– by Wes Colton, Introvert Unbound
Whether it’s a from cold-approach or on an Internet date, if you want to get intimate with a woman, at some point you’re going to have to touch her. So what’s the when, where, and how when it comes to physicality?
To simplify, let’s break things down into 3 stages of touching:
Stage 1 – Introductory: you’re introducing yourself.
Stage 2 – Familiar: you’re getting to know each other.
Stage 3 – Intimate: you’re sexualizing the interaction.
Obviously, these stages aren’t hard and fast rules, just guidelines for guys who might benefit from a bit of structure to their interactions and/or who are worried about making a woman uncomfortable. Depending on your personality and experience, you can jump into Stage 2 or sometimes even Stage 3 quite quickly, or use elements of any stage at any time.
Stage 1: Introductory
Introductory touching occurs right after (or sometimes on) the open during the early stages of the interaction. This includes touching “public” areas that aren’t rude or invasive for a stranger to touch, including the shoulder, elbow, outside of arm, or forearm. It can also come in the form of a high five or handshake.
The main goal of introductory touching is to show that you’re friendly, confident, and socially engaging.
Stage 2: Familiar
Familiar touching communicates that you’re interested in her and not afraid to show it. This stage gets more personal than introductory touching and can involve touching her hair, hugging (or side-hugging) her, touching her knee (if you’re both sitting, obviously), or taking her hand and leading her around the venue.
This isn’t necessarily about trying to arouse her with your magic fingers, simply demonstrating that you’re comfortable interacting one-on-one with a woman.
Stage 3: Intimate
Intimate touching is where physical contact starts taking on an overtly sensual or sexual context. Intimate touching involves accessing “private” areas of the body such as her face, hips, legs, or the inside of her arms. It can also be light kisses or heavier makeouts where you might extend your touch even further, depending on how open she is.
Of course, once you get to intimate touching, it’s time to suggest finding a private location.
A couple warnings about Stage 3: It should go without saying that the first concern is making sure she’s OK with everything that’s happening. The second concern is that if things get too hot, she might start “slut-shaming” herself and break off the interaction to save face or avoid being judged by her friends.
It’s a well-known fact that just because a woman makes out with you doesn’t mean she wants to go home with you. In fact, a lot of club makeouts don’t necessarily mean anything at all, and some guys won’t do them (or will do them sparingly) so as not to ruin an interaction.
(I deliberately left out dancing because it’s a strange phenomenon that blurs the lines between Introductory, Familiar, and Intimate touching, where sometimes even off the open you can be grinding on one another’s crotches.)
Other drawbacks to touching too much are that it can come across as gamey (if overdone), awkward (if done self-consciously), or needy (like you have to constantly prove you’re “dominant”). Also, if she’s in a group, going overboard can make her friends defensive.
Real Social Dynamics instructor Luke Krogh has a helpful video in which he discusses using touch as a reward. The gist of it is that if a woman says something funny or reveals something about her that you like, you touch her to show you approve. He explains how you can tie this into the concept of “qualifying,” where you ask her questions based on what you’re looking for in a woman.
In conclusion, when it comes to touching, go at your own pace. Introverts are more likely to find physicality more challenging than extroverts. Just keep reminding yourself that it’s socially acceptable to touch a woman and—so long as they’re comfortable with you—they will typically respond positively.
If touching is making a woman act nervous, lay off for a bit, chat some more, and then try again in a little bit, even if it means going back a Stage. If repeated appropriate attempts make her visibly upset, it’s a good sign the set isn’t going anywhere anyway and your time is better spent elsewhere.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!