Physical Touch Love Language: How to Touch Lovingly

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What is the Physical Touch love language? How do I speak it? What if my partner’s language is Physical Touch, but it’s not mine?

The Physical Touch love language is a way of expressing love through intimate contact. The concept of the Physical Touch love language was introduced in Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages.

Learn how to “speak” the Physical Touch love language, even if it’s not your love language.

What is the Physical Touch Language?

Physical touch is recognized by everyone for its bonding effects, but for the person who speaks the Physical Touch love language, physical touch is the supreme representation of love. With consistent physical contact, this person’s love tank is full. Without touch, this person feels unloved, and the love tank begins to drain. 

The act of touching is a surefire way of expressing emotional connection, especially for those who speak the Physical Touch love language. You hug your friends when they are upset. You hug and kiss your children to show you love them. You cuddle and are physically intimate with your partner. 

The stimulating effect of touch has a wide scope. The body holds tactile receptors throughout, which send signals to the brain through the nerves when activated. The brain transforms these signals into sensations.

  • A touch might feel rough or gentle, loving or aggressive, warm or frigid. 
  • Through touch, these sensations communicate elements in a relationship.
  • The right kind of touch will stimulate the right kind of feelings. 

If you or your partner speak the Physical Touch love language, the act of touching will communicate emotions more than mere words could do. 

  • A loving touch affects you or your partner more deeply than hearing, “I love you.”
  • A rough or harsh touch wounds more than the words, “I hate you.”
  • Holding your partner during a time of crisis can mean more than simply being there or saying the right words. 

Unique Preferences for Touch and the Physical Touch Love Language

Each person has their own particular preferences for how they like to be touched. Although the body feels touch everywhere, certain places are more sensitive than others for some people. It’s important to know your partner’s preferences when speaking the Physical Touch love language.

Certain ways of being touched in certain places create more intense feelings of pleasure or pain.

  • You may enjoy a back rub, whereas your partner may flinch or experience that touch negatively. 
  • You may find holding hands annoying or restricting, whereas your partner may feel most loved when you take their hand. 

You and your partner are the best judges of what types of touches are pleasurable or uncomfortable. Listen to your partner’s feedback regarding physical touch. 

  • Insisting on touching them in a way they don’t like is a violation and aggressive. It says your desires are more important than theirs.
  • If the goal is to learn to love your partner the best way possible, showing a lack of regard for their touch preferences is the antithesis of that.
  • Only through consensual touch can love be formed. This is essential when speaking the Physical Touch love language.

Emotional connection through physical touch can be significant, such as romantic intimacy, or subtle, such as a squeeze of the arm or hand through the hair. 

  • Either form of touch will communicate love within this love language.
  • One may express love more emphatically than the other, depending on your partner. 

To speak the Physical Touch love language effectively, becoming an efficient toucher is essential. Figure out the types of touches they like, and develop your skills accordingly.

  • If your partner desires significant touches, learning to be adept at back rubs, foot rubs, sexual intimacy, and full body massages will provide you with the proper tools to show love to your partner. 
    • These efforts require time and sometimes money, but they will leave your partner with a full love tank.
  • If small demonstrations of touch are more meaningful to your partner, keep physical contact at the forefront of your mind.
    • A kiss goodbye, a hand on the shoulder, or a squeeze from behind can communicate love to your partner in epic proportions. 
    • These acts require little time and energy, but the reward is a secure and happy partner. 

Keeping Touching Dynamic in the Physical Touch Love Language

If your partner’s primary language is the Physical Touch love language, the sky’s the limit for how you can make them feel loved. Learning what your partner likes and how you can keep your loving touches fresh can be a dynamic endeavor.

If you’ve never been touchy-feely, you might find hidden enjoyment in upping your physical contact. 

  • For instance, if you are not a hand-holder, you might find it exciting to hold hands in a dark theater. 
  • You might experience a new sense of joy in seeing how taking your partner’s hand as you walk lifts them.

The rewards of speaking the Physical Touch love language may be surprising. 

  • A kiss on the way out the door may not only fill your partner’s love tank, but leave a lingering spark throughout the day. 
  • A kiss when you get home can become something to look forward to.
  • You may find you enter the house with anticipation. Or your partner may be more loving and pleased when you come home. 

Experimenting with touch can be a fun activity for you and your partner. The thought and act can express your love immeasurably. 

Negative Touches

When speaking the Physical Touch love language, beware of negative touch. Because the sensations of physical touch are universal and powerful, negative touches carry strong messages. Many don’t like to be touched by strangers, and they don’t hug or greet people they don’t like. 

Within a relationship, the line between positive and negative touching may be vast or small. The boundaries are dictated by the couple. A violation of those boundaries results in inappropriate touching or abuse. 

  • For instance, you may think a pat on your partner’s behind is cute, funny, or loving, but if they receive the action as aggressive or embarrassing, especially in public, the touch will be a negative one.
  • Perhaps you enjoy hugs from behind, but if your partner experiences them as restricting or oppressive, those hugs will bring little warmth. 
  • If you want to try something new when being intimate but your partner shows hesitation, back off and touch them how they want to express love. Continuing to push or even attempting the change without their consent is wrong.

Similarly, physical contact or intimacy with someone who is not your partner, whether approved or forbidden, carries a powerful message.

  • If your partner’s language is the Physical Touch love language, making physical contact with another or having an intimate affair can hurt more than anything else. 
  • If your goal is to speak your partner’s language to make them feel more loved, being mindful of how you touch other people is paramount

Keep these points in mind, and you’ll soon speak the Physical Touch love language fluently.

Physical Touch Love Language: How to Touch Lovingly

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of "The 5 Love Languages" at Shortform . Learn the book's critical concepts in 20 minutes or less .

Here's what you'll find in our full The 5 Love Languages summary :

  • How to figure out what your love language is, and what your partner's is
  • Why arguments happen in relationships, and how to stop them
  • How to speak the right love language, even if it's not yours

Amanda Penn

Amanda Penn is a writer and reading specialist. She’s published dozens of articles and book reviews spanning a wide range of topics, including health, relationships, psychology, science, and much more. Amanda was a Fulbright Scholar and has taught in schools in the US and South Africa. Amanda received her Master's Degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.

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