Emotional Intimacy And Physical Intimacy - How Are They Different?
In our day-to-day conversations, terms like 'intimacy' or 'getting intimate' are generally used in relation to sex, specifically physical closeness. But we can often forget that sex (whether in a long-term committed relationship or a casual fling) is so much more than just physical closeness! It concerns our emotions, sensations, and feelings.
As much as sex is about pleasure, it is also about connection. Sex allows us to connect not just with another person but with parts of ourselves as well. While physical intimacy or chemistry is crucial, if you seek a deep connection with your partner, physical closeness without emotional intimacy might not be enough.
Many people believe that physical intimacy is synonymous with sex, which is a misconception. In reality, every hug, every touch, every kiss, and every conversation about pleasure is an opportunity that invites us to develop physical intimacy with our partner. We need to develop emotional intimacy every day through small gestures, such as complimenting our partner(s), appreciating them, touching them non-sexually, thanking them, and listening to their struggles, dreams, and wishes.
The Connection Between Mental Health And Intimacy
Pleasure exists on a continuum. Arousal, or a successful orgasm, is a product of both our mental and physical state, which is influenced by several factors such as fatigue, stress, insecurities, mood, etc. Given how vulnerable our sex drive is to various environmental and internal factors, it is no surprise that our mental health directly affects our sex life. Whether it’s a conflict at work, a friend who is unwell, a need for recognition in life, or a diagnosed mental health condition like depression or anxiety - all these things can significantly impact what goes on in the bedroom.
Can Emotional Bonding Lead To Better Sex?
Comfort plays a significant role when it comes to mental arousal. The more you trust your partner(s), the easier it is to rely on them for your pleasure, feel safe around them, and be fully present in the moment. It would be difficult to enjoy what your partner is doing if you’re not sure they even know what you like, right? Similarly, it’s easier to please the other person when you know that no matter what, they like (and want) you for who you are and not just for your sexual prowess.
A strong emotional bonding can keep our insecurities or body image issues (we all have them, you’re not alone) from getting in the way of pleasure. It can also give us the confidence to voice our needs, preferences, and desires, all of which lead to a better time for everyone involved.
How To Improve Emotional Intimacy
Both physical intimacy or emotional intimacy need time to develop. Here are some ways you, along with your partner(s), can work towards developing better emotional intimacy!
One of the easiest things you can do to improve emotional intimacy in your relationship is to talk more. Encourage your partner to share their dreams, wishes, expectations, fears, and needs with you (and you do the same). Not every conversation has to revolve around sex or kinks, either. Very often, just being there for your partner and listening to them vent about a bad day at work can be profoundly impactful in building emotional intimacy.
Do Things With And For Each Other
Create positive memories together by doing things for your partner or trying new things together. Cooking their favourite food, giving them a massage (or going for a couples’ massage together!), exploring new places together, exchanging playlists, bonding over a new web series, getting them flowers on a whim, or simply spending time together while you both do your own thing are all some effortless ways to get emotionally closer to your partner(s).
Make Room For Vulnerability
One of the most powerful gifts you can give your partner is the space for them to be vulnerable and authentically themselves. Allow your partner to share their thoughts and feelings with you, especially those which they would hesitate to share with others. Develop greater trust in each other and learn to listen to your partner without feeling obligated to provide solutions. At the same time, allow yourself to trust your partner. Develop a sense of comfort when speaking your mind in front of them and sharing your struggles and vulnerabilities. Most importantly, trust the process and take things at your own pace.
Bring In Gratitude And Kindness
Emotional intimacy is compromised if you start taking each other for granted. So, it is important to practice gratitude by openly thanking and appreciating each other for every act of kindness and consideration. Make sure your partner knows how important they are to you and how grateful you are for them.
We hope these tips help you develop better emotional intimacy and improve your sex life, too! If you and your partner seem to be struggling with a fear of intimacy, or your mental health is affecting your arousal levels, Rocket Health is here to provide you with confidential, reliable services. Consult top experts in the field of sexual well-being and mental health from the comfort of your home!