Public Displays of Affection: How Much Is Too Much?

Public displays of affection can act as a form of affirming your partner, especially if their love language is physical touch. There’s also a boost of happy hormones that flutter when sharing intimacy with your partner(s). But, there are a few boundaries to avoid crossing to ensure you don’t make the world uncomfortable.

If you’ve scrolled through Instagram at any point in the past few months, you’ve most likely come across the passionate love between Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker. The two are clearly living in their own little world with cute glam shots that reveal “the look” Barker gives Kardashian — you know, the look most women spend time hoping they experience from a future lover — and the more blatant grab of the bum. The topic has even become a discussion on the family’s new Hulu show where Kris Jenner reaches her breaking point with the couple’s affection. In the words of Kourtney, “let’s not hate on a girl who finally knows her worth.” But, boundaries?

PDA is subjective so what might be tame to one couple, can make others cringe. The best rule of thumb might seem obvious but when you’re in love, this is easier said than done: read the room.

For example, a romantic couple’s trip to Dubai will rightfully evoke feelings of eroticism and luxuriousness. That combination can increase intimacy, but culturally speaking, grabbing your partner’s bum on the way to dinner in Dubai could result in being detained. However, grabbing your partner’s bum in America or Brazil will probably result in a scoff and nothing more.

According to dating experts at eHarmony, holding hands and kissing are the safest forms of PDA to enjoy. Placing your hands in your partner’s pockets is also a nice way to enjoy more physical touch, without being cringe-worthy. The key to PDA is remembering that it’s public, so if you’d like to enjoy more intimacy than being public allows, you know where to take things.

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