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Thread: Gender differences in who we'll let touch us where

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    Gender differences in who we'll let touch us where

    This cool study had men and women from 4 countries use online body maps to mark where various types of people would be allowed to touch them. The results aren't just about gender differences but there are interesting and predictable gender results.




    The brighter the color (yellow and white) the more comfortable being touching on that part of the body by that category of person. The red labels refer to female touchers and blue to male touchers. Women subjects (top 2 rows) were more comfortable being touched all over by their romantic partner, and more comfortable being touched on their arms, shoulders, and head by relatives and close relations of either sex. About the only time men reported greater comfort being touched compared to women was when being touched around the genitals by an opposite sex "acquaintance" (not qualifying as a "friend") and an opposite sex "stranger". In short, women are more comfortable with interpersonal contact in general, except men are more willing to get hand-jobs from opposite sex people they barely know.

    An open question is how much of this difference is socially conditioned versus biological. One piece of data that would help tease that apart is whether the differences are similarly strong across generations. Gender roles are notably more murky and less enforced now than 50 years ago. The socialization hypothesis would predict much stronger gender differences among those over 50 than those under 30.
    Last edited by ronburgundy; 11-04-2015 at 10:50 PM.

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    I don't understand the implication that women are more comfortable with their partner touching them anywhere than the men are. That seems anti-intuitive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malintent View Post
    I don't understand the implication that women are more comfortable with their partner touching them anywhere than the men are. That seems anti-intuitive.
    Yeah, that one makes no sense. Other than personal sensitive spots I would expect total freedom to touch a partner.

    Perhaps the problem is too loose a definition of "partner", including casual sexual contacts.

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    I know that when I'm on the train going home, if I start touching the people sitting next to me, they tend to get up and move. I assume that they do this because they realize that I am a nice, friendly person and they want to be neighbourly and give me more elbow and leg room.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malintent View Post
    I don't understand the implication that women are more comfortable with their partner touching them anywhere than the men are. That seems anti-intuitive.
    I was assuming that it indicated comfort level with cuddling and clinging. Where men don't mind being touched sexually, but sometimes have less patience with hand-holding, cuddling and other forms of non-sexual touching. I don't know this, it just was I assumed when I saw the difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhea View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Malintent View Post
    I don't understand the implication that women are more comfortable with their partner touching them anywhere than the men are. That seems anti-intuitive.
    I was assuming that it indicated comfort level with cuddling and clinging. Where men don't mind being touched sexually, but sometimes have less patience with hand-holding, cuddling and other forms of non-sexual touching. I don't know this, it just was I assumed when I saw the difference.
    That was my interpretation too.

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    I started thinking about my ticklish spots... I don't like being tickled. My spouse knows where not to touch me unless she wants to get a reflexive kick. So, I guess... My spouse doesn't really mind when I inadvertently hit that one spot on her thigh that tickles her... so I am thinking it is making a little more sense to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malintent View Post
    I started thinking about my ticklish spots... I don't like being tickled. My spouse knows where not to touch me unless she wants to get a reflexive kick. So, I guess... My spouse doesn't really mind when I inadvertently hit that one spot on her thigh that tickles her... so I am thinking it is making a little more sense to me.
    As I said, personal sensitive spots.

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    My last girlfriends's taboo spot was the top of her head. She was kind of short, and I once patted her on the top of her head and jokingly said, "There, there" after she fussed about something silly. Geez, the response was like when you try to rub a cat's belly...

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    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    I am very sensitive to being touched - I think it comes with being on the spectrum.

    If you touch me unexpectedly - particularly if I am concentrating hard on something (which is my usual state of being) - I will probably punch you before I am even consciously aware of your presence.

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