What Does PDA Mean: The Importance to Your Relationship

A couple in a healthy relationship showing affection in public.

Kissing, holding hands, cuddling on a park bench: these are just some of the ways couples show their love for one another in front of others. While public displays of affection may not seem that essential for a relationship, having PDA compatibility with a loved one is. So what does PDA mean and why is PDA compatibility important to your relationship?

If your partner doesn’t like to be touched in public, but you do, you are not PDA compatible, explains psychologist and radio host, Dr. Cooper Lawrence. “Then you have to ask yourself, ‘How important is it?’  If you are someone who needs the reassurance in public, the stress relief that holding hands can bring, and it is very important to you, then you are going to have relationship issues.”

In some relationships, not showing PDA could mean that one partner does not want the world to view him or her as attached.  “This may be indicative of someone who isn’t fully committed to you and may never be,” says Lawrence.  However, be sure your partner isn’t reserved or shy before pressing this issue.

PDA compatibility changes over time in a relationship, and it’s normal to experience a change in the frequency and intensity of such social behaviors.  This can happen at different times for each person in the relationship. “If you’re in the honeymoon phase of a brand new relationship and you just can’t get enough of each other, it’s normal to be overly affectionate in public.  Later on, some couples even use PDA as part of sexual foreplay.  This technique is good to recharge a lagging sex life,” says Lawrence.

What does PDA mean for a couple? Usually, public displays of affection denote a certain emotional connection between two people.  If one’s needs aren’t being met, no matter what stage of the relationship they’re in, it could also mean that other needs aren’t being met within the relationship.

At minimum, agree that holding hands can be a good thing, says Lawrence.  “A number of studies have linked hand holding and physical affection with positive health outcomes. Even mild PDA has been associated with lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.”

Given the health and relationship benefits public displays of affection can do, isn’t about time you puckered up?

Ashley Papa

Writer and Author

Ashley is a relationship writer and author of her first novel “Vixen Investigations: The Mayoral Affairs“. She writes about it all: sex, love, dating, marriage, and “crimes of the heart”.

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