Intimacy is a powerful feeling. But, how can you build intimacy if you don't know what it is? Intimacy is a connection created between two people. But there’s more to it than that. There are five types of intimacy that will improve your relationship with yourself and everyone in your life.

The five types of intimacy are physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and experiential. You can use these five types to cultivate an intimate relationship. In this article, you'll learn about all five types and how you can use them to improve your life.

What is the meaning of intimacy?

Intimacy is the closeness you feel with another person.

It isn't limited to romantic relationships, either. But in all of your bonds with friends, family, and colleagues.

Intimacy typically isn't sought but built naturally. It's the sense that you are safe and valued in your relationships with others. The core intimacy issue is that it takes time to foster. It isn't a process you can rush.

Time is one of the strongest forces that brings people together. These shared intimate experiences help, but the space between them can aid in maintaining intimacy in the future.

When you reliably spend time with another person, intimacy evolves. 

All types of intimacy are essential for building close relationships. However, similar to love languages, most people appreciate certain types of intimacy more than others.

If you want to connect with someone, discuss which types of intimacy are most important to them. You can use these as a basis for planning meet ups and outings together.

What is physical intimacy?

Physical intimacy refers to touch.

In romantic relationships, it can be cuddling, kissing, sex, and anything similar.

In friendships and family, physical intimacy can come from high-fives, hugs, or a meaningful touch on the shoulder. 

It's also essential to remember that some people are touch adverse.

That means they aren't very open to physical intimacy.

And that's okay!

Before you start hugging everyone you meet, ask them for their consent. Doing this will enhance the sense of trust and honesty, which can help build intimacy, too. 

If you want to build physical intimacy with another person, you can start greeting them with warm, friendly hugs, if they’re open to it.

What is emotional intimacy?

Emotional intimacy is when you feel safe being vulnerable with someone else.

It could be talking about a bad day at work. Or sharing a secret.

Both of these demonstrate that you trust the other person. That person is a safe place where you can let your guard down. 

Emotional intimacy is also about being your whole, authentic self around another person. You can take off your mask and show your beautiful weirdo self. The fact that you feel safe doing that demonstrates the definition of intimacy. 

If you want to build emotional intimacy, set the tone. Open up and be who you are. That will create a safe space for your friend or partner to do the same.

What is spiritual intimacy?

The phrase "spiritual intimacy" may put many off initially. It is usually about something other than a shared belief in a deity or book.

Spiritual intimacy is about sharing something special and unique. The exact definition of spiritual intimacy is an intensely personal thing. So decide what it could look like for you.

Some examples of secular, spiritually intimate experiences are:

  • Watching a sunrise or sunset together.
  • Sharing similar feelings about organized religions.
  • Feeling like you were meant to be in each other's lives.
  • Experiencing a natural wonder, like the Grand Canyon, together.

Your definition can only come from your experience. If you want to develop spiritual intimacy, ask your friend or partner what their definition of it is. 

What is intellectual intimacy?

Intellectual intimacy is when you understand how someone's mind works and have meaningful conversations.

We're talking about more than just the weather. It could be political topics, spiritual beliefs, or even your thoughts on the media. So long as the conversations bring you closer together, you're building intellectual intimacy. 

The willingness to discuss something others would avoid can create intimacy in your relationship. You learn how the other person's mind works one conversation at a time.

So don't rush things. 

What is experiential intimacy?

Experiential intimacy is about doing new and challenging things together. It's about using quality time and making memories through shared interests or outings. For some, it's about doing new and exciting things together, like bungee jumping. Other people may crave a Monopoly night. 

The focus of experiential intimacy is becoming closer together through shared experiences. If you want to develop experiential intimacy in a relationship, plan an outing together. From museums to skydiving, whatever will bring you both intrigue and joy. Be considerate of the other person's preferences and needs, and you'll build intimacy easily. 

How to use the five types of intimacy

When you're trying to get closer to someone, the five types of intimacy are a great starting point. You can use them as a type of hang-out menu!

Start with a meaningful conversation about the types of intimacy. Find out if you both have a type that is especially important to you. Together, you can come up with a list of outings or conversations to develop a more intimate bond. 

The types of intimacy are also crucial for personal development.

Are you looking to develop yourself further?

Do you want to grow as an individual and in your relationships?

Try incorporating the five types of intimacy into your self-care routine.


The five types of intimacy are crucial to having a balanced and well-rounded relationship. Both with yourself and with others. That relationship does not have to be romantic. Building intimacy is an essential part of all relationships. 

It's about balancing all aspects of your bond with yourself and the other person. Choose intimacy-building activities that reflect the nature of your relationship with the other person.

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