Intimacy: Beyond Physical Relationships


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“What is the difference between intimacy and being intimate?”

“Isn’t it the same thing?.”

This is just one of the few misconceptions that surround intimacy.

Intimacy, often is associated with closeness, sexual activity, love, marriage, privacy, or relatively intense forms of physical engagement. It is important to keep in mind that, when intimacy exists, each of these may or may not be involved.

Intimacy and Relationships

Intimacy in close relationships is developed by  self disclosure, being vulnerable to each other by being both verbal as well nonverbal with communication.

Types of Intimacy:

  • Emotional Intimacy: Feeling safe enough to share one’s emotions with each other.
  • Experiential Intimacy: When people feel connected performing similar activities together.
  • Intellectual Intimacy: Feeling comfortable sharing opinions and ideas even when they disagree
  • Sexual Intimacy: Engaging in sensual or sexual activities and feeling connected.

Fear of Intimacy

Intimacy can help you feel more loved and less alone. But intimacy also requires a great deal of trust and vulnerability, and you may find this frightening. People can fear intimacy for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Abandonment Issues
  • Past Abuse
  • Control Issues
  • Fear of Rejection

Building Intimacy in a Relationship

It is possible to overcome fears of intimacy. A compassionate counsellor/ psychologist can help understand the triggers or underlying emotions driving one’s fear.

A few tips to enhance intimacy are as follows:

  • Be patient. Getting to truly know someone is a serious commitment.
  • Start with the easy stuff. If you find it easier to talk about the future than the past, then start by sharing your dreams and goals.
  • Talk openly about your needs. Be vocal about your needs and wants rather than assuming what your partner might like.
  • Respect each other’s differences. It is alright not to like similar things or agree on everything.