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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Why is intimacy so important in a relationship?

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    With a passion to see people move forward and break free from the barriers holding them back, Grant is a highly experienced counsellor with over … View Profile

    I should probably leave this to the philosphers but to me intimacy is the unspoken bond that connects people - a sharing of our humaness. It connects us beyond the physical, cognitive and emotional. It distinguishes my relationship with my wife from every other relationship I have. It requires respect and trust and provides a safe place away from the world. 

    On a more practical note, relationships require a degree of functionality and there are quantative aspects such as how much time you spend together. Intimacy is the qualitive aspect of your relationships. I know plenty of men who get on well with their partners and kids but don't ‘connect’ with them. You could argue we have had generations of parents like that. Most regret this when things happen eg illness, separation etc when they reflect, "I wish I had known her/him better" 

    Without intimacy you can have a great functional relationship that meets your needs on many levels but there is so much more when there is intimacy. This is probably why we have the expression - "it is not good for people to be alone"    All the best.

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    Dr Peter Cantwell

    Counselling Psychologist, Psychologist

    Peter Cantwell lectures in individual, couples and family therapy, and also sees individuals, couples, families and groups for non-medical psychological issues. He is a registered … View Profile

    4. Why is intimacy so important in a relationship?

    Intimacy in our culture is often equated with sexual intimacy, whereas intimacy as defined in the psychological state is something a little bit different. It talks about our ability to relate closely to and to function up closely to another person. In a good relationship, this needs to happen in a variety of ways. For example, doing the washing up, having a nice evening out together, sharing values that we stand for regarding children, money, quality of life, and even religious values. As well as those, there is also the very important times for couples known as “sexual sharing”.

    So, its good to have enough time together in a good relationship, to have a broad basis of intimacy. Otherwise, when the sexual attraction wears thin we might discover that there is not much between the two anyhow. In my work with couples, young couples particularly, the relationship sometimes seems to die because it was founded on too much of one thing. Some people say that real relationships begin when the romance wears off and that is the time when the relationship begins to be built on quite serious values. So that is something to keep in mind too. So intimacy needs time and a variety of qualities to stand the test of time, and to last for a good length of time.

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    I am a Melbourne Relationship Counsellor and Family Lawyer who is skilful in helping people get out of the pain of relationship distress and create … View Profile

    Intimacy is like the glue that keeps us together. It is important for many reasons as outlined above. It helps provide depth and meaning to our relationships and it is intimacy that distinguishes our close relationships from others that may be more casual or less important to us. Intimacy is about our abiity to be revealing of ourselves, vulnerable and exposed with another. It offers us the essence of contact with another human being and through intimacy that is developed over time we may find the courage to be our best selves and to become more of the person we could have been than if we we're going it alone. Intimacy may provide us with a safe space in which to explore ourselves and another. Intimacy is a gift which we bring of ourselves into a relationship. Finally, I might add that intimacy means different things to different people and different relationships. All the best!

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    I work in partnership with my clients to achieve the best possible outcome, specific to my clients goals and objectives. I am most experienced in … View Profile

    Intimacy is like morter in brickwork. Without it the brickwork will collapse when pressure is applied to it, because it has nothing to hold it together. Likewise when pressure or stress comes on a relationship, if their is no intimacy then the relationship will eventually collapse. This fits well with attachment theory as well; because every human being needs a significant other to develop and grow emotionally and psychologically strong. Firstly, a child with at least one primary caregiver and later in life usually with an intimate partner. Without a significant other a person has less resiliency to cope with the stressors of life. Whereas a person who has a significant (intimate ) other tends to be emotionally healthier and a well balanced human being. For further reading on this topic refer to John Bowlby, et al.

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