Intimacy in a relationship is often a measure of how open a couple can be with each other, emotionally and physically. Showing vulnerability, sharing thoughts, feelings and beliefs as well as physical pleasure. Over a lifetime, a couple can drift apart losing the ability to connect with each other easily and affecting the way they relate to each other.
The foundations of intimacy are based on feelings of safety, security and acceptance. Without these elements couples can find themselves holding back from each other as they anticipate criticism, rejection or a lack of understanding.
Problems encountered in the area of emotional intimacy can often also be reflected in difficulties within the physical relationship. These difficulties may show themselves in symptoms such as inhibited sexual drive, infidelity or avoidance of physical intimacy or concerns regarding impotency.
Intimacy may sometimes be replaced by substitutes such as pornography, phone sex, internet sex, or can be redirected into non-sexual substitutes such as shopping, work, food, gambling, etc.