Physical intimacy strengthens the bond between two people and fosters closeness, love and affection between couples. It is a major binder that helps couples iron out the differences between them. Physical intimacy builds a stronger connection between two people by mitigating any existing negativity. Oxytocin, a hormone and a neurotransmitter, that is released during the intimate moments between the couples, enhances trust and a stronger sense of companionship between couples.
How important is physical intimacy in a relationship and what does it really mean? Being physically intimate means more than simply heading to the bedroom with your spouse. Physical intimacy can range from eye-contact, holding hands, cuddling, and of course, sex.
Physical intimacy involves a deep emotional connection that is strengthened when you are in close sensual proximity to your spouse. Touching, both romantically and otherwise, can help strengthen this bond.
How important is physical intimacy in a relationship? Having this deep bond can have a positive effect on nearly every other aspect of your relationship.
These are 10 benefits of physical intimacy in a relationship
1. It’s an expression of love
One of the biggest reasons why physical intimacy is important in a relationship is because this is one of the foremost ways in which partners express their love for one another. When a relationship lacks sexual chemistry and physical affection it is likely to fail.
This intimate time you spend together is romantic, thrilling, and releases oxytocin and dopamine. This hormone and neurotransmitter are responsible for feeling closer to your partner, trust, happiness, and even addiction. It’s no wonder why physical intimacy is so important in a relationship.
2. Physical intimacy reduces stress
Being physically intimacy in a relationship helps lower blood pressure and reduce stress responses in the brain. And it isn’t just sex. Studies show that other forms of physical intimacy, such as hugging or hand-holding, can trigger the release of oxytocin.
This hormone will then trigger the brain’s reward and pleasure centres, which lowers the feelings of anxiety.
One study had participants regularly engaging in intercourse for two weeks to see the effect it would have on stress and anxiety. The results revealed cell growth in the hippocampus, which is the same area of the brain that helps regulate stress.
3. Intimacy with spouse builds trust
Logically, trust is built over time when a couple gets to know one another’s true loyalty, patterns, and behavior. But in the heart, or should we say brain, trust is often triggered by the release of oxytocin.
Trust is a huge part of relationships. When two people trust one another they feel freer to be themselves, aren’t suspicious of a third-party entering the relationship, and can be more open, honest, and vulnerable with their spouse.
When two people are physically intimate, whether having sex or cuddling close on the couch, the brain releases oxytocin, a hormone which makes people more trusting and open to social interactions.
4. Improved intimacy outside the bedroom
The closer you are in the bedroom, the more connected you will feel outside of it. Being physically intimate with your spouse is one of the biggest ways you, quite literally, connect. Holding hands, cuddling, walking arm and arm, and being more physically playful are some loving expressions that come after sex.
Since intimacy raises levels of love-boosting oxytocin and vasopressin, it’s no surprise that couples who have sex regularly become more affectionate with one another in other aspects of life.
5. Physical intimacy boosts your immune system
Physical intimacy in a relationship creates benefits both mentally and physically. Being intimate with your spouse can actually have a direct effect on your immune system.
Studies show that the immune system receives a boost during sexual arousal and orgasm. Sexual health expert Yvonne K. Fulbright even going as far as saying those who are sexually active “take fewer sick days” than those who are not.
When you are regularly sexually active with your partner, you will raise the antibodies in your system that are responsible for fighting against viruses and germs that make you sick.
6. Physical intimacy raises morale
Research abounds revealing how sex can boosts morale. One study even puts a monetary value on it, suggesting that couples who have sex once a week gain a bigger morale boost than they would if they earned an additional $50,000 a year.
Because physical intimacy in a relationship boosts dopamine, it makes you feel happier. Orgasm aside, one Swedish study suggests that it is actually the affection that comes before and after sex that offers the boost in morale.
7. It promotes chemistry
Being physically intimate means not only having intercourse with one another but also sharing personal moments of closeness. These can range from a sweet caress, a lingering kiss the lips, or suggestive proximity. This behavior promotes chemistry and sexual anticipation. This expectation brings excitement to the relationship and makes couples feel more connected.
8. Health benefits
There are many health benefits that come from being physically intimate with your partner. For example, having sex regularly can lower a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer.
Being physically intimate without sex also has its benefits. Many studies reveal that couples sleep better and feel closer to one another when they cuddle their way to sleep. Oxytocin released by physical touching and sex can also relieve pain and headaches, help you decompress, and reduce a man’s risk of dying of a heart attack by half!
9. Makes you look and feel younger
There may be a correlation between a physically intimate relationship and how young you look. The estrogen and testosterone released during sex may be giving your body a young, healthy glow.
A study done by the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland had participants try and guess the age of older couples. The couples who had sex four or more times a week were perceived as being anywhere from 7-12 years younger than they actually were.
10. Increases relationship satisfaction
Touch is a strong sensation both physically and emotionally. It brings up feelings of safety, comfort, love, playfulness, titillation, and more. Couples who are physically intimate report a higher rate of relationship satisfaction. When partners engage one another with physical touching, sexual or otherwise, it makes them feel cared about.
How important is physical intimacy in a relationship? Very. Physical intimacy in a relationship means more than being sexually active. It means being emotionally connected. Having a deep connection to your spouse on this level helps build trust, boosts morale, and has many health benefits.