There have been a lot of inquiries from readers on how to cultivate intimacy in their relationships. Therefore, I decided to devote the next 3 monthly editions to my Survival Guide For Couples: Reigniting Intimacy. This is a 3-part series, where I give the low-down on intimacy to help you and your partner experience profound love and closeness.
In this month’s edition, you’ll gain insights on the different types of intimacy. In the June edition, you’ll be educated on the main culprits that erode intimacy. In the July edition, you’ll be given the secrets to experiencing lasting, fun and juicy intimacy in your relationship for years to come. Each month, you’ll be given homework assignments that will amp things up (in a good way) with your partner.
Before you can reignite your intimacy, however, it’s important to understand the different types of intimacy, so let’s get started.
Survival Guide For Couples: Reigniting Intimacy
Part 1 – What Is Intimacy?
Intimacy is one of the most precious commodities we have in relationships. It’s something that takes time, is a process and a journey that two people take together. There are 4 different types of intimacy.
Intellectual Intimacy – An exchange and/or support of each other’s thoughts, ideas and opinions. This involves verbal communication.
I’ll use my mother and stepfather as an example for this type of intimacy. Every Sunday, they would read the LA Times while drinking coffee during the morning hours. Then at lunch or dinner, they would discuss what they read, which sometimes turned into a friendly debate. They enjoyed these exchanges because they had a chance to share their opinions and ideas with one another. As the witness to their intellectual intimacy, I enjoyed it, too.
Energetic Intimacy – When a couple engages in mutual activities. This usually does not involve verbal communication, but rather energetic synergy.
I’ll share my own personal example of this type of intimacy. In 2014, my husband had stage-4 cancer. Thrown into our new roles as patient and caregiver, we decided to use mindfulness and meditation to help ease this journey. It worked beautifully because we just celebrated 3 years of being cancer free! As a result of this experience and wanting to be a contribution to others, we created an app that delivers guided meditations specifically designed for cancer patients/survivors and caregivers called Loving Meditations. For hours each week, we share an energetic intimacy quietly being together (writing, composing music and photography) and creating powerful and transformative meditation audios and videos for those who need it most.
Emotional Intimacy – Sharing your feelings and a desire to understand the feelings of your partner. This involves both verbal and non-verbal communication.
Couples must have a level of trust and comfort with each other to be able to share their vulnerabilities. If one or both are over reactive, it will most likely shut down this level of intimacy. Several years ago, I was working with a couple that really wanted more emotional intimacy but their relationship was filled with reactive patterns of drama and upset. He would often roll his eyes while she shared her feelings and she would criticize him for not meeting her needs. Step-by-step, we examined their cycles of destructive verbal and non-verbal habits and replaced them with healthy behaviors of active listening, compassionate rapport and empathetic-type body language. Their hard work paid off as their relationship is now flourishing.
Sexual Intimacy – Any form of sensual expression toward or for one another. This involves physical and non-physical communication.
Most people think of intimacy as being only sexual, but as you can see, it’s not only about sex. Examples of non-physical sexual intimacy include talking about sex and sexual fantasies. Examples of physical sexual intimacy include, hugging, kissing, massage, sensual touch, oral sex and intercourse.
When couples end up in my office due to marital problems, it’s not unusual to hear that sex is an issue. Men and women often experience sexual intimacy very differently. That’s because men typically use physical connection to express their feelings of closeness while women typically use emotional connection to express their feelings of closeness. Once couples understand this innate difference, and can make slight adjustments to meet each other’s needs, their sexual intimacy problems tend to disappear.
Homework for this month
For the next 30 days, tell your partner everyday at least 1 thing about them that intellectually, energetically, emotionally or sexually turns you on. Go ahead, have some fun! 😉
Stay tuned for next month’s edition where I reveal the culprits to eroding intimacy.
This blog is featured in Tamara’s monthly column in Eydis Authentic Living Magazine called Talk To Tamara. Click here to see the article.
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