Intimacy and Sex Aren’t The Same Thing

by Fiona Bennett, Women’s Life Coach, Life Learning Strategies 

Is your relationship healthy? One of the ways you might be defining the health of your relationship is by the amount of sex you are having. Early in relationships, couples tend to be pretty “hot and heavy” regularly, and the better the sex, the easier it can be to get swept away in the fantasy.

As long as the sex is fantastic, the relationship is: you connect the two as if one defines the other. What happens then when life happens? Job hours become long, babies keep you up all night, diapers need changing, bodies gain weight and lose energy. The opportunity for hot, steamy, passion-filled nights dwindles. Does that mean that the relationship is over? It doesn’t have to be if you have built a strong foundation. Intimacy is the cornerstone of a strong relationship, and…

Intimacy and Sex Aren’t the Same Thing  

There are 4 Types of Intimacy: 

  • Emotional Intimacy
  • Mental Intimacy
  • Spiritual Intimacy
  • Physical Intimacy

Emotional Intimacy: 

When you and your partner listen attentively and compassionately to each other’s feelings, you demonstrate emotional intimacy. You genuinely care about how your actions will impact your partner and consider the consequences of your actions. You value their input on issues you are having, and when they share, you validate their emotions.

Mental Intimacy:

Each of you is whole and able to fill yourself up without relying on the other to “complete you”. You have your own opinions, and beliefs and yet many of them are shared with your partner. You have common causes that you are supporting and common interests that you avidly learn about together. You both grow and expand in forward and similar directions. Your core values are shared as you journey together: you are on the same team.

Spiritual Intimacy:

One of you might be an atheist, the other a devout Christian, and it’s ok because you share a deep respect for each other’s right to believe: something. Respect is the overwhelming factor that makes magic happen here.

Physical Intimacy: 

Handholding is one of the most sacred and intimate acts. The Yogi Sadghuru says, ‘Two palms coming together has more intimacy than the contact of any other parts of the human body’. Other ways of being physically intimate include: stroking hair, hugging, cuddling, and yes, of course sex.

Bad Sex and Other Things That Kill Intimacy:

When you in a relationship and having sex for sex sake, without the other ingredients of intimacy it is likely not going to be rocking your world. Bad sex is an intimacy killer. One (or both) people going through the motions leads to disconnection.

Here are a few other things that create an environment of disharmony and disconnection in relationships:

Judgement and criticism:

  • You likely have an inner critic. Unless you have done A LOT of work, it is there and waiting for an opportunity to chime in when you are feeling low or vulnerable. I help women learn how to counter this voice, pump up the volume on their confident self, and affirm their worth. Your voice can become your biggest cheerleader!
  • Still, the last thing anyone needs when they feel self-doubt is for their partner to reinforce the fears. No, thank you.
  • We have our mother’s for that, right, ladies?!
  • Yes, no one can indeed hurt us unless we let them. But I don’t want to crawl into bed and get all sexy-time with someone who just ripped me to shreds emotionally. I can’t be vulnerable with this person. Intimacy and vulnerability go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Lack of appreciation:

  •  This is similar to the former, but a good partner doesn’t just not tear you down; they build you up. If you don’t see your partner as the superwoman or superman of the Universe, who will (besides themselves)? That is kind of your job. Appreciation from your partner is what keeps that spark alive.
  • Let them know you see them.


  •  Intimacy includes the sharing of inner truth and your authentic self between partners. Once lying enters the relationship, that covenant has been broken.
  • That honest exchange is no longer taking place. Now, you are uncertain what is true and what is false. One lie, once discovered, can colour the entirety of communication depending on the circumstances.


  • Like lying, a break of trust has taken place, and a covenant has been broken. Usually, more than the physical bond has been betrayed, but also the emotional, mental, and spiritual connection is severed. Repairing the damage from lying and cheating may take years and, in many cases, maybe impossible.


  • Sometimes, there is no breach, but the fear is so intense because of previous painful experiences that it interferes with this relationship. One person believes that the “shoe is about to drop” and constantly lives on edge, watching and waiting for others to betray them. It can become too much to bear for both parties.

Luckily, just as there are things that can kill intimacy,

There are also ways to stimulate intimacy

Communication is key. Check out my blog, 5 Ways to Communicate Better in Your Relationships, and next time you are sitting down to talk, here are some questions to get the intimacy ball rolling:

10 Questions to Stimulate Intimacy:

  1. If you could hang out with anyone for a day, living or dead, who would you choose?
  2. What are 3 things you love about yourself?
  3. What are 3 things you love about me?
  4. What is your favourite thing about our relationship?
  5. What is your favourite memory of when we first met or when we were dating?
  6. What first attracted you to me?
  7. What do you think attracted me to you?
  8. What would your perfect date with me be?
  9. If nothing was impossible, what would you love to do?
  10. What do you like best about our relationship?

Find out how you can have a happier, healthier relationship with yourself and attract the life that you deserve.  Book a free 30-minute session with Fiona today. Visit Life Learning Strategies for more information.

Fiona Bennett is the owner of Life Learning Strategies. She is a Women’s Life Coach, Educator and Energy Healer who is passionate about empowering women to live fully, freely and joyfully. Fiona is certified in the Inner Workout, a simple meditative practice helping you release old emotional wounds and re-connect your mind, body and spirit. She is also a certified Integrative NLP coach and Reiki practitioner.

Fiona has helped women globally transform with her personal 1:1 coaching, life coaching certification, corporate & leadership programs, individual courses and energy healing & reiki.


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