Public Display Of Affection – Is It Good For Relationships

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Can the public display of affection towards your partner save your failing relationship? Well, it is a trick question. Humans tend to be loved and appreciated, and when this affection comes from a person close to the heart, it matters. This is why a public display of affection towards the partner helps save the relationship. However, there is a dark side to it, too, and this post focuses on explaining them and what public display of affection (PDA) is.

What do you do during a difficult time in your relationship? Do you detach from your partner or show some love and concern?  Surely, the latter will be the answer, as showing love is a way to express affection and appreciation towards your partner them.

Even when you are upset, if you pay attention to your apartment and show some affection, you can maintain a healthy relationship. This is why you may find couples publicly displaying affection through intimacy. You will see them Holding hands, kissing, and hugging each other in public, which is called the public display of affection.

Some might view it as appropriate behavior, while others may get a kick, making PDA a controversial subject. In addition to this, sharing private and intimate moments and public forums such as social media can also be a form of PDA.

Why Do Couples Follow Public Display of Affection?

There’s no single reason that explains why couples engage in PDA. Some display their affection publicly as they have just entered into the relationship and are excited to be together with their partner, while for others, it is a way to show that their relationship has matured. They are secure and confident in the relationship, and their connection is so powerful that they are now ready to get public validation.

However, for some PDA is a way to deal with their sense of insecurity. It is the way they show that they are very much connected to the individual than they actually are.

For some it is to showing up with their partner is very nice, making them develop an intense physical pull against each other due to which they can’t keep their hands off, and you might find them holding hands, hugging, touching, playing with their partner hair or fingers, massaging their shoulder, putting arms around their waste, sitting on the lap, winking, giving flying kisses, complimenting each other and loving each other.

Benefits of PDA in a Relationship

Public display of affection is beneficial for relationships in many ways. Here we explain some of the advantages of PDA in a relationship:

1. Develops Intimacy:

When affection towards the partner is shown publicly, it portrays the interest and the bond both of you share. By holding hands and being close to one another publicly, emphasis on the bond is represented by creating a strong grasp, which helps build affection and intimacy in a relationship

2. Improves bonding:

Physical touch is a powerful medium to show that there is a bond between two people. When you hold hands, hug, kiss, or get close to your partner in public, you strengthen the bond and nonverbally explain that your partner means a lot to you. Also, the oxytocin levels rise, helping you two closer and improving the bond.

3. Reduces stress:

Physical touch helps develop a strong bond and releases stress.  When there is hand-holding, or both partners touch each other or show some physical tension, their connection strengthens. Also, there is a feeling that both are connected and equally invested in the relationship. This feeling reduces cortisol, helping your partner feel good and connected.

4. Breaks taboos:

Displaying affection in public is a powerful message. It says the bond you share is more important than any other social norm. What matters to you is your partner and their happiness. Society can lay some rules, but if they stop you from being affectionate, you are ready to break them. It is you who will decide how you will take your relationship and how you will show your love.

5. Your Partner Feels Desired:

A peck on the cheek or holding hands in public makes the partner feel valued and desired. When you show a PDA, you let your partner know how much they value, and you can’t resist them. You are so into them that you keep your hands off them.

6. Shows your Comfort Level:

For any relation to grow, being comfortable is paramount. When you and your partner enjoy PDA and are comfortable in each other’s company, it shows you are totally into one another and are ready to move ahead.

Negative Impact of PAD on Your Relationship

Although PDA helps build strong bonds and helps have a deep and lasting relationship, it has a dark side, too. Here, we explain some of the negative effects of PDA.

1. Differences in Values are Highlighted:

When it comes to public display of affection, some partners are not ok with it. They feel it is inappropriate, and displaying affection publicly is just a way to show off their relationship. For them, private things should remain private, which is against their learned values.

This is why when they find their partner holding hands, kissing them, or coming close in public, they feel uncomfortable and disagree with it. This value difference harms the relationship and even weakens the bond between the partners.

2. Reputational Difficulty:

Some people are concerned about a society that they do not let their partner come close to them. Their public image is of utmost importance, and the public display of affection might prove harmful or have damaging consequences. This is why they do not like displaying their affection in public.

3. Might be upsetting for the partner:

If your partner is not comfortable with the public expression of love you should not do it as it will not only upset your partner but will also affect your relationship and might be the reason for a breakup.

4. May hurt feelings:

Public display of affection might hurt feelings because if your partner does not agree with it and you show a public display it might upset them this affects the relationship and might create discrepancies that you will not like.

Is PDA Acceptable?

Whether the public display of affection is acceptable depends upon cultural, social, and family values and personal preferences.  In some cultures, it is okay to be affectionate to a certain level.

However, if the set threshold is crossed, it is considered inappropriate as it might send a wrong message. For them, coming close to their partner in public is breaking social rules. In contrast to this, in some social contexts, it is okay to kiss a partner, but if it is done at a workplace, then it is unacceptable.

Moreover, if you have seen your parents showing affection in public, you might be ok with it, but if you have conservative parents, you will not accept PDA. However, whether or not there should be a display of affection in public depends on both partners. If they are okay, they can hold hands and walk side by side. However, it shouldn’t be practiced if either of them gets uncomfortable.

Misconceptions of Exercising PDA in Relationships

These are some of the misconceptions that surround PDA in relationships:

1. PDA is inappropriate:

To some extent, this misconception is true, as some cultures do not accept personal displays of affection. However, as no universal rule tells what is acceptable and unacceptable, you cannot say it is inappropriate.

2. PDA is a sign of insecurity:

For some, public display of affection is the portrayal of insecurity. They consider showing their affection in public. They just want to portray that their partner belongs to them and are very insecure about the relationship. While this may be true in some cases, it is not always true for some. It is a way to express love and affection and to be close to one another every time.

3. PDA is only for new relationships:

Usually, you will find new couples holding hands, walking side by side, and caressing each other in public, but this doesn’t mean only they can do it. Anyone at any point in time in their relationship can express their affection publicly. Some are affectionate towards their partner for the duration of their life. So, saying only young couples can show PDA is inappropriate.

4. PDA is always sexual:

Not all PDAs are sexual. Although kissing and touching might be considered sexual, holding hands and hugging or standing close does not count as sexual. Therefore, saying that public display of affection is always sexual will be incorrect.


Public display of affection is complicated and might have different meanings for everyone. Therefore, when you or your partner are willing to show affection publicly, you should talk before taking a step forward because you never know what things your partner might not like.

Discussing things will help take the relationship to the next level. Also, it will help strengthen the relationship, and you will be able to explain your expectations and understand theirs.

This will help develop mutual respect for the feelings and boundaries you have. Moreover, it will help build a positive and healthy relationship with or without public display of affection.

Next read:

How To Deal With Jealousy In A Relationship?
The Art of Giving and Getting Reassurance in Relationships
Signs You Might Be Overfunctioning in Your Relationship (And How to Stop)
Therapist-Approved Guide To Rekindle A Relationship: Re-Spark Your Connection Again!

The post Public Display Of Affection – Is It Good For Relationships appeared first on Calm Sage – Your Guide to Mental and Emotional Well-being.

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