To PDA or Not

blog pix pda

Today’s topic: Public displays of affection (PDA): Yes or No? And what does it mean if you do or don’t like PDA? Can a disagreement about this behavior be a deal breaker?

Lots of questions to chew on while we chew on a delightful dish of baked feta and greens with lemony yogurt.

Let’s define PDA as showing physical affection to a romantic partner in the form of kissing, hugging, caressing, back rubs, or holding hands.

In this post, I won’t be discussing having sex on the beach, in an airplane, or a public bathroom. That’s a topic for another day – or maybe not.

I’ve encountered all degrees of PDA-friendly guys – both in terms of their real life behavior and what they mention in their online dating profiles.

blox pix pda 2

For some guys, a woman’s rejection of PDAs is a deal breaker. I don’t think about this characteristic when I review my checklist of desired attributes in a mate and I wonder if other women include “Enjoys PDA” on their must have list.

It may not be a deal breaker for me but I admit to indulging in PDA, reluctantly or enthusiastically – depending on the situation.

I have experienced a greater degree of PDA behavior early in the dating process. I may not be ready to go to a guy’s home or invite him to mine but I might want to kiss and hug him.

A PDA pet peeve: it bugs me when guys pick the most public spot to engage in PDA. I’d rather be discreet – an unlit bench in a park or a quiet spot in the parking garage as he walks you to your car. However some guys decide that standing by the door of a restaurant is the ideal spot for extensive kissing as customers enter and exit the establishment. Still others like long form smooching near the busy parking machine and elevator. Oy! Not my cup of tea and yet if the guy’s a good kisser, I might put up with it briefly.

What about parks? A guy I was dating engaged me in PDA in all corners of a public park’s extensive garden. We tried to find big trees and dense foliage to hide behind. It was fun and had an element of “danger” in that we could be discovered.

Sometimes when I am kissing a guy in a more public setting, a person walking by will say, “Get a room.” It is always said with a smile and laughter, perhaps because the commenter engages in similar behavior.

People have different standards and levels of comfort with PDA. I wouldn’t want to offend anyone and go into a more circumspect mode when children are around.   I have noticed more public making out in foreign cosmopolitan cities, e.g., Barcelona, Venice. When traveling, it’s always a good idea to check the local customs regarding showing affection, greetings, and non-romantic touching such as handshakes. It could save you embarrassment and even jail time.

So why do people engage in PDA? I view it as a spontaneous need to show affection to a partner. In some cases, the couple has nowhere private to go. However, research has identified other factors in play. One study of college students (admittedly I’m light years from that age group) found motivations included enhancing image; inciting jealousy or envy; proving a relationship; and for women, sexually arousing men.

So, the whole PDA thing can be a sticky wicket. If you and your partner disagree about PDA, you’ll need to come to a comfortable resolution. And when you’re having that talk, it’s worth checking in about what I call pDA for Private Displays of Affection, which are so important to the health of a relationship.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Reading for Extra Credit:

Reasons small public displays of affection mean a lot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Touch

blog-post-touch 

Human Touch, Springsteen

This week’s Modern Love column got me thinking about touch…not that I ever really stop thinking about this important sense. When you’re single and don’t have a steady relationship, it can be a regular topic of consideration.

The subject of touch calls for comfort food and what better choice than a seasonal pumpkin recipe from Ruth Reichl’s book Comfort me with Apples.

You’re thinking, Nadia is talking about sex. Well, yes, and no. Certainly touch and sex are intertwined. Although I guess technically you could have sex with minimal touch, you can most definitely have touch with no sex.

In the Modern Love column, the writer, a single mother, longs for touch – but realizes it is the emotional closeness and intimacy with another that touch can (but doesn’t always) bring that she most desires. She finds that touch – both non-sexual physical touch and non-physical “moments of touch” – are not substitutes for a lover but “real” things in their own right.

When you have a lover, all kinds of sexual and non-sexual touch are available from the menu.

But when you are in between partners, your friends and family, and even strangers can offer physical and emotional moments of non-sexual touch. Hug a friend and/or family member. Shake hands with someone you’re introduced to. Pat an acquaintance on the back for a job well done. Beyond these options, there are ways to supplement the physical non-sexual touch you need. You may keep these up even after a lover magically appears from one of your matches.

Massage by a trained massage therapist can be a great way to not only help with those aches, pains, and muscle spasms but also to fulfill that human need for touch. Shop around for the right therapist who matches your temperament and is sensitive to your direction. Local schools of massage therapy can make this “luxury” affordable. Hire a less expensive recent program graduate who is fully trained and professional just inexperienced in the business aspects. If you have never had a massage, you may feel shy or unsure during the first session but a good therapist will ease your concerns and make any needed accommodations.

Getting your hair done – particularly having your hair washed and head massaged – is a relaxing way to acquire “touch” time. Manicures and pedicures also provide moments of touch.

Cuddle parties are another source of non-sexual touch. I only recently heard of these events. At first, I assumed they were some type of group sex venue but they appear to be legitimate workshop/social events run by trained facilitators who ensure a safe experience of giving and receiving non-sexual and fully clothed touch. I can’t personally vouch for cuddle parties. If you’re intrigued, check out cuddleparty.com for more information.

Finally, I’ll share a variation of the cuddle party with you as described by a man I went out with once. Mr. Q was separated and obviously conflicted. He was in an on-again/off-again “cuddle” relationship with a woman. This woman, fearing emotional involvement with a separated man, chose not to have sex with Mr. Q but met him periodically to cuddle – without clothes on. I don’t know exactly what happened during those encounters and the “relationship” may not have been technically platonic. However, it worked for this “couple.”

I like to think that moments of touch are like calories you need to feel humanly full. Enjoy those calories in whatever recipe works for you…massage, hugs, personal or official cuddle parties.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia