Sometimes it can be difficult for two lovers to keep their hands off of each other, even when in public. Whether we are in a movie theatre, at the park, or even in the grocery store, most of us have been witness to all kinds of affectionate lovers engaging in public displays of affection.

The act of two people indulging in a form of intimacy while in public can be anything from a friendly hug to two lovers kissing. So, what is it about PDA that is appealing to so many couples? Cheryl, 23, told Lovepanky, “I love PDA. There’s something about it that makes me feel so good. I’m not trying to do it just to show off, but it’s exciting to make out in parties when there are others around.”

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Even though public displays of affection can be fun or sweet at times, have you ever thought about how PDA can affect the people around you? Or when exactly PDA might be crossing the line in some cultures?

Where Public Displays of Affection are NOT Okay

There is definitely a time and place where couples should engage in this kind of unrestrained behavior. Many couples need to be mindful that PDA is not an acceptable form of showing affection in different cultures and countries. In fact, many cultures take these acts very seriously, and even have laws prohibiting others from engaging in PDA. Here are some countries and regions that implement these kinds of laws:

Middle East – In the Middle East, engaging in public displays of affection can lead to severe consequences. Travelers have had to serve jail time for hugging or kissing in public according to the U.S. Department of State. Kissing is considered an offense to public decency. This semi-acceptable American freedom simply doesn’t fit the region’s culture and customs.

China – In China, only members of the same sex are permitted to hold hands or dance together in public. Holding hands or kissing among couples is considered taboo and in violation of law in this culture. This is primarily due to the fact that PDA goes against the country’s cultural values rooted in Buddhism or Confucianism.

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India – Similar prohibitions regarding PDA are in place in the country of India. Engaging in such acts warrants a fine or imprisonment for up to three months.

Other Views on Public Displays of Affection

On the other side of the spectrum, there are a lot of cultures that definitely have more liberal views on public displays of affection:

Western World – In places like Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and America, it is common to see couples holding hands, hugging, or kissing in public. Night clubs have also become places where “grinding” or dancing very closely together is socially acceptable. With this in mind, too much touching and kissing can often make people from these cultural backgrounds very uncomfortable.

Millennial Magazine - Brazilian fans kiss

South America – In countries such as Brazil, kissing is definitely an acceptable form of showing affection in public. French kissing is even a common sighting in these areas. In a culture where romance and family comes before work and hobbies, it makes sense that showing affection publicly is a welcomed activity.

It is crucial for travelers to know and understand cultural customs when going to other countries with a romantic partner. Even a friendly hug or peck on the cheek could be misconstrued as public indecency! Make sure to inform yourself on the specifics of these laws if you are visiting a location where public displays of affection are not commonly acceptable.

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Alexandra Zuccaro


Los Angeles

Alexandra Zuccaro is a recent graduate from Loyola Marymount University with a B.A in English. She a strong interest in journalism and hopes to pursue a career in the field.

All posts by Alexandra Zuccaro

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