Intimacy and sex are often interchangeable in conversation, and both are highly beneficial to a woman’s physical & emotional well-being, and overall intimate health. However, each varies in its contribution to one’s intimate wellness. When you think of the word “intimacy,” your brain may automatically think about sex.
However, intimacy involves trust, acceptance, and a deep connection with someone else. Sex can exclusively be just about — well, sex. Intimacy takes it a step further, evoking emotions and the ability to be vulnerable. We’ll unravel the great mystery behind intimacy, sexual health, and how they both benefit your life in profound ways.
Can We Be Intimate Without Sex?
You can have sex without intimacy and intimacy without sex. But, like peanut butter and jelly, they’re better together. Think of intimacy as an emotional connection, while sex is purely physical. We can’t get enough sex with newer partnerships, but it takes a while to develop an intimate connection. As we spend more time with our partners, we may notice a decline in sex, but our intimate connection increases.
This bond is essential as we get older and our needs change. Though sex may become less frequent due to time, age, and health — it shouldn’t mean sex is off the table. Intimacy can help rekindle your sex life and support you in finding new pleasurable ways to enjoy your partner. Joylux’s blog can also help you and your partner to find ways for making sex more comfortable after menopause.
Is There Only One Way to be Intimate?
It’s easy to think intimacy is bonding with your partner emotionally. But there are actually four distinct forms of intimacy. The more in tune you are with each type, the better bond you can build with your partner.
The Four Types of Intimacy Include
- Physical — this is what we often refer to as quality time. You can build physical intimacy by spending time touching, snuggling, and sitting together. Dates, movie nights, and deep conversations under the stars are a few ways to increase physical intimacy.
- Emotional — This is where vulnerability comes into play. Sharing your emotions, being open-minded, listening, and holding space for your partner bolsters emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy isn’t simply being positive and giving compliments. Sure, these are great, but allowing you and your partner to experience a spectrum of emotions is vital to bonding.
- Sensual — Sensual doesn’t involve sexual intercourse. Physical touch in any form can be sensual. You can be sensual to the point of orgasm without ever touching each other’s genitals.
- Sexual — This is where you get hot and heavy between the sheets. Sexual intimacy is any form of sex that feels pleasurable. As you age, it may not involve vaginal intercourse as much as it used to. But you can find all sorts of ways to satisfy each other beyond penetration sexually.
Understanding the Importance of Sexual Health & Intimate Wellness
Though intimacy and sexual health are defined differently, the two play an integral role in your overall wellness. Sexual health encompasses your awareness, self-acceptance, knowledge, values, and emotions around your sexuality.
When you’re intimate with a partner, having positive sexual health means you can communicate your needs, desires, and sexual function. A sexually healthy person can be intentional and responsible about sexual behavior — which means they are proactive about staying safe, setting boundaries, and being receptive to their partner. The better your relationship with your own body and sexuality, the better you will develop intimate connections with your partner.