wellness

Is Physical Touch Your Love Language? Here’s What That Means

In relationships, you don’t consider yourself mushy-gushy—you’re certainly no Noah Calhoun—but you do love a touchy-feely moment. You reach for your partner’s hand at the dinner table and unabashedly adore a good makeout session in the park. Who doesn’t enjoy reading a few chapters of The Awakening and getting a real awakening right after? Answer: Not you, reader. If any of this strikes a chord, then chances are physical touch is your love language.

And in case you didn’t know, physical touch is much more than frequent kisses and afternoon delights. Here’s everything you need to know about the physical touch love language so you can better understand how you express love. In other words, let’s get physical.

Understanding the 5 Love Languages

Originally coined by marriage counselor and author Gary Chapman in his 1992 best-selling book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, the five love languages encompass traditional ways people tend to intimately communicate. Here are the big five: words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, receiving gifts and acts of service—though there is evidence that there are two hearty new love languages to watch out for this year. In a nutshell, love languages are a way to distinguish how we receive or show love. Understanding which one—or which few—you have a kinship with can foster a healthy relationship, improve intimacy, deepen interpersonal understanding and sprout growth.

The Foundations of Physical Touch

Alexa, play “Hands to Myself” by Selena Gomez, because that’s exactly what you can’t seem to do. In fact, you find that you prefer conversing through your body more than sitting down for a heart-to-heart. Unlike other love languages, those who fall in the physical touch category neither need a diamond necklace nor hope to come home to an empty dishwasher and clean sink. They do, however, look to communicate emotions through the body.

Physical touch can be as intimately personal as sex or as subtle as a squeeze of the knee at a large dinner party. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. If your partner isn’t aware that you value physical touch, you might find yourself in a relationship where you aren’t satisfied (more on that in a minute). Making them aware of this can make all the difference, as they’re now able to read the room or gauge situations to recognize when you need to hold hands to feel a sense of security, admiration and support.

So, when it comes to the physical touch love language, ensuring that there is a consistent physical component between you and your S.O. is vital to maintaining a healthy relationship where you feel seen, grounded, understood and, above all else, loved.

Signs Physical Touch Might Be Your Love Language:

  • You feel loved, safe, secure and affirmed when touching (holding hands, hugging, massaging, kissing, etc.)
  • You’re a hugger
  • You think that kissing is another way to say ‘I love you’
  • You’re comfortable showing affection anytime, anywhere; PDA is kind of your thing
  • Your show remorse, peace, truce or forgiveness by embracing after arguments or disagreements
  • You feel closest with your partner when you’re physically intimate

6 Ways to Show Physical Touch

It may seem straightforward to some, but for folks whose love language isn’t physical touch, it’s important to clarify exactly what this means. Though it can be extremely aggravating or frustrating, sometimes spelling out your needs is essential to avoid resentment or miscommunication in your relationship. That’s why overcommunication is your best friend. Have tough conversations that get to the nitty-gritty details like: Can you kiss me more in public? Can you brush against me when we’re at parties? Does all this touching ever encroach on your personal space?

It’s important to understand all the ways in which physical touch can be shown—both intimately and non-intimately—so you can voice what you need more of. Below are a few ways to show and feel love when physical touch is your love language.

1. Hug, hug, hug. Let’s face it, you love when your partner wraps you in a bear hug every time you come home from work. They’re warm, cozy and smell like hints of full-bodied whiskey and bouquet of fresh roses. If you’re in a new relationship, talk to your partner and gauge their comfort level when it comes to hugs so they don’t misconstrue your embraces as a sign of clinginess, insecurity or over-affection.

2. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. You don’t have to be sittin’ in a tree to do this activity—though we’re not stopping you. There’s nothing you love more, physical toucher, than when you kiss your partner. On top of being just downright fun, kissing is an enjoyable way you register how much you’re valued and appreciated. Whether it’s a thank you peck after you do the dishes—because their love language is acts of service—or a steamy hello kiss, each touch of their lips tells you, “I care.”

3. Get handsy and get massaging. OK, you probably shouldn’t demand massages every night, but getting a simple stroke of the leg or scratch of the arm while watching the March Madness games can mean the world to you. And let’s talk about that time they ran their hand in circles along your lower back at Jason’s summer soiree. It’s safe to say you got the best kind of chills and quickly pulled an Irish exit to get to the bedroom.

4. Be the little spoon to their big spoon. Whether you had a tough day in the office or you just woke up from the best sleep of your life, a quick cuddle session can boost those feel-good serotonin levels right up.

5. Make love. If you’re one year into your budding romance or coming up on 40, there’s so much you learn when you explore each other’s bodies…and you can’t get enough of it. If you’re looking to spice things up between the sheets, suggest a new position or direct their hands along your body to discover and unlock new pleasure spots you were both oblivious to.

6. Hover touch. A little less obvious than the aforementioned examples—but nonetheless important—hover touching is a way to subtly show physical reassurance in public or private settings. This may look like resting your arm against your partner’s arm while sitting on a friend’s couch or grazing backs when nearby. Footsy? Game on. The point of this one is to send electric shockwaves through their body that says in the steamiest Bridgerton fashion, “I burn for you.”

How to Show Physical Touch in Long-Distance Relationships

OK, all the above sounds great and all except for the fact that you’re in a long-distance relationship. No worries, we have good news. While LDRs can strain even the strongest of couples, it’s entirely possible to work through these roadblocks with constant communication. Since you’re not in the same room, let alone the same city or state, closing that gap is critical.

Try to sprinkle virtual calls in every week to mix things up. Not only will you get the chance to see their physical features, but this gives them the opportunity to blow kisses, stare into your eyes and express the desire to touch you. And if we can learn anything from our favorite erotic novel we keep stashed in our bedside table, it’s that listening to someone talk about their longings can be just as satisfying as living it out. The same goes for texting. Initiate a sext sporadically to remind them that you’re thinking about them a little more than usual.

If you’re looking for something a little less Fabio and a little more Keanu Reeves from The Lake House, pose the idea of sending a personal item back-and-forth to hold you over until the next time you see them. Sweatshirts, socks, T-shirts, necklaces and whatever else can feel like a touch of their skin on yours.