SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

The effects of relational stage, intimacy, and gender on touch were examined. Participants were 270 partners from 135 couples involved in a heterosexual romantic relationship. Results indicated that touch varies as a function of relational stage. An examination of relational stage and subjects' perceptions of how much they touched their partner and how much their partner touched them generally indicated an asymptotic relationship. Specifically, men's and women's perceptions of how much they touched their partners, and women's perceptions of how much their partners touched them, increased from the casually dating to the seriously dating stage and then leveled off for seriously dating, engaged, and married couples. Men's perceptions of how much their partners touched them increased from the casually dating to the seriously dating stage then decreased from the seriously dating to the married stage. Relational intimacy was also curvilinearly related to self and partner perceptions of touch. Because there were no significant interaction effects between stage and gender, or intimacy and gender, the curvilinear effects of relational stage and intimacy on touch are generalizable to both men and women.