How To Deal With Lack Of Intimacy When You’re Single

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Humans are social creatures. We thrive on close personal relationships with others. For this reason, it’s easy to crave intimacy when you’re single: to miss the closeness that you most likely once had. The thing is, intimacy doesn’t just come from romantic relationships, and it certainly isn’t always something sexual. How do you deal with a lack of intimacy when you’re single? Well let’s break it down…

Understanding The Different Types of Intimacy

So first up, let me ask you a question – what do you think of when you hear the word ‘intimacy’? What does it mean to you? And what do you think you need in order to have it?

Maybe you’re unsure. But have a think. See, what you also may not realise is there are actually different types of intimacy.

This is relevant because once you know that you don’t just get intimacy in one way, you can better deal with the lack of intimacy when you’re single, by finding other ways to still feel it.

To run through them really quickly, you have:

1) Physical Intimacy

This is usually the one that springs to mind when we talk about ‘getting intimate’ with a person. Sexual activity is a big part of that. However:

  1. You don’t have to just get sexual pleasure from another person. Self-pleasure is also a thing, perfectly normal and nothing to feel embarrassed about.
  2. You can still experience physical intimacy with a person through holding hands, cuddling, dancing. If you want to feel physically intimate with another person, it doesn’t always be about having sex.

I mean think about it – why do so many people get into salsa dancing? Particularly when they’re older? They want to feel that intimacy with a person again, without things having to be seedy!

2) Emotional Intimacy

Next up there’s emotional intimacy and this can often be a scary thing for many people, which is why it usually comes with time.

It requires being able to trust another person, let your guard down, feel a little vulnerable, confide in them, open up.

But this isn’t something that you can only do with a partner. You can just as easily get emotional intimacy with someone else.

3) Intellectual Intimacy

This is more about being able to share thoughts and ideas, hopes and fears, wishes and desires – and the other person ‘getting it.’ It’s still personal stuff, but more debatable topics.

When you have intellectual intimacy, you feel like you can discuss anything with a person and they’ll listen but also challenge you, help you to grow. 

4) Experiential Intimacy

Moving onto the even less known forms of intimacy now, we have experiential intimacy. This is when you’re brought closer to someone through experiences.

So a great example is, if you were to go solo traveling and meet a group of people who you ended up going new places with – you’d have that experiential intimacy with them which would bond you.

There’s lots of other ways to get it – but when you’re single, doing new things, going new places, working on different projects with a person – whether you know them before, meet them there, go with a friend, or go with a date – it will still get you experiencing a level of intimacy that may surprise you.

5) Spiritual Intimacy

Last but not least, there’s spiritual intimacy.

Now this isn’t for everyone, but if you are a spiritual person, you’ll be able to connect to others who are on the same or similar level and connect with them through that.

The same can be said if you’re religious. You can gain spiritual intimacy through going to church or singing in that Sunday choir!

There’s Not Just One Way To Feel Intimacy

As you can see, there’s not just one single way in which you can feel intimacy, and it doesn’t have to be from a husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend.

You can therefore still feel that intimacy when you’re single. The key is to let people in.

It’s also important to open your mind. If you tell yourself:

“I really miss the lack of intimacy. I’m not happy. I need to find someone.”

Then yes, yes you will need to. You won’t ever be completely happy until you’ve found your ‘other half’ because that’s the measure of success that you attach to it.

That’s the requirement you set in order to feel intimacy. So you’re setting yourself up to fail!

On the other hand however, if you use this as an opportunity to allow yourself to feel intimacy with other people, and in new ways – it will genuinely broaden your mind, open your heart and add lasting value in your life.

Ready to give it a go? Alright then. Let’s up your intimacy!

How To Remove The Lack of Intimacy When You’re Single

Activity time now then. And I’ve got a challenge for you…

See, if you clicked on this article because you’re genuinely finding it difficult to deal with the lack of intimacy in your life right now, I really don’t want you to just read this and not apply anything.

The goal is happiness. The goal is learning how to be happy on our own. So really try these things with an open mind and see how it changes the way you feel when you consistently apply them, and keep applying them.

TASK: With each type of intimacy category listed above, I want you to write down 1-2 things you can do for each category, then pick one you will do within the next week.

20 Ways To Feel Intimacy When You’re Single

If you’re struggling for where to start, I’m going to spam you with heaps of ideas for how to feel intimacy now. Pick a few from these list and schedule them into diary in the same way.

  1. Treat yourself to a massage.
  2. Get your nails (even if this is just at home!)
  3. Get your hair done (re-create yourself if you like!)
  4. Give your family members a good cuddle.
  5. Ask your friends for a cuddle.
  6. Gee, go and give your colleague a big, warm embrace!
  7. Hold hands with a date.
  8. Open up to a date (just a little!)
  9. Play this question game with a date.
  10. Try these different date ideas.
  11. Talk to your family about how you’re really feeling.
  12. Talk to your friends about something important to you.
  13. Speak to a therapist or a coach about personal matters.
  14. Touch yourself (remember, there’s no shame or embarrassment with that!)
  15. Have cuddles with your dog or cat.
  16. Get away for the weekend with a friend.
  17. Take a solo trip somewhere by yourself & stay in a hostel.
  18. Go on an organised day trip or group tour… and socialise!
  19. Go to a retreat – either by yourself or with another person.
  20. Try something different with someone you care about.

Which will you start with first? What are you actually pretty excited for?

And hey, may I just add in here that I’m not saying you’ll tick one thing off and INSTANTLY feel the same level of intimacy you would in a relationship.

But keep with it, because I promise – gradually – it will help you to deal with the lack of intimacy when you’re single.

You’re building yourself up here. You’re growing into an even stronger, more independent, and happier version of yourself. So be proud of that!

“But What If I Still Miss That Physical Intimacy When I’m Single?”

And by physical physical intimacy, we’re referring to something sexual.

Well first off – consider this: “How Often Do Couples In Their 20’s Make Love?” Well, actually, it’s not as often as you may think, so don’t feel like you’re missing out!

But if you still do and you want to act on it, outside of a relationship… Well, girl, who are we to judge?

Women have needs just the same as men, and if you want to get physically intimate with a guy you like, even with no strings attached (if it comes down to it!) – GO FOR IT.

Honestly, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. (I capitalise this point to highlight it further. There really are no judgements here, nor should there be.)

The most important thing is that you’re happy, you’re comfortable and you’re doing it for the right reasons. Just make sure:

  1. You’re not going back to an ex. Steer well clear of that!
  2. You’re not messing around with people who are emotionally unavailable (particularly if you’re in a different place and want different things.)
  3. You ready for it, are happy about it and it doesn’t conflict with any of your beliefs.
  4. … Oh, and you “stay safe”, of course. Sorry, “Mom moment!”

Just know that there are still other ways to overcome the lack of intimacy when you’re single, so you’ve got options, okay?

Lots of love,

How To Deal With Lack Of Intimacy When You’re Single

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Ella Stearn
Ell is a Breakup, Dating & Relationship Specialist & Coach, with over 3 million annual readers, globally. As the Creator of Forgetting Fairytales, her mission is to help you learn to love yourself, find the right person to give your love to, then make it a love that truly lasts.

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