IN THE BODY: BENEFITS OF LOVE & INTIMACY
Intimacy is the feeling of deep closeness and connection. Of shared space and energy. Of safety, wholeness, and love.
On the outside, we all enjoy intimacy in different ways. A shared bottle of wine. A slow walk on the beach. A quiet night at home. Whispers. Giggles. Hand holding. Eye gazing. Sensual massage. Active listening. Deep breaths.
And still, despite the varied ways we engage with intimacy, the physical benefits of healthy intimacy and love in our bodies are often very similar.
Healthy, sustainable love, and intimacy in our relationships can:
Though cortisol, the hormone related to stress, can often increase during the early stages of love, it has been shown that over time, the levels return to normal or decrease as a result of secure attachments and increased relaxation.
Feelings of love and intimacy release dopamine, affecting the brain's reward and pleasure center, making people feel happier around each other, and while apart.
Encourage Comfort and Calm
Oxytocin, a hormone that promotes bonding and attachment is released through physical contact like hugging, kissing, and sex. These acts of physical intimacy promote sensations of contentment, peace, and relaxation.
Support Overall Well-Being
Mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health are all affected by how we feel in the world. When we feel calm and secure, our overall well-being increases. When we feel agitated and unsure, our overall well-being decreases. Intimacy and love both deeply affect the ways we feel in mind, body, and spirit.
Intimacy and love in our closest relationships can have so many benefits beyond what we can even see.
Encouraging these benefits and finding new ways to cultivate intimacy and love can be as easy as slowing down, setting the mood, and asking:
What do you need? What feels good? How can we make this better?
Then, opening yourself up to hear the answers.