A Body Map To Where Men And Women Are Most Comfortable Being Touched

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woman and man touching

When you meet a stranger for the first time, how close do you allow them to get into your space?

Do you allow them to touch you, or do you touch them? I'm usually a very touchy person, but the answer really depends on some context. Is he a cute guy in a bar who's giving you all of his attention?

Or are you in line at Starbucks and the woman behind you has never heard of personal space?

Are you home for the holidays and seeing that one aunt you haven't seen in 7 years and you have to awkwardly dodge her hugs and kisses throughout the night? This is something I really think about. 

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In an article in The Independence, researchers from Oxford University in England and Aalto University in Finland sent out a survey asking more than 1,300 British, Finnish, French, Italian, and Russian participants about being touched. I wonder if American men would have answered any differently.

The men and women colored in which parts of their body they were comfortable or uncomfortable letting certain people touch. Researchers compiled the results in this "body map index," published by the PNAS. Again, I wonder if there were some scenarios in here.

It turns out that men are more comfortable being touched by women they don't know, including their genitals. But when it comes to male friends and relatives, they aren't as comfortable. This sounds like any man I've ever met.

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Meanwhile, women aren't as comfortable being touched by men they don't know; hands are the exception.

However, women were also fine with being touched on most parts of their bodies by friends, both male and female. This is very accurate, as I get extremely touchy with my friends when I'm drunk and I am repelled by any man that comes near me.

Julia Suvilehto, a researcher from Aalto University, says that the results showed the importance of touch in many social relationships. It is a love language after all.

"The greater the pleasure caused by touching a specific area of the body, the more selectively we allow others to touch it," she said. I feel like there are parts of my body I wouldn't let anyone touch, not even a doctor. Like the bottom of my foot for instance.

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Check out the body map below. Judging by your own social interactions, how would you color it in? 

Source: The Independent

Now that you're aware of the science of where to touch your man, use this power for good, not evil.

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Caithlin Pena is an editor and former contributor for YourTango. Her work has been featured on Thought Catalog, Huffington Post, Yahoo, Psych Central, and BRIDES.