Public Displays of Affection: Yea or Nay?

public-displays-of-affectionBad news for anyone who regularly uses the phrase ‘Get a room!’

Public Displays of Affection (PDAs) look set to soar in 2010 — and it’s not just moonstruck teens who are indulging in bouts of public passion.

Headed up by Barack and Michelle Obama, it’s been an epic year for syrupy displays by celebrity couples. The world’s most powerful pairing popularised PDAs by laying their love on thick for the cameras throughout 2009.

But boffins say PDAs could have more to do with lust than love. A survey of students showed that while they view holding hands as a statement of commitment, most would be more comfortable heavy petting in public than giving their date’s hand a gentle squeeze.

Middlesex University psychotherapist Leila Collins says: “We have become more self-conscious and detached, so we see affection less often. Love is a fragile thing, and if there is warmth and affection, then the partnership is more likely to survive.”

Innocent hand-holding, pecks on the cheeks and cuddling are far more important than rampant sessions in the sack, says couples counsellor David Kavanagh.

“Affection is definitely more important than passion,” he says. “The passion in most relationships lasts around three years, but affection can last a lifetime. It allows couples to show they still care for each other after the initial surge of lust has gone. PDAs are a signal that you value and respect your partner — two essential parts of a relationship.”

Now doctors have given loved-up couples another excuse to make a spectacle of themselves in front of family, friends and perfect strangers. Research in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that affection can fight stress by reducing levels of cortisol, a hormone implicated in heart disease. So not only do PDAs make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside — they’re good for you too.

But while women are traditionally the ones who value affection, don’t assume that a man who suddenly starts acting all touchy-feely is only after one thing, adds David.

“Men are not socially constructed to act weak or vulnerable,” he says, “but we need affection just as much as women.

“Women wrongly assume that men are thinking about sex all the time. But if they’ve had a bad day, sometimes all they want is a head-rub or a cuddle.

“Walking down the street, a man might find it embarrassing to hold his girlfriend’s hand — yet if he was on the football pitch and scored a goal, it would be perfectly acceptable for him to show all sorts of outlandish PDAs with the other players because the social norms are different. It’s important for the woman not to misinterpret that as rejection.

“That said, if your boyfriend suddenly starts to recoil when you go to give him a hug, it could be an indication that something in the relationship is bothering him.”

He adds: “There’s nothing wrong with sitting down and talking about what type of PDAs you agree on. For instance, one partner might think it’s fine to walk around Superquinn with their hand on your arse, whereas the other would be totally mortified!” Before things get hot and steamy in the frozen foods aisle, remember that less is more when it comes to PDAs.

“You don’t have to be climbing all over each other or putting on some kind of Amsterdam-style sex show to prove you appreciate your partner,” says Hot Press sex columnist Anne Sexton. “Being comfortable enough to stroll down Grafton Street hand-in-hand is a better indicator that your relationship is solid.”

“I would say that holding hands and kissing, to a certain extent, in public is not just acceptable but necessary for longevity in a relationship.”

“The culture of PDAs is only really a recent thing here; previously, there was some notion that PDAs were only for people who either didn’t have a room to go to or were drunk. I think it’s a hangover from our Catholic past, when the parish priest would harangue a couple for holding hands or people would be afraid they’d get a reputation around the village.”

But if it’s a reputation you’re after, sexpert Anne reckons that something as simple as holding hands in public speaks more loudly than screaming the house down in pleasure.

“Couples with a good physical connection outside of the bedroom usually have the best sex lives,” she says.

“If you take Barack and Michelle Obama who are so openly affectionate, you imagine they’re very sexually intimate too — compared to George and Laura Bush, who could almost have been brother and sister.”

Source: Irish Independent

More from Yangki Akiteng

Should I Leave My Ex Alone?

Question: I was with my ex for 3.5 months but he said...
Read More

29 Comments

    • THANKS A LOT! I hope you’ll continue leaving your comments as I value and appreciate how different cultures and peoples love (their own way). I think that many people will be interested to know we “DO” differently – and it’s all is good! 😉

      View Comment
  • can a relationship work out if the guy doesnt show enough PDA that the girl is hoping for? my boyfriend doesnt seem to think it’s important and when i tell him about how i’d like to see some PDA, he tells me i’m insecure and why do i care about what other people think? he has a point because i shouldnt care what other people think, but its hard because when i see other couples we’re around and they’re holding hands and pecking kisses, it makes me feel left out that mine isnt doing that to me. He has no problem doing it in private though.. just when it comes to public. i guess it makes him uncomfortable. for example, we walk up to a party. from the car to the front door, he’s holding my hand, but the minute we step into the house, he lets go.

    View Comment
    • Depends on the girl. Does not look like your boyfriend wants to change or even thinks it’s necessary. So it’s up to you to decide if his other qualities outweigh his lack of interest in PDA and if you can be in a relationship where PDA is not part of it. If you can, then the relationship can work, if you can’t (and keep nagging him about it), the relationship can’t work! UNLESS he decides to change on his own.

      View Comment
  • I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    View Comment
  • what about kissing in the car in the parking lot..are the parking guys sopposed to knock and charge you or threaten to drag you the police station..wts the degree of authority they have…will he be considered public…

    View Comment
  • i think there is a limit to everything true..but people know their limits to not go beyond so as to make it look vulgar…display of affection such as holding hands,hug,peck on cheeks ,etc definately cannot be taken in bad taste….young couples who are not able to get a room will try finding places outside but yes will attempt to display affection when noone is around…but if there are public officials only on a lookout for such innocent couples to make some quick money..this leads to a lot of harrassment to the young generation..whats the extent of power the public officials have..as section 294 IPC says “in the annoyance to others” will the guard or security be considered as “others” who decides that the act is obscene…

    View Comment

Comments are closed.