Striving for intimacy is human. Connection with others and good relationships are key to our sense of well-being. But do we actually know what intimacy is and where to find it? Are we looking for it in the right places? Are we even aware of what to look for?
Society as a whole usually considers intimacy and physical intimacy as one and the same thing. And that is not accurate. Physical intimacy is indeed a very intimate act, yet it might be lacking in emotional intimacy. On the other hand, emotional intimacy does not have to be physical.
Many people focus all of their energy on finding that one special person to meet all their intimate needs. Of course, romantic relationships are an important and special part of our lives. That said, expanding this definition of intimacy to include other kinds of intimacy can promote emotional well-being and ensure a wider support system in life.
The ability to develop different kinds of close relationships and broaden one’s emotional support system is also a must. What if your loved spouse passes away? Or what if you break up with your partner? How about single people? Should they feel like their life is void of emotional closeness? Should they feel like they are on their own in life? And what about people who find themselves in situations when those near and dear to their heart are far away ?
There are various opportunities to establish meaningful and rewarding relationships. What are the different types of intimacy, other than romantic intimacy?
1. Emotional Intimacy
You can find this kind of intimacy for example with close friends. It’s very intimate when a close friend shares the intricate details of their life with you. When they trust you and share with you their dreams and secrets. Your friends can be your soulmates too. And shall you find yourself in a difficult situation in life, it’s often your friends who will rush to the rescue. Nurture them and cherish them. Do find time for them, so that the friendship does not wane. Good friendships can last a lifetime.
2. Intellectual Intimacy
This kind of intimacy is twofold.
You can find it with people with whom you share hobbies and interests. You might encounter them on a regular basis. These are people from chess clubs, public speaking clubs, sports teams, hiking groups and so on. It’s easy to get a conversation going with such groups of people. Being able to share and discuss topics close to your heart matters a great deal. Not to mention spending quality time together with like-minded people. Some of these people can become close friends, over time.
You can also find this kind of intimacy with the hobbies and interests themselves. For example, I love to read. And people who like to read are never lonely. Books have a voice and a personality. Books are companions. Not only that but there are also countless reading clubs and online groups where bookworms can have a sense of closeness and belonging.
3. Spiritual Intimacy
This is your relationship with your higher calling. Your relationship with life. You can gain this kind of intimacy with others who share similar spiritual or religious views. I like yoga. Once in a while, I sign up for a yogic retreat weekend. I also regularly sign up for mantra-chanting events. I am a semi-regular at the Tibet Open House in Prague where I encounter the same people on a regular basis. Experiencing the same things can bring people closer and promote a sense of happiness and a shared purpose in life.
There are many different ways of creating intimacy in life and they are all just as valid. Shunning away from these different options can make life less rewarding. Do not rob yourself of these opportunities. Being open to all kinds of intimacy will set you on a path that will allow you to sustain a happy and fulfilling life.
About the Creator
Writing about well-being, self-care and psychology. Occassional poet and fiction writer. Based in Prague. Passionate about coffee, yoga, reading and Toastmasters. Native speaker of Czech, fluent in English (as a second language).