Physical vs. Emotional Intimacy. What Keeps Your Relationship Together?

It seems that relationships today are becoming more and more complicated. How do we meet one another's physical or emotional needs? If the sex is amazing, does it mean there is an emotional connection? If you can talk about your hopes and dreams, does it lead to sexual chemistry?

First, we should decipher what we truly desire in a relationship, intimacy and which kind.
Intimacy can be defined in many ways. According to, intimacy is both “a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group,” as well as “sexual intercourse.” Can we have intimate relationships that are lacking either of these aspects? Whether it’s physical or emotional, we desire closeness with another person. But which one is more important to keep your relationship together?

Physical Intimacy

Physical/sexual intimacy doesn’t just mean sex. It’s a connection. Sexual intimacy is yearning for every touch, taste, smell of the person you’re with. It’s a connection where you let go of insecurities and allow vulnerability. When you let a person into your very personal space it requires some level of trust. This type of intimacy is very important, it builds a physical bond that’s essential for a long lasting relationship. But can the sex be amazing and still leave you longing for something beyond that? There is a belief that sexual intimacy can eventually lead to an emotional connection. At the same time, that connection could remain in the bedroom and nowhere else. There have been instances where a couple stays together despite having an unfulfilling sex life. The level of sexual intimacy varies on the person and their partner’s patience; for some it’s more difficult to open up than others. 

Emotional Intimacy

Emotional intimacy is psychological and requires an understanding and acceptance of your partner. Conversation is a key point to developing an emotional connection. Sharing thoughts, feelings and emotions may not be easy for many people for various reasons including hurtful situations in the past. The importance of emotional intimacy is that you care enough about your partner to overcome this fear and trust them enough to be unguarded. Sometimes long distance relationships last longer because it forces people to have more conversations in order to keep the relationship going. But then again the need for physical contact always causes an issue. 

The truth is, passion comes in different forms. Depending on the person, a relationship can work lacking either emotional or physical intimacy but still have a sustainable level of love and passion. Some people are comfortable with being emotionally removed and can still feel love and care for their partner. Others want a sexual connection, along with trust and agreement, a physical and emotional connection. Relationships are a mix of love, sex and connection. The ideal combination varies on the people involved in the relationship. All three can come easy or one more difficult than others. The key is allowing yourself to be vulnerable with your significant other and facing your fears of being hurt. If you’re already trying then at least give it the best chance.