“Toned-down PDA means the couple still has a strong spark and intense attraction, but are aware that possibly grossing out the rest of the world might not be the best idea,” says certified counselor and self-help book author David Bennett.
By not trying to overstate the state of their relationship, couples who hold hands show they’re secure in their romantic life, but also self-aware of how their actions play to the rest of the world.
This gesture is not only thoughtful, it shows the physical closeness and ease a couple has with one another. “Since the thighs are in close proximity to sexual hot spots, a couple touching in that area shows they desire sexual contact,” Fisher says.
A twosome whose go-to is this PDA move is likely very much into the intimate side of their relationship, but they don’t feel the need to be overt about it.
Like hand-holding, this gesture suggests that a couple is very comfortable with each other and enjoys each other’s closeness and touch, says U. “These couples are also playful and flirty and have no shame showing the rest of the world that they are together.” She also notes, however, that some may argue that linking arms with your partner could mean keeping some sort of leash on them, suggesting a level of possessiveness.
It really depends on the situation and the rest of the couple’s body language — like if one person seems uncomfortable or like he or she is trying to pull away.
In some countries, PDAs (or "Public Displays of Affection") are quite normal.
Journalist Natasha Burton has written for Cosmopolitan for Latinas, Maxim, Cosmopolitan.com, and Womans Day.com, among others.“People in healthy relationships have body language and eye-contact cues that generally show they enjoy each other’s company even when not communicating verbally,” says communication coach and body language trainer Patricia Stark.In this way, displaying affection (or a lack of displaying affection), provides an inside look into what’s beneath the surface of your relationship.The classic gentlemanly act of opening car or building doors is all about putting your partner’s needs before your own — but both women and men can display it, of course.“Holding the door open, pulling out a chair, letting your partner sit instead of stand — these gestures show respect,” Parkus says.