When you hear the word intimacy, you immediately think of physical intimacy, right? It seems like it’s the only kind of intimacy most people know.

However, there are a few more types of intimacy that are crucial for having a healthy relationship.

Being in an intimate relationship doesn’t mean physical contact only, it means to create and nurture a strong and deep bond between partners.

Now, you’re probably aware that intimacy doesn’t just happen in a relationship. It takes hard work and effort from both sides, and it definitely takes time to be built. It’s very similar to trust.

The fact is that we all crave a personal relationship with another human being and we all want to find someone with whom we’ll bond and be able to share our lives.

Do you know what a soulmate means and represents? It’s a person that is meant for you. It’s someone with whom you’ll be able to feel free.

It’s someone who’ll know every little thing about you, but will still accept all of you and love all your good sides and the bad ones equally.

When you find that person, only then will you be able to discover and enjoy every level of intimacy.

We want to feel that closeness with another person. We all crave someone who’ll complete us and be our other and better half. We all want to be loved for who we really are because that’s the true meaning of life.

Yes, physical intimacy is very important for a successful relationship, but there is so much more than that when it comes to a healthy relationship.

A good relationship is never based on intercourse and physical touch only. There are many other types of intimacy that are equally or even more important for a relationship to succeed.

What are the four types of intimacy?

back view of an elegant couple sitting with the man kissing on the woman's shoulder

Having that chemistry in your bedroom is not enough to make your relationship work. You’ll have to bond on so many more levels to have a healthy relationship.

A lack of any kind of intimacy will probably damage or may even ruin your relationship.

One side will feel emotionally abandoned or lose interest in their partner and it’ll definitely affect the relationship negatively.

Just like there are different types of relationships, there are also different types of intimacy. However, if you really want to have a good and successful relationship, then all four types of intimacy should be equally formed.

Emotional intimacy

young woman lies in bed smiling and looking at her smartphone in the morning

Is your partner the first person you think of when you wake up? Are they the first person you call and share good news with when something good happens to you?

If they are, then it means you have a strong emotional connection with that person, and if the other side feels the same about you, you can rest assured that you’re in a healthy and good relationship.

This is the most important kind of intimacy for a successful relationship. When you’re in a romantic relationship with someone, you want to feel safe with that person.

You want to be sure that you can trust them. You must be connected emotionally in order to make your relationship work.

Emotional intimacy means sharing your deepest and darkest secrets and being able to tell each other everything. This is what actually makes a relationship healthy and successful.

Your relationship must be your ‘safe space’. You must be comfortable around each other all the time, and share your secrets, your thoughts and your feelings.

But, the most important thing is that even if you don’t agree with each other’s decisions and actions, you should never judge each other’s choices.

Be each other’s biggest support in life, along with each other’s biggest fan.

A lack of emotional intimacy in a relationship can be a cause for many disagreements and problems that may eventually ruin your relationship.

You’ll definitely argue sometimes, but that’s perfectly normal because all couples do. It’s also part of a relationship. The important thing is how you deal with it.

Will you allow those fights to damage your relationship or will you fight against them and try to deal with them in a healthy way?

If you want to increase the emotional intimacy in your relationship, then you just have to communicate more with your partner.

You must talk every day. Listen and try to understand each other. That will definitely strengthen the emotional bond between you and build trust in your relationship.

Intellectual intimacy

happy couple talking at home and chilling in the evening at the sofa

​We are all very different human beings with different opinions and views on some things. Your partner and you are different, too, and that’s perfectly okay.

The important thing is to accept your differences and not allow them to interfere in your connection. In fact, you should embrace them because they’re improving your intellectual intimacy.

You must never interfere in each other’s beliefs because that will definitely create some conflicts between you.

Both of you must have the freedom to think for yourselves and you must value each other’s opinions and beliefs. That’s the only way you’ll make your relationship work.

You don’t have to agree with each other’s religious or spiritual beliefs, but you must always accept them.

When you’re connected on an intellectual level, you’ll be able to discuss everything as well as debate and argue, but you’ll be able to do all of that in a healthy way, which is very important.

There are different ways to develop or improve the intellectual intimacy in your relationship. For example, you can read a book together and then discuss it.

Talking about your jobs, especially if you have different kinds of jobs, will also help to increase it.

Spiritual intimacy

couple walkin at alley in night lights in a distant

Spiritual intimacy doesn’t mean bonding with your partner through faith only; there are many different ways to bond with your partner that don’t include religion.

Of course, praying together and having some religious rituals together will help to strengthen your connection, but it’s definitely not the only way to do it.

Enjoying a nice and peaceful date night is also a good way to develop spiritual intimacy in a relationship.

Respecting each other’s personal space and taking some time alone is also a great way to connect on a deeper spiritual level in a relationship.

This form of intimacy can also be improved by simple things, such as walking hand in hand in nature, courting under a full moon or simply watching a sunset together.

Physical intimacy

man giving a massage to his wife sitting on the bed and holding a tablet

Intercourse is not a synonym for physical intimacy in a relationship. It’s not and it shouldn’t be. Physical intimacy is showing affection towards each other every day through some little things, such as holding hands, hugging, cuddling or a simple kiss on the forehead.

Being physically intimate with someone doesn’t refer to the things that happen behind closed bedroom doors only; it’s many other things that show closeness between you and your partner.

It’s those little gestures we all do in relationships that make us feel loved and cherished. It’s that peck on the cheek before we get to bed or after we come home from work.

It’s the gentle massage we give our partner when they have a difficult day at work.

Physical intimacy is all these little things and they truly matter the most in a relationship. If you want to build a rock-solid relationship, then physical intimacy is definitely one of the most important pillars you’ll need for that.

See also: 10 Things Couples Should Try At Least Once To Increase Their Intimacy

Other types of intimacy

happy couple of tourist on vacations searching the street on the map

Those are the four most important types of intimacy that every relationship should be based on. There are also a few more types that you should work on if you really want to have a strong bond with your partner.

Experiential intimacy

This is also called an intimacy of activity. It’s when two partners bond over their leisure activities. It’s when they spend some quality time often by doing something they both like.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that couples should do everything together in order to have a stronger connection.

No, that would definitely be a mistake. But, they should find some common interests and hobbies and enjoy them together. It’s simply connecting with your partner through some shared experiences.

Aesthetic intimacy

Do you know the feeling when you’ve just met someone and you kind of feel like you have known that person for years?

Did you ever meet someone for the first time and immediately click with that person?

Well, that can be seen as aesthetic intimacy. It’s when you have so many things in common with your partner.

It’s when you have the same taste for music or fashion or food. It’s when it seems like your partner and you are compatible in every aspect of life.

Recreational intimacy

This is very similar to experiential intimacy as it is also when a couple bonds over some shared experiences.

For example, if you both have the same hobby or if you both like to play the same social games, then doing those things together will definitely improve your relationship. Find some fun activities to do together.

Spending time in nature together will also improve your emotional connection. Plan a picnic in the park or go on a walk in nature more often.

Plan a weekend wellness gateway and you’ll see that the spark will never leave your relationship.

Conflict intimacy

Most couples misunderstand and avoid this kind of intimacy thinking how it’ll damage their relationship. On the contrary, conflict intimacy will only improve your relationship.

You have different opinions and views on some things, and of course, this will provoke some disagreements in your relationship.

But, the important thing is to face those issues and find a way to clear them out together.

Don’t run from problems. Don’t avoid conflicts in your relationship. Sooner or later, those things will come to the surface and they’ll make some bigger issues that may ruin your relationship completely.

Creative intimacy

Creative intimacy doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do something creative together, like take dancing lessons or an art class.

It means that you should always find some creative ways to express your feelings towards each other.

Creative intimacy is making a bucket list together. It also involves planning your future together or making a list of places that you want to visit together one day. It simply means being creative together and helping each other grow that way.

Communication intimacy

​Communication is a very important relationship skill, and in order to connect on a deeper level, you definitely need to learn to speak with each other more effectively.

You must feel comfortable talking with each other about everything. This also means that you must always find time even on your business schedule if your partner needs to talk with you.

Remember, as much as you need to open up to your partner and talk about your feelings, you must also be a good listener and listen carefully when they talk about their feelings.

Crisis intimacy

All relationships have some ups and downs. Well, crisis intimacy means how you behave when your relationship is going through some rough periods.

Actually, those bad moments will strengthen your relationship the most. Facing challenges in your relationship will develop a special kind of closeness.

Work intimacy

This doesn’t mean that having the same career and doing the same jobs will strengthen your bond.

No, work intimacy means that you must respect and support each other’s work life, even if you aren’t satisfied with your partner’s career choice.

It also means improving your closeness by sharing some common tasks or by doing the housework together. This includes sharing children-raising responsibilities equally.

The fear of intimacy

office pensive woman sitting by the office table and looking away while holding a pen

Have you ever heard anyone say they have a fear of intimacy? Did you ever have a partner with that issue?

Well, then you know how difficult it is to deal with it and to find a way to overcome it. Both partners must really put some effort into overcoming those issues because their relationship depends on it.

Actually, the lack and the fear of intimacy are probably some of the most common reasons for relationship breakdowns.

This is also called intimacy avoidance or avoidance anxiety. Many people who have these kinds of issues will try to avoid any type of

intimacy or will feel anxious every time their relationship gets to that point.

The thing you must know is that by avoiding your problems, you’ll never make them disappear. You have to be honest with yourself and admit that you have a problem.

That’s your first step in solving your issues… admitting and accepting the truth. Only after you admit it, you’ll be able to find a way to get rid of that fear.

Then, you’ll try to find a cause for your fear, and unfortunately, there can be many causes.

Painful past experiences, childhood trauma, being in an abusive relationship, problems with self-esteem… those are just a few reasons that may cause a fear of intimacy.

People who have this kind of issue are easy to spot.

They have very low self-esteem, they like to be alone most of the time, their circle of friends is small, committed relationships seem like a mission impossible for them and they’re afraid of every kind of physical contact.

They do fall in love, but in order to have a successful relationship with another person, they must really connect with that person.

They’ll never be able to maintain a relationship if they don’t build trust first. The person who wants to date them will have to gain their trust first.

A person who suffers from a fear of intimacy is also unable to express their feelings. They’re afraid that the other side might use it and hurt them in the end.

See also: If He Does These 7 Things, He Has Intimacy Issues

How to overcome the fear of intimacy?

portrait of a pensive woman with full make up in close up side view

You’ll never be able to have a healthy relationship with another human being if you don’t solve this issue first.

The most important thing is that you acknowledge and accept your fear of intimacy. Accepting this issue is the first step to finding a solution and fixing it.

Stop denying it. Stop lying to yourself and your loved one. Come to terms with your problem and start looking for solutions immediately. Save your relationship before it becomes too late.

Here are some efficient methods you should try in order to overcome your fear of intimacy and start enjoying your relationship.

Identify your problem and find its root causes

Before dealing with the problem, you must find its root cause(s). When did that fear start happening?

Maybe someone has hurt you in the past and it left some consequences on your mental health, but you still haven’t managed to recover from it.

Talk with your partner and let them help you find the cause and then you’ll be able to try to find a solution together.

Work on your self-esteem

The most common cause of a fear of intimacy is poor self-esteem. If someone betrays and hurts us, we may be able to recover, but it’ll leave some marks and we’ll never be able to forget it.

Silence your inner critic

I know there is that annoying voice in all of us that is our biggest critic. However, you must find a way to silence that voice.

You must know your worth, know your value and never allow anyone to treat you any less than you deserve.

Communicate with your partner

You must communicate with your partner on a regular basis. That’s definitely the most important step if you want to get rid of your fear of being intimate with another person.

Don’t try to avoid intimacy in your relationship and behave like nothing is happening. Your partner will realize that something is wrong and it’ll damage your relationship for sure.

Be honest and tell them about your issues so you can search for ways to overcome them.

Forget your painful past experiences

Has a person you loved betrayed or played you? I know it hurts and I know that it leaves some consequences on a person for life.

However, you should really leave it all in the past. Forget about those people who were never worthy of you. Don’t let the past ruin your chances of happiness. Forget about it and start looking to the future.

Get help from a professional

If you really want to save your relationship, you must deal with your fear of intimacy. You should talk with your partner and suggest couple counseling.

It’ll help you strengthen your relationship and overcome those misunderstandings between you. You should give it a try because even if it doesn’t help you, it definitely won’t make things worse.

Give yourself time

It’s normal that you feel like you’re on an emotional roller-coaster right now. That’s why you need to give yourself some time.

You need to sort out your feelings in order to overcome your issues. You won’t overcome the fear of intimacy overnight, no matter how much you love someone and want to do it for them.

Conclusion

woman peeping thru the bed covers inside the bedroom

Intimacy is one of the most important aspects of every healthy relationship. Most people don’t know that there are different types of

intimacy because physical intimacy is the only one they know.

Each and every form of intimacy is equally important, and in order to have a healthy relationship, you’ll have to develop them all.

This might seem like a difficult task, but in fact, it’s quite simple. All of them are based on two things: honest and regular communication, and expressing affection to your loved one.

Improving your intimacy will help you deal with your relationship issues, improve your connection and make your relationship rock solid!