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  • Writer's pictureSarah M.

Types of Intimacy

Intimacy really boils down to connection and attention.

Intimacy is defined as a close familiarity or friendship; closeness. While it may seem this applies to romantic relationships, intimacy is important in non-romantic relationships as well. It is essential to forming connections with others that are deep, lasting, and healthy.

We are first taught intimacy as babies and from there we begin to develop intimate relationships with others, offering them our vulnerabilities in order to build trust. Intimacy is actually good for our health. Those of us in intimate relationships tend to have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, and decreased levels of stress.

But what types of intimacies are there?

Emotional intimacy

Emotional intimacy involves candid, authentic sharing of thoughts and feelings. It's being able to share your deepest fears, dreams, disappointments, and most complicated emotions, as well as feeling seen and understood when you do. Emotional intimacy means both of you feel safe and comfortable.

You can foster emotional intimacy in your relationships by engaging in deeper, more introspective conversation together, talking about emotions and experiences you don't usually share with others.

Listen to understand rather than waiting to respond. Always be careful not to invalidate their feelings, so that you can establish an environment conducive to open, honest dialogue.

Mental intimacy

Consider mental intimacy as a meeting of the minds: It's satisfying, challenging, and possibly stimulating.

Mental intimacy can be conversations about movies and books, the career you both are in, or the causes that matter to you.

Maybe it's a business venture you want to start together or a passion you share, like traveling or rock-climbing. Spending time engaging together in what stimulates you mentally, can add great value to your relationship.

Spiritual intimacy

This one can skew tricky because it's almost impossible for two people to be similarly in touch with their spirituality, because we all experience it in our own way. But, spirituality can take different forms or expressions: maybe it's a code of values or ethics, versus using actual spiritual language or practices.

Find spiritual intimacy by expressing what your spirituality means to you, how it makes you a better person, or gives more meaning to your life.

You can also boost spiritual intimacy by connecting in a quiet, poignant moment. When you are having a moment that feels 'spiritual' to you, share your joy in the spiritual meaning you get from that moment. You can also look for the ways that your loved one expresses deep spirituality through the actions they do and the values they live by.

Physical intimacy

Ah, the type of intimacy many people make their absolute specialty - and, to be clear, it's not not important! Physical touch might well be the love language you both speak, and that's great.

Physical intimacy is essentially about relaxing into it, joining in the flow of it, getting into the moment; sharing, giving, receiving, and expressing what feels good. It’s all about enjoying the connection, excitement, the giving and getting of pleasure, and closeness. Ask for what feels good. Go for what feels good.

Building intimacy shouldn't be a guessing game. An easy way to figure out how to build intimacy is to just talk about it, express what is important to you and tell your loved one how you’d like to spend time together; what activities help you feel closer. Remember to also listen when they tell you the same.


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