Just because a guy touches you, doesn’t mean he instantly likes you. And when a guy you’re dating does touch you, it doesn’t instantly mean he wants to get it on either!
Get to know the different kinds of touches and what they can mean by checking out our handy guide below.
What kind of touch is it?
Knowing the kind of touch you’re getting from a guy can clue you in on why he’s touching you and what his touch means.
A light tap. A light tap on the hand, on the shoulder, or on the arm can often mean he’s just looking to get your attention. Men generally don’t want to touch women unless the touch is welcome (unless they’re a bit of a perv), so when a guy lightly taps you, it means he may have called you to get your attention but you weren’t listening. This can often be done by an acquaintance if he wants to tell you something important.
A slight brush. A slight brush can be tough to decode. It’s in that gray area between accidental and intentional. However, the situation can tell a lot about what a slight brush can mean. If he brushes your hand ever so slightly only because he’s reaching for something near your hand, it’s best to brush it off as accidental. If he brushes against your thigh because you’re seated closely on a bench, maybe it’s just a little cramped.
However, if the slight brush lingers on for just a millisecond, it could mean that his touch is more intentional than accidental. For example, if he’s handing you a cup of coffee and his fingers ever so slightly linger on yours, then it might mean he’s subtly flirting with you through touch. If he brushes against your arm when you’re seated together, it could be his way of trying to get closer to you. Like we said, a slight brush can be touch to decipher, but you can give it some context based on the situation.
A touch with a purpose. There are times when a guy really has to touch you. For instance, a male nurse may be touching your wrist to get your pulse. A male coworker might lightly tap your forearm to get your attention. A guy at the bus stop might gently nudge your arm to get you to move out of the way. People touch each other all the time, and even though it might not be the best way to communicate certain sentiments (like move over, excuse me, or get out of my way), it’s often the only way a guy can get you to do something you need to do.
A caress. Now we’re on the more flirtatious territory. You can tell someone is caressing you when they let their touch linger for a while. It’s more than the slight brush where you can’t tell if he’s touching you intentionally; it’s more of a lingering touch that you know is more than accidental. A caress can be very welcome, especially when it’s coming from someone you’re attracted to. He might hold your hand and massage your palm with his thumb. He might run his hand up and down your arm when you’re cuddling. Or he might caress your neck or your lips to try to be in a more sensual mood.
A knead. Knead rhymes with need for a reason. A knead means your guy is being insistent on his need for something, and it often depends on what part of you he’s touching. For instance, he might gently knead your thigh to get your attention or to emphasize that he’d rather be elsewhere with you in private. He might knead the back of your neck as an affectionate massage, a sign that he’s trying to comfort you because he knows you’re tired. He might also knead or squeeze your hand as a form of reassurance when he knows you’re scared or anxious. When a guy kneads you, it’s like his way of driving a point home using his touch.
Where is he touching you?
Let’s say you’re already dating and you can touch each other freely. There’s still some touches that you might not be able to decode off the bat. To clear things up and to help you know what each touch means, here’s our quick guide.
Lips. A gentle touch on the lips can only mean one thing – he’s admiring your pretty pout and he’s hoping for a kiss. Touching your lips and lovingly admiring them is a way of hinting that he wants you to do something with your lips that you know he loves – a sweet kiss!
Face. It’s probably the sweetest way to be touched. Being touched on the face feels so intimate and loving that it’s no surprise if you just melt right into his touch. A guy touching your face means he’s admiring your beauty as he holds the most precious person in his life right in his hands.
Hair. Guys may not admit it, but they love playing with girls’ hair. After all, not a lot of guys get the luxury of growing their hair out, so a woman’s hair can be pretty fascinating to them. If your guy twirls your hair in his hand or runs his fingers through your hair, it’s a sign that he’s in a bit of a playful mood. Indulge him and let him play with your hair, and afterwards you can reward him by running your hands through his scalp for a quick massage.
Hands. Holding hands is one of the first milestones in a relationship. It usually comes before the first kiss. When a guy holds you hand, it can mean he’s testing the waters. He might want to hug you or kiss you, but he’s too shy to outright do it. So what he might do is touch your hand and hold it in his to see if you’re up for a touch that’s more romantic.
Leg. When a guy and a girl are dating, it’s usually pretty common that they’d sit beside each other. And there are times when your guy would just casually rest his hand on your thigh. If his hand is just there doing nothing, it just means he likes the physical contact of your leg against his hand. But if he’s kneading your thigh, then maybe he’s looking to do something a little friskier.
Back. Guys are generally quite protective of their girl, but they’re not like dogs who would growl at anyone who would dare to look her way. Instead, the small gesture of touching her back would often suffice as a way to make her feel protected. Not only is he somewhat assisting her as she walks around, but it’s also a quiet way of saying “I got your back.”
Feet. There’s just something so intimate about feet. It’s a bit of a taboo to touch feet when you’re in public, so it’s usually done behind closed doors. There’s a scene from the movie Pulp Fiction wherein two of the characters argue about how a seemingly innocent foot massage can be misunderstood. If you haven’t seen that scene, I highly suggest you check it out.
If you are being touched by a guy and you don’t like it one bit…
There may be times when you notice that you’re receiving the unwanted attention of a guy who’s touching you. When you don’t consent to being touched by a guy, it’s definitely within your right to speak up.
First of all, know the intention behind the touch. Could it be purely and unequivocally accidental? If it might be, it’s within your right to give the guy the benefit of the doubt or not.
On the other hand, if you know that a guy is touching you intentionally and you don’t like it at all, you should definitely let him know. For starters, if you’re not sure if he’s touching you intentionally, try to move away and hope he doesn’t attempt to touch you again.
However, if he insists on touching you, call him out on it by saying something like “Hey! Stop that!” or maybe even slapping his hand away. If he still insists on touching you, make sure you show your disdain by raising your voice and getting the attention of the people around you. You can even resort to outright pushing him just to make it clear that what he’s doing is not right. Be the first to say that this guy keeps on touching you and you don’t like it. Stand up for yourself, and if you feel like the guy might get violent on you, get as far away from him as possible while also looking to others for help.
A touch can mean so many things. It can be a clinical or absolutely meaningless touch. It can also be a romantic and intimate caress. And it can also be completely unwelcome. Knowing what each touch means equips you with the knowledge on how to respond to it.