Public displays of affection: yay or nay? A complete guide

No one wants to see it, and it just isn’t appropriate. Unless Ugh! Here's a complete guide to public displays of affection (PDAs).

Are PDA’s (public displays of affection) a sweet, romantic gesture between couples who just can’t get enough of each other, or should they be avoided at all costs? Find out when they’re okay… and when you should just say no.

I have to admit, whenever I see a couple engaging in some pretty intense tonsil hockey in a public venue, I’m a little unsure of what I’m supposed to do. Do I stare rudely, hoping they get the hint? Do I yell at them to get a room? Or do I simply avert my eyes, walk away, and hope never to see that again?

If you’re one of these couples, here’s a cheat sheet for you to determine which types of PDA’s are okay and which should best be left behind closed doors (or at least not where I can see them, please!)


Everyone loves hugs! If you can’t resist the urge to give your sweetie a squeeze while strolling through the mall, rest assured that this is a perfectly appropriate gesture of affection to share in public. Just keep your hands where we can see them!

Holding hands

I always smile when I see a couple holding hands in public, because it’s an endearing and sweet gesture that really shows how much love there is between a couple without grossing anyone out.

So by all means, grab his hand and skip down the sidewalk if you want to!

A quick kiss

Give him a quick on the cheek or lips in public, I don’t mind – but when it starts turning into the kind of kiss people pay to see, you’ve gone way too far. Keep it G-rated, folks!

Now that you’ve learned the quick run-down of what forms of PDA are acceptable, these are a few that should never – I repeat, never – be done in public.

NEVER DO THIS: French kissing

If we can see your tongues or hear you panting while making out in public, you need to stop. Now. Before someone ends up vomiting all over your hot-and-heavy selves.

Seriously, no one wants to see a couple making out like this in public. It’s not cool, it’s not attractive, and I seriously want to keep those calories from the Cheese Dog on a Stick I just ate, thank you very much.

NEVER DO THIS: Grabbing/sucking/etc.

Leave the sucking, squeezing, and other inappropriate fondling for the bedroom, please. If you are engaging in behavior you’d be ashamed of if your father walked by, then please stop. It’s not fun for any of us who have to watch this crazy display of affection. Go home!

While PDA’s have a time and a place, there are certain types of affection that should never be shared in public. Go ahead and hold his hand, give him a quick peck or a hug, but don’t lose control and go wild. No one wants to see it, and it just isn’t appropriate.

What do you think about public displays of affection? Do you believe there should be boundaries, and if so, do you agree with mine?