What is intimacy?

As a couples/relationship therapist, intimacy is a word I hear a lot, So what does intimacy actually mean and what if anything does it have to do with sex?


For many people intimacy and sex are one on the same, hence the term being intimate with someone. However, there is a lot more to intimacy and knowing this can make for a much more satisfying sex life in your relationship.


So, is sex a requirement for intimacy? Yes and no, many couples can obtain a level of intimacy in their relationship without sex, while others combine both physical and emotional intimacy to build a strong relationship together.


Emotional intimacy is where two persons are willing to express thoughts and feelings to one another. This bond between the couple requires not only transparency and openness but a deep feeling of trust in one another. This willingness to be transparent and open to sharing hopes, fears and even disappointments bring the couple together in a way that cannot be shared with another.


This is where vulnerability comes in, to take a risk and allow ourselves to be seen warts and all brings us closer to our partner. The risk of rejection can create a level of anxiety in ourselves, but it is here where we build and strengthen the bond that brings us closer to our partner.


To this end, intimacy is far more than just sex, and in fact emotional intimacy doesn’t require sex at all. That being said, sex is actually one of the few places where some people will allow themselves to become emotionally vulnerable.


Intimacy is complex and ultimately everyone is different, however working with a trained counsellor who is both skilled and knowledgeable in working with couples building the bonds to a better and more satisfying relationship is possible.


If you and your partner would like to explore ways to build and strengthen intimacy in your relationship, please feel free to get in touch. I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation, or if you would like to make an appointment for either a face to face or online counselling session whichever is convenient.

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