Oxford study says just shake hands, don't kiss strangers

Last time someone touched me at all, was last month, when I got a haircut. It was jarring. I work nights, and don’t see anyone except weekends. And even then, it’s mostly looking through the car windows. It might be time for me to dig my Tripps out of the closet and go to a rave. Catch something gross from rubbing up on a few hundred people.


I am only comfortable with being touched at all by the closest of friends. With everyone else I go all rigid and just wait for it to end. I don’t like to be rude when people engage in what they consider to be normal social interaction. My best friends are those who recognize this aversion, and keep well clear. I don’t even like getting a fist bump from my boss. Who does that?!

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Doesn’t count: Oxford Study. British people are uncomfortable and awkward all the time.

Also: “In recent years, it has become fashionable . . .”

Ethnocentric much? Cheek kissing has been a standard greeting in many many places for a long long time.


Why am I not surprised?


Because you notice how neurotic many people often are?


In my social group in my home town, standard greeting, no matter who it was, was to say “Hey, how ya goin’”. No touching.

I moved to Sydney, and it was all fist crushing handshakes for men and kisses on the cheek for the ladies. Fuck I hated it. I still find it really hard, because its not clear cut and it is difficult to gauge if you are being polite or rude by not kissing, and there’s this whole alpha male shit going on with the handshakes that really bugs the hell out of me.


Yes you are getting to context. Ok this next part is also about context. Sometimes women brush up against me with their butts. OK, no big deal. People do that in crowded places… airplanes… supermarkets… Butt brushes are inevitable. Occasional breast-brushes too. It happens.

In clubs in Vegas and New York, I have had women come up, grab my hands and put them on their breasts and then move them down to their vag area. Breasty women have walked up and said hey, want to feel? & Sometimes while dancing, the crotches start to get ratherrrrr close. Super attractive women, to me? Well, not usually. Moderately attractive, possibly drugged on x, definitely drinking. And definitely taking the reins as far as sexual advances. I preferred the women who were a little more reserved and we could dance, talk then see where things went… The gettin’ outrageous on the dance floor types were of limited appeal to me. Fun for a moment.

At these same clubs on the same nights, I have seen women slap men who are grabbing their butts or breasts. SHE KNOWS when she wants to be touched. She will make it happen and you don’t need to be a jerk about it. You better not be a jerk about it. I’ve pointed overaggressive guys out to bouncers before. You see it all at clubs. It definitely gets crazy sometimes.

Context is so important. You don’t go around touching people’s private parts in everyday life, except those closest to you! And even then… depends!!! That is a rule that should so stay a rule. We do not need to change that one.

As for hugging… only acquaintances maybe. Not strangers. Who’s gonna hug a stranger, you need contact that badly? Meh. Stay off me. I don’t even like shaking hands now. Too much disease and I cannot afford to miss any work.


Jason’s post leaves out vital information.* The map isn’t of where people are okay with touching, but where they are okay with being touched. So people in general are more okay with a woman patting their ass than a man.

(The full paper includes further breakdowns by gender of the respondents, where the female charts are more likely to be blacked out across the chest than the male ones.)



This is why context can often be tricky. Sure, it is obvious to the individual when they want to be touched, the problem is that it is not obvious to everybody else. Obviously, consent is crucial. But people are often penalized even for asking, which is what they are supposed to do. And to compound matters, people often seem to have difficulty with other consenting people getting physical near them.

And consent is tricky in ritual/routine situations such as handshakes, hugs, kisses etc where people like to assume they are working from some sort of protocol.

But, what if one does not have private parts? I am a communal person, and don’t believe in private property either. People who decide that they are “private” can certainly still be private, there isn’t anybody stopping them. But for those who strive to not have personal problems, and to not have a private life, it is difficult. The objections tend to be many, forceful, and resolutely irrational. It forces people to default to selfish behaviors.

The idea, as put forth in the study, that the more pleasurable the area is, the less they want people to touch them there seems deliberately contrarian. Yet many claim to find this intuitive! It is so weird!!!

Welcome to:


Understood. Perhaps commonly regarded personal areas is a good enough approximation: crotch/pubic area, breasts, butt. Also, I don’t want people touching my face and definitely not my ears. Just thinking about people touching my ears makes them flutter and feel weird.

You can touch my banana, though. I’ll let you.


I have the ear touching hate thing too.

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Serious ear fetish here! I get flushed even thinking about it.


The paper is indeed quite interesting, though a bit dryly written, and I do think it’s worth reading.

Though really, the most interesting bit to me is the supplemental material not in the main paper, which includes two versions of the chart based on the gender of the subjects being asked to define touch-area maps:



(There are apparently some men who really don’t particularly want their partner touching them anywhere, it seems, and others who are OK with a complete stranger grabbing their groin so long as said stranger is female.)

Ear fetish good or ear fetish bad?

I’m ear fetish —
I.e. Please don’t

This exactly. This bugged my wife so much when pregnant that she once grabbed someone’s wrist when they were reaching for her belly, and said “Hey, why don’t I rub your belly first?”. The point was made when the relative stranger (who my wife had been talking to for a bit prior) realized that they would be really uncomfortable with that and apologized.

Do not mess with a cranky pregnant person!


It’s very good for me, as understatements go. I love (consenting!) people’s ears, and love it when they love my ears. Also, hearing is my main sense, so I weigh the happiness of my ears as very significant.


No biting then.

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I was in a Chekhov play and we had to do the kissing on the cheek thing. Unfortunately, during rehearsal we never set down any rules about who initiates, what cheek does one aim for, et cetera. So, first weekend, the leading man and I apparently aimed at opposite cheeks and met in the middle. However, I didn’t even notice that I’d smooched him right on the lips, because I’d hit my nose into his hard enough to get a nose bleed. And me without a period handkerchief, or anything, to staunch the flow. I managed to avoid getting blood all over my nice white shirt by continually inhaling it. Which made it rather difficult to deliver my long Chekhov speech, sniffing all the while. He and I later claimed that we were trying to bring out some of the play’s subtext.

I got to second base the next weekend…


Spanish culture, for example.

And we are happier that way. You don’t have to french-kiss strangers, just to graze lips on cheeks.

Aunties and grand nannies, on the other hand, have the right to give big fat wet barrages of cheek kisses, specially if they can scratch you whit their moustaches.

I have always found Anglo-Saxon culture too stuck-up in physical contact area. You just need a pat and a friendly rub to cheer up!


Shaking hands is more likely to lead to disease transfer than a peck on the cheek.