The True Definition Of Intimacy In A Relationship, According To 13 People

When I think "intimacy," I think sex. For some reason, I've just always assumed those two words were interchangeable. But in reality, intimacy can be so many different things. Like most things in relationships, the true definition of intimacy varies per person and per couple. For some, intimacy means sex. For others, it means the little things your partner does for you, just to see you smile. It could be a simple touch, or cuddling, or just being together.

In my current relationship, some of our most intimate moments have been right after an argument. My boyfriend swears by arguing in person — I hate it, but I guess he has a point. You get to the point of the argument much quicker in person than you do by text. As a writer, however, I express myself best through my writing, hence, my inclination to argue by text. But I don't mind it as much anymore, because some of our most intimate moments happen during those few minutes after a fight, once we've both gotten what we wanted to say off our chests, after one of us budges and apologizes first. We spend those moments hugging, talking about how neither one of us wants to do anything to push the other away, and about how we've never felt this strongly about anyone before. Those moments make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and have defined what intimacy is to me.

To see what other people consider the true definition of intimacy in a relationship, I turned to Reddit. Here are some of the best definitions I found.

Wholeheartedly Trusting Someone

Giphy
Revealing who you are to someone else, physically, verbally, emotionally, because you're confident that their love for you will still be there.

FulminateInMercury

Anytime you can take down walls and be 100% available to someone you love, in whataver form that is, I would consider intimacy.

YesHunty

Being able to confide in another person about your insecurities, the things that hurt you, and the deep dark stuff that we (particularly men) don't get to express to pretty much any one else in our lives. Though the stigma has lessened men are still not "supposed" to cry or have deep emotional reactions outside a few specific scenarios. Some one who I feel intimate with allows me to express these things knowing that it will be accepted if not understood

zer0icee

To me, sex has very little to do with intimacy. Sex is merely one conduit through which intimacy can flow But there can be sex without intimacy, and there certainly can be intimacy without sex.
Intimacy is more about trust and understanding. It's partnership + emotional connection, knowing that your partner can see you at your worst or most embarrassing, and they'll accept you and help you and give you what you need.

wilyquixote

A Simple Touch

Giphy
I've always found that sex in and of its self can be far less intimate than slipping my hand around my SO's waist or having her touch the back of my neck unexpectedly. There is something very deep and emotional about letting somebody else touch you casually in a society that is often very strict on interpersonal contact

zer0icee

The near compulsive need to share yourself with another person within a bond of trust. It tends to manifest physically through affectionate touching and earnest participating in the welfare of the other party. That's how I look at it anyway.

mightyspan

It can also be, laying on the same sofa, head on lap while you both browse your tumblr blogs for porn to share. It can be sitting on a bench in the park, holding hands and kissing like school kids. It can be one, kissing the forehead of the other, lovingly every time they see you. It can be long hugs and a thousand little pecks in the morning before you leave for work......

I_like_the_worr_MUFF

Kissing, cuddling, hand holding, nuzzling, ruffling the person's hair, tickle fights, staring at each other for more than 4 seconds in pure silence, soft nibbling. Also, sharing a shower/bath, massages and sex obviously.

BlerptheDamnCookie

Different Kinds Of Sex

Giphy
Sex isn't the only thing that qualifies as "intimacy" in a romantic relationship for me. Sometimes I feel like really soft, sweet, passionate lovemaking where I'm focusing on how we're connecting, all the emotions involved, the physical and emotional closeness. Other times I prefer just a quick romp. Passionate, raw, animalistic, primal. "Fucking" as opposed to "making love." But that doesn't mean within a romantic relationship that type of sex act can't be just as intimate. I think it's just expressed a different way.
But as I said, there are other ways of showing intimacy without having sex. Cuddling, spending one-on-one time, showering, massages, back rubs/foot rubs, that sort of thing.

xMCioffi1986x

The Little Things

Giphy
There is something very deep and touching about knowing another persons routine and life and doing those little things to improve it/help them. Coming home to your favorite meal being cooked, buying their favorite brand of hard to find chocolate, picking up a book or an article of clothing you saw that you knew they would love. Those things are small but they mean that you were in their thoughts for no reason other than they couldn't help but think of you.

zer0icee

Sex is sex. Intimacy is snuggling up under a blanket and talking about hopes, dreams, concerns, etc. There were plenty of people I had sex with before I found one I wanted to share those other things with and allow myself to be vulnerable to them

domuseid

Talking about stuff in depth. Sharing secrets and personal anecdotes. Disclosing insecurities and discussing them, supporting each other. Telling the other person how much they mean to You. Having a signature joke or phrase that acquaintances and less close friends do not get.

BlerptheDamnCookie

When it comes to relationships, I'm an intimacy sponge. Kiss me, touch me, cuddle with me. Hold my hand in public and don't be afraid to show me off. Intimacy is defined by the relationship and each relationship has its own kind. For me, any woman that goes out of her way to show me she loves me is a winner. Something as small as a kiss on the neck and a "thank you for being with me, I love you" goes a long way.

souzathelooza

As you can see, how couples define intimacy varies a ton. If your most intimate moments are those Friday evenings spent cuddled up on the couch, that's awesome. If it's looking into your partner's eyes and just saying, "I love you," that's incredibly sweet, too. There is no right or wrong way to be intimate with each other, as long as you are, and as long as you are often.

Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!