Public display of affection

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by macta123, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. macta123 Senior Member

    I don't know whether I should put forward this question

    In India - in a newspaper supplement I read that in cities(Indian cities) the Public Display of Affection(Love) between a couple is curbed either by Police or moral police in one way or other. Many a time they do go unnocticed. They are sometimes fined also.

    What is the state of PDA in your country? I know that in most American cities they fell free in this regard. So what's the stats in your country? And what is your opinnion about it?
  2. luis masci

    luis masci Banned

    Well... first of all I`d like to know what is the “grade” of afection that you are referring to when you say they were fined for it.
    Here in this city is fairly common to see couples(mainly young couples) doing signs of afection each other, in public places.
    There’s not any fine for it. Nevertheless if they could do some sexual intercourse front other people they even could be arrested.
    My opinion....I’d say everyone is free to do anything while it doesn’t affecting other people.
    I’ve heard in other countries (mainly U.K.) there’re places when couples do something that very puzzled me in the first time when I noticed it.
    That is called “dogging” and I really don’t know if it’s indeed as popular as somepeople from there say it’s.
    Here it’s something unthinkable (at least for now;))
  3. natasha2000

    natasha2000 Senior Member

    Well, there's something interesting I found on "dogging". Click here.

    In my country, Serbia, there is no such thing as moral police. People can express affection to each other as much as they want, as long as it does not implies sex, although there are some hidden places where people actually, practice sex, like parks or lonely parking places, etc. I wouldn't know what would happen if the police catches them, maybe they would be fined, or maybe they would be just warned and of course very much embarassed:D ..... I really cannot claim anything, since I am not sure.

    On the other hand, I heard that in Spain you can go to prison if police catches you practicing sex on the beach or whatever is "in public".... Which does not mean that people don't do it... You just need to go to some disco's bathroom.....
    Other ways of expressing affection are completely normal and very much seen in streets of Spain.
  4. zorton New Member

    Southern Spain
    Spanish & french
    Concerning Spain again:

    I don´t think that people is arrested in my country due to their sexual attitude on the beach in summer. The thing is that every summer, thousands of youngs and not so youngs (I can include my girlfriend and myself time ago) practice sex on the late summer nights. This attitude have become so popular that authorities have to take part on the subject. But they just bother you with their lamps and request from you to leave the beach, that´s all. I can understand now this, think about the thousand of people and children coming to the beach next day finding condoms used some hours before.
    Particullarly in the south of Spain, where I come from, you can express your affection in the way you want, and you can kiss your couple as long as you want sitting on a bank in the street, main street, in front of the police heathquarter and everywhere. You can prudently do sex in parks or places with not very much people, but nudity could be offensive. But you will never be arrested for this. A good example: There´s a guy in Spain who likes to jump into the football stadium fields running completely undressed, just with a hat. Well, what a could know, is that this guy just receive a fine after doing this but is not sleeping at jail any night. He´s not allowed to go into sport events now, that´s all.
  5. vlazlo

    vlazlo Senior Member

    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    English, U.S.A.
    Where I live, PDA is looked down upon and viewed to be in very bad taste.If a couple is making out in a public place, people will give them dirty looks or even say something to them like, "get a room (in a hotel)". I don't think that the police will fine anyone, let alone take anyone to jail for kissing in public but if someone were to get caught having sex in a parking lot or a park what would happen to them would depend largely upon the police officer that caught them. Maybe the cop would let them go with a warning or maybe they might get a fine (maybe taken to jail?) for public indecency.
  6. Bonjules Senior Member

    How about not just lovers or 'couples, but 'friends and acquaintances'?
    Here in Puerto Rico it is not unusual to kiss every female in a group on the cheek, even if you have not met them before,
  7. Pivra Senior Member

    In Thailand, it is A OK to do so, but people will just give you the "look" and stuff. But public intercourse is definitely not OK.
  8. GenJen54

    GenJen54 Senior Member

    Downright Pleasant, USA
    USA - English
    I think there is a vast difference between showing affection for a friend or acquaintance, and showing one for a lover or spouse.

    You have to remember, too, that in some countries, like the United States, "kissing on the cheek" as a way of greeting a friend is not very common. It certainly exists in some social circles, but is not the norm.

    In the city where I live - which is very conservative - PDA is usually kept to hand-holding and some kissing. I don't think this is out of any fear of arrest, so much as it is general public decency.

    I remember the first time I visited France and would see couples along the Seine, or on park benches, making out - completely lost in one another and not paying attention to the rest of the world. You would not see this in my city, nor in many American cities, I would venture to say. As Vlazlo noted, most couples aggressively "making out" in public would be stared at and admonished with a chorus of "get a room."

    This is not to say this type of behavior doesn't exist in nightclubs or places that are considered more "overt." It's not also to say that you won't find couples making out (or more!) in cars late at night in near-empty parking lots once the clubs have all closed.
  9. natasha2000

    natasha2000 Senior Member

    As I said, I was told this, but I am not sure about it. As a matter of fact, When I heard it, I was a little bit surprised, since my experience from Barcelona is completely different... The beach is full of both homosexual and heterosexual couples and nobody bothers them...
  10. tvdxer Senior Member

    Minnesota, U.S.A.
    Minnesota, U.S.A. - English
    Well, we certainly don't have any "moral police" here, but PDA is generally considered bad form. Giving somebody a peck or hug in public is acceptable, but lengthened kisses and making out are most certainly not, at least where I'm from. The response generally would be at most a dirty look, followed by a "they should get a hotel" away from the PDA-givers' hearing range.

    Most people here have the moral decency not to have sex or make out in public places and certainly not to leave condoms around, although many do so in parked cars (the "Lover's Lane" thing has been around since at least the 1950's), or in movie theaters (make out, not have sex!), where it is considered slightly more acceptable.
  11. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Holding hands, hugging and kissing* in public are quite normal for young couples. I even see older couples hold hands or hug in the street, which I find endearing. There are no laws against it.

    Anything racier is probably best left for the privacy of one's home.

    *By 'kissing', I did mean to include 'making out', minus actual sex, although this is normally done in more private places, such as public gardens. There are some schools which forbid it within their premises.
  12. danielfranco

    danielfranco Senior Member

    I think that both in the Mexico of my childhood and in the region of the USA where I live now people are (and were) tolerant of PDA as long as it isn't either too intense or too persistent.
    But the one thing that seems to really make people curl their lips in distaste (and me, too!) is when a couple (no matter how young or old) keep talking to each other in "baby talk" and after each phrase they exchange they end up a-hugging and a-kissing...
    Oh, brother!
  13. natasha2000

    natasha2000 Senior Member

    :p Yes, this can be very annoying, the loud kisses that never end... It is not a moral question, it is just as if I had a dripping tap next to me...:)
  14. elroy

    elroy Imperfect Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    In the Palestinian Territories, and all Palestinian regions of Israel, PDA is not acceptable in any shape, manner, or form - let alone sex. :eek: I have never seen a pair of Palestinians publicly kissing or making out.

    In non-Palestinian Israel, PDA is more common.

    I agree with the others who stated that PDA is not looked at too well in the US. Europe is another story altogether. :)
  15. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    In the Southwestern US, my experience is different than that of the Oklahomans and other Americans that have posted -- PDA is OK. ;)

    For me, PDA includes amorous kissing, hugging and caressing, but stops at overtly sexual contact (don't make me explain that! :D)

    Isn't it interesting that several Americans have judged PDA on moral grounds?

    Mexico: At lunchtime and after school, many parks in large cities are full -- every park bench occupied -- with young couples making out (kissing, tonguing, rubbing against one another) with no concern for passers by. My theory is that they can't show their affection at home because they're not allowed, so "in public" is the only private place they can go to get all jiggy with it.
  16. Markus

    Markus Senior Member

    Paris, France
    Canada - English
    People in France are NUTS, they're PDAing all over the place with their wet slurpy kisses! To my sensitive Canadians eyes and ears it's hard to bare, but I'm getting used to it. :D
  17. zorton New Member

    Southern Spain
    Spanish & french
    It would be interesting to hear what the opinion about PDA is in northern Europe, in Scandinavian countries. Can any scandinavian post a message?
  18. luis masci

    luis masci Banned

    Or even someone from UK, Zorton (I know there are a lot here)
    453.000 (and plus) is showing an amazing number of members and it’s announcing in any way there’re, in that region, very people interested in this kind of stuff.
  19. Fernando Senior Member

    Spain, Spanish
    Which way do they take part?

    Depending on your anwer,

    How can I become a civil servant in your town?
  20. vlazlo

    vlazlo Senior Member

    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    English, U.S.A.
    I don't think PDA is immoral (whatever that is anyway), just tacky, like say, wearing socks and sandals or my 300lb aunt, Wanda in lime green spandex (yikes!)...
  21. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    So, it's not a moral value judgement... just a "good taste" value judgement.

    What makes kissing in public "in bad taste" in the same way as lime-green spandex on obese women?
  22. vlazlo

    vlazlo Senior Member

    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    English, U.S.A.
    Like most other value judgements, it is based on culture. In my culture it is in bad taste to get jiggy (to quote you) in public so my natural (or rather, learned) reaction to people macking in a restaurant is to think/feel that it is in bad taste. I spent a summer in India a few years ago and there it is perfectly normal for men to walk down the street holding hands. I was visiting the Taj Mahal and was hanging out with a guy from Orissa. We were walking around and suddenly, he reached down and grabbed my hand. I can't say I freaked out, but I did tense up for a bit but continued to walk down the street holding hands with him. Obviously, on the whole in Oklahoma, men don't walk down the street holding hands but I wasn't in Oklahoma. My reaction to tense up was based on the fact that I perceive reality in the way that I do and that is based on what I learned in my culture. Conversely, in many places I have travelled or lived certain things that seem quite normal or harmless to me are frowned upon or even outlawed so I suppose it goes both ways. So, a long winded answer to "what makes kissing in public in bad taste" relates to the original question itself which was "What is the state of PDA in your country". In my country(better said, in my part of the country, in my culture...) a peck on the cheek or holding hands in public is ok whereas two people all over each other is not. By the way, my aunt Wanda in lime green spandex is just plain wrong anywhere... :)
  23. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    Thanks for the long-winded explanation. You wouldn't have sold me, otherwise. :)
  24. maxiogee Banned

    I have not heard the expression "Public Display of Affection" from the lips of an Irishperson - ever.
    We have no problem with people being affectionate in public (as a concept), but people have a problem with being affectionate in public (as a personal activity).
    We are not the most romantic of nations, nor are we 'physical'.
  25. Gusso

    Gusso Member

    Ahora en Dax Francia, pero usualmente dividido ent
    Español indómito; Parte física perteneciente a Puebla, parte espiritual a Cd. Juárez, Chih.
    In Mexico, the situation is not quite different and I agree about how long could last a kiss or a hug, a little kiss between a couple could be a very lovely demonstration of tenderness; or a long, hot, noisy kiss could be very aggresive for the other people; anyway, having sexual intercourse in a car, in a lonely and dark street could be frustrated by the police, if they catch you they will try to remit you to command and fine you, BUT... in Mexico (sadly) you could always try to bribe them and in the 99.99 per cent of the occasions it will be enough and you won't step on the jail (!)
  26. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    Again, thanks for the response, but I'm still very curious as to the criteria that people are using to judge whether a given show of affection is offensive to them if it's done in public.

    Here's an interesting discussion on a related subject: what constitutes obscenity?

  27. vlazlo

    vlazlo Senior Member

    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    English, U.S.A.
    The criteria that people use to judge whether a given show of affection is offensive if done in public, hmmm.... What a good question. I don't know if many people are very self-aware. Rather, things fall into the whole "good/bad" dichotomy. Good= makes me feel comfortable/safe and bad=threatens me/makes me uncomfortable/unsafe. Many people seem fairly oblivious to what evokes them to feel or think a certain thing. A stab at an answer would be that this criteria depends upon the environment (culture), personal experiences and level of self-awareness. It is easier/safer to react in a knee jerk fashion and takes more work to look deeply into a situation. Maybe... :)
  28. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    I agree. I mean, I didn't really start examining my own feelings about this issue (see? "feelings"!) until this thread. Public displays of affection make me uncomfortable (therefore they are "bad") if they cross two lines:
    • when I see two people "going at it", I get frustrated that I can't participate with them or in the same manner as they are, but with my own partner (ie. I'm mad because I'm not gettin' any)
    • when I see exposed breasts, genitalia or buttocks, or if I see amorous manipulation of same, in full view of many people, it makes me uncomfortable. I enjoy it, mind you, but I get uncomfortable nonetheless because of the societal taboos about "sex" in public.
    I think that this makes me either tolerant or perverted, depending on your point of view. ;)
  29. coppergirl

    coppergirl Senior Member

    London, England
    Well, since someone wanted a few other European responses, I admit that PDA makes my English husband more uncomfortable than it does me (even though I was raised in the USA). My American parents were very uncomfortable about it and discouraged it quite a bit when we were teenagers in America.

    In England, it does go on, but it usually ends up in the newspaper somewhere with some celebrity getting caught for it in the gents or cloakroom in a restaurant etc.

    Of course, it is common to see couples holding hands and occasionally having a quick kiss somewhere, but anything prolonged or intense will cause people to cast discouraging looks, especially on trains late at night, in parks etc.

    Hope that helps!

  30. cadylayne Member

    Wollongong, NSW, Australia
    English, Australia
    In Australia, the reaction varies.
    It's quite dependent on the individual. I find that young people like myself are looked upon very harshly as displaying PDA's, especially in schools, where I have been reprimanded for hugging my boyfriend. Most people tend to be ok as long as you're not hooking up, but a lot of people find even standing closely or hand holding quite offensive.

  31. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo moderator

    American English
    Could you (or somebody) define what "hooking up" means to you? To me, it is a vague term that says "two people had a romantic interlude", but without getting specific about what they did.
  32. danielfranco

    danielfranco Senior Member

    Yes, please define it.
    As an quasi-old fart, I have trouble believing young people when they say "hooking up" means nothing serious, it's just "making out". Because when I was a teenager myself, "hooking up" meant meeting someone for the express purpose of having sex.
    What is the "modern" definition nowdays?
    Thank you.
  33. macta123 Senior Member

    What you experienced in India isn't PDA!! It's just bad manners (or simply anything like that). Out here in India, yes man and girl can hold hands (That is too common). But kissing or anything like that in Public places can be dangerous (if someone see you two[couple] ).

    Nobody can just grasp somebody's(stranger's) hand. But then some guys(ruffian type) dare to do so.
  34. cadylayne Member

    Wollongong, NSW, Australia
    English, Australia
    Sorry everyone.
    Hooking up is australian slang for making out or french kissing. It has no sexual connotation. It's purely tongue kissing.

  35. natasha2000

    natasha2000 Senior Member

    So, you actually say the guy tried to rob him, or something like that?
  36. vlazlo

    vlazlo Senior Member

    Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    English, U.S.A.
    Having been in situations where someone was scheming on robbing me, following me to rob me or actually trying to rob me, I can tell you that this guy was on the up and up. He and I met in Delhi and travelled together for a few days. When I arrived in India I noticed men holding hands, nothing sexual, nothing romantic, nothing devious. My opinion is that for him to grab my hand was as natural to him as anything else, we were friends and it was a natural expression of his friendship. When in Rome...
  37. natasha2000

    natasha2000 Senior Member

    OK, sorry, I did not understand...:eek: First I thought you didn't know the guy at all, and then macta123 said:

    Nobody can just grasp somebody's(stranger's) hand. But then some guys(ruffian type) dare to do so.Today 04:10 PM

    So I thought what I said.
  38. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    A bit like patting you in the back in the West, I expect...
  39. tvdxer Senior Member

    Minnesota, U.S.A.
    Minnesota, U.S.A. - English
    Do you here consider holding hands in public a PDA?

    I've never thought of it that way.
  40. In the UK (I can't speak for Northern Ireland) public displays of affection are reasonably well tolerated. However, there are some couples who go a bit too far with their kissing and fondling. This tends to embarrass those who witness it; eyebrows may be raised and "tut tuts" of disapproval muttered.

    This behaviour is generally found only amongst the young. I must admit to being guilty myself many many years ago. :eek: People were even less tolerant back then.

    Nowadays it is commonplace to find lovers getting very intimate in parks and on beaches. But they do stop short of actual intercourse as this is a criminal act.

    Happily it's now accetable for gays and lesbians to show affection towards each other in public but usually only in certain cities which have large gay/lesbian communities. The south coast town of Brighton is reputedly ''the gay capital'' of Britain. I only witnessed this behaviour, by chance, when travelling to Chichester (near Brighton) one day. A broken down train was blocking the main track so mine was diverted and involved changing to another train. The station platform where I changed trains was populated by about 500 gays/lesbians, Brighton-bound for the Gay Pride festival. The gays were as usual, in my experience, very entertaining and had such a great sense of humour. Modest kissing and cuddling was going on but it didn't seem to bother anyone.

  41. Chaska Ñawi

    Chaska Ñawi Senior Member

    an old Ontario farmhouse
    Canadian English
    In Canada, "hooking up" is teenspeak for getting together for the express purpose of having sex.
  42. Cristina Allende Senior Member

    US, English
    I was wondering about what a couple can get away with in public in different countries. In America, kissing's okay, but I wouldn't ever kiss someone in public. It seems to be such a private thing. I am interested especially in the Spanish-speaking countries, as I am trying to become fluent in Spanish some day and everything about Spanish culture interests me.:)
  43. Josita Member

    são paulo
    brasil português
    i'm from Brazil and here is not common to do it....Or better is a little common,but in my town no one likes to do it...It is personal and not public,and i'm very shy.
  44. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Well for a start, all but one of the Spanish-speaking countries does not have "Spanish culture". Spain has that. Uruguay has Uruguayan culture, Colombia has Colombian culture, etc. Each is distinct. In addition, you are apt to find regional differences within countries, just as in your own. Urban and rural populations often have distinct standards.

    To discard all those variations will not help your learning process.

    If you use the forum Search function, you will find a few older threads about kissing customs in various countries.
  45. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    There were a couple of threads here in the forum about public displays of affection. The links here may be of interest.
  46. Cristina Allende Senior Member

    US, English
    Next time I will be careful of how I word my questions; I didn't mean to lump all the countries together under the word "Spanish," :eek: rather I just wanted a general feel for what most Spanish-speaking countries find acceptable.

    Thank you so much!
  47. Horazio Senior Member

    italian / spanish (bilingual)
    As far as I kno only the Asians are shy about "displaying public affection".. I know that in Japan for example,it's kind of wrong to make out on the streets.
    Here in Italy it's ok,especially for young people.
  48. alexacohen

    alexacohen Banned

    Santiago de Compostela
    Spanish. Spain
    All right:
    In Spain you can get away with everything from french kissing to intercourse as long as you do it at night in a park, on the beach, in your car. If you don't mind onlookers, you'll be alright.
    You can get away with french kissing and petting (no masturbation or public display of bodily parts) during daytime.
    You will get the "why don't they get a room?" comment from passers by, as it is considered bad taste to display such intimate behavior in public places (but teenagers do it, of course).
    The occassional kiss and embrace, or holding hands, or walking with your arms across each other's waists and the like are OK and will not draw a look or a comment from anyone.
  49. Horazio Senior Member

    italian / spanish (bilingual)
    In Uruguay it's also OK but you could also hear funny comments like (mostly by young people) "Rompele la boca !" (brake her mouth) meaning : "kiss her really hard"....well this happens especially if the girl you're kissing is hot.
  50. argentina84

    argentina84 Senior Member

    Göteborg, Sweden
    Argentina Spanish
    The occassional kiss and embrace, or holding hands, or walking with your arms across each other's waists and the like are OK and will not draw a look or a comment from anyone.[/quote]

    Same in Argentina, but you can also find couples French-kissing everywhere, and it is not frowned upon as it used to be a couple of years ago. In fact, I didn't know the difference between a "kiss" and a "French kiss," since evrybody French kisses here! ( I'm sorry for my ignorance!).

    I personally feel very unconfortable, because I prefer to show my affection in private and with modesty. But, you cannot say anything because what people think is that you would like to be in their place!

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