Types of Intimacy

Last time I posted about passion and intimacy. I said that I would later post about the types of intimacy, so here it is.

There are 6 main types of intimacy. There may potentially be more, but I’ve only really encountered 6 in all my researching, though some sources call them by different names. (Speaking of sources, I would put some on here, but I honestly can’t remember where I found this information. It’s been months since I last looked up this topic.) The types are as follows:

  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Recreational
  • Spiritual
  • Intellectual
  • Financial

Now let’s spend a bit of time talking about each of these types. I’ll try to give you some examples and a simple definition.

Emotional – This type of intimacy is about opening up to others. When you hear talk of hear-to-hearts and spilling your guts, that falls under this type of intimacy. When I talked about this in my group, they all stated that they have a difficult time with this one. My group is all men, so it makes sense given that many boys get a message of “Don’t show any emotion except anger,” “Real men don’t cry,” “Man up,” and other similar sentiments. But it’s not only men that struggle with this.

Most people have some fear surrounding being vulnerable. Many families don’t like to talk about things but being about to find someone that you want to share who you are with is pretty awesome. One thing important to remember is that you only need to share as much as you’re comfortable with. You’re going to share different amounts of information with different people.

Physical – When people hear the word intimacy, this is what most people tend to think of. I hate that fact. Physical intimacy is about more than sex. Non-sexual physical contact is a significant portion of that. Hugs, kisses, holding hands, using your hands to warm someone’s arms, rubbing someone feet, shaking hands, these are all examples of this type of intimacy. The type that you engage in is dependent on how close you are with someone.

Recreational – This type is about sharing your hobbies and interests. Doing something that you like with someone is a form of intimacy. Do you go skateboarding with your friends? Movies with your family? Camping with your significant other? All these things fall under this type. I think that also being able to talk about the things you like with someone can also fall under this.

Spiritual – This is being able to share your spiritual beliefs. Primarily it consists of believing in the same thing. It could also be sharing verbally what you believe. Being able to have an open, non-judgemental discussion about what you believe is also something that should be considered in this category.

Intellectual – This is sharing your thoughts and philosophies on things. It could be talking about how to raise your kids and doing it. Creating a budget. Sharing ideas on how to expand your business. Book clubs fall under this category. Political discussions can be part of this too. Sharing what you know, such as me sharing this information on this blog, is intellectual intimacy.

Financial – As you may have guessed, this is sharing your finances. Sharing a bank account, sharing a budget, sharing the bills, all fall under this.


There are some things that can fit in more than one category. That’s fine. No one is going to be great at every time of intimacy. Some will come more natural to you than others. Emotional intimacy is not my cup of tea, but due to blogging, I’ve gotten better at it. Intellectual intimacy is more my speed. I used to show physical intimacy all the time before moving to Colorado. I’m a hugger. I also have a tendency to grab people’s arms, just latch on. It’s my way of saying “I care about deeply.” Now I only do that with family, and while I still hug people, it’s less often than before.

It’s okay to have preferences. It’s okay to struggle with some. What matters is that we try to show all, even if only a little. Finding someone you can engage in each type of intimacy with is important. Ideally, if you have a significant other you can share all of these with them. It helps make that relationship more rounded.

Most people what to share their life with someone. It doesn’t have to be in a romantic way. But to do that, you need to be open to being intimate. It takes trust, especially the emotional one. More than anything, I want to help people in understanding what intimacy is and why it is important. I don’t think I’ve been more passionate about a topic in my life.

The takeaway: Intimacy is about letting people see you and there are may different ways to do that. Did you know that when said fast enough, “into me see” sounds suspiciously like intimacy? Maybe it’s a coincidence… or a sign. I’ll let you be the judge of that.




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