An individual’s level of comfort for being touched depends on a combination of factors that include the type of relationships involved.
A new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was carried out by researchers to determine the level of comfort that was appropriate for both genders according to their relationship with another person.
The researchers visually mapped out the areas of the body where men and women said they would be uncomfortable if touched by a partner, friend, family member, acquaintance and stranger.
Female touchers are represented with red bars and male touchers are represented with blue bar.
Approximately 1,368 people from Finland, France, Italy, Russia and the United Kingdom, participated in the online survey. Participants were instructed to color the parts of the body they were comfortable with being touched by certain people.
Respondents revealed that most would be comfortable being touched only on their hands by strangers. However, a majority of the respondents indicated that they would be comfortable being touched anywhere on their body by their significant others. The researchers wrote in their paper:
“The higher the emotional bond, the larger the bodily area available for touching.”
Gender was also a significant indicator in the level of comfort for being touched. Women were on the whole more open to being touched by other female family members and friends. Men were also more comfortable being touched by a female friend than a male friend. In addition, both sexes tended to be uneasy when being touched by men.