THE BLOG

Have We Lost Our Love for the Public Display of Affection?

24/11/2014 12:16 GMT | Updated 21/01/2015 10:59 GMT

Love them or hate them, it's pretty safe to say that we've all encountered a public display of affection. Now personally, I'm not one of those people that swoon at a Carrie Bradshaw type leg raise from a couple in the street, there's a time and a place after all, it's even worse to see happiness when you're single, which thankfully I'm not, but I felt that cringe moment for a number of years at seeing too many people embracing in the streets.

Like me, many of my friends that I work with at the charity I run are uncomfortable with seeing it from a heterosexual couple, but are more accepting of same-sex couples embracing publicly.

While the gay rights movement has swept across the UK in the last year, such as the success of the Equal Marriage Act, public displays of affection between people of the same gender in the UK still makes people uncomfortable.

A recent report published by the American Sociological Review has suggested while Americans are happy for gay people to have equal rights, they aren't happy to see gay affection.

In a survey of 1,000 Americans, 70% said they supported inheritance rights for gay couples, but fewer were supporting of gay people kissing in public.

A high proportion of those that took part in the research were more accepting of a lesbian couple kissing than a gay couple.

20% of heterosexuals surveyed even disapproved of gay men telling the respondents about their relationships.

If you now have the idea that it is just straight people tutting at the PDA, then you'd be incorrect. Gay men were 6% more likely to approve of a straight couple kissing in public compared to gay male couples.

The report highlighted that they believed gay and lesbian people were less likely to approve of certain same-sex public displays of affection due to safety concerns, and that PDA's would make possibly lead to harassment and hate crimes.

If you're a bit of a cynic like me, you may be thinking that there is nothing wrong with showing some public affection, however, Debby Mayne, Etiquette Expert, writing for etiquette.about.com, has given some top tips to avoid social faux pas.

Her compilation of do's and don'ts state that while kissing at certain times is okay, but it's dependent on the length of time it lasts for.

A personal favourite of mine that Debby has mentioned, not that I've ever tried this with an audience; Public Groping. If you were ever unsure of how the public may respond to groping, Debby's tip is simple; 'groping is never acceptable in public.'

More to watch include tastes and nibbles, where we are advised 'A face is not a lollipop, and you are not a vampire, so don't lick or bite the person you love in front of other people.'

And, as much as we've all seen a PDA, you're sure to have seen a post on a social networking site, referring to 'electronic affection', Debby advises that you should 'never text, post or communicate anything personal in a broadcast message or in a social networking setting. Not only will doing this make other uncomfortable, you may embarrass the person you love.'

But with all these tips, and rules, as well as explanations of when it's not acceptable to do public groping, seeming to be formed, it makes me wonder, have we all lost our love of the public display of affection?