As the love relationship progresses, the intimacy of the couple should be stronger, thus ensuring that over time the passion does not decrease. Intimate partner intimacy extends far beyond just sexual intercourse.
It is a complex of situations, actions and feelings that complement each other. Next, we will show you 10 keys that you should put into practice together with your partner to enhance their intimacy.
What is intimacy?
Expressing the word intimacy in a concrete and shallow definition is an arduous task, due to the emotional and subjective nature of it.
Intimacy is a deep emotional bond that two or more individuals can feel with respect to the other. However, depending on who you ask, intimacy can even be considered an intrapersonal affair.
It is common to observe that some people use the word as a synonym for sex or in a sexual environment. But, the reality is different. Intimacy is not limited to the physical.
Intimacy can occur without sex and sex can occur in the absence of intimacy. Intimacy is an emotional and physical state where you feel a connection and fulfillment with the other person.
Characteristics of intimacy
As we have already said, intimacy is certainly a complex and abstract subject, capable of taking different forms, depending on people’s perspective on what intimacy is.
However, we can find certain characteristics present in each of the forms that intimacy can take. Next, we will describe them.
It is a form of privacy
Privacy and intimacy go hand in hand, and explaining one without the other is certainly not possible. Alan F. Westin in his book Privacy and Freedom argues that privacy is made up of four ‘pillars’: anonymity, confidentiality, solitude and privacy.
Most of us seek to protect our privacy from the other, isolate it from the eyes and judgments of others. The fact that another person seeks to intrude on our privacy constitutes an act of the utmost seriousness.
That’s what turns intimacy into a relationship, which is extremely important. When one person opens up to another in a relationship, it allows them to step into the little intimate world that person has built for themselves.
So they share fears and insecurities that they seek to protect from others, as well as confessions that they do not want others to find out and much more. By opening up and establishing intimacy, the ‘exclusive’ content of our being is exposed.
It is the basis of the relationship
Given the above, it is no surprise that genuine intimacy represents an act of trust, which must be valued and respected by the other. Without it, understanding and knowing the person would become impossible.
Let’s remember that among the pillars of a relationship lies trust. An indispensable virtue, but difficult to acquire.
For some, past experiences make them naturally skeptical and have little trust in others. This can cause problems when you want to foster intimacy with another person.
It differs from sexuality
Do intimacy and sexuality require each other? It is a difficult question to answer. But they are not synonymous.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Define sexuality as “… a central aspect of human life that involves sex, gender identities, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction”.
Indeed, one could say that sexuality encompasses intimacy using that definition. However, the WHO adds“… while sexuality may include each of these dimensions, they are not always present or expressed”.
This tells us that intimacy can be encompassed in the sexuality of one person with another, but it may also not.
The sexual act is not the same as sexuality and sexuality, in turn, can be accompanied by intimacy. All three may be present simultaneously, just as one or two may be absent.
Sexuality involves feelings, values, gender roles, passion, desire, and erotic pleasure. But, intimacy is the desire to open the doors to our deep feelings and our true selves.
However, it is important to emphasize that the relationship with our sexuality and what it represents directly and indirectly affects the way we open up to others.
Constitutes an interaction with unique signs and signals
Considering how personal intimacy is, it’s only natural that it’s unique to each person. Each person expresses their true desires and emotions in ways that are distinctive from the other.
Each couple and each individual has different types of signals that are representative of communication, both verbal and non-verbal.
A look, caresses, an almost imperceptible touch for the rest, but not for you. They are examples of details, confidences that a couple is capable of demonstrating only with the other.
Represents attention and closeness with the couple
Intimacy, in every way, is something incredibly personal, unique and secret to each person. To learn about another person’s intimacy requires rapprochement. It requires knowing about the other person.
Otherwise, adequate intimacy will not be achieved. Getting to know your partner is not as easy as looking through a book, it is a gradual process that requires patience, empathy and, above all, understanding.
If you act arrogant, find yourself deep in thought without considering your partner’s, or make mocking comments about your partner’s feelings, your partner will shut down. By doing so, you will put up walls around him or her, preventing true intimacy from being achieved.
It implies sharing the common space
Distancing, physical or emotional, represent, in a way, barriers against intimacy. However, it is not strictly true.
A couple who, despite the miles that may currently separate them, can share certain forms of emotional intimacy.
However, this can only happen if the relationship is based on understanding, patience and a genuine desire to learn about the other.
On the other hand, couples who are currently together enjoy the privilege of closeness, of sharing a common space with their partner that favors physical and emotional intimacy.
You can use those moments together to learn, organically, about each other: goals, ambitions, fears, insecurities, opinions and perspectives that, under other circumstances, you would not be able to share with others. The fact that your partner does it means that they trust you enough.
Requires willingness to meet the needs of others
Humans, like all living beings, have needs. The biological ones allow us to live, but it is the emotional needs that give meaning to life.
They are needs we can cling to, fight for and aspire to. Among these, we have affection, acceptance, validation,empathy , trust, prioritization, connection and much more.
Similar sound? Yes. Some of these elements (for example, empathy and trust) are some of the ones we talked about earlier. Being in a relationship involves a social commitment to the other person, where you agree, tacitly or explicitly, to emotionally support the other.
However, in relationships where this is not possible, where these virtues are left aside and the person does not have enough patience or interest to meet these needs, emotional closeness cannot take place.
Respect and understanding will always be found in the pillars that underpin a healthy relationship.
Respect means being open and understanding to your partner’s opinions, their perspective of what intimacy is, respecting when the person wishes not to open up or reserve certain topics to himself.
These two virtues go hand in hand and one cannot exist without the other. Understanding a person means contextualizing his emotions and actions, understanding where they come from.
They may differ on certain issues, but respecting the diversity of opinions and perspectives, acknowledging that they are almost as important as your own, form the basis by which intimacy will take place.
It should not lead to dependency
Now, we are talking about the complex relationship between privacy, intimacy, the virtues and emotional needs that it entails. The importance of communication and interpersonal respect.
But, it is essential to emphasize that being intimate, physically and emotionally, with another does not mean that you should totally depend on your partner.
True and healthy intimacy is achieved when you reach a degree of maturity and emotional stability sufficient to be able to share with the other, as an equal.
If these requirements are not present, intimacy becomes a dysfunctional emotional affair, where one or both parties may be injured.
Keys to enhance intimacy in the couple
If you feel that your relationship is not intimate enough and you want to build emotional bonds that allow you to do so, we will mention some strategies that will guide you in the right direction.
1. Express feelings clearly
We must reiterate, over and over again, the importance of communication. A relationship without it is predisposed to end badly.
Without communication, the synergistic functionality of a couple cannot even exist in the first place. In the emotional field, it is not an exception either.
Putting words to what we feel is not a difficult task. It is a skill that very few possess, but of the utmost importance. If we are not capable of transmitting our doubts, insecurities, fears, expectations and desires, it would be impossible for our partner to understand us.
Without communication, there is no understanding. Without understanding, there is no understanding. There is no deepening of emotions, of those bonds that bind couples.
Taking a couple of minutes a day to sit down and talk about your partner about your day, without any distractors, is a strategy that can help familiarize you and normalize talking to your partner.
2. Accept yourself sincerely
Sexuality, privacy, and intimacy begin within our being, which is then projected externally through words, gestures, and actions.
The more insecure we are, the less our desire to express ourselves freely. Less is our desire to share our little internal world.
The fear of being judged, ridiculed or belittled for what we feel and believe within us becomes a powerful agent that inhibits us from showing someone who we really are.
3. Respect limits and spaces
Privacy means respect and understanding, as we have mentioned. But, not only respect the desires, identities, ideals and thoughts of the other.
It is also about respecting the autonomy and right of the person. There are moments of vulnerability where we want to close ourselves off, escape, reflect, or even introspection where we want to temporarily disconnect from those around us.
The duty of a couple is to understand and respect these wishes. Otherwise, we will act in an intrusive way, exceeding the autonomy of our partner.
If there is true trust, the person will open up again and may even share why they made that decision, because they recognize that they can trust you as a partner since you were respectful, empathetic and understanding towards their emotions.
4. Communicate effectively
Communication is essential to have a good intimacy with your partner, some may think that this is spontaneous and is not given due attention or practice and as the relationship evolves, so does communication.
There is no perfect place or occasion to talk and communicate, one must create one’s own spaces and times to do so, since good couple communication must be coherent and intentional, therefore timely.
Each new challenge or achievement, both personal or work, must be communicated with the couple in the appropriate way, without omitting important details with the same emotion that was felt at the time of receiving the news, trying daily to know more about the other.
For communication in intimacy to be effective, empathy is needed to understand the other, both their experiences and feelings, in addition, learn to identify their body language and, above all, be honest, because without it, there is no true communication. .
5. Share the good and the bad
Good streaks or experiences should not only be shared, of course, they should be enjoyed, but keeping in mind that in life there are unfortunate situations beyond our control.
Sharing these moments will strengthen you as a couple, as it shows that you are willing to support each other and provide possible solutions to problems that arise.
This also enters into communication, since sharing the good and bad situations of daily life will make them feel free of certain burdens, hoping that their partner will take them in the best way, without judging and providing emotional support.
6. Spend time together
This is essential to maintain harmony, stability and passion in the couple, with the mere fact of spending quality time together, even doing the most everyday things like cooking or going for a walk, your intimacy as a couple will be strengthened.
The key is to make the time together something fun and exciting for both of you, but for that you have to be willing to invest time, creating topics of conversation, new places to visit or things to try.
It is not enough simply to live in the same house or sleep in the same bed to excuse that this is time as a couple, being together is not synonymous with spending quality time together.
7. Share goals and projects
One way to achieve the emotional approach of a couple is by building common goals.
The personal, academic or work goals of the two may differ, but it does not mean that, within the emotional framework of a relationship, there is no possibility of building dreams together.
For example, saving money, mutually, to finance a personal trip as an anniversary goal. Help build a garden that you can both take care of, a home, and even a car.
When projects are built together, the idea of “we” and the “team” is reinforced. Both, excited to materialize their ideas, work synergistically to achieve it.
In the process, the discovery of each one takes place. When you work as a team, you discover a lot about each other.
8. Support each other
Mutual support, in the different circumstances that a couple can go through, fosters intimacy and closeness. Setbacks and difficulties are part of every interpersonal relationship, whether romantic or not.
One of the two may be going through a series of negative situations, such as the loss of a job or the death of a close person. In these moments of emotional agony, the loyalty and love they feel for each other is shown.
Therefore, in the face of these adversities, it is where the principles and virtues of a relationship are forged and strengthened, unlikely tools if you want to get closer to your partner.
9. Understand and attend to the needs of the other
We talked earlier about the importance of meeting your partner’s emotional needs that would otherwise lead to feelings of loneliness, abandonment, and worthlessness.
Now, although these needs are universal, not all of them are expressed homogeneously and to the same degree. We are complex and unique beings, each experience and desire is not exactly the same as the other.
Therefore, you must be attentive and patient with your partner, learn little by little what their emotional needs are, the affections they require the most, and demonstrate the desire to learn a little more each day about the other and their complexities as a person.
10. Foster mutual admiration and pride
A couple is a team. The teams support each other (as we explained): they grieve losses together, share their sorrows and enthusiastically celebrate each other’s victory.
Taking pride and appreciation in someone means letting them know how much they mean to you (communication), enjoying the time spent together, also respecting their personal space. You respect and even admire their projects and ambitions.
But, even more important, is that your partner’s achievements should not generate envy or discomfort in the other. On the contrary, as members of a relationship, you should celebrate each achievement together, no matter how minuscule.
Importance of intimacy in the couple
Intimacy, privacy, communication, respect, admiration, understanding, empathy and pride are some elements that every healthy relationship demonstrates. By analyzing all of the above, you can reach a series of conclusions.
First, intimacy and all other aspects work synergistically and maintain a happy relationship. Intimacy without respect or communication is almost impossible. Conversely, deepening communication and empathy for your partner eventually leads to intimacy.
Second, the effects of having a good intimacy are multiple: how you observe your partner and how you observe them, learning empathy and respect, and developing positive interpersonal relationships, increasing satisfaction with our lives and the Harmonization of the couple.
University Professional in the area of Human Resources, Postgraduate in Occupational Health and Hygiene of the Work Environment, 14 years of experience in the area of health. Interested in topics of Psychology, Occupational Health, and General Medicine.