science of intimacy

Intimacy and Sex in Marriage

A diagram of an iceberg can be used to explain the relationship between intimacy and sex in a marriage relationship. When we’re talking about this iceberg, don’t think coldthink hot!

We have all heard the tip of an iceberg (what can be seen above the surface of the water) is only about 10% of the entire structure. What lies beneath the surface of the water is massive compared to what is visible to the eye. In the same way, what is under the surface in your relationship makes all the difference.

sexual intimacy

Everyone wants to experience intimacy and sex!

However, below the surface of all fulfilling, sexual relationships are authentic emotional, intellectual, and spiritual connections. Remember, sex is just the tip of the intimacy iceberg!

Intimacy and Sex Explained

i) Sexual Intimacy: The other forms of intimacy can be experienced between any two people; however, it is sexual intercourse, reserved between husband and wife, that makes marriage the most unique of all relationships. In sex, a man and wife are made one flesh.

Why is there a much higher rate (49%) of separation between lovers when they cohabit, as opposed to their married counterparts (20%)?  (Ref.) One factor is that the commitment of marriage provides the best context for intimacy: sexual and otherwise.

ii) Emotional Intimacy:

It is in this particular area of closeness that romance best fits into the picture. When our emotions are involved, things get very interesting! It’s all the warm, cozy feelings of falling in love and being in love that we think of when we consider emotional intimacy.

All of the words, thoughts, and actions that affect how we feel about our spouse and about our marriage have a bearing on emotional intimacy. The best word to use? Romance!

iii) Intellectual Intimacy:

Intellectual intimacy is perhaps the most overlooked form of intimacy. Nevertheless, it is this intellectual closeness that often first binds two people together. Granted, a man may be attracted by the physical appearance of a woman, but it is the closeness developed through getting to know each other intellectually that first draws a couple to each other.

Many couples feel that “spark” of excitement growing between them as they spend time conversing and getting to know each other. This process begins intellectually and quickly becomes emotional as well.

Over time, April and Doug fell madly in love with each other; however, if you were to look at them they seem oddly matched with each other. Doug is a big outgoing guy from rural Canada, and April is a very shy, petite girl from Southeastern Asia.

How did they ever hook up? The internet.

Doug and April met online, and began a courtship in cyberspace!

How can something like this work? It can work, because “falling in love” is most often started by developing intellectual intimacy!

iv) Spiritual Intimacy:

Based on the bedrock of common values and beliefs, spiritual intimacy extends our oneness to the very core of who we are and influences how we perceive ourselves and the world around us.

Arguably the most neglected intimacy, spiritual intimacy, is also the most important because it is a tri-intimacy involving husband, wife, and God.

Our relationship with God is like the hub of a wheel. Everything else in life comes into balance when the Lord has the central position in our life.

In our marriage vows, husband and wife make a vow to each other—and also to God. Our vows include Him. With this understanding, as we grow closer to our spouse spiritually, we also grow closer to God.