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What Does Intimacy Mean to Men vs. Women?

Intimacy. What does it mean? Some may have a very narrow concept of intimacy, especially if there’s a lack of education or available resources to glean from. Today, we thought it might be valuable to dig into the meaning of intimacy. If you follow us on social media (@coconu if you’re not), you may have seen a questionnaire we ran asking our audience about the topic. We had three questions: 

  • What is intimacy in a relationship?
  • What does intimacy mean to a man?
  • What does intimacy mean to a woman? 
  •  These answers may not reflect how you feel, how your partner feels, or how your friends and family feel. By reading this blog, the hope is simply that it might stimulate vulnerable and intimate conversations between lovers and partners.

    Intimacy, Defined

    The word “intimacy” is a noun with several definitions, including: 

    • Close familiarity or friendship; closeness
    • A private cozy atmosphere
    • An intimate act, especially sexual intercourse
    • Closeness of observation or knowledge of a subject

     The way an individual perceives the word “intimacy” likely dictates how they perceive the meaning of intimacy. Intimacy can, and does, mean something different to everyone because no two people are exactly alike – such is true for intimacy.

    Types of Intimacy

    Multiple “types” or categories of intimacy exist, as defined by Healthline

    • Emotional Intimacy
    • Intellectual Intimacy
    • Experimental Intimacy
    • Spiritual Intimacy 
    • Physical Intimacy 

    Not one area is stronger, more important, or more significant than another, as they all carry their weight in the relationship arena. That being said, it is important to know and understand that intimacy isn’t strictly synonymous with sex. You can have sex without intimacy as well as intimacy without sex. With that, remember that you don’t have to reserve intimacy purely for sexual or romantic partners. Every relationship you have can have a degree of intimacy.

    Understanding and building intimacy is key to a successful relationship, no matter who it’s with. Now, on to your answers to our questions!

    What Is Intimacy in a Relationship?

    A word bubble full of words that represent intimacy

    Generally, the responses centered around togetherness. Intimacy = deep connection with your partner. This aligns with the concept of intimacy having different meanings because we received a range of responses from words like “connection,” “communication,” and “vulnerability” to words like “sex” and “physicality.”

    What Intimacy Means to a Man

    A word bubble full of words that represent intimacy and sex

    The male response to our question box revolved more around the physical side than anything else. No shame in that! We’re all learning how to be better partners and people. Words like “orgasm,” “sex,” “physical closeness,” and “sexual activity” were the standouts from this response group.

    What Intimacy Means to a Woman

    A word bubble full of words that represent intimacy, partnership, and trust

    Our female respondents covered the rest of the intimacy types with their responses. Words like “time,” “closeness,” “trust,” “quiet,” and “safety” were top answers, with “connection” and “vulnerability” coming in at a close second.

    The Key Factors to Any Intimate Relationship

     Going back to the Healthline article above, we’ll share the seven factors they said are essential if you’re wanting to build an intimate relationship.

    • Trust
    • Acceptance
    • Honesty
    • Safety
    • Compassion
    • Affection
    • Communication

    We saw some of these words in your responses, so let’s touch on the new additions.

    Acceptance

    It should come as no surprise that an intimate relationship requires acceptance. You can’t truly connect with someone who doesn’t know the “real you.” If you shy away from your hobbies and interests, feel like you’ve “changed” (and not for the better), or have ever been teased for something you care about, maybe it’s time to reconsider the course of your relationship.

    Listen to your heart and your head; they work better together.

    Compassion

     Next: compassion. Your partner ought to listen to you during the ups and downs. They should be there for you when things aren’t going so well. They should hold your hand through the tough times, rub your back during the rough times, and hug you whenever you need one. It goes back to the big relationship truth: If they wanted to, they would. If they don’t prioritize you, especially when you need to be prioritized, find someone who will.

    There’s someone out there for everyone, even when it seems like you’ve swiped and “put yourself out there” forever.

    Affection

     Affection is simply a gentle feeling of fondness or liking. Many associate the word with a paternal or maternal relationship or even the relationship between someone and their pet. However, it applies across the board. You can be affectionate to everyone from your friends to your coworkers – within reason.

    Have you heard of the five love languages? The love language you prefer to receive is related to affection, so get to know yourself in this regard.

    Intimacy Takes Effort

     Unfortunately, intimacy isn’t a given. It must be built, nurtured. If intimacy is hard for you, perhaps you have a fear of intimacy and you need to work on your intimate relationship with yourself. Learn and establish boundaries. Seek professional help if necessary. Most of all, communicate your needs to those around you. They can’t help if they don’t know a) that you need it, or b) how to help you.

    Be patient with yourself, though – especially if anyone has ever violated you because it can take a while to want to trust people again.

    Enhancing Intimacy with Coconu

    

    man and woman entangled in the back of a van by the water enjoying an intimate moment

    Our mission is to help couples increase their capacity for connection, intimacy, and pleasure. Not only that, but we want to provide products that can enhance sexual experiences without affecting the body negatively.

    Our products are 100% safe and organic to promote the “good, clean, healthy fun” mentality that you should associate with intimacy. To break it down, we use plant-based, non-GMO ingredients, which are USDA certified organic whenever possible as well as plastic-free product packaging made in the U.S. from sugarcane. Better for you, better for the planet.

    We hope to help you have happier, healthier, and more fulfilling lives, one step at a time. That’s what we do. That’s Coconu.

    Interested in getting intimate? We’ve got something that might help.