Physical Intimacy vs. Emotional Intimacy

Do you want more intimacy in your relationship but not quite sure how to get it?

Well is this the blog post for you! 

First off, intimacy is a staple to a connected relationship.  And when our relationships lack intimacy, we lack the depth we need in order to feel safe and to be able to express vulnerable needs and wants. 

Intimacy is also really complex, because it’s not just about sex and physical touch. 

There’s actually two types of intimacy, physical intimacy and emotional intimacy, and both are required for a connected relationship.  We find over and over again that couples with emotional intimacy actually have more physical intimacy and report better sex!  But we don’t find the opposite to be true.  We don’t find that couples who have lots of physical intimacy necessarily have the same amount of emotional intimacy. 

So why is that?

Well, it’s because emotional intimacy is all about the ability to have two way empathy in our relationship.  To really be able to see the relationship through the eyes of our mate.  This kind of intimacy allows us to be vulnerable, to risk, to reach and to grow together as a couple.  It also allows us the confidence to explore who we are as individuals in the relationship and who we are as a couple.

So what if you’re emotional intimacy level is quite low in your relationship? Or what if you want to improve it?

Here’s the starting off points I use with my couples in counseling at my Sacramento Therapy Offices:

1)    Start slow.  You don’t learn to swim by jumping off the high dive and same is true with intimacy.  Risking with expressing your feelings or being still with one another can sometimes feel like a big jump.  Start with small disclosures.  Spend time doing a shared activity without other distractions around.  

2)    Be intentional.  Increasing emotional intimacy is about focusing on the things that grow you as a couple, not the stuff that creates distance.  Be intentional with how and where you spend your time together.  Understand that our attitudes and feelings impact our experiences.

3)    Be patient with each other.  As you start to rebuild or improve emotional intimacy we have to remind ourselves it’s about the process and not about measuring ourselves against other couples.

4)    Keep your humor.  Hello, newsflash…as you work on your emotional intimacy there are going to be awkward moments.  Feel free to laugh and find the fun in what you’re doing to deepen your emotional connection!

And stay tuned for two weeks when we dive into increasing physical intimacy…woo hoo!!

Be sure to reach out and let me know which starting off point you’re going to focus on.  If you find yourself getting stuck in the good and wanting the great, it’s probably time for some extra support?  Couples counseling is an awesome way to get things back on track!  Don’t hesitate to reach out to me in my Sacramento Therapy offices.  

As always, I want to hear from you!  I want to know what your journey through connection and love is like. 

Send me an email,, give me a call, 916.955.3200 or comment below. 

I can’t wait to hear from you.