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Episode 020: The Five Levels of Intimacy

Episode 020 of The Naked Partytime Podcast is live!⁠

In this episode, Jeff and Sabrina dive into the five levels of intimacy in relationships and marriage. 

If we don’t cultivate every area of intimacy in marriage, we’ll be in danger of being great roommates, but only average spouses. 

20% of US couples live in what’s called a non-sexual marriage. A non-sexual marriage is a couple who has had sex fewer than 10 times a year. 

15% of marriages have not had sex in the last 6 months. 

2% of marriages are considered sexless marriages, meaning there has been no sexual intimacy for over a year. 

Quote from An Impossible Marriage by Laurie and Matt Krieg: “Eight years into our marriage, we were still friends…but I didn’t have to be married to Matt to be his friend. We communicated well, but we were both generally good communicators. We could have fun together, but we could have fun with many people. We loved Jesus, but our relationship with him seemed individual to each of us. We worked well together — our house stayed clean, the bills were paid, and our kids were cared for — but was that fruit of a solid, rich, deep marriage? Our therapist described our relationship as “cordial,” and he was right. We just…lived. The only difference for us was that sex was off the table. And there are more married couples – including straight ones – than we realize who are just like us in this area.” 

The Five Levels of Intimacy: 

1. Physical Intimacy 

When I say physical intimacy, I’m talking about just sharing the same space with someone. Being in proximity to someone else. In this sense, we experience physical intimacy all the time. 

Literally, every interaction you have with someone is a form of intimacy.

2. Relational Intimacy

Relational intimacy has moved beyond just the physical sharing of space or exchanging of goods and services and has moved into a give and take. This is where you get to know someone. Friendships all experience at least this level of intimacy. 

This is where I believe many marriages start to struggle. I think there are many couples who are great friends. But they struggle to be great spouses because they don’t continue to go deeper in their intimacy.

Whenever you start holding back things in your marriage it will begin to hold your marriage back.

3. Emotional Intimacy 

This is the place where you start to allow people into a much deeper part of your life. You gotta be pretty far along into the relational intimacy to let someone in here. 

Emotional intimacy is where you begin to share your feelings with someone. Like how you’re really feeling. It’s peeling back another layer of your heart, which is hard to do, and letting someone in. 

Link to Episode 009: The ATV of Relationships

4. Spiritual Intimacy

And when I say spiritual, I’m not just talking about faith. This is the level of intimacy where you have a deep soul connection. You don’t have to believe in God or be a Christian to have spiritual intimacy with someone. 

This is the vulnerable part of life. If you want any relationship to thrive, especially our marriage relationships, you need to be authentic, transparent, and vulnerable. It’s sharing the deepest and darkest parts of your life with someone. It’s holding nothing back and withholding nothing from. 

Genesis 2:25 Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.

And spiritual intimacy is not just having someone you CAN share anything with, it’s having someone you HAVE shared everything with. And there’s a difference.

Not everyone should know everything about you, but someone should. And if you’re married, one of those people is your spouse. But you need someone else as well. Someone in your life should know everything about you. Typically someone of the same sex. 

5. Sexual Intimacy 

You can have sex outside of marriage, that’s the truth. But I don’t think that’s true intimacy. It’s pleasurable, or is designed to be, but it’s not true intimacy. True, healthy intimacy, including sexual intimacy, will only be experienced inside the boundaries that God gave us. One man and one woman until death do us part. 

In two weeks, on April 27th, we are devoting an entire episode to sex. We’re gonna talk about some common roadblocks to sexual intimacy. And we’re gonna talk about some ways to cultivate sexual intimacy in your marriage. It’s gonna be fun.