April 1, 2024

BY April Lincoln, LCSW

Many people approach me to discuss intimacy, but often they are referring to the act of sex. Intimacy goes beyond physical touch; it involves connecting on a deeper level and getting to know someone. There are several types of intimacy that can be experienced in a relationship: emotional intimacy, intellectual intimacy, physical intimacy, sexual intimacy, experiential intimacy, and spiritual intimacy. It's common for people to mistake sex for intimacy in a relationship, but they are not the same.  I want to discuss the various aspects of intimacy to provide you with a better understanding of each area.

Emotional intimacy is the cornerstone of a strong and fulfilling relationship. It encompasses open and honest communication, trust, and vulnerability. Through genuine openness and honesty, you can strengthen your bond and experience genuine understanding from your partner.

Intellectual intimacy, also known as intellectual compatibility, involves thinking together. When two people have intellectual intimacy, they are comfortable sharing ideas and thoughts, even when their perspectives differ. It's about genuinely understanding each other.

Physical intimacy extends beyond sexual activity. It encompasses non-sexual gestures such as holding hands, cuddling, and kissing, which can all contribute to deepening emotional connections between individuals.

To build a solid and lasting bond, experiential intimacy involves developing true closeness through shared activities, such as hobbies, social events, and community service.

Spiritual intimacy is the powerful bond created when partners connect over shared beliefs and values, often rooted in their religious faith. This deep connection is widely regarded as essential for a relationship's strength and endurance. As the saying goes, "A family that prays together stays together."

Intimacy is essential for building a strong and lasting relationship. It comes in various forms that deepen the bond between partners, encourage understanding and authenticity, and provide essential care and comfort. When these elements are lacking, feelings of neglect, loneliness, and emotional disconnection can arise. If you are seeking ways to improve intimacy in your relationship, one of our therapists at Arrow Behavioral Health Services would be happy to assist you. You can schedule an appointment by calling 608-387-9638 or emailing

Stay tuned for further articles pertaining to intimacy.  April Lincoln, LCSW will address, what are some practical ways to build and maintain intimacy in a relationship? How can one differentiate between sexual intimacy and other types of intimacy in a relationship?