Intimacy in Relationships

Intimacy in Relationships

Human beings are social creatures who crave and thrive upon close relationships.  People have a tendency to seek intimate relationships to satisfy this craving.  As a new relationship develops, intense feelings of physical attraction drive the relationship, but as they relationship matures, emotional and physical intimacies develop and feed the relationship so it can thrive.  

When the ‘spark’ fades

However, over time many couples feel that the “spark” disappears from the relationships they share with their partner or spouse. Many couples feel that there is a tangible space between them. This space can create feelings of confusion, solitude, resentment, strain, and loneliness in the relationship. This space may be a result of lack of intimacy in the relationship.

Emotional and physical intimacy in a relationship is similar to the engine in a car. A car cannot run or move forward without the engine. Healthy, loving relationships struggle to thrive without intimacy. Intimacy keeps the relationship moving.

Intimacy keeps the relationship alive.  

Intimacy is much more than sex

Many individuals struggle with some form of sexual dysfunction.  A couple can have a highly intimate relationship without engaging in sexual intercourse.  Emotional intimacy is defined by the closeness a couple shares feeling comforted, supported, and loved through openness and acceptance while revealing their deepest vulnerability without feeling judged.  As emotional intimacy is nurtured, physical intimacy is enhanced. Physical intimacy can be anything from holding hands, snuggling in bed, kissing, hugging, embracing, touching, caressing, playfulness, and all forms of sex.  Both have an enormous impact on one another when nurtured by the couple.

However, couples oftentimes “lose the spark” when complacency sets into the relationship. With life’s hectic demands of work, financial responsibility and/or strain, family commitments or conflict, and stress related to child rearing, couples may feel that the relationship they share with their partner has become more like a business relationship. The distance this creates in a relationship can be devastating to a couple. This can lead to infidelity or divorce.

So how do couples get that “engine” running again?  

Therapeutic treatment can help couples reignite that “spark” by helping them to explore the problems and identify the barriers.  Therapy can provide the couple with the opportunity to work through fears, trust issues, misunderstanding and misperception, disappointments, and problems with communication.  Resolving these issues can increase couple’s level of intimacy to restore the love and affection they share for each other, thus saving their relationship.


Kim is an experienced Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She completed her bachelor’s and master’s degree from University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. She helps people struggling with chronic illnesses and multiple health problems, as well as those suffering from depression and anxiety associated with life's challenges and transitions. She has worked with diverse individuals and families at different stages of their lives.