I recently learned of the term touch barrier, and I think it’s a great way to describe the insurmountable uncertainty that many men face when wondering when and how to initiate physical contact with a woman.
“I want to touch her, but what if she doesn’t want that?”
It’s a valid question, and one that more guys are asking in light of the #MeToo movement. What follows are some general guidelines for how to get closer and break the touch barrier in a respectful, no-pressure way.
How to Break the Touch Barrier
1. Start With a Friendly Touch
Be classy. Open the car door for her, then take her hand to help her up (always a gentlemanly move) or rest your hand on the small of her back as you walk through the door together. If these suggestions feel too contrived, or old fashioned, simply hold her hand. Even a hug at the end of the evening can go a long way toward making her feel more comfortable with you physically.
If you want to convey that you’re attracted to her, extend the hug a bit, stroking her back if she seems relaxed and into it.
2. Find a Reason to Get Closer
Plan your date so that some degree of physical touch is expected. Take her to the mini golf course and show her how to line up a shot, or—if she’s more of an expert than you in that area—ask for lessons. This is more of a second or third date suggestion, as you first want to be sure that there is a spark between you.
It’s also important to feel things out when attempting to break the touch barrier. Is she laughing and playing along with you, or is she tensed up and on the defense? If it’s the latter, back off and don’t push for any more physical contact.
3. Be Playful
If all is going well and she seems into you, get a little silly. Tickle her or grab her hand and start running down the street. (Just be sure she’s not wearing high heels, or a tight skirt that might make running difficult.) Again, respond to the cues she’s giving you. If she wants you to get physical, she might squeeze in closer to you, or hold your gaze for a bit. If she’s shy, she probably won’t feel comfortable touching you first.
A playful approach to breaking the touch barrier could help her open up to you more and ease her self-consciousness.
4. Ask Permission to Break the Touch Barrier
It may sound dorky or awkward, but at the end of the day asking permission to touch your date is always a respectful, straightforward option. Try something like, “Can I come in for a hug?” Or simply extend your elbow and invite her to take your arm without saying a word.
I once had a date tell me that he would really like to get closer but that he didn’t want to cross any boundaries that I might have. I loved that. His sweetness, vulnerability, and honesty really made an impression on me—so much so that we’re still together six years later!
What advice do you have for breaking the touch barrier? Leave us your thoughts in a comment.