Samantha De Bono Counselling Bromley

Bromley & Harley Street

tel: 07588 931 401

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Four types of intimacy

For our relationship to be healthy and happy, it is important that these intimacies are present.  Have a look at them and do an audit of your relationship. Are you making sure this is going on in yours? If not, look at ways you can add them and if you talk to your partner about them, you've already got emotional intimacy going on in that conversation. It's a two-way street remember. You should both be feeling this is present. It's not up to one party to cover all these areas alone, both of you should be feeling you get these from your partner.

Emotional intimacy – this involves the comfortable sharing of feelings, empathising with one another, increased awareness of those involved in the relationship and attempting to really understand each other by way of care, consideration, respect, regard, empathy and trust.

Intellectual intimacy – this happens through the sharing of ideas, opinions, thoughts and feelings while at the same time highlighting, agreeing and respecting that there may be differences in all of these for those involved.

Experiential intimacy -  this occurs when people are taking part in things together, at this time there is less talking but more engagement in activities, this could include creating something together or exploring new things together. Experiential intimacy is about building and creating memories and history from building a shed to building a family and everything I between. Experiencing things together on a regular basis. 

Sexual intimacy – this is more than just sexual intercourse which most people think of when they think of sexual intimacy, this includes any and all forms of sensual expression. The way we talk to each other, the tone of our voice, the way we look at one another and the attention we give to each other at times when we are together. Sensual togetherness builds a desire for a sexual connection.

Obstacles to constructing and sustaining intimacy:

Communication – a lack of communication leads to less exchange of information, ideas, thoughts, opinions and feelings which can disrupt intimacy.

Self awareness – not being aware of self and the effect we have on those around us, can contribute strongly the breakdown of intimacy with others. A lack of self awareness and of others, ruptures intimacy between individuals.

Time – building and maintaining intimacy takes time, a lack of sharing time together can impair intimacy. Like anything, unless we put the time and energy into something, we cannot expect a positive outcome. Taking the time to listen to one anther, to do things together is a crucial aspect to building intimacy. 

Avoidance – unless we are prepared to be open about what is going on for us emotionally, we are at risk of shutting down an important level of our relationship. This leads to an erosion of intimacy. Even if we don't know what we are feeling at the time, sharing even that with our partner is better than shutting our partner out of our emotional processes. 

Dysfunctionality – holding onto images, roles, ideas of love, sexual fantasies, stereotypes, game-playing, or being stuck in old ways of relating to others and not being oneself, obstructs and destroys intimacy.