Why a Guy Touches You the Way He Does

Updated on September 27, 2017
SerenityHalo profile image

Andrea loves to write about the zodiac and love compatibility. She's been an online writer for over five years.

The way a guy touches you is sometimes easy to understand, but at other times it can be downright confusing. You can't always flat out ask what he is doing, and even if you did, he might not even know how to explain it. Sometimes a gesture is platonic and at other times, it is sexual. And sometimes, even he doesn't know!

Are We Just Friends? Or Does He Want Something More?

There are several lists below to help you decode what's happening!

  • First is a list of some of the places he might touch you and what it could mean when he does. Keep in mind that the meaning can be highly dependent on the situation. Use your intuition!
  • There's also a list of some other things that he might do, as well as a chart to help you decode where things are on the friends-to-lovers scale — whether you are in a romantic situation (holding hands through a whole movie), a sensual one (the Lover's Knot), a sexual one (passionate kissing), or a friendly one (high fives).
  • Sometimes you'll see all these moves in a relationship. This list might also give you some pointers on what you would like to see in your relationship.

What Does It Mean When He Touches You On Your . . . . .

  1. Hair — If it's a soft caress, it means he's into you and cares about you; if it's playful or incidental, he's flirting. Even if he says he's only doing it because there's something in your hair and he wants to get it out, he's still definitely flirting with you.
  2. Face, including the cheeks and your chin — Just like your hair, a guy who is touching your face is definitely flirting with you, even if he acts like there's another reason for it. It can also be very sweet for a guy to gently stroke your chin or cheek. This could mean that he cares about you (in a romantic way). If you're kissing, the face is a safer area to touch than other parts of the body, so he might focus his attentions here if he's not sure how far he's allowed to go.
  3. Lips — Touching your lips with his fingers is a very forward gesture. He might be testing you to see how far he can go with you, or he might be signaling that he wants something more.
  4. Head — Much like the face, the head can be a safer area for him to touch if you're kissing. If he's just bopping you on the head, then it might be playful (though it's still a sign of flirtation). Before he kisses you, he might gently touch the back of your head or your neck to bring your face closer to his.
  5. Neck — The neck is a very sensitive spot. If a guy is touching you here, it's almost certainly romantic. And if he's kissing you there . . . well, you know that it is.
  6. Shoulder — Except for shoulder or back rubs, the shoulders are not a particularly romantic area. This is somewhere that even people you are not close to might be able to touch without it being weird. That said, if he's rubbing your shoulders, or if his hand lingers, it might mean that he likes you.
  7. Arms — Arms are a more neutral part of the body. In conversation, people may touch your arm in order to get your attention. It could also be slightly flirtatious. Hooking arms is more flirty or romantic — it's not something you'd do with a stranger. If he's touching your arms a lot, even for things that don't seem flirtatious, he's probably trying to find ways to be close to you.
  8. Hands — There are a variety of different touches that could land on your hand. Hand-holding is clearly romantic — interlocking fingers especially so. High fives or fist bumps are less romantic, but are a good way to break the touch barrier.
  9. Back — It really depends on where he's touching you on the back. Lower back touches tend to be more intimate, as they are closer to more intimate areas. Sometimes a guy will touch you there when he's leading you through a crowded place. Touches on the upper back can be much more platonic and might not mean anything.
  10. Stomach — This is a bit more of an unusual area to touch. For most women, it's a very soft area that might feel a bit more private. Touching you here is very playful and can be intimate and endearing. If they're smacking or poking you in the stomach, he's probably being flirtatious and playing with you.
  11. Waist or hips — When a guy touches you on your waist or your hips, it means he wants to be close to you. A man might gently come up behind you and put his hands on your waist, which is a fairly intimate position, or he might pull you in closer to him by putting his hands on your hips.
  12. Booty — A tap on the booty usually means one thing: he wants to get in your pants. A guy should never touch you on your butt unless you're okay with it. It can be hard to tell someone off, but if something doesn't feel right, you should.
  13. Legs — Guys are often attracted to girls' legs, so if he's touching you here, it's probably flirtatious. The thigh especially is very close to other "exciting" parts of the body, so if he's lightly grazing your thigh, or resting his hand there, you can be almost certain that he's thinking about something more.
  14. Feet — Touching you on the feet is flirting! Either that, or you two are good friends and he's just messing with you. Foot massages can also be very nice, but if he's giving you one of those — you probably already know that he's into you. If not, get a clue. He is!

Other Things He Might Do and What They Could Mean

  1. If he picks you up — When a guy picks you up, he's trying to get close to you and show off his strength.
  2. Hugs you — There are many different kinds of hugs. They can range from the prolonged contact of full-frontal hugs, or side hugs that barely touch you at all. In general, the longer the hug, the more intimate it is. Very shy guys might be too afraid to give you a full-frontal real hug even though they want to, so a side hug from them is not necessarily an indication that they are not into you.
  3. Touches you with his head — This kind of touch can take different forms. For example, he might rest his head in your lap, on your forehead, or on your shoulder. Each of these indicates that he's comfortable with you and trusts you.
  4. Interlocks fingers with you while holding hands — The hands are one of the first areas that you might explore with your new interest. Interlocking fingers is an intimate way to hold hands and can indicate that he cares about you.
  5. Touches you all the time — If a guy is touching you all the time and can't keep his hands off of you, then he's crushing on you big time!
  6. Touches his face, hair, or neck while he's talking to you — Touching his face or neck could be a sign that he actually wants to be doing those things to you. Translation: he's totally digging you. Or he's just really fidgety.
  7. Touches you with his feet — Playing footsie = playing flirtsie.

Check out the chart below for some more info on other touches and if they're sexual, romantic, or platonic.

Touch Gauge Chart

French Kissing, kissing your neck, kissing your stomach
Kissing your face
Kissing your hand
No kissing
Hands on or near butt
Hands sliding up your back while kissing
Holding hands while kissing
Handshake, high five, thumb war
Lover's Knot
Dropping head in lap
Basic hug, under five seconds
Sucking your bottom lip
Kissing arms or shoulders
Kiss goodbye
Possibly, kiss to cheek
Hands caressing ribs
Hands caressing upper back
Cupping your face in their hands
Tapping your shoulder
Legs around hips
Sitting on his lap during a movie
Head on your shoulder
Sitting side by side, no physical contact
Massaging your neck
Staring into your eyes
Side arm hug

You know a guy likes you best when he

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Hair is a special part of a woman. Depending on the type of hair you have, it could be one of the most attractive parts of you, or nothing special. Men adore hair, especially long locks. It's something a lot of them don't have, and they know it's personal. It's also safer than some other parts of your body to focus on.

What it means if he touches it:

  • If a guy spends a lot of his time with his hands in your hair, he has you in mind.
  • If he caresses your hair, then he deeply has a thing for you. You've softened up his heart.
  • If he tugs on your hair, this is more playful. He wants to get your attention; he wants you to acknowledge him; and he wants you to play with him like a kindergartner. He may also put your hair in a ponytail, braid it, or do other playful gestures.
  • He may put his hands through your hair while making out, and he may put your hair to the side so he can touch your skin, but he shouldn't be pulling your hair or hurting you (unless that's what you want).


The face might not be the most intimate part of the body to touch, but it is a very personal spot. Touches on the face of any kind indicate that a guy is interested in getting to know you more.

Otherwise, they wouldn't dare invade your space like that. Here are some things to remember about different kinds of face touches:

  • Touching your chin can be a very soft, protective gesture. It can be a way for a guy to take in your entire face.
  • Sometimes guys will use an excuse like something being on your face (an eyelash or a bit of food for example), as a reason to touch it. This is fairly flirtatious.
  • The face is a safer area to touch than the rest of the body — so if you're kissing someone, they might choose to focus a lot of attention here instead of wandering other places (especially if you just started seeing each other).


This is a self-explanatory area. He is trying to initiate something if he touches your lips. Even if you have just a bit of mustard and he's trying to get it off your face — he wouldn't do it if he wasn't into you. And kissing.

  • A peck on the cheek: kind, likely suggestive.
  • Peck on the lips: testing the waters
  • French kissing: making out, getting steamy and personal
  • Sucking the bottom or top lip: intimacy
  • Touching your lips with his fingers or the side of your cheek to move your lips: admiration for your lips


The head is an (obviously) important part of the body! There are a few reasons men might touch you here.

  • A bop on the head could either be playful or patronizing — if he pats you on the head, he likely sees you as someone who is cute or adorable, but not quite an equal.
  • The head is important in kissing. A lot of men will try to stare at your eyes before kissing you. Or grab your head with both hands before kissing you. Or kiss parts of your face before moving to your lips. Expect hands and lips on your head.


The neck is a vulnerable spot full of nerves. We don't ordinarily place our hands right on someone's neck. Consider whether he's giving you a massage, a quick poke, a swipe, or a caress. One way or another, he's trying to get your attention.

  • Sometimes guys go for behind the neck because it's a surprise, and he wants to see how well you'll react. This may also be a way for him to smell your hair or play with it. It makes for a move that can go a number of different, yet positive ways.
  • It's also . . . pretty sexual. A kiss on the neck probably means he wants more. It's also a good spot to find your natural scent, which can be addictive.


A gentle shoulder rub can go a long way. The shoulders are a more polite area than your lower back.

  • If you feel like he's giving you a signal through your shoulders, he probably means something romantic for the long term, or something like a best friend. It's not to be taken as overt.
  • Sometimes guys really like a pair of feminine, rounded shoulders. They're fascinating to them in comparison to what's popping underneath their necks.
  • Weirdness aside, they may kiss your shoulders because they like them so much. They may also wrap their hands around your shoulders in public to mark the relationship and also guide you through busy crowds. This shows togetherness.
  • Shoulders can also be a less personal area to touch — unless he's lingering here, touching you frequently, or massaging your shoulders, the touch may be purely platonic.


You get different vibes when someone's hand is on your arm as opposed to your hand. Putting your hand on someone's arm is all about sending a message rather than starting a back-and-forth dialogue.

Try thinking about the touch when it happens and review how it feels later. Did the touch feel genuine, tender, and comforting -- or did it feel calculated, too strong, or awkward? If you slow down and think about how the touches feel to you, you'll start to understand them more in their unique, personal ways.

  • Your arms are not the most sensitive part of your body. If he is latching onto your arms, it means he wants to feel like he is on the same page as you.
  • He may want to show you that he's playful.
  • He may also caress your arm, which should come off in a protective way, not a creepy I-want-to-bang-you way.
  • Some guys are more comfortable linking arms than holding hands, while others are all about the hands.
  • He may put his hands on both of your arms before he gives you a kiss.


This is probably the first part of you that any guy will touch. It'll probably start with a handshake, high five, or fist bump. It's the easiest way to break the touch barrier. It's not the most sensitive part of your body, and you can communicate a lot with a squeeze, rub, or just by going limp. If you ever get a strong tingling sensation in your hand, which is rare, then you both definitely have a strong connection for each other, whether romantic or not.

  • Hands are all about partnership when together.
  • If he's kissing your hand, that shows a lot more tenderness. It's a good sign if he wants to hold your hand.
  • If he's clinging to your hands, that might be weird. Try softening your hands, arms, and shoulders so he'll hold onto you longer.
  • You might also experience some thumb wars or other childlike games so that he can hold your hand and get closer to you.
  • Some people say holding hands is more intimate than other gestures, even kissing and the like.
  • Likely the two of you will compare your hands—the differences in size, the way your skin feels, and possibly even your grip.


Your back can go a number of ways. It's like a canvas where he can write any kind of message he wants.

  • If his hand is going low, then that means he has one thing on his mind.
  • If he gives you a pat on the back, he's being supportive, friendly, and maybe trying to get you used to his hands.
  • The back rub is generally intimate, but some people just like to give massages . . . for whatever reason.
  • He may feel the need to guide you through a crowd by putting his hand on your back. This could be just a polite gesture.
  • If he keeps his arm around you and your back, then unless he's really uncomfortable and needs to stretch, he's claiming you and making it public to others.

Stomach, Waist, or Hips (the Midsection)

The midsection is an intriguing areas for guys because it is very different from their's — soft, curvy, and smooth. there are a few different meanings behind why a guy might touch you here:

  • A poke in the stomach is a playful gesture that could either be platonic or flirtatious. Check for other signs to confirm either way.
  • Grabbing you at your hips or waist is a pretty suggestive move. This is an area from which a guy can control your entire body, and it's right between two areas that most men are very interested in. This likely means he feels pretty comfortable with you, or wants to get more comfortable quickly.



The booty isn't an area that just anyone should touch, so if a guy touches you there, he either sees you like a football player, his girlfriend, is being kind of a jerk, or is letting you know what he wants later.

  • Not every girl likes this move and it makes some feel objectified. Others couldn't care less.
  • It's probably not the first move a guy should make on a girl unless he can tell she's the aggressive type.
  • Communicate what you want either with words or by moving your hand. And go with your gut instinct. If you don't like it, consider why.
  • Sometimes guys will go for the "accidental" booty touch, like if his hand just happens to dip a little bit below the waist, or just happens to brush up against it. Take note: most men are incredibly mindful about where their hands go, so these kinds of touches are rarely accidental, though they do happen sometimes.


Consider your legs like your arms, as a playful area — it's not as intimate as your lips, neck, and face. But it still is kind of intimate, since your legs are closer to other...ahem...exciting parts of your body.

  • If he's touching your thigh, he might be seeing how close he can get to you, and he probably has romance (or lust) on the brain.
  • If he's touching the lower part of your legs, it's probably flirtatious. How'd he get down there anyways? Are your legs draped over him?
  • He may draw your legs toward him to have you sit on him, which is a pretty flirtatious move and gets you very close (physically) to each other.

A Special Case

There is one cuddle move that shows a lot of intimacy, and it has to do with legs: the Lover's Knot. You may, when cuddling, find yourself face-to-face with your legs intertwined. This cuddle move is seen usually at the beginning of a relationship, when you are in a honeymoon state. Obviously, this full body cuddle can indicate a lot. You can go whatever direction you want to from there.


Feet are interesting. On the one hand, their movements can happen subconsciously (how often do you make sure that your feet are pointed in any particular direction?). On the other hand, if someone is using their feet on purpose, or touching your feet, well, that means something.

  • If his feet are pointed towards you while you're talking, that might mean he likes you since we tend to (subconsciously) point our feet in the direction of the people we like or are attracted to.
  • If he starts touching you with his feet — which you probably won't appreciate — he has a thing for you.
  • He may try to keep your feet warm as women tend to have colder feet.
  • Similar to hands, the two of you may compare your feet and the difference in their size and feel. Some people care about feet more than others.
  • It can be a safe zone to touch compared to other places, so it could be one of the more initial flirty spots.
  • Foot rubs = romance. Marry that man! Foot rubs are the best.
  • Feet are also (often) ticklish, and tickling is a classic mode of flirtation.


Other Things He Might Do

Pick You Up

  • He wants to show off his strength.
  • He also really likes the idea of holding you and picking your steps for you. It oozes masculinity in his mind.
  • He likes having the feel of you all around him. Definite sign of romance right here.

Hug You

A whole lot can be communicated with a hug. It's one of the easiest ways to read someone's emotions.

  • The length of a hug can say a lot — a hug that lasts longer than usual means someone has strong interest.
  • Is he really talkative during the hug? It might mean he's nervous or really likes you.
  • Hugs shouldn't make you feel uncomfortable. If you don't want him to hug you, tell him up front. Otherwise, he'll probably keep doing it.
  • A pat on the back means that the hug needs to end, wandering hands means someone wants more, and laughing is a good sign.
  • A hug from behind means he was really excited to see you.

Some other key points of interest here:

  • A side hug isn't as strong as a full chest-to-chest hug.
  • A one-arm hug is less intentional.
  • If you can hear his heart beat, this is likely a strong hug.
  • Sometimes a good hug leads to him picking you up and having you wrap your legs around him.
  • Your brain starts to release oxytocin in a long hug. This also happens with cuddling.
  • Hugs are good for your emotional well-being.
  • A lot of guys show initial interest by giving you a hug. It means you are higher up on the list of valued people, whether a friend or more.
  • You might get a little massage from a hug.
  • Some people are honestly better at hugs than others.
  • You should not feel crushed in a hug. Just like a handshake, too much pressure is bad.
  • A goodbye hug means they want to leave you with a good impression.
  • Sometimes a hug is more powerful than a kiss.

Touch You With His Head

Our heads are one of the most vulnerable parts of our body. Most people don't just plant their head on somebody, so it's an intimate touch.

  • If someone lays their head in your lap, on your shoulder, or puts their forehead next to yours, that means they feel comfortable in your presence, and trust you enough to do so.
  • If he drops his head in your lap, he definitely has the feels for you. It's a form of cuddling. And it might make you uncomfortable since it's terribly close to a world of strange things. He probably wants you to rub his head if he's gone this far.
  • He may also — like a cat -— put his forehead next to your forehead as form of bonding.

Interlock Fingers While Holding Hands

Holding hands is a sign of affection. Couples do it all the time, but the first time you hold hands with a new person, it can be thrilling. Your brain might be racing, "OMG we're holding hands!! What does it mean!?"

Interlocking fingers is an especially intimate way to hold hands. It can signal a desire for increased closeness, or it could be an expression of how he already feels about you.

Touch You All the Time

If a guy is touching you all the time, always trying to find an excuse to get close to you, or is otherwise just all up in your space, this man is trying to get your attention! And he probably has the hots for you!

Even if he's doing annoying things like playfully hitting or poking you, it is still a sign that he looooooves being around you.

Touch His Face, Hair, or Neck While He's Talking to You

This man is either just super fidgety (which is totally possible, especially if he generally moves around a lot), or he's acting out on himself the things that he secretly wants to be doing to YOU!

Touching any of these areas are subconscious signals of attraction. Talking with someone that you like can create a lot of energy, and that energy needs to go somewhere. If he's not yet comfortable with touching you, he might put the nervous energy into fidgeting with his face, neck, or hair — all of which could draw your eye to features that you might find attractive.

Touch You With His Feet

If he's touching you with his feet, this man is flirting with you! Alert the flirt police, because we have an offender.

If you like it, feel free to flirt back with a little footsie of your own. If not, you can acknowledge what's happening and tell him to cut it out.

Good Luck!

I hope this was helpful for you! Best of luck with your relationship — it can be confusing, but ultimately, a good relationship is worth it!

Questions & Answers

    © 2015 Andrea Lawrence


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      • profile image


        9 days ago

        if i ask my guy friend for a song he picks a love song, and then i ask to here it he gives me one ear bud and he uses the other he moves closer to me where hid leg is on mine

        what does that mean?

      • profile image


        4 weeks ago

        My guy friend was teaching me how to skateboard then he suddenly puts his hands on my waist to hold me what does this mean?

      • profile image

        Not telling sorry 

        6 weeks ago

        Hi my boyfriend puts his leg around my leg like overlapping onto my leg when we were laying down on the bed what does that mean and also is there a name for it

        And thanks!

      • profile image


        6 weeks ago

        My guy best friend put his hand on my hip, he was trying to move me away from a guy that i was trying to get over with. We say that we're cousins because everybody thought we were dating, he has also been very touchy lately but it has all been appropriate. I dont know what to think.

      • profile image


        4 months ago

        I like this article. My only issue is I smack, grab and touch my wife’s butt all the time. It does not mean I want into her pants. I do it because to me it is a gesture of affection. Just thought I would throw that out there for you.

      • profile image


        4 months ago

        My boy bestfriend used to put his hands in my waist and pulled me closer specially in our school when it’s crowded

      • profile image


        4 months ago

        When my boyfriend like to kiss me. On the lips and on

        My hands

      • profile image


        5 months ago

        A guy I know, knows I'm going through a divorce, he's showed signs of liking me by touching the ends of my fingers when he touches my hand, he put one hand on my hip from behind. He's asked when the divorce is final and if I have a boyfriend.

      • profile image


        5 months ago

        Hi I am Rochella, when I kiss my boyfriend he always rub it off, am I doing something wrong?? And when I had my first kiss he used his tongue and it felt a bit awkward and embarrassing because he was doing it all too soon, and going back to my question he always rub his lips after why?? Please someone tell me

      • profile image

        Kayla Sam 

        5 months ago

        Hi I am Kayla Sam, I have a problem right now I think, when he got a dare and it said that I have to beg him to spank my butt, and then he got another dare that I have to kiss his chest, and the last one is the size of a guy's penis important to me? and idk what to do or what to say to him.

      • SerenityHalo profile imageAUTHOR

        Andrea Lawrence 

        6 months ago from Chicago

        Sounds like your boyfriend was jealous and that other guy was handsy.

      • profile image


        6 months ago

        So this one is a little more gutsy/confusing.

        I was standing on a chair that was blocking the doorway and he needed to get by me. My body language told him that i was afraid of losing my balance. He assured me that he'd not allow me to fall and pressed his hand to my stomach and slid it to my waist, he then gave a subtle but noticeable squeeze as he moved by. Thing is my boyfriend was right behind him and i didn't react to it because i was thrown for a loop when it happened. But also my boyfriend didn't do anything similar he just shoved the chair and moved past. So they both acted opposite and it made me question my decision.

      • profile image


        6 months ago

        What if he interlocks one hand and the other rubs it with his thumb?

      • profile image


        6 months ago

        I like my best friend. He keeps patting me on my head all the time. And once startled me by putting his hands on my waist. And keeps teasing me by putting my hood on all the time. And loves hanging around me . Does it mean he wants to take our friendship to the next level?

      • profile image


        8 months ago

        What does it mean when he kisses u and doesn’t stop then y’all start doing things

      • profile image


        9 months ago

        What does it mean when he holds my hand while putting his arm around my waist?

      • profile image


        11 months ago

        So, I'm 37 and I would say he would have to tell me. But what if he does but does not treat you like he care. I mean, he does the kissing, touching, and cuddling. However, no call to say are you OK, did you make it home (nothing) and that is a really big deal for me.

      • profile image

        Oh my! 

        14 months ago

        I feel it would need to include opening doors for and the truly genuine gentlemanly things that have been lost these days. Not by me! The three women are breathtaking by the way.

      • SerenityHalo profile imageAUTHOR

        Andrea Lawrence 

        17 months ago from Chicago

        Friendly bonds are great to have.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        2 years ago from The Caribbean

        Back then and still, he'd have to tell me that he likes me. Of course, people are different and interprets love differently. I would enjoy the touches but not take them for granted. Good read though!


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