When you hear the word intimacy, most of us already think of sex, right? Well I do.
Intimacy is actually defined in the Websters Dictionary as: familiarity the state of being intimate, however intimacy is really a lot more complex that just being familiar with someone.
In psychology, there are differences of opinion on how many types of intimacy there are. Here are in my opinion, the Top 5 most important types. There is Sexual/Sensual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, and Experiential Intimacy. Each of these are very important to us as human beings. We are social creatures who need each other and when we do not form these intimate relationships correctly then it can cause constant conflict with others. This can result in isolation.
What are the differences between the types of intimacy?
Sexual Intimacy– The is the most commonly known form of intimacy. Basically, this would include any form of sensual or sexual touching. As per the level each person considers the actions to be intimate depends on each participants stake in the relationship. For example, if it were a one night stand and you were to just hook up with another consenting adult; you may not consider that very intimate. Unlike, a couple who had been dating or married for years who have built a life together and the familiarity with each others likes and dislikes would be more known and the relationship would include other forms of intimacy.
Physical Intimacy– This form of intimacy can include things as plutonic affection. It can be displayed between friends, siblings, parents, family, etc. Physical Intimacy can include hugging, kissing, sitting in someones lap, scratching their back, playing with their hair, giving them a massage, etc. Basically it could include many physical means of expressing yourself to those who are close to you without expressing yourself sexually.
Emotional Intimacy– If you feel safe sharing your feelings with each other; even uncomfortable ones then you know you have emotional intimacy with that person. A lot of times, you may get this intimacy from good friends, a parent, a sibling. Someone you know that will not judge you. Someone that maybe has been through the same struggles that you have been through. You may even build this type of intimacy with a therapist due to the nature of the work you are doing together. This intimacy is ALL about TRUST.
Intellectual Intimacy– It is amazing to have those around you that you can bounce your ideas off of each other and they listen to you with open minds and truly comprehend what the other person is saying. These types of conversations build intellectual intimacy. People feel comfortable sharing opinions and ideas without feeling as if it is an argument because there is no competition to prove the other wrong. It is truly a respected conversation to learn from each other. There is no winner.
Experiential Intimacy– Have you ever worked with your family to make dinner or plan a party? Have you ever helped your kids on a school project? These are examples of experiential intimacy. You are working together as a team to complete a task or to share in an experience. Personally for an example, I have always been afraid of heights but this Â summer my kids helped me to climb a mountain and to go zip lining because of their positive energy and cheering me on. Over these experiences we bonded and they have changed my life.
Intimacy is something all relationships need to last. Lasting romantic relationships usually require time to build intimacy because they must include many of the different types of intimacy to really get to know a person.
Unfortunately, there are people who have a great fear of intimacy for many different reasons. It could be trust, abandonment, control issues, fear of abandonment or past abuse. Seeking professional help is the best choice if any of these issues apply to your situation.
Why would I need an Intimacy Coach?
The purpose for an intimacy coach is to help individuals strengthen the connections they have between themselves and everyone in the environment. Coaches are also there to guide people so that they are more confident in their own sexualities and live more satisfying sex lives. In our current situation, it is very difficult not only to interact with other individuals but also technology and society have trained us to be disconnected from our own bodies. Intimacy coaches aim to teach people how to first of all connect with yourself so that when you are connecting with others, you are more confident and successful in your attempts to build long lasting, authenticity, and healthy relationships.