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Reach Out And Touch Someone


A playful pat on the knee or hand on the back can do wonders on a date. Here’s how — and when, and where — to initiate a little physical contact.

Sari Locker, Ph.D.

flirtatious pat on the leg, a warm hug, hand-holding during a movie... these gestures may seem pretty PG-rated and unimportant in the grand scheme of your love life. But in the early stages of dating, they can make all the difference. The power of touch should never be underestimated: It creates an instant bond, helps you subtly communicate your interest in someone, and even lets you gauge whether your date’s hot for you, too. If you’re interested in creating some chemistry fast, try these tricks for how, when, and where to initiate a little physical contact with your date. Even the most bashful person will find that these moves are easy to do—and have maximum romantic impact.

Mix a little physical contact into your conversation
Your first few dates with someone are the most uncertain touch-wise: Should you hold hands in the movie theater or shouldn’t you? Will offering a shoulder massage seem too
Try a date that involves dancing, or give your date an ice-skating lesson and hold hands.
forward? One great way to let your attraction be known without touching too much, too soon: Try a simple knee tap or arm brush during a conversation. Deploy one of these brief gestures after your date has told a funny joke or to emphasize a point you’re making. This tactic worked well on Cara from New York, NY. "On the first date I ever had with my boyfriend, he kept reaching over to touch my knee when I would say something that piqued his interest. For example, I would mention that I loved Family Guy, and he would reach over, touch my knee and say 'Me too. I Tivo every episode.' It wasn’t a corny knee massage kind of thing but more of a gentle tap he kept doing to let me know he was into me."

Go on dates that require hand-holding — and more
Rather than waiting for opportunities to cuddle with a date, some people prefer to stage an event in which a little physical contact is inevitable. Matt from Raleigh, NC, explains, "I like to take my dates salsa dancing, because you're required to touch the person. It's a great way to test the waters and see how comfortable that person is with you." Other great ideas: Give your date a rollerblading lesson, and hold him or her up the whole time, or go ice skating together, and ask to hold hands to keep your balance.

Try a touch that’s playful rather than passionate
There’s no reason caresses have to be sexually suggestive to communicate interest. Sometimes, a more playful approach can feel just as sweet, and are often less risky on your end. Laura from Garden City, KS, had such an experience during a car ride home with some friends. “I liked this one guy but was unsure how he felt about me,” she recalls. “I knew he wasn't going to make a move in a car full of people, but then, when he was getting out of the car, he said bye to everyone and playfully chucked me on my chin. It looked casual to everyone else, but to me it was this overt intimate gesture, because we had never really had any physical contact before. We went out the next week."

Stroke the back for a sensual connection
There’s something special about touching a date on the small of the back. It conveys caring, even a bit of chivalry, and that makes it one incredibly powerful gesture. “It’s the touch to end all touches,” says Mike from New York, NY. “When I'm on a date, I'll open the door for a girl, while very gently placing my other hand of the small of her back. It has to be super light, which makes the whole thing seem almost subliminal." This move is especially great for shy people, especially guys like Steven from Springfield, NJ, who recalls a recent date: "I’m not aggressive at all about this sort of thing, so opted for the slow and steady approach. We would be at a crosswalk, and I would subtly place my hand on the small of her back. I would do the same thing when ushering her through a doorway. At the end of the night, I walked her to her apartment and placed my hand on the small of her back one last time—but this time, I pulled her towards me and kissed her."


Sari Locker is a sex educator, TV personality, and author of the bestseller, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amazing Sex. She has an M.S. in Sexuality Education and was the host of Late Date with Sari on Lifetime Television. Her website is www.sarilocker.com.
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