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Debunking Sexual Myths: Sex is a Small Part of Five Types of Intimacy

When couples lose desire or interest in their partner, they often blame the problem on less action in the bedroom. That may be part of the problem, but the issue is usually more complex. Sex is one small part of five types of intimacy. When couples decide to share their life, they share all five types of intimacy and this makes their physical attraction stronger. Unfortunately, as couples get busier with children, household chores, financial concerns, and careers they begin to communicate less. They share less quality time together, talk less, and put more emphasis on their bedroom connection. This begins a downward cycle of pressure to perform and rejection; putting pressure on your partner for more sex usually results in arguments and resentment. Eventually, couples no longer feel passionate about each other.

Intimacy, not sex, is the glue of a long and happy relationship. Below are five types of intimacy that most well-adjusted healthy relationships enjoy. Talk with your partner about each of them and find ways you can do your part to improve your overall intimacy. With practice, you’ll begin liking your partner more and want to spend more time with them. Over time, you will begin feeling more amorous, and the sex will become something special again.

Experiential Intimacy

It’s important to share experiences with your partner. This can be as simple as sitting in a park, watching a movie, or hiking. The main component of experiential intimacy is you are alone together (with no phones or distractions) and sharing an experience.

Emotional Intimacy

Being emotional with your partner means you can talk to them without fear of being vulnerable and real. A healthy emotional connection deepens, and you don’t worry about being judged, labeled, or humiliated. You know this person loves you through and through. They can sit with you when you cry and not fall apart. Couples who disconnect on this level are at higher risk for divorce.

Intellectual Intimacy

The brain is the largest sex organ, and it also is the main center for intimacy growth. Happy couples enjoy talking about favorite books, travel, hobbies, and imaginative ideas. Intimacy on this level is important for adding excitement and personal growth in your relationship.

Spiritual Intimacy

Sharing this intimacy may resemble witnessing something so incredibly miraculous that you will never forget it. It’s something that binds a couple together. Seeing the birth of your child is a shared spiritual intimacy. Being part of projects bigger than the two of you, attending religious services together, and talking about your faith are good ways to nurture this area of intimacy. This type of intimacy is instrumental in helping you keep your commitments to each other.

Physical Intimacy

This is not the same as sexual intimacy, but it is similar. This includes being affectionate with each other and being attentive. You nurture this area when you hug your partner, massage them, hold their hand, or sit close to them.

Although TV and advertising may make you believe every man or woman just wants sex, this is very rarely the case in relationships that last more than a day. As a clinical therapist, I’ve noticed the majority of people want the same thing: to be loved, to be cared for, to be special, and to have someone on their side who loves without judgement. Sex can’t fulfil this need but shared intimacy can.


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