Mark your calendar for June 20. It’s a Thursday. You’ll want to go out.
What’s the occasion? Well, it seems a whole holiday has been set aside for public displays of affection. June 20 is National PDA Day, and I know you’ll want to participate, even if you don’t really want to admit it.
No one wants to be the one to say that PDA is a good thing. That’s where I come in. I’m happy to step forward in favor of the PDA; it’s part of my bread and butter. Sure, keeping the private stuff super hot is important, but if I can’t make every touch count, even the public ones, I’ve got a problem.
The public display of affection is not only good, but it’s good for you. It’s necessary. Don’t worry. I’m not going to encourage you to get flagrant with a partner where all the world can see you. (I’m not going to stop you, either.) You don’t have to turn it all the way up to 11. If we call Level 1 a handshake and Level 2 is a nice hug, we’ll start at Level 3 by holding hands.
Hand holding. I think most of us stopped holding hands way too soon, for the same reason we stopped doing a lot of things: we were forced to endure the efforts of someone who wasn’t very good at it. Holding hands does not have to be a sweat-slick, hand-cramping marathon of awkwardness. With just a little effort, it can be wonderfully … effective. Start casually by bumping or brushing the back of your hand against your target’s hand. Follow up quickly, with intent, and twine your fingers together. And once you’re all set up, stroke your special friend’s thumb with yours. Keep things loose – that death grip is what makes the experience sweaty and gross. Ventilation matters!
Not-So-Casual Guidance. A good friend of mine, God love her, once had this complaint about dating. “What is this hand-on-the-back thing?” she asked. “I’m right behind the waitress! I know where we’re going!” I had to shake my head. The hand-on-the-back thing is like the hand-cupping-the-elbow thing and sort of like the hand-on-the-shoulder thing. It’s not about where you’re going. It’s about giving your date a reason to touch you. Personally, I prefer to wear something that leaves at least one of these target areas bare. Skin-to-skin contact builds oxytocin in both the toucher and the touchee (forgive my complex language there). Oxytocin’s the hormone that forms a nice emotional bond between the people touching each other. A little of that is a good thing, but for a deep bond, be prepared to get a little more touchy feely.
Getting to 11. I will never tell you that there is anything wrong with making out in public. My problem is with having to look at it. The public make-out session has much to recommend it – unusual setting, threat of discovery, pulse-pounding spontaneity – but public mores and, you know, the law are here to keep us from going all the way. Don’t fret. You can still manage a little workaround if you’re willing to try hard enough. Compromise a little by focusing more on those less obvious erogenous zones. Stroke that shadow zone beneath the shoulder blade. Trace that spinal column with your fingertips. Casually caress your sweetie’s knee – but only the knee. Keep up that repetitive, rhythmic motion, and you’ll be sure to start a fire! Better still, you can eliminate the public element by working with a backyard or a balcony or a parked car or maybe a fitting room. You’re still technically in public. The public just can’t see you as much. So far as I’m concerned, if I can’t see you, anything goes.
Can’t wait until the 20th? I don’t blame you. You’ve got two weeks left before PDA Day! If you don’t have a partner, go find one! If you do have a partner, it’s time to practice! And in the meantime, why not have a look at my book, Illicit Impulse? It’s an exciting look at what can happen when oxytocin – and consequences – are removed from the delicate dance of skin-to-skin contact.
**Alexa Day brings a touch of sexy to your everyday world on the first Wednesday of every month. When she's not researching her monthly column, she's working on the follow-up to her first novel, ILLICIT IMPULSE, a Night Owl Reviews Top Pick which is now available wherever e-books are sold. In the meantime, you can catch up to her on Facebook, Twitter, or on her blog, although lately she only seems able to manage one of those three venues at a time.