You’ve probably heard about the Five Love Languages:
Words of affirmation 🗣️
Quality time ⌛
Act of service 🤝
Giving gifts 🎁
Physical touch 🤗
The Five Love Languages were developed by American author Gary Chapman in the early 1990s, and have helped millions of people worldwide to better understand their own relationship needs, as well as their partners’ relationship needs.
Ever considered what your love language might be?
👉 If you crave touch and physical connection in your relationships, physical touch is your love language!
And even if physical touch isn’t your love language of choice, it may be your partner’s (or your prospective partner’s)… And if you can’t give and receive affection through touch, the relationship won’t work out 😬
Before we chat about physical touch specifically, let’s align on why love languages are important.
👉 Love languages are important because they help us navigate relationships, and meet our partner’s, as well as our own, needs.
Knowing your own love languages — you can have more than one love language — can help you:
Ask for, and get, what you want. If you love being touched and petted, the more cognizant you are of this, the more comfortable you’ll feel asking a potential partner for physical contact 🙋♂️
Avoid conflicts and miscommunications. I’ve observed that many relationship problems stem from what I call “love language mismatch,” where one partner prefers to receive affection in one love language, but the other partner doesn’t provide enough affection in that same love language. For example, if you crave physical touch, but your partner doesn’t provide it (maybe because they’re uncomfortable with touch, or maybe just because you haven’t communicated about how important touch is to you), you may start to feel unloved 💔
Deepen your relationships with women. You’ll find that as you learn to receive and deliver affection across multiple love languages, you form more and deeper relationships. For example, if you meet a woman whose receiving love language is physical touch, you’re much more likely to form a romantic connection if you respectfully initiate touch with her early on ❤️🔥
Note that there's a dichotomy between love languages you prefer to receive affection in, vs love languages you prefer to give affection in.
My experience coaching men over the years has led me to believe:
You don't always give and receive love in the same language. For example, you may love to receive physical touch, but prefer to give love in the form of acts of service.
Most men default to giving in 1-2 love languages, and often have blind spots others. For example, even if you love to receive physical touch, you may not realize you seldom (or never) give it!
Why do I call this out?
😬 Women may pass on you if you can’t “speak” their love language!
So, for love languages you’re less “fluent” in (e.g. if you’re less-comfortable initiating physical touch) you want to both recognize that it’s blind spot or weakness, and practice delivering affection via touch to build better relationships.
2. What “physical touch” really means
If physical touch is your love language, then your preferred way of receiving and expressing love and affection is through contact like:
Physical closeness (e.g. sitting side-by-side at a restaurant)
More-intimate physical connection (e.g. kissing and sex)
The three most important things to know here are:
Physical touch doesn’t just mean sex. There are tons of ways to deliver and receive physical touch that are less-intimate, like putting your arm around someone’s shoulder, or rubbing their back.
Physical connection matters. If your partner’s preferred love language is physical touch, you putting your arm around her, or hugging her, can be more important to her than hearing the words “I love you.”
Physical touch is nothing to be scared of. If you like it when a woman touches you, tell her! Likewise, it’s OK to initiate touch in romantic settings as long as you’re respectful of her boundaries.
👉 Worried about initiating touch, because you fear it’s inappropriate or creepy?
Try gently testing the waters to see if a woman you’re seeing likes physical touch by touching her hand, elbow, or arm. These are non-invasive places that are usually safe to try on a first date. Just pay attention to how she reacts. Do her expressions and actions indicate she likes being touched, or not?
When in doubt, ask. It’s wise, not weird, to directly for permission to touch a woman if you're not sure she'd like it.
Here are a couple of lines you can use to make sure it’s safe to touch a woman:
"Can I give you a hug?"
"Can I touch your hand?"
"Is it OK for me to put my arm around you?"
3. Signs Physical Touch is Your Love Language
Here are some signs that your love language, or her love language, is indeed physical touch:
Receiving spontaneous kisses and touches makes you (or her) feel loved 🥰
Small physical gestures such as holding hands or resting your head on your partner’s shoulder are some of your (or her) favorite things 💞
You feel special by the way she looks at you and holds you (or vise-versa) 😍
Public displays of affection (aka “PDA”) doesn’t turn you off, and maybe even turns you on 😘
You notice when your partner doesn’t touch you and it makes you feel hurt or like something is missing 🥺
You feel soothed, calmed, reassured, or uplifted from your partner’s touch (or she feels that way from yours) 🚀
The idea of giving or receiving massages sounds romantic and exciting to you 💆🏻
It’s meaningful when your partner holds you hand, puts their arm around you, snuggles up to you, or touches you 🐻
You love when your partner initiates sex or she loves when you initiate sex with her 👩🏻❤️👨🏻
You seek out relationships that are touchy! 👐🏽
Wrap up & next steps
If you think physical touch is your, or your prospective partner’s, love language...
You should act on it!
If your love language is physical touch let your partner know that you enjoy expressions of affection in physical ways such as hugs, kisses, and holding hands 🤗
If your partner’s love language is physical touch then deliver it! Just be sure to listen to her, so you understand what types of touch she is and isn’t comfortable with 👂
One last thought — practice makes perfect.
If you’re uncomfortable either giving or receiving touch, you won’t just suddenly wake up one day as a master of physical intimacy.
You need to step outside of your comfort zone, and practice!
My #1 piece of advice here is to start small and get comfortable saying things like:
"Can I put my arm around you?"
"I love to be touched. Will you hold my hand?"
Over-communication is a good thing, because it prevents you from overstepping boundaries.