Physical Touch

This is perhaps the most controversial of all the five languages in this era of sexual and physical abuse but equally as important as the other four. As humans, we thrive on love. Both young and old, babies and those in nursing homes. Single or married. Some people are “dying” to have another touch them; hug, pat on the back etc.

Physical touch can make or break a relationship. It can communicate hate or love. If a person’s primary love language is physical touch, your touches will speak much louder than the words “I love you” or “I hate you”. I understand that much better now. And I can tell you, that statement is very true. When your body is touched, you are touched much more deeply than the mere physical contact. There is an emotional connection associated with touching.

However, not all touches are equal. There are appropriate and inappropriate touches. This varies depending on the kind of person, sex and so on. A pat on the back, a back or shoulder massage can be appropriate for some and at some times but inappropriate to some others and at some specific times. Physical abuse is also a type of inappropriate touch. Some love touches are also implicit and subtle. Brief. For a moment. While some are explicit. E.g. a pat on the back of your lover while making coffee is implicit while a back rub is explicit.

Like some of the other languages, physical touch also has dialects: pat on the back, a kiss on the cheek, a tender touch to the arm, holding hands, embracing, hugging etc. For those whose primary language is physical touch, it fills their emotional tank when they are touched.

Physical touch is an emotional love language and it affects human sexuality especially in a dating relationship. Some kinds of touches are better reserved for marriage. Sex which is a form of physical touch is better situated within the confines of a marriage. A lifelong, monogamous marriage.

For those who are not the touchy touchy kind, you need to learn the language of physical touch. For some, it may require counselling (especially those that have been scarred due to circumstances surrounding being touched as a child). You learn by doing. Start by touching (hugging, patting) family members. However, realize that timing is everything. There is a time, place and manner in which you touch. Even for the somewhat touchy person, it isn’t every time such individual would be in the “mood” to be touched. See my post on Rules of Engagement. For parents, hugging your 6 year old son after a football match won’t be an issue. Hug him at 18 in front of his team members after a football match and he might not talk to you for a while.

Look out for the body language of the one you want to touch. How close are they to you? Folded arms or not?

Touches are usually appropriate after  a person has accomplished something great. It is a means of celebrating victory. Conversely, times of failure are also times for expressing the love language if physical touch – Gary Chapman.

Look out for the appropriate time and setting. Also know that not everybody appreciates the same kind of touch. Don’t force your own dialect on another person. Remember you want to learn other languages not yours.


So far Dr. Chapman has discussed the five languages. The next four or five chapters discuss how to apply what has been learnt, a personal assessment test, and a whole lot of others. Would be bringing them to you shortly.

You can go on the site and learn what your primary love language is and your partner’s. Already did mine.


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