4 Main Definitions of Intimacy and What they Mean For You

Intimacy definition in relationship

The dictionary defines “intimacy” as closeness or sexual intimacy, but did you know that there are more ways to define intimacy than that?


The thing you need to ask yourself is this: what does intimacy mean to me? This can be a definition in relation to marriage, or any relationship. To define intimacy is really to define how both of you relate to each other. Some in psychology today see intimacy as more than just being close or being sexually intimate. Intimacy could have a different meaning for different people. Here are the 4 main definitions of intimacy and what they mean for you:

1. Intellectual intimacy

Are you both on the same wavelength? Do you “get” each other? Can you talk ‘til all hours of the night about anything and everything—even stuff like kids and finances? That is what is meant by the definition of intellectual intimacy. It’s not that one person is smarter than the other; more so that you have a similar approach to life and enjoy conversing with each other. You may have different ideas but you work to come together.

2. Emotional closeness

What’s the meaning of intimacy in terms of emotions?

Many couples may be together for a long time, but lack this type of intimacy. That’s because this one is probably the scariest. When you are emotionally close, it means you are vulnerable. You let your guard down and feel safe doing so. When you feel this kind of closeness, you can tell each other anything and feel accepted. You both can “feel” what the other person is feeling.

3. Spiritual bond

Probably the last thing you think about when you see “intimacy” is spiritual. But if you believe that God or some higher power wants us to love each other, then it makes sense. We aren’t here by accident, and somehow we find each other. We form strong connections. When you form a spiritual bond, you both understand each other’s spiritual quest and beliefs. You allow the relationship to have a spiritual competent. Why do we not harm others, just because it’s the law? No, because we believe life is precious. That is spiritual bond. When you achieve that in your intimate relationship.

4. Sexual expression

Being “intimate” is at the root of the word “intimacy,” but what does that mean? Is it just sex, or is it more than that? The definition of intimacy in a relationship is different from couple to couple. But the ideal has to do with sexual expression. If you are both able to feel free to express yourselves in a sexual way and feel comfortable with each other, than you have reached a good level of intimacy. It is more than just sex—you are sharing that most special part of yourself, and vice versa.


All in all, each type of intimacy is a process. It can change, so work on it with your partner for a more fulfilling and satisfying relationship. To define and explore intimacy at so many levels, is an interesting journey, one that you must take. BonVoyage.