What is the Physical Touch Love Language?

How can you show love through touch?
on September 07, 2023
Read time: 10 mins
by Moraya Seeger DeGeare

Physical intimacy is an important part of any relationship. 

Depending on your love language, physical connection is the main way you showcase your love and affection in romantic relationships. 

If you’re dating someone with a physical touch love language, physical contact is like another way of saying “I love you”. In this case, physical touch is the key to compatibility in a relationship — with this love language unlocking a new dynamic between you and your partner. 

What are the 5 love languages? 

There are 5 love languages that encapsulate the distinct ways people prefer to show and receive love. 

Love languages have become very well-known in popular culture, with the original theory devised by Dr. Gary Chapman in his bestselling book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts

This theory identifies the five love languages in romantic relationships as follows: 

Research shows that by knowing your partner’s primary love language, you can boost your relationship satisfaction by tailoring your affection to your partner’s preferences. However, some studies show these love languages only work if both partners choose to adapt to them. 

What does it mean if your love language is physical touch? 

The love language of physical touch is all about connection through physical closeness, with touching seen as an expression of love. 

If your partner’s love language is physical touch, it means they feel most loved when they feel physical contact, affection, and proximity. There are many different types of touch, such as holding hands, cuddling, or kissing. 

If physical touch is your love language, a lack of physical connection in a relationship could be a dealbreaker. Even though we all have different love languages and ways of expressing connection, this incompatibility around touch could damage your relationship if you don’t find a balance.

Signs your love language is physical touch 

Relationships naturally involve affection and connection through physical intimacy. However, if you’re a physical touch person, you will feel stronger about how you and your express affection in this way. 

There are certain signs which might indicate if physical touch is your primary love language:

Craving physical contact: Even though physical touch is part of most relationships, you find yourself craving physical contact with your partner whether you’re together or apart. This desire can be for many different forms of physical touch, including sexual and non-sexual forms of contact.
Feeling comfort from touch: During times of crisis, physical touch brings you a sense of comfort, security, and emotional well-being. Simply being physically close to your partner helps you to feel loved and comforted.
Using touch to express love: Instead of using words of affirmation or compliments, physical touch people prefer to showcase their affection in different ways. For example, you might find yourself frequently reaching out to touch or hold your partner’s hand, giving them hugs, or engaging in playful physical contact.
Feeling disconnected without physical touch: If your partner doesn’t share your love for physical touch, you may feel emotionally distant or disconnected from them. Without this element of the relationship, you can feel unfilled or unloved.
Reassurance through touch: Physical touch can help reassure you about the stability of your relationship, it helps you feel valued and appreciated by your partner.
Sensitivity to touch: You may have a heightened sensitivity to touch, with even small gestures like a gentle touch on the arm having a significant impact on your emotional well-being.

Benefits of physical touch love language

Even if physical touch isn’t your primary love language, this kind of contact has benefits for every relationship. 

Firstly, studies show that physical touch, particularly sustained contact through cuddling or hugging, releases oxytocin, the feel-good hormone that makes you feel happy, safe, and secure.

“The presence of a trusted loved one has a calming effect on the nervous system,” says Moraya Seeger DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist and In-House Expert at Paired.

“In a healthy relationship, if your partner can regulate their emotions and remain composed, being close to them can help your own nervous system return to a calm state.”

Other benefits of physical touch in a relationship include: 

  • Enhanced emotional connection 

  • Security & trust 

  • Stress reduction 

  • Release of bonding hormones 

  • Boost in physical and emotional intimacy 

  • Improved well-being 

  • Support during challenging times 

While there are many pros to physical touch, it’s essential to communicate openly with your partner about your comfort levels, boundaries, and preferences regarding physical touch. Even though it may feel good for you, physical touch should be expressed in a way that is mutually fulfilling and respectful. 

How to show love using physical touch love language 

Everyone has different ways of expressing their love through physical touch, with preferences varying from couple to couple. 

Even if your partner loves physical touch, only do what you're comfortable with — finding balance in how you express yourself through different forms of touch. 

Examples of physical touch in a relationship

Holding hands
Hugging or embracing
Cuddling or snuggling for long periods (even spooning!)
Touch during conversation such as a hand on the shoulder
Playful physical contact such as tickling, or light-hearted wrestling
Massages or back rubs
Physical proximity such as sitting together or intertwining legs

What is the difference between physical touch and sexual touch? 

Physical contact encompasses many different forms of touch, with a distinct difference between physical and sexual touch. 

Physical touch usually refers to non-sexual forms of contact that express care, affection, and emotional connection. This can include holding hands, cuddling, foot rubs, or any other physical gestures. 

This kind of physical contact can be present in both romantic and non-romantic scenarios, focused on building an emotional connection and expressing support. 

Sexual touch refers to physical touch that is specifically intended to arouse or stimulate pleasure, such as kissing, foreplay, or sexual intercourse. Therefore, physical touch is focused on emotional connection, while sexual touch is intended to engage in sexual intimacy and pleasure. 

What can you do if you crave physical affection? 

If you love physical touch and your partner doesn’t, it can put some strain on your relationship compatibility. 

For example, if you like public displays of affection such as kissing and hand-holding, and your partner is more private, it can make you feel unloved or dismissed. However, it’s important to have an open discussion about your needs in a relationship, so you can both feel validated and loved. 

Even if excessive PDA isn’t your cup of tea, try and adjust to your partner’s needs by reaching a compromise — finding a balance that works for you both! 

If you’re in a long-distance relationship, it’s harder to satisfy your need for physical intimacy. However, even though it’s challenging, you can still connect despite the distance by utilizing technology and working on giving your undivided attention to your partner. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are most guys love language physical touch?

    Love languages vary between individuals and it’s not accurate to assume that anyone has a particular preference due to their gender. The misconception here may be that physical touch is the same as sexual activity, but this is not the case. It’s important to understand that everyone has their unique love language and you should communicate openly about your needs to create a fulfilling and connected relationship.
  • What do I do if I am touched out and physical touch is my partner's love language?

    Navigating sensory issues or feeling touched out can make it challenging to meet your partner's needs for touch. “Couples should communicate openly about their needs and desires when it comes to touch,” says Seeger DeGeare. “Be clear about the type of touch that feels good for you right now and encourage your partner to do the same. Remember that communication is key when building a healthy and fulfilling relationship, so take the time to explore your own relationship with touch, communicate openly and honestly with your partner, and work together to create a fulfilling and satisfying relationship.”
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