Exploring the Four Most Common Types of Intimacy
Let's explore intimacy
When a person thinks of the word intimacy, the first thing that usually comes to mind is something involving a physical act, whether sexual in nature or not. While physical intimacy is the most well-known type of intimacy, there are three additional types. First, what is intimacy anyway? Intimacy is defined as an intimate act of closeness. Closeness is what comes to mind when I think of intimacy. You can share a sense of closeness with just about anyone, often without any type of sexual component to the act. The lack of a physical sexual component does not make that connection or relationship any less intimate.
Here are the four most common types of intimacy:
Simply put, mental intimacy is having a common point of view with another person, a meeting of the minds if you will. Think of how many times, you and a friend or partner shared the love of a particular television series or other common viewpoints you have with a like-minded individual. Those shared interests are in fact the foundation of the mental intimacy you share with that person. Having meaningful conversations and exchanges with your partner or an individual is a good way to enhance your mental intimacy. Simply sharing your thoughts, goals, and ideals is another easy way to explore and strengthen your mental intimacy with a partner or friend.
Emotional intimacy involves a perception of closeness to another that allows the sharing of personal feelings, often with the expectations of caring, understanding, and affirmation. You can share your innermost thoughts and feelings with these people. Imagine you have a horrendous day at work, the person you choose to confide in whether it is your partner or a friend, you have the expectation that they are going to care about your experience. You most definitely expect them to feel the same disdain for the irritating coworker that you despise. Just knowing you have that outlet to truly express your feelings is a good way to see and appreciate the level of emotional intimacy you have with each individual.
This is often an exceedingly difficult one to define as spirituality is such an individualized concept. It is rare for two individuals in a romantic relationship or even a friendship to have the same level of spiritual beliefs. This is because a person’s relationship with God or the lack thereof is a personal decision. I tend to look at spiritual intimacy as simply the core values or ethics people share, something as simple as sharing a walk together in nature. Most people tend to associate and develop relationships with a person that shares the same values as they do. Guiding and pushing a person to be a better overall individual is a way to express and grow your spiritual connection. This is also a great way to nurture your connection with someone.
The act of physical touch is usually the first thing that people think of when thinking of intimacy. Please be mindful that physical intimacy is NOT always the same as Sexual Intimacy. Physical touching whether a hug, handshake, or kiss can reinforce bonds with individuals. Physical intimacy is such an important aspect of bonding, that newborns are usually placed skin to skin immediately after birth. Sometimes simply the memory of being in the arms of a parent or partner can bring comfort. It can be as simple as placing your hand on someone’s arm as they’re telling you something that is painful for them that can mean so much.
A few things that all these four types of intimacy share are trust, honesty, and acceptance. Trust must be present for a person to share their true, unfiltered parts of themselves. If you expect someone to be trustworthy, then you must also be able to be described as trustworthy to others. You cannot have true intimacy without honesty, they feed off each other and as a result cause each other to thrive. There is no greater feeling than the feeling you have when someone accepts you for who you truly are.
Think of intimacy as a crop you cultivate over time. Remember to tend to and nourish your intimate relationships to ensure you have an excellent and supportive circle around you!
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