If you’ve landed here, you know that intimacy is key to a strong, sustainable relationship—not just a thriving sex life.
Yes, there’s so much more than the physical baby!
Different forms of intimacy bring different strengths to a relationship, but just how many types of intimacy are there?
And, more importantly, how do you build them while bending over backward trying to balance all the other moving parts of your life?
Parenting stress, body woes, a dwindling libido—any one of these can spell trouble for relationship intimacy, never mind riding the waves of all three (and then some). 🌊
But what if we told you there’s more than one way to build intimacy in your relationship?
And you can start doing it as soon as you finish reading this guide.
We caught up with renowned Relationship Coach—and one of our favorite Peanut Pros)—Railey Molinario for her expert tips on cultivating intimacy, plus the non-sexual acts of intimacy that can keep your spark alive.
In this article: 📝
- Can a relationship survive without intimacy?
- What are the 5 types of intimacy in a relationship?
- What is the most important type of intimacy?
- Expert tips for how to bring intimacy back into a relationship
Can a relationship survive without intimacy?
It depends on what intimacy means to you.
Intimacy, in its many forms, is the glue that binds a relationship—it’s what helps two individuals feel connected.
Without it, a partnership can start to feel like two ships passing in the night.
But it’s important to understand that true intimacy doesn’t just mean physical closeness or even constant contact.
An intimate relationship is one where both partners feel understood, seen, and loved by the other.
It’s a sensation of closeness, and it applies to every relationship—platonic and familial included.
Relationships need intimacy to survive, but not every couple needs physical intimacy to achieve it.
“Intimacy is a multi-faceted experience that includes physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, and intellectual aspects,” explains Railey, “it goes far beyond sex.”
As you venture into the world of parenting or any period of your life that demands your full attention, it’s natural for some physical intimacy levels to drop. 🌡
But it’s the emotional intimacy that will keep a sexless relationship healthy and thriving.
As long as you are both happy with how you show intimacy and have ways to address a lack of closeness, your relationship will survive.
What are the 5 types of intimacy in a relationship?
Now that you know there’s more than one way to show intimacy to your partner, it’s time to start building that deep connection.
Like Railey says, intimacy isn’t just limited to those stolen moments under the sheets—it’s layered, diverse, and multi-faceted. 💎
Here are the 5 types of intimacy that can help you reconnect with your partner:
1. Physical intimacy 👫
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of intimacy and usually the last when your battery is low.
Physical intimacy isn’t just sex, it’s touch—cuddles, holding hands, kissing.
And it’s not just reserved for lovers, either.
Looping arms with your best friend or watching a movie with your child’s head on your lap are all acts of non-sexual physical intimacy that signal a close, loving relationship.
2. Emotional intimacy
This is the heart-to-heart, raw, vulnerable kind of closeness. The good stuff.
Emotional intimacy is understanding each other’s fears, hopes, past trauma, and anxieties and holding a safe space for them to be shared.
You might not have this in every relationship—nothing wrong with healthy boundaries—but it’s essential with your long-term partner.
3. Intellectual intimacy 🧠
Do you and your partner vibe over shared interests or healthy debates?
Intellectual intimacy is all about connecting on a mental level.
Whether it’s discussing parenting styles, the latest book you’ve read, or even a documentary you watched during a late-night feed—these discussions can reignite the spark.
And provide a welcome break from baby talk.
4. Experiential intimacy 🗺
Think of shared experiences as the strong threads that weave two people closer.
Spending quality time together is the foundation of experiential intimacy—and it doesn’t mean jet-setting to far-flung destinations.
It might be a cooking date night at home or trying a new activity together.
No matter how big or small, these shared moments create memories that reinforce the bond between you and your partner.
And your kids too.
5. Spiritual intimacy 🧘♀️
This isn’t just religious beliefs or practices (though it can form a part of it).
For some couples, sharing beliefs, deeper values, or even meditation practices can deepen their connection.
Spiritual intimacy is simply understanding and respecting each other’s spiritual journey and sometimes walking that path together.
What is the most important type of intimacy?
There’s no single form of intimacy that trumps the others—it’s the combination that counts and how your feelings on intimacy align.
And while it’s tempting to wonder exactly what is intimacy to a woman? or what is intimacy to a man?, the truth is no two people are the same when it comes to forming deep connections and relational bonds.
How we are raised, the culture we grow up in, and our attachment styles can all influence our acts of intimacy.
But as long as they secure you a deep connection built on respect, understanding, and acceptance, you’re on the right track.
Regardless of which examples of intimacy you value the most, studies show that intimate relationships are essential for human functioning.
And who better to guide you on the path toward unshakeable understanding than Love Educator Railey Molinario.👇
Expert tips for how to bring intimacy back into a relationship
We asked Railey the most pressing questions about intimacy from the Peanut community.
Here’s her top tips for how to build intimacy in a relationship (non-sexual acts of intimacy included):
Q1. How do I get my intimacy back after kids?
“Rekindling intimacy while navigating the exhaustion of parenting can be challenging.
Start by openly communicating your feelings with your partner and showing empathy towards yourselves as a couple.
Prioritize quality time, even if short-lived, and cherish the smallest physical gestures that convey love and care.
Share the load of parenting and household tasks to alleviate the burdens.
And don’t hesitate to seek out professional support from a relationship coach if you need it—there’s no shame in asking for help.
Remember, the little emotional connections can significantly bring back the intimacy you both deserve.
Be patient and kind to yourselves.”
Q2. How can I be intimate with a low sex drive?
“Remember, intimacy isn’t solely about sex—non-sexual connections are equally crucial for nurturing a strong and meaningful relationship.
To strengthen emotional connections with your partner, prioritize open communication, quality time, and active listening.
Non-sexual touch, such as massage and cuddling, also fosters deep emotional bonds.
And pairing this with vulnerability in the form of sharing thoughts, dreams, and fears will only enhance your emotional intimacy.”
“Embracing different types of intimacy can help cultivate a fulfilling and profound connection with your partner (and boost your libido in the process)” — Railey Molinario
Q3. How do I boost my sexual confidence to get intimate when I feel so insecure in my body?
“Sexual confidence thrives on deep partner connection, not simply performance or what you look like.
Embrace self-compassion and focus on body positivity rather than flaws.
Shift to experiencing pleasure, leading to more fulfilling moments.
Remember, sexual confidence develops gradually through mutual pleasure, embracing your uniqueness, and cherishing intimate connections with your partner.
Prioritize pleasure, not pressure, and nurture a positive mindset for satisfying sexual experiences.
Healthy activities like exercise and mindful eating can also contribute to a well-rounded sense of self and improved sexual confidence.”
Building intimacy is a work in progress—even for the most enviable power couples.
But committing to it together is half the work and every bit the effort.
Have a pressing question or an area of your relationship you want to explore further?