6 Practices to Deepen Somatic Intimacy

Somatic intimacy is one of the best feelings in the world; when your body feels completely in sync with someone else’s body. You’re breathing the same breath, and your movement feels like it’s emerging from the same body.

Somatic intimacy can be sexual. But it doesn’t have to be. It can also be emotional, energetic, pleasurable, painful, grounding, and cathartic.

In this post, we’ll explain what “somatic intimacy” is and then go over six tips to practice somatic intimacy with a partner, a friend, and a group.

What is Somatic Intimacy?

Somatic intimacy is when two or more bodies are immersed in the present moment together.

“Somatic” simply describes the body. It comes from the Greek word sōmatikos, meaning “of the body.”

“Intimacy” is when you are immersed in full presence with another person. (Though you can of course be intimate with yourself, a group, nature, etc.).

Why is Somatic Intimacy Important?

Somatic intimacy is important because it is one of the five dimensions of connection.

In the same way that blue is an important color, somatic intimacy is an important form of connection.

What are the 5 Dimensions of Connection?

The 5 Dimensions of Connection are:

  • Mind. This might look like building your worldview with another, exploring philosophical ideas, or sharing about your life.
  • Body. This could be kissing, cuddling, wrestling, or even spanking. It’s when you and the other person are both in a present, embodied state together.
  • Heart. This is when you and the other person share affection, care, and warmth. It could include touch or words but doesn’t need to.
  • Child. Play! This might be bantering, rough-housing, teasing, games, or silliness. It’s when you and the other person open up your kid parts to each other.
  • Spirit. This could be meditating together or being with nature together. But it also might be when you and the other person feel like your life paths feel mystically in sync, like you’re “supposed” to be in each others’ lives. Or like you’re inspiring each others’ sense of purpose.

Yes, these twirly wrestlers are indeed practicing somatic intimacy!

A connection can be nourishing if you and another person share only one of these dimensions. Though usually, the more dimensions you share with a person, the more fulfilling the connection.

In order to feel socially healthy, you’ll likely need a connection in each one of these dimensions. That could mean having one friend who meets all five dimensions or having several friends who each fulfill one or two dimensions. 

If a single relationship can touch into all five of these dimensions, that relationship is likely to feel highly nourishing. Like a well-balanced meal with a variety of textures, flavors, and colors.

So what’s special about the “body” part of the 5 dimensions?

Each dimension of connection is nourishing in a different way. Body connection, or somatic intimacy, is nourishing because:

  • It allows you to feel deeply present with another
  • You can feel emotions and energies together, which often feels “deeper” than other dimensions of connection.
  • It can engage all of your senses, which is the gateway to pleasure, pain, and groundedness
  • The body is the seat of healing. Many therapists and healers believe that true emotional healing and growth must happen through the body. So when we connect with another person through this portal, it can be transformational.

Somatic Intimacy Tips

If you’d like to deepen your somatic intimacy with someone in your life, try out some of the following tips.

Tips to deepen somatic intimacy with a partner

Pleasure mapping (15-minutes)

This practice, borrowed from The Somatica Institute, is a brilliant way to help your partner tune into their pleasure compass.

Don’t be fooled by its simplicity. This practice shocks me every time with where it goes.

Here are the steps:

  1. Assign roles. One person will be the space holder, and the other the pleasure explorer.
  2. Sit somewhere comfy. Pleasure is the key here! Put on a timer for 5 minutes.
  3. Explore pleasure in your body. Explorer, begin to touch your body for pleasure. Let yourself be curious and explorative. Avoid your genitals so that you can see where else on your body pleasure lives. Share with the spaceholder what you are noticing as you go. EG “For some reason, it’s feeling really pleasurable when I pinch this part of my thigh. And actually, it’s reminding me of how my ex used to touch me here.”
  4. Reflect. Share with each other how the experience went for you. What were your takeaways?
  5. Swap!

Emotional release (5 minutes)

This activity is a way to sync up your breath and release stuck emotions together.

Stage 1. Breathe together
  1. Get in a chest-to-chest cuddle posture. 
  2. Sync up your breath. Big inhales and big exhales.
  3. Make a sound on the exhale. When you breathe out, make a sound and a face to release any emotions you’re holding onto. The more sound, the merrier. Your exhale might sound like laughter, yelling, or sobbing. Whatever comes out!
  4. Take 10 expressive breaths together. As you’re exhaling, see if you can allow the emotion/energy of your sounds to sync up together.
Stage 2 Breathe for one person

Steps 1-3 are the same. For step 4, try this:

  1. Chest to chest. 
  2. Sync up breathing. 
  3. Start to make sounds on exhale.
  4. Take 10 expressive breaths to match one person’s energy. Person 1 will just take 10 expressive breaths as above, trying to express whatever is bottled up inside of them. But this time, Person 2 will align their expressive breaths with Person 1. Trying to match and amplify what they feel from them.

    This practice will help dig even deeper into Person 1’s emotional landscape.
  5. Swap.

If you’ve never done anything like it, this activity will sound pretty…unhinged. But the further you can let yourself express without self-judgment or filtering, the better.

Bonus eye-gazing practice

If you’d like a bonus somatic practice to try with your partner, give this eye-gazing meditation a go. In it, you and your partner will rest in eye contact, and I will gently guide you through a variety of roles, dynamics, and archetypes that you both occupy in your connection.

Download Eye-Gazing Intimacy Meditation for Partners

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Tips to deepen somatic intimacy with a platonic (and touch-positive) friend

Hand dance (7 minutes)

This activity is a gentle but powerful way to introduce touch and movement into your connection. Here are the steps:

  1. Make a playlist. Co-create a playlist together. You can both pick just one song, or you can make a longer playlist of 20-30 minutes.
  2. Let your hands meet. Allow your hands to touch each other, and just let your hands express themselves like they are their own creatures. Try with both eyes opened and closed.

If you’ve never tried this before, you might be surprised at how much expression you can access through just your two hands.

Dynamic cuddles (5 minutes)

This activity provides a safe and effective container to introduce cuddling into your dynamic with a friend. 

Just follow these few steps:

  1. Find a cuddle position. Try to find some position where you’re both comfortably touching. 
  2. Stay in that position for 1 minute. Let yourself sink into it.
  3. Find a NEW cuddle position. Feel free to get creative!
  4. Stay in that position for 1 minute. 
  5. Repeat two more times.

This activity will force you into some unconventional cuddle postures, which will help you get more comfortable being embodied with your friend.

Here’s a demo I did with my partner:

cuddle position 1 for a somatic intimacy exercise called "dynamic cuddling"
cuddle position 2 for a somatic intimacy exercise called "dynamic cuddling"
cuddle position 3 for a somatic intimacy exercise called "dynamic cuddling"

cuddle position 4 of somatic intimacy exercise called "dynamic cuddling"

(^ lol @ position 4)

Tips to deepen somatic intimacy with a touch-positive group

Try either of these tips if you’re with a group that wants to bring forth more collective touch and physical intimacy.

Energy hands (3 minutes)

This activity is fun and intriguing to help your group access different embodied energies together.

  1. Hold hands. Get in a circle together, and hold hands on both sides.
  2. Express earth. Allow your hands to interact with the hands next to you while channeling the energy of “earth.” Whatever that means to you. Notice how this prompt impacts the pace and quality of your touch. Stay here for about 30 seconds.
  3. Express fire. Now shift your hand movements to expressing “fire.” Notice how this impacts your shared touch.
  4. Express water. Same thing with water.
  5. Express air. Finish up with air.

You don’t need to use the four elements to do this activity; you could use any prompt. You could hand dance to anger, sadness, fear, and joy. Or you can get extra abstract and try potatoes, apple, eggs, and ketchup. (Lol, the food one would be tough. But try it if you’re inspired!)

If you try this out, you might notice how much these prompts can affect your touch with another person and how your bodies can conjure and express different energies together.

I’ve personally had some fascinating experiences with the group energy-hands activity!

Big asks (3 minutes per person)

This is a great way to show your friends love and to practice receiving.

  1. Pick a receiver. One person at a time gets in the middle of the group.
  2. Ask for what you want. The person in the center feels for a moment what they want to receive physically for three minutes. It could be a massage on their hands and feet. It could be someone whispering sweet nothings in their ears while the others give them feather touch on their belly. Whatever they want!
  3. Give everyone a turn. 

Giving and receiving pleasure is one of the most beautiful forms of somatic intimacy.

Somatic Intimacy Takeaways

The most fulfilling connections have all five types of intimacy: mental, heartful, spiritual, playful, and physical.

If you want to open more somatic intimacy with a partner, try:

  • Pleasure mapping. Where your partner explores pleasure in their body (not including genitals) for 10 minutes while narrating to you. Then switch
  • Emotional release. Go chest to chest and take huge breaths with your partner while expressing emotion on the exhale. Take 10 breaths synergizing with each other, then 10 breaths amplifying your partner’s expression, then 10 breaths amplifying your expression.

If you want to open more somatic intimacy with a friend, try:

  • A hand dance. Co-create a two-song playlist, and let your hands dance with each other. Try with your eyes open and closed.
  • Dynamic cuddling. Find a cuddle position and stay in it for 1 minute. Then find a whole new cuddle position and stay in it for a minute. Repeat four times in total.

And to increase the somatic intimacy in a group, you could try:

  • Energy hands. Everyone holds hands in a circle. Then express ‘earth’ in your shared hand touch for 30 seconds. Do the same with ‘fire,’ ‘water,’ and ‘air.’ Or try other prompts!
  • Big asks. One person at a time, ask for whatever physical touch you want from the group for 3 minutes. Don’t hold back!

I hope you gleaned some new inspiration for some of your physical connections.

If you want to practice another form of somatic intimacy with a romantic/sexual partner, you might be interested in this eye-gazing meditation below. In the meditation, you and your partner go into eye contact, and I’ll gently guide you into a series of different energetic dynamics within your connection.

Partnership is beautiful because you both play all the roles for each other—and in this meditation, you’ll get to experience a handful of these roles directly. 

If you’re an exploratory type like I am, I think you’ll dig it.

Download Eye-Gazing Intimacy Meditation for Partners

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And if the meditation doesn’t appeal to you, you could check out this article on how to create more vulnerability in your connections.

Thanks for reading, I hope you got something out of this article 🙂


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