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How We See Public Display of Affection

A decent person does not manifest emotions too openly in people: neither joyful, nor sad, nor sexual. According to the rules of etiquette, kissing is not very appropriate in public while you can safely hold hands or hug in most countries. If you are doing something intimate, you should definitely avoid any witnesses. The limits of decency expand when we show the joy of meeting at the station: in this case, hugs and kisses are acceptable. But if they develop into sexual emotions, they should be left at home.

Today, many people do not pay attention to the public expression of feelings, they are already used to this. Nevertheless, this does not mean that you can publicly kiss or more. That is why it is important to talk about the meaning of PDA in relationships and main rules of public display of affection etiquette.

public show of affection

How Modern Society Approaches the Public Display of Affection

To show or not to show feelings in public is a purely moral norm. And the limits of decency depend on the social norms of a particular country. Somewhere, for example, it is normal for people to kiss when meeting, this is tantamount to a handshake. For example, in France people double kiss every friend or acquaintance they meet, people of the same sex included.

The reaction of a person to a couple that publicly demonstrates their feelings depends on the success of the passage of the oedipal triangulation phase - the relationship between mom, dad, and child. If the child goes through this phase successfully, they will, as an adult, react to lovers who publicly express their feelings normally. If everything goes well and the mother let the boy understand that it is impossible to compete with his father, the child, having matured, is more likely to adequately perceive the public show of affection. If during this period, the mother unites with the child against the father, their reaction in the future will be the opposite.

The child must recognize the fact that the parents are a couple, then the public display of affection will not cause anything but tolerance. It speaks of the maturity of the psyche. If a person’s psyche is immature, such situations cause childish infantile feelings, for example, envy and jealousy. Criticism of a publicly kissing couple is a punishing superego, a condemnation that people cannot hold back their feelings.

Public Display of Affection Etiquette

It doesn’t matter we like it or not, people are going to publicly address their feelings and show emotions for their partner to one extent or another. Of course, norms of morality always work for the culture of a particular country, and they control what is considered appropriate in a region. But there still some PDA rules and norms that decent people who want to show their emotions for a partner should always follow.

public display of affection psychology1. Beware of children. It is not the best idea to make out in front of immature human beings. Of course, we do not talk about a friendly hug or a quick kiss from one spouse to another one. Everyone knows what we mean and what it is, once again, connected with the social norms of a particular region. When in some countries people cannot even safely hold hands, for others French kisses in public are just a part of a routine. So, a peck on the lips even if it is about same-sex couples is cute and teaches children not to be afraid of their feelings. But anything more is already too much.

2. Stay away from eating places. It is not the best idea to have a bite of a burger, make out and then continue eating again. Besides, other people will hardly want to look at that when they are consuming their food. Think about the people around you. Maybe a person has come for lunch while you are distracting and making them nervous with your inappropriate actions. Even if it is a romantic dinner, everything except for a small kiss can wait until the continuation of the evening. And yes, even if it is a proposal dinner.

3. When there is a third person with you. We do not talk about big groups of people when you are hanging out with your friends. Especially when there are other couples there, you can hold hands or flirt safely and do not look odd. But if there are only three of you, and you suddenly start touching each other in not a very appropriate way or get busy with yourselves making your friend uncomfortable, it is violating all basics of public display of affection psychology.

4. Not in the way of other people. Watch yourselves and try not to block a path to a store, violate the personal space of other people on the bench in a park or at public transport. It includes all doorways, routes, and paths, just find a spot that is a little bit more private.

5. On the dancefloor or bar. It seems that clubs and drinking places were just cut out to kissing and naughty dancing. However, some people still visit them to have fun with their friends or get wasted because they are single and desperate. And when you start making out in front of a public, you do not only make them feel uncomfortable but can violate somebody’s personal space and block a path, which hits the target of all the things mentioned earlier.

6. Well, at least you can do it in a taxi. Chances are your driver will feel the odd one out, but if you do not violate the norms of propriety, gentle touches in the lights of evening streets and quiet kissing is ok. Especially if you have spent a great evening together and plan to continue it at one of your places. If you proceed towards your next actions slowly and gently, it will only excite you more.

7. No lap dances. Nowhere. Never. There is only one place where you can do it safely and avoid being frowned upon. It is in your bedroom. Or a drunk party at your friends’ where there are only your closest people, and they will understand everything and give you a way to one of the rooms that can be locked from inside.

Public Display of Affection Laws

In the USA

There are not many states and countries with the specific public display of affection laws. Most of them are limited by social norms and morality. When we talk about the show of emotions between lovers, they are practically not prohibited in most civilized countries. However, when the actions adjust certain sexual character or violate public decency, it can cause penalties or arrest. It involves publicly exposing genitals, touching the genitals of the partner, or open sexual intercourse. A person engaged in such activity will be fined in states like New York, Georgia, and Texas. And if we talk about repeated incidents, in Georgia violating PDA laws will result in a felony charge.

Public display of affection facts in India

Imprisonment up to three-month-long or receiving a fine are only some of the punishments you will get for violating the Penal Code of this state. All residents and visitors of the country should beware of the PDA rules of India because local citizens claim the corruption forces local police departments to accuse people of this kind of violation to increase the rate of successful crime control. Protestants often get together and publicly express their dissatisfaction with such strict laws. They believe their government policy is too conservative, and it should interfere with the personal relationships of people. Majority of young people that take part in surveys answer they do not consider having premarital sex a big deal. While the misuse of the PDA laws can bring them to justice for wanting to control their private relationships. However, recent blueprints of laws concerning legalizing gay sex show a positive movement towards a more diverse and liberating direction in society.

More than 83 cultures consider kissing inappropriate

To most Europeans and Americans this simple way of showing love for somebody seems a usual thing. We do not even think about the question, "What does PDA stand for in relationships?" But as some researches claim, almost more than half of world cultures do not perform a simple act of kissing. It is said to be unhygienic or gross by some people. Others state that it is an intimate act of showing tender feelings that should be performed only between two people when nobody sees. public display of affection lawsKisses in a platonic relationship is a widespread phenomenon in many countries. And it is also considered normal between relatives, parents and their children, siblings, etc. But we shouldn't forget that platonic show of emotions can also be different, some cultures include kissing on the lips in their everyday routine of saying, “hi” or “bye,” while others stand for just a kiss on the cheeks.

Holding hands is normal between friends in the Arab Emirates

Middle East countries that are traditionally one of the most strict and conservational in terms of relationships between people allow holding hands. It is ok for those partners who stay in just platonic connections and serves as a friendly gesture, especially for males. It is no secret that females at these countries have a less privileged status, so it is forbidden for them to hold hands when in public. When we talk about touches, even accidental, they can be fined. It is forbidden to approach or touch any person of the same gender if you do not know each other well. What is more, touching a person of the opposite sex you are not acquainted with will be fined or even punished with deportation. That means it is ok for two men who are close friends to hold hands.

Dubai, which claims to be pro-LGBTQ movements, still does not perceive quests of the community in the right way. It was stated by The New York Times, that some foreigner visitors of the country were punished by temporary imprisonment and were later deported out of the state for a public show of their emotions and affection.

Public Displays of Affection in School

It is not a surprise that children at school do have relationships too. What does PDA mean in a relationship? It will always include holding hands or hugging in school hallways because in this way kids want to boast of their relationship status. Most civilized countries do not have any rules concerning public displays of affection in schools. It is controlled strictly by norms of morality and students themselves. However, children shouldn’t be allowed to make out in the middle of the class or in front of the administration office.

Setting a basic policy of public displays of affection in school requires finding a golden mean. Some of the basic PDA rules in educational establishments include the following moments.

  • Students should not be discouraged to enter into a relationship or have a private life.
  • Students should not cross the borders by showing their tender feeling in public.
  • Teachers are not allowed to shame students for their personal life or expose it to the public.
  • Outside the school area, students can follow general society PDA rules and will not get into trouble for publicly showing their affection if it does not violate the laws of the state.
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