are some ways you can build on this kind of intimacy in your relationship:
· share fears and things that make you anxious – sex, arguments, conflict, family
· accept that both you and your partner have flaws and be more tolerable to them
· is your partner the first person you break important news to?
· can you bare your soul to your partner? Are they comfortable to do the same?
Spiritual intimacy is having a spiritual layer that connects partners beyond the physical realm and space. Here are some ways you can work on spiritual intimacy in your relationship:
· do you openly share and talk about your values and beliefs?
· do you worship together?
· cleansing yourself from past negative experiences by forgiving and letting things go
· praying, meditating, practicing deep breathing or sit in silence together for 5-10 minutes each day
Affection Intimacy is generally about showing affection. Here are some ways that partners can show affection towards each other:
· physical touch like hugging, kissing, cuddling
· saying loving comments and complimenting each other
· sharing positive affirmations about one another
· practicing gratitude
Intellectual Intimacy is when partners can give each other constructive feedback and are supportive in their joint and individual journeys. Here are some ways that you can connect with each other intellectually:
· reading together
· taking up projects together to understand individual strengths and challenges
· be each other’s voice of reason (a safe place to get advice)
· discuss ways in which you would like to grow together as a couple and as individuals
Aesthetic (Experiential) Intimacy is when partners can share something beautiful together and here are some ways you can connect with each other aesthetically:
· create a bucket list of all the things and places to see together
· jointly planning short trips or longer holidays
· agree on a hobby you can do jointly; even doing house chores together
· exercising together by walking, cycling, swimming, jogging
Social (Recreational) Intimacy is when partners schedule time together socially and here are some ways that you can connect with each other socially:
· shopping or window shopping
· going to the movies
· game drives
· visiting new places
And now for sexual intimacy? Sexual intimacy can be experienced by partners by having outercourse or intercourse (penetrative sex). Here are some ways you can enhance your sexual intimacy:
· be present and enthusiastic with your partner and avoid distractions such as TVs and phones
· talk about and share your likes and dislikes on different sexual behaviours
· if you are both happy to experiment, try some sensate focus or tantric sex
· guide your partner to the erogenous zones on your body
Now that we know the 8 different types of intimacy and also know a few ways we can achieve them (in the practical sense) we can focus on redefining these and finding other ways of enhancing and nurturing the different types of intimacy that exist in loving and fulfilling relationships. As always, feel free to make your own rules and practice what works for you!
What is your favorite way of being intimate with your partner, outside of sex?