Intimacy is a necessary component of any healthy relationship. Though most people equate intimacy with sex, the truth is that intimacy is far more complicated. True intimacy is a sense of togetherness or connection, and it can manifest in a myriad of ways. If you are looking to create a more intimate relationship with your partner, read on to learn about the five types of intimacy that are essential for any healthy relationship.

This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

Physical Intimacy

Physical intimacy is what people think about when they hear the word “intimacy.” Though physical intimacy does include sex, it can also involve kissing, cuddling, hugging, or any romantic touch. Intimate touch is essential as it is a nonverbal form of expressing love and connection. Sometimes a simple touch or hug can say so much more than the expression of words.

Emotional Intimacy

Couples will struggle with their relationship if they do not have emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy is the exchange of thoughts and feelings. Partners who have this intimacy can express their dreams, fears, disappointments, and other emotions without feeling judged or shamed.


Conversely, partners provide that open space to allow their partners to express themselves. Partners with emotional intimacy respect each other’s emotions and can empathize with what the other is feeling.

Intellectual Intimacy

As recent years have proven, many couples will struggle to stay together if they cannot express their beliefs and viewpoints with their partner. It does not matter if their pattern agrees with their beliefs or not. A healthy relationship should allow for safe discussion of matters that are most important to them and provide space for healthy disagreements.


Partners with intellectual intimacy discuss their views openly and in a respectful manner. They allow their partner to express their opinions without shame, even if their beliefs are opposite of their own. There is no pressure to agree with the other partner just to keep them happy. Each partner can have their own set of beliefs and values and express them safely.

Experiential Intimacy

Experiential intimacy simply refers to the fact that partners should have hobbies and experiences together. They don’t necessarily need to be joined to the hip, but they should be able to enjoy activities together and create special memories.


Partners with this form of intimacy will have unique memories of just the two of them, inside jokes, or hobbies that they partake in together. For example, they may have a routine hobby they only do together, or they may go off on unique travels and adventures. Whatever they choose, they are creating intimacy by having these experiences that are unique to just the two of them with no one else involved.

Spiritual Intimacy

Relationships will struggle if there is no connection or respect for each others’ religious or spiritual beliefs. Of course, partners don’t necessarily have to belong to the same religion to experience this intimacy, but they should feel safe discussing their beliefs and practicing their religions in front of each other.


However, spiritual intimacy does not always refer to religion. Any experience that creates a transcendent connection can be considered a form of spiritual intimacy. Some examples include watching a sunrise together or exploring a grand feat of nature, such as the Grand Canyon.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, intimacy is so much more than sex. It is the connection and bond you have with your partner and can be expressed in multiple forms. Many of these forms of intimacy are required for the progression of a healthy relationship. For more information on intimacy and some tips on how to improve it in your relationship, you can click here.