PHYSICAL INTIMACY: Meaning, Ideas & How to Increase it in a Relationship


Intimate relationships exist when two people are physically or emotionally close to each other. While the term “intimate relationship” usually implies sexual activity, it can also refer to a relationship that involves more than just sexual activity. Because they involve emotional connections with a partner, relationships with authentic intimacy continue to play an essential role in the overall human experience. This can include romance, physical or sexual attraction, sexual activity, emotional support, and assisting people in developing strong interpersonal relationships. So let’s define physical intimacy.

What is Physical Intimacy

Another factor to consider is the inclusion of physical intimacy in human sexuality. According to reports, most people desire physical intimacy at some point in their lives, as it is a natural part of human sexuality. Because this is most often sensual touching of some kind, it necessitates an entry into another person’s personal space. It could be an emotional or sexual act ranging from hugs to kisses to sexual intercourse.

This emotional or sensual touching contributes to the release of oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. The release of these feel-good hormones can help with stress relief, blood pressure control, and even pain relief. These are some ways physical intimacy can benefit many people’s health. There is also an increase in loneliness or sadness when there is no physical intimacy.

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There are very basic definitions provided for physical intimacy, as well as definitions of other words that are used in physical acts of intimacy. While many of the primary definitions do not involve actual sex, they do involve touching and physical interaction.

Husband-Wife Physical Intimacy in Marriage

Differences in desire for physical intimacy can cause serious problems for married couples if not addressed early on. Aside from that, some other common obstacles lead to a decreased level of physical intimacy with one’s spouse.

  • Clutter in your intimate relationship environment can be the most defining roadblock to a husband and wife’s physical relationship. An untidy bedroom, piles of dishes in the sink, and heaps of laundry – are not conducive to connecting intimately with your partner.
  • A lack of satisfying intimacy in your relationship is a potential threat to your marriage. If you are not prioritizing intimacy and time with your partner, you must re-align your schedules, appointments, and activities to make time for physical intimacy in marriage.
  • A partner’s emotional unavailability can seriously impair physical intimacy in marriage. To maintain intimacy in a relationship, you must overcome deep emotional barriers and become more open to your partner.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important do’s and don’ts of physical intimacy in marriage for married couples to overcome roadblocks to intimacy in marriage.

Do: Make sure you’re both at ease.

In any relationship, married or not, it’s critical to ensure that your partner is happy with what you’re doing. If they aren’t at ease, they should stop.


When engaging in any physically intimate activity, be aware of how your partner is reacting; even if they do not express their displeasure verbally, their body language may indicate they do not feel comfortable with certain activities.

Don’t: Try to impose your expectations on others.

In a married relationship, it is easy to place unrealistic expectations on your partner, especially if you place a high value on certain acts of physical intimacy.

On the other hand, trying to impose your expectations on someone else does not work and may exacerbate your intimacy issues. Instead of imposing your expectations on your partner, talk to them about your feelings as well as theirs, and try to find some common ground on which you can both agree before becoming physically intimate.

Do: Increase intimacy appropriately.

It’s perfectly acceptable to try to improve physical intimacy in your marriage as long as you don’t make your partner feel uncomfortable. There are numerous ways to improve physical intimacy in marriage, including but not limited to the following:

  • It is encouraging activities that bring you and your partner closer together physically, such as riding carnival rides together, watching movies together, sitting next to each other at restaurants, swimming together, riding a bike in tandem, and so on.
  • You are engaging in smaller, less obvious physical intimate gestures in public, such as holding hands, rather than cuddling, hugging, or kissing.
  • They are appreciating seemingly insignificant physical moments, such as brushing your partner’s hair out of their eyes, putting your arm around their arm, or simply sitting very close together on the sofa or in bed.

Don’t: Ignore the possibility that there is an underlying problem.

You may believe that because you’re married, you know everything there is to know about your spouse.

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However, this is not always the case; sometimes, people have underlying issues that make them hesitant to engage in certain types of physical intimacy in marriage.

How to Increase Physical Intimacy in a Relationship

It’s not about how to increase physical intimacy in a relationship; it’s about how to improve it. If your marriage is struggling with physical intimacy, consider the following essential tips to improve it.

#1. Go slowly at first.

Some people are uncomfortable with physical intimacy, especially public displays of affection such as kissing or hugging. So, how do you increase marital intimacy?

There are many reasons why people feel uncomfortable or awkward about physical intimacy in marriage, so it’s important to remember that it’s okay—and sometimes necessary—to take things slowly.

#2. Show your romantic side

Most people associate physical intimacy in marriage with romantic gestures such as hugging, kissing, cuddling, and so on. But physical intimacy is about more than just kissing—about it’s feeling at ease and enjoying being close to your partner.

#3. Value small physical signs

Physical intimacy in marriage does not have to be a big, swooping hug when you see each other in public or constant up-close-and-personal kisses.

#4. Never force physical intimacy in the relationship

You may believe that if you hug or cuddle your partner, they will eventually warm up to improve marital intimacy.

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#5. Remove yourself from potential distractions.

Improving marital intimacy necessitates a solid human connection. When you’re with your partner, turn off the television, cell phone, or any other electronic device and spend some time talking and sharing, which will help you increase physical closeness and emotional intimacy.

#6. Touch the right way

Improve your non-sexual touch to have a better sex life overall. Don’t limit touching to when you’re having sex. Hair stroking, back rubs, hand holding, staring into each other’s eyes – anything that allows you and your partner to show physical affection for each other.

#7. Be playful

Introduce sex toys and hot sex games into your bedroom, and you’ll be surprised at the psychological benefits you’ll receive in addition to the boost in your sex life.

Sex toys and erotica are your best bet for increased sexual desire and fun in the sack. Stack some sex toys and erotica in your bedroom for a steamy sexual experience.

Effects of Lack of Physical Intimacy in a Relationship

As previously stated, physical intimacy is essential in forming and strengthening personal relationships between two people. People require physical affection.

Because the commitment of marriage has brought the two partners together in a ceremonial and legal bond, intimacy in a relationship is typically expected to be closer and even more frequent than before marriage.

As a result, most married people anticipate activities such as hugging, cuddling, kissing, and so on.

When there is a lack of physical intimacy in a relationship, it is easy to believe that the love has faded, that you are no longer physically attracted to your partner, or that your partner no longer cares about you in the same way they did before.

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Because physical intimacy is one of the ways a partner expresses feelings, its absence can create a void that can become a barrier over time.

It can cause abandonment issues in the partners over time. This can create a chain reaction in which the abandoned partner withdraws. Sexual desires and a need for affection and closeness may begin to fade, which is not good for the relationship.

Sex and intimacy have numerous health benefits, and a lack of such activities can affect libido, heart health, and mental health. Studies have linked lower ejaculation frequencies to an increased risk of prostate cancer. Women benefit from sex as well, with better bladder function and lower levels of distress.

Simultaneously, sex is not the only factor in intimacy. A marital relationship is not doomed as long as the partners are intimate, affectionate, and close to each other on multiple levels.

How to Overcome Fear of Physical Intimacy

The approach you take to overcome these fears is determined by why you have them in the first place, as well as the severity of the fear.

You may have a minor phobia that you can overcome on your own or with the help of behavioral therapy. Professional counseling is recommended if your fear is the result of trauma, is severe, or is accompanied by depression.

#1. Dealing with your fear of intimacy

Consider events in your life and try to figure out where your fears stem from. Are you destroying relationships unconsciously? Do you desire more meaningful relationships?

#2. Value yourself

Every relationship involves some level of risk. Many intimate relationships are worthwhile, even if they do not last indefinitely.
You’re not perfect, but neither is any potential relationship partner. It says nothing about your worth as a person if someone ends a relationship with you.

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#3. Communicate

Communicate openly with your partner. Talk about your fears and where they come from if it isn’t too painful. If discussing it is too painful, explain that you are willing to work through these issues with a medical professional.

Define your boundaries. Describe what makes you feel safe and what makes you afraid. Tell your partner what you require and that you are working to overcome your fears.

#4. Seek professional help.

Psychotherapy is the primary treatment for avoidant personality disorders. Professionals in mental health can help you understand where your fears are coming from and how to deal with them.

When your partner is afraid of intimacy

Keep the lines of communication open if your partner is afraid of intimacy. Let them know you’re willing to listen, but don’t press them to reveal the source of their concerns. This could be excruciatingly painful.

Encourage them to seek therapy. Inquire about what you can do to make them feel more secure. Be patient, because it takes time to learn to cope. It’s not easy, but remember that their fear of intimacy is not about you.

Physical Intimacy Ideas

Ideas for increasing intimacy with your partner

  • If your bedroom doesn’t seem to inspire any bed-breaking moments, check into a nearby hotel for instant intimacy.
  • Make your partner’s day by sending flirty texts, and by the time they get home, you’ll be ready for a steamy sack session.
  • Take a shower or soak in a luxurious bathtub together.
  • Massages are so relaxing and intimate that if you give one to your partner, they will return the favor in no time, creating a lovely tenderness between the two of you.


Physical affection can increase both intimacy and passion in relationships. According to one study published in the American Journal of Family Therapy, the more physical affection present in a romantic relationship, the better the conflict resolution. This is not to say that these couples were less likely to fight, but rather that they were able to overcome such conflicts. As a result, physical affection may also promote emotional intimacy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 types of intimacy?

Fostering a sense of closeness in any relationship (romantic or otherwise) requires a combination of four main types of intimacy, according to an Instagram graphic posted by therapist Alyssa Mancao, LCSW; Lucas adds that experiential intimacy also plays a role.

Why is physical intimacy important for a man?

A brief excerpt: Men, like women, require love, warmth, closeness, validation, and acceptance. Men are also more physical (due to higher testosterone levels), and they express their need for emotional closeness by doing things alongside their wives.

Why is physical intimacy important?

Touch can strongly convey a sense of acceptance and care — the emotional benefits. Touch has physiological benefits as well. In one study, partners with higher levels of physical touches, such as hand holding or hugging, had lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.

Is physical intimacy good?

Physical Affection is Important in Relationships, but Some People Need More Than Others. In most close relationships, intimate touch is essential. According to study after study, couples who touch each other more often are happier.

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