8 Ways to Show Love Using the Physical Touch Love Language

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on January 20, 2022

Okay, I’m just gonna come out and say it. 

The physical touch love language is not just about sex. 

Don’t get me wrong, a little horizontal boogie is good for the soul. And your relationship. 

However, there are a number of other ways to show love using physical touch. 

By the by, don’t buy into the myth that words cheapen physical touch experiences. It won’t ruin a darn thing if you verbally ask for what you physically crave. It’s not uncouth to ask if it’s okay to touch someone before following through, especially when it’s a friend or acquaintance. 

You don’t need to be clairvoyant to make the best use of the physical touch love language. 

With that out of the way, here are 8 ways to show love using physical touch. 

1. Six-Second Kiss

Straight up from the love doctor himself, Dr. John Gottman’s research revealed that a six-second kiss can have an untold positive impact on your relationship. 

Have you ever timed your kisses? Give it a try, six seconds might seem longer than you think! 

Couples who engage in this ritual daily experience a boost in fondness and admiration, add to their “emotional bank account” by contributing to the 5:1 ratio of positive to negative experiences, and reduce cortisol while boosting oxytocin levels. 

Keep your quick kisses, don’t sleep on the six-second kiss in your relationship. 

2. Hold Hands in Response

It’s no surprise that holding hands would be found on this list. 

However, holding hands in response to something your partner or friend says can have more of a meaningful impact on your relationship. 

It doesn’t need to be for a long time. The effect is pretty immediate. 

If your partner is driving and stressing about getting somewhere on time… respond by holding their hand. 

If your friend just shared their stressful day over coffee… respond by holding their hand. 

If your mom smiles and says she’s happy you came to visit… respond by holding her hand. 

Holding someone’s hand is a simple act that can communicate deep bonds of fellowship and fondness. There’s a feeling of calm reassurance in this physical touch. 

3. Mindful Streaming

If you’re reading this article, there’s a very good chance you subscribe to some sort of streaming service. 

And a good chance that you often watch said service with someone special to you. 

Instead of simply sharing couch space, show some physical appreciation to your friend. 

Give a back scratch. Play with their hair. Trace their fingers. Cuddle close. 

I sometimes get to watch an episode of a cartoon in the morning with my three-year-old son. And every single time, I set him up with a bowl of dry cereal, his water, his blanket, and I sit down next to him. 

And every single time he scoots over and endearingly sits his bum in the smallest crack between where I’m sitting and the side of the couch. 

Cereal bits spill on the floor. His water gets knocked over and leaks a bit on the couch cushion. His blanket is somehow tangled between his legs and feet. And yet it touches my heart. 

The strength of the physical touch love language is shown in small actions that speak volumes in underlying feelings. 

4. Love Pats

This phrase always cracks me up. 

It’s usually attributed to swatting someone’s bum affectionately. 

And while that’s certainly a way you can show love and fondness, I intend it a bit differently. 

Pat your friend’s shoulder in a good old-fashioned ‘atta-boy. 

Lovingly pat your spouse’s arm while they spend a full 5 minutes comparing cereal brands while grocery shopping. 

When your partner comes to bed after you and you’re half-asleep, roll over and give him a light pat-a-pat. (Apparently, I do this when I’m already asleep and my husband comes to bed. He says it totally makes his night even though I have zero recollection of any incident.) 

The love pats can be a good show of patience, support, and general happiness. 

5. Face Touches

This show of love and tenderness can happen in multiple ways. 

There’s the classic “you have an eyelash on your face” move that, in my opinion, is way overused in modern rom-coms. But for good reason, it’s an innocent and intimate gesture. 

In a special moment of sweetness, you can also place your hands on your partner’s cheek in response to words of affirmation or a bid for closeness. 

I also love the parent-to-child familial forehead-to-forehead gesture. My son struggles to comfortably make eye contact and prefers this show of affection. 

You can also use a sensual approach, should that be appropriate for the circumstances, and softly trace the lips of your partner with your finger. 

It’s all up to you: soft touches of the face - while that sounds silly to read - absolutely communicate that someone is dearly cherished. 

6. Ten-Second Impromptu Dance

Most of the items on this list are of the quiet, calm, soft variety. As a resident ENFP, I enjoy the physical touches that have some fun behind them! 

Whether you put on music or sing your own tune, grab your partner, friend, child, and dance with them. 

Hum your wedding song and slow dance with your spouse while you wait for dinner to finish cooking. 

Sing a Disney tune while twirling in circles with your child. 

Make up a merry tune, grab your friend’s hands, and jump up and down in a silly display of happiness. 

The physical touch aspect of this quick gesture encourages jolly companionship and lighthearted fun. 

7. Deep Rubs to Destress

Juvenile sounding? Perhaps. But that’s not how I mean it. 

Both of my special needs boys have difficulty calming themselves down every now and again. And you know what works for us? 

Foot rubs. 

For real. Straight up simple foot rubs. 

You can also learn simple hand massage techniques - my youngest is now in a phase where he requests hand rubs after his nightly foot rub. 

My husband and I have now gotten to a point where, after a long day, we’ll face each other on the couch and give mutual foot rubs while watching a show. 

I also really love whipping out some face lotion and giving a mini-facial after a particularly hard day. 

You don’t have to be a professional massage therapist to learn a few simple techniques and use them to show love and presence. 

8. The Classic Hug

As a hugger, there is no way I could complete this list without such a classic listed here. 

I will say, this is one I appreciate when a stranger or acquaintance will ask “you comfortable with a hug?” 

I’ve never said no, and never had anyone tell me they’d rather not, but it’s a show of respect all the same. 

This show of physical affection is self-explanatory. Few other gestures are as commonly recognized as a symbol of simple affection, communicating friendship, support, solidarity, and love. 

Kim Jacobson

Kim spends her time as a freelance content marketing writer and indie author. Her focus is on empowering others to make healthy choices, and personality theory plays a large role in that calling. What else would you expect from an ENFP? She lives in the mountains with her ISFJ husband and two incredible kiddos.

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.

Comments

Matthew Mormando (not verified) says...

Yay. This was so fun to read and I don't know why but I couldn't stop crying while reading this. This is so sweet and I absolutley loved it. I will definelty use these tips. Thank you this truly made my day. 

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