Understanding Intimacy

For many people, intimacy is an exciting, rewarding, and fun part of life. But for some of us, the thought of physical intimacy may cause anxiety, discomfort, or even fear. It’s important to address these feelings and try to get to the bottom of our intimacy issues because they can impact our relationships in a negative way. 


For those of us who struggle with physical or emotional intimacy, there is hope and help available. Here’s what you should know about intimacy, common intimacy issues, and how to rekindle the most important intimate relationships in your life. 


What Is Intimacy?


When you hear the word “intimacy,” do you automatically envision a steamy night in bed with the person you love? While sex is an important part of physical intimacy, many intimate relationships do not involve sex at all. This will make more sense once we dive into the different types of intimacy, below.  


What Are the Types of Intimacy?


There are several different types of intimacy, and they’re all important for maintaining healthy connections with others. Here’s what you should know about each type and why it’s important.


  • Sexual intimacy
  • Emotional intimacy
  • Spiritual intimacy

Let’s talk about the differences between each of these types of intimacy and why they’re all important for maintaining satisfactory relationships.  


Sexual Intimacy


Sexual intimacy is the type most people think about when they hear the word “intimacy.” It refers to the sexual activity typical of a healthy relationship between lovers. This type of intimacy includes sexual intercourse and can be very fulfilling and beneficial to both parties in a relationship. 


Unfortunately, some people have sexual concerns or sexual dysfunction issues that prevent them from enjoying this part of a relationship. If an intimacy disorder is preventing you from fully enjoying your romantic relationship, it may be time to get the problem diagnosed so you can get the treatment you need to improve your sex life. 


Emotional Intimacy


Emotional intimacy is a very important factor in our close relationships. It refers to the level of trust, communication, and emotional investment that occurs between two people. Every meaningful relationship in life should have a healthy degree of emotional intimacy. 


But just as sexual intimacy can be associated with intimacy issues, emotional intimacy can also be impacted by emotional intimacy issues. Those of us who struggle to be emotionally intimate are often closed off and have trouble creating and maintaining an emotional connection with others. There are a variety of psychological factors that can contribute to emotional intimacy problems. 


Spiritual Intimacy


Spiritual intimacy refers to the feeling of trust and unity between yourself, your partner, and your faith. Sometimes when couples can’t seem to connect sexually, the real issue lies in an underlying inability to connect emotionally and/or spiritually. 


Even if you don’t subscribe to a particular religion, spiritual intimacy is still an important part of any relationship. If you and your partner are constantly encouraging each other to reach higher levels of peace, goodness, and accomplishment in your life, then you have a healthy level of spiritual intimacy. 


How Can I Know If I Have Issues With Intimacy?


It’s natural to wonder if you have a “normal” level of emotional and sexual desire or if you have one of the common intimacy issues. Here are a few telltale signs that you may be dealing with an intimacy problem. 


  • You feel like your partner wants sex all the time, while you rarely want it 
  • You live in a “sexless marriage,” (which usually means you haven’t had sex in over a year)
  • You constantly feel too tired to engage in physical intimacy with your spouse
  • Sex is painful to you
  • You struggle with sexual boredom
  • You don’t feel emotionally ready for physical intimacy
  • You or your partner struggle with anxiety that interferes with sexual function
  • You or your partner struggle with physical sexual problems, such as vaginal dryness, endometriosis, premature ejaculating, erectile dysfunction, etc. 
  • You argue with your partner frequently and it’s affecting your sexuality
  • You simply don’t have the desire to get frisky

If you feel like one or more items from the above list describe what you’re going through, it can be relieving. After all, once you recognize that there is a problem, you can work to correct it for the sake of your marriage and mental health. 


Why Does Intimacy Make Me Feel Uncomfortable? 


Some of us ladies may feel uncomfortable at the thought of intimacy. We might not feel like we can tell our partners what we want and need during sex. This is one of the more common sex problems, and it’s important to address it. 


If you have a difficult time telling your partner what you need for fear of being rejected or made fun of, there may be an underlying emotional intimacy issue causing the discomfort. It’s also possible that sexual intimacy causes you to feel uncomfortable because you’ve been raised to think such activity is “dirty” or “wrong.” 


Regardless of the underlying cause of your feelings, counseling with a therapist can help. Often, therapy works best when couples receive it together.  


Where Does Fear of Intimacy Come From?


While some people struggle to get “in the mood” for sex, others may feel uncomfortable or even fearful of sex. If fear of intimacy is having a damaging effect on your marriage, it is probably time to seek help. Fear of intimacy could be due to a sexual disorder or it could arise as a result of childhood abuse, neglect, or other contributing issues. It could also come as the result of previous toxic relationships or other relationship issues. Poor mental health or an untreated anxiety disorder are also common causes of intimacy issues.


Avoidant personality disorder can also lead to intimacy issues because it can cause the affected person to feel extreme feelings of inferiority or social anxiety. You may struggle with avoidant personality disorder if you strongly desire intimacy but you avoid it due to fear. Your life could be positively impacted by receiving sex therapy if you have anxiety or fear over intimacy. A good therapist will have the training necessary to help you identify the underlying cause of your sex problems so you can address them and improve your sex life. 


Can Intimacy Be Restored?


Don’t give up on your relationship when you’re struggling with intimacy issues or have problems with sexual functioning. If your relationship is on the rocks, marriage counseling may be exactly what you need. A therapist can talk you through your underlying intimacy issues so you learn to recognize them and overcome them. 


Women’s sexual needs can be complicated and mysterious. But the truth is, most of us women are more likely to crave sexual intimacy when we feel emotional and spiritual intimacy in our marriage. If all-encompassing intimacy isn’t there or if mental health challenges are causing us to struggle with intimacy issues, it’s time to talk to our partner about marriage therapy. 


How Can I Overcome Sexual Dysfunction? 


Did you know there are supplements out there that can help you overcome your sexual dysfunction by promoting blood flow and stimulating your body to release key hormones for sexual enjoyment? Herlove is one such product, and it’s offered by Mixhers. Visit Mixhers resources to learn more about this product and other products designed to help you feel and perform your best in bed and in all other aspects of your life.