Your skin is 2 sq m of intimate sensory data which you won’t want to ignore: A study found that being touched by a member of the opposite sex is enough to turn off your neural response to stress. Furthermore, women who were touched on the arm by a man were more likely to give him their number than those who weren’t, say French researchers.
We have 3,000 touch receptors in each fingertip,” says Whitehouse. So simply stroking one of hers can be pretty intense. “Do this slowly and watch her reaction,” says body language author Robert Phipps. “Her response will indicate where the evening’s headed.”
Her Reaction: If she isn’t attracted to you, she’ll find something and lightly touch it.”
Her Reaction: Eye contact shows it’s going well, says Phipps. But a fist is bad news. “If a woman’s not interested, she’ll turn her hand so the knuckles are facing you,” he says. If that fist moves towards you at speed, duck and admit defeat.
Her neck’s pulse points make it an unsung erogenous zone, so build up to this slowly, says cognitive behavioural therapist Dr Becky Spelman. “In a public place, whisper in her right ear while running a finger gently down the left side of her neck.”
Her Reaction: If she becomes fidgety or starts to play with her hair, she’s excited – that’s good,” says Dr Spelman. “If she’s fearful or nervous, she’ll fold her arms and step back.” It’s your sign to back off.
The forearm is an easy, noninvasive place for contact, explains Whitehouse. Try brushing hers as you point out something across the room.
Her Reaction: “It’s possible she won’t even notice a touch like this,” says Phipps. “But she’ll subconsciously respond.” A study measuring the effect of this gesture found subjects were 23 per cent more likely to interact positively if touched on the arm than those who weren’t.”
For a more physical approach, give her a friendly bear hug from behind – though probably not on a first date. “You can envelop her so your hands are by the side of her breasts,” says Phipps. “Just make sure they’re flat and not cupped.”
Her Reaction: If she freezes or tenses up slightly, un-hug her quickly. However, if she relaxes and touches the back of your elbows, that’s a good sign, says Phipps.
“A hand on her shoulder will send out a subconscious message of reliability and trustworthiness,” says Whitehouse. “It’s a supportive gesture.” Queues will present a good opportunity to try this out, suggests Dr Spelman.
Her Reaction: “Try and listen with your hands,” says Whitehouse. “Touch lightly and see if she pushes back gently into you.” If she does, you’ve got the green light to step things up a level.
“Touching her back the right way can communicate leadership – a trait women find attractive,” says Spelman. In a busy bar, guide her to a quieter spot with a hand on the small of her back for a few seconds.
Her Reaction: If there’s no notable reaction, don’t panic. “If she’s unfazed, that’s good. It means she’s comfortable,” says Spelman. “If she moves away, it’s too much for her at this point, so take a step back.”
“Touching her on the thigh, just above the knee, is a sign of reassurance,” says Phipps. So it’s a good hand to play if she has had a bad day or seems insecure. But make it a brief, gentle stroke, which covers just a couple of inches.
Her Reaction: Ideally, she will hold your hand in place. No dice? Don’t worry. See if she reaches for your leg the next minute. This reciprocation is even better. We’ll let you take it from here.