12 Areas of Intimacy
When we talk about intimacy in therapy, a lot of times people assume that it means physical intimacy and sex. In some cases, physical intimacy is intimidating or even scary or trauma triggering for some people. It is important to understand that when developing close relationships with others, there can be other ways in which people can develop strong intimacy bonds. Relationships can be made stronger if many different areas of intimacy are shared with one another. The 12 areas of intimacy are as follows:
1. Recreation: Sharing experiences of fun, sports, hobbies, recreation; haring ways of
refilling the wells of energy, leisure.
2. Aesthetic: Sharing experiences of beauty—Music, nature, art, theatre, dance, movies;
drinking from the common cup of beauty.
3. Intellectual: Involves sharing the world of ideas; a genuine touching of persons based
on mutual respect for each other’s intellectual capacities (reading,
discussing, studying, respectful debating.)
4. Commitment: Togetherness derived from dedication to a common cause, value or effort
(working for a political cause, volunteering etc.)
5. Work: Sharing common tasks or projects, supporting each other in bearing
responsibilities (raising a family, yard or house work, cooking.)
6. Communication: Being open and honest, trusting, truthful, loving, giving constructive
feedback, positive confrontation.
7. Crisis: Standing together in the major and minor tragedies which persist in life.
Closeness in coping with problems and pain.
8. Emotional: Depth awareness and sharing of significant meanings and feelings; the
touching of the innermost selves of two human beings.
9. Creative: Helping each other to grow, to be co-creators, of each other. Learning
new things together, discovery.
10. Conflict: Standing-up with/to each other; “fighting” in non-destructive ways; facing
and struggling with differences together.
11. Spiritual: The “we-ness” of sharing ultimate concerns, the meaning of life,
philosophies, religious experience.
12. Sexual: Sensual-emotional satisfaction, the experience of sharing and self-abandon
in the physical merging of two persons. Sensual-sexual fantasies, desires,
touch, play, caresses, and intimate contact.