PDA: Why People Make Out In Public

Can PDA be spontaneous? Here's what researchers found out about kissing in public.

By Carrie Weisman

Have you ever walked down a crowded street on a starry night when suddenly, your girlfriend swoops in for a kiss? What seems like spontaneous PDA may actually be something less sexy: People make out to put on a show for others, according to a new study in the Journal Of Sex Research.

Related: Kissing Techniques To Not Ruin The Mood

Researchers asked more than 300 college students to weigh in on their PDA habits, and one third of the students admitted to “performative making out” in the past. Most guys said they usually did it to enhance their image or to look good in front of their competition.

Other dudes said making out was about proving their relationship status and ensuring everyone else knows their date is “off limits.” For a smaller percentage of men, public snogging (to borrow a Harry Potter term) was about cementing the start of a new relationship.

Related: How To Deliver A Hot French Kiss

Meanwhile, women in the study said they made out with men to make other people jealous, and macked with other women to seem sexually adventurous or get other men’s attention. While women in the study worried that PDA would have a negative impact on their reputation, men didn’t really share the same concerns.

Related: 11 Tips For A Healthy Sex Life

In fact, most said they pretty much got what they were after: making themselves look good.


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