Over half of Brits don't kiss their partners in public

By Christine Emelone
Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 9:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 9:00 am

Love is in the air for many Brits, with searches for ‘romantic gifts for boyfriend’ seeing an increase of +150% over the past 90 days*, and ‘romantic hideaways UK’ seeing an increase of +130%. Even though Brits love to love, some aren’t quite as comfortable showing their affection around other people.

Greeting card marketplace, thortful.com polled 1,500 Brits to find Brits’ habits on public display of affection (PDA), and how many feel embarrassed by their partner being intimate with them around other people. Mairead Molloy, Relationship Psychologist and Strategist comments on the findings, and explains why people don’t want to show affection in public.

According to research, almost two-fifths (39%) are embarrassed if their partner shows PDA. Even though you love your partner, you might not be one that enjoys public affection much, even if it’s just handholding, and you’re not alone! One in three (31%) Brits don’t hold their partner’s hand in public, and nearly three in five (59%) don’t give their partner kisses around other people.

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By gender, women are more likely to dislike it when they’re showered with affection in public, with 33% of women saying they prefer affection to be something private. Men aren’t too far behind, with 30% voting the same.

More men get embarrassed by PDA than women (63% of men to 61% of women). Six in ten women (63%) prefer to not kiss their partner in public. Men are more lenient here, with only 56% of men saying they’d like kisses to be done in private.

Why don’t we like public displays of affection?

Britain is a nation that loves to love, with the majority of Brits saying ‘I love you’ to their partner within a month of being together (18%), but there are still those who prefer all the lovey-dovey display to be something private.

According to Molloy “Public displays of affection force people to become an unwilling audience. And that can be discomforting for the viewer.

Affectionate behaviour confronts some people with the unsettling reality that they are alone.  There is elegant PDA, and then there’s PDA gone too far. So best to keep it light and affectionate, for example a peck on the lips, maybe walking arm in arm - this feels reassuring.”

A spokesperson at thortful comments on the study, “Britain is opening up fully, and so naturally we will be seeing more people out and about, and inevitably, more love in the air.”