Writing and the Five Love Languages: Physical Touch

by - February 10, 2020

Hey there, everyone! One thing I want to do this year is give more writing advice (or rather a "How Faith Does It", lol) on my blog. I'm kicking that off this month, and for the next five months, I'll be doing a series on how to write better romance using the five love languages!

I love the five love languages, personally. I find it especially helpful to find out what other people's love languages are, specifically for the purpose of loving them better. My mom, for instance, is acts of service. If I clean the kitchen, take out the trash, and run errands for her, she feels loved. That's not my love language, so I have to go out of my way to do it.

But that's not my point here--my point, specifically, is that romance is about more than just kisses and touches. We should be striving to bring depth to romantic relationships. And no matter your genre, using the five love languages can help to do that.

So without further ado, let's dive into the touchiest of those love languages--physical touch!

Physical romance. It's a taboo subject in many Christian circles, and in circles that aren't Christian, it's so overboard that it makes you wonder if there will be anything to the romance once the two people are tired of touching each other. We skim scenes because they're too uncomfortable or because they're bland. Kissing happens way too early in books to TELL us that the characters are in love now. In love? Or in lust?

Either way, this is a problem topic for most YA books, and most adult too. So let's break down this love language and see about some better ways to use it.

First off: Not everyone equally likes physical touch. My mom, for instance, does not like anything other than hugs. If even my dad wants to just kiss her cheek, he always asks first, because it depends on her mood. I love hugs, snuggles, hair stroking, and that kind of thing--but if you rest your chin in my neck when you hug me? DEAR GOODNESS GET IT OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OFFFFFFFF.

That can be a very good way to use this love language. Have your characters view it differently. For example, in my Pentegreen Series, my protagonist Esma is a toucher. If she loves someone, she will hug them, kiss their cheek, sit next to them, drape herself over them, snuggle with them, and that's just how she is.

However, her best friend Kariana is not a toucher at all. The reason I give her for that is abuse in her past that makes her prefer to love people from afar. But you don't necessarily have to give them that sort of a reason, either. In my new WIP (under wraps! Info coming next week), my main couple, Daverby and his girlfriend Emery, don't really touch each other all that much, because they jut don't feel like it. More information will be coming on that in a later post for this series ;)

Basically, the thing to do here: If you need the physical touch to inform the reader that your characters are in love, there's a problem. Not all your characters have to like it to the same extent, and not every couple has to utilize it the same way.

Credit: Pinterest

Secondly: be sparing with it, and remember that kissing isn't your only option. There is so much your romantic pairing can do. One of my ships (which shall not be named, because spoilers) has their first kiss midway through the second book where they know each other. However, before that, there's a moment where they hold hands for the first time. A moment where they embrace for the first time. Their first deep heart-to-heart while sitting next to each other. And that first kiss doesn't serve as just an angst-provider. No, they have a number of later romantic moments in that same book. (One of my favorite scenes that I've ever written is the part where the boy teaches the girl how to dance).

All this to say: A nice steamy scene a la most YA books where the two look at each other and go I MUST NOT LOVE YOU and then succumb to their feelings and have a kiss that is then interrupted by something happening where they realize they're dangerous for each other? NOT NECESSARY. You can write a first kiss in so many creative ways, and they're fun. They really are. I have zero problems with that. But it's not the ONLY thing to do.

A smol list of other physical ways for people to demonstrate their love:
>hand holding
>linking arms
>kissing cheeks
>sharing a blanket on the couch
>Holding each other while the other cries
>tapping noses
>If it's a contemporary, leaning across the middle of the car to rub the back of the other's neck while driving
>Hair stroking
>In that vein: fixing the other's hair
>Forehead presses
>resting a hand on the other's knee
>resting head on the other's shoulder
>hugging the other's arm while walking
>shoulder rubs
>finger brushes

You get the idea. Kissing isn't the only option, y'all. But neither is kissing a bad option. Just use it sparingly.

Credit to Pinterest

Finally, if it's going to make you uncomfortable, don't write it. If you were reading a book and you got to a part in the book where you were suddenly very, very uncomfortable with how far things are going...don't write that yourself. Easy peasy. Even if you think it's going to sell books. I guarantee you're not the only one who feels that way.

I have a mere one exception for myself on this. There's one character in one of my WIPs who always makes me uncomfortable when it comes to physical stuff. But that's to prove a point, and I want him to make people uncomfortable. His actions are never lauded as good. So he's the one exception to this rule for me.

(and my own dancing pic because WHY NOT)

There you have it! My first post in this series. What do you think? Is there anything you'd like to see in future posts? The other four love languages, upcoming, are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, and Gift Giving. I hope you'll stick around and read those! ^_^

You May Also Like


  1. I really like the idea of this series!! The fact that there are many different ways that people show love is something I think a lot of people forget.

    I love the list you gave for various forms of physical touch that aren't kissing!! So helpful.

    1. Thank you, Sarah! And yeah, I feel like it's something that ought to get more attention than it does.

      Thank you! I feel like I'll reference that list myself in future xD

  2. This is such a great post haha!! I kind of don't write kissing because I consider it a cliche and I want to torture the audience - JUST KIDDING. But I certainly like having PHYSICAL TOUCH in other ways, like you mentioned. One of my favorite ideas was for my book where the characters shapeshift into animals and these characters just hold and stroke each other in their animal state hehehe

    Can't wait for the rest of the series!! I am going to go take a love language test now ...

    1. My test said quality time (which I was already guessing) XDD

    2. You mean *pouts* C'mon, Lisa, stop torturing us. But oh my word that sounds amazing :O

      Thank you! And that's my love language tooooo xD

  3. I like how I know exactly who these mystery characters are MUHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

    I love this. I am not a touchy person AT ALL. and unfortunately most of my family is and they always want to hug me or hold me when I'm upset and that just. does. not. help. but it's hard for them as it's hard for me.

    (IDK if this is one of them, but my "love language" is words of affirmation. I need to be reminded and reassured.)

    I'm happy you pointed out that not everyone is okay with touch. <3

    1. *coughs* The ship is perfect okay

      Ugh I get that *sobs* It's so hard to know when to hug people

      (That's a love language and it's my dad's so...yeah xD)

      <3 of course luv

  4. Aaaahhhh! I LOVE the idea of these posts!!! I'm with you, the five love languages are fascinating. Of course, I'm basically a nerd for ALL the different personality type things, but the five love languages and MBTI are my top fave.

    AND EVERYTHING YOU SAID. THIS ESPECIALLY: "If you need the physical touch to inform the reader that your characters are in love, there's a problem." THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! Can I just shout this from the rooftops?

    There was this one book...Five Feet Apart I think? I haven't read it, but the premise was something like, "Can you love someone you can't touch?" and I'm just like exCUSE me????? Does this author know what love IS?! Now, I shouldn't go on too big of a rant, since I haven't read the book and it wouldn't be fair. But that pitch makes me SO MAD.

    I was literally just thinking THIS WEEK about how new books have the main characters kissing sooo early. Used to, you wouldn't really get kissing scenes until the very end. But all the latest YA books I've read have them completely and utterly making out by the midpoint or EARLIER. Like the author couldn't wait any longer. It's driving me craaaaazy. Especially since it usually happens with people who have known each other for like...2 days. Or HATED each other...until suddenly they were lusting for each other. What happened to BUILDING characters. Leading up to LOGICAL romances? Again, it's like authors have become so anxious for those make out scenes, they just can't hold back for more than 5 chapters, even if it makes no SENSE for the characters to be kissing. Have your characters kiss. That's okay. MY characters have kissed. But make it a LOGICAL kiss. And PLEEEEEASE prove that the characters really do love each other in more creative ways. Kissing does not mean you're in love. In these books it usually means they're just hormonal teenagers. >.>

    And YES to not everyone being fine with physical touch. Another thing authors seem to forget. I'm a hugger, but that is IIIITTT. Physical touch is kinda my ANTI-love language. I just...don't like people touching me. If I ever get married, I feel bad for my husband 'cause just...meh. I like my space. Words of affirmation is the true way to my heart. Not all of us want make-out sessions, thanks. :P

    Okay, I need to stop or I will rant until my fingers fall off. XD But, needless to say, I LOVED THIS POST. This SO needed to be said! Can't wait for the next one! :D

    1. Love languages and MBTI are SOOOOO interesting! And so helpful, too, especially when it comes to relating to people ;)


      I hated that tagline too xD Especially since I read the book and that wasn't even the point in the end? Like...it was about these kids who were sick and they knew they weren't supposed to touch and they were bitter at their disease for keeping them apart. They were perfectly able to love each other. So like...the heck, mate. The tagline doesn't even WOOOOORK.

      YES!!!!! LIKE ENOUGH OF THIS. I adore hate to love romances, but ONLY if they're done well. I keep thinking of the book Wicked Saints that had a kiss like that and it just drove me CRAZY. If you're gonna kiss, please, let it make sense *sobs*

      I get itttttttt so much. Honestly I think a lot more people than are willing to admit it are averse to physical touch. I know I am xD Spend time with meeeeee, please. Quality time is my love language, 10/10 xD

      Thank you!!!!!! I hope these are helpful!

  5. Oh, this series is going to be awesome! This first post was so good! I've been thinking lately in one of my books about this because I decided that the guy and girl in my ship aren't going to kiss, but I'm going to use the other options that you listed!
    Your ship is so precious <3 I loved that part in book 3!!

    And now you've got me thinking about this some more. I know that I am a very touchy person and I give high fives, hugs, pats on the back and other things all the time. That being said, I'm super sensitive about hair and unless it is my sister giving me a hair style I don't want anyone to touch it. Lol. It's so neat how we all have different preferences! Once again, great post!

    1. Ahhh that's awesome!!!! I love that so much. I'm still trying to come up with a ship where there's no kissing because for me it just sorta Happens xD

      (awww thank you ;))

      I get that too!!!!! Like I said in my post...that's me with my neck. Like ugh no plz no touch. NO TOUCH xD THankS!!!!

  6. This is a great idea for a blog series! I have to admit that physical touch makes me pretty uncomfortable so I barely ever include it in my romances. In fact, I wrote a whole trilogy without the main couple ever kissing, which I was honestly quite proud of.
    I also have another WIP where the main male character is very touch (romantic/sexual touch ) averse so the moment where he kisses his significant other is a very special moment that I really enjoyed writing as well as a whole scene of them dancing together.
    But yeah, I'm rather uncomfortable with all the physicality in books and movies so I remove a lot of it from my own writing.
    I look forward to the next post!

    1. Thank you! Oh that's fantastic. I would love to read that, tbh--if it fits the characters well I loooove when that happens!

      Oh that's AMAZING! That's how one of my ships is, too--the main girl doesn't like anybody, really, especially not when they touch her, so the fact that she trust the main guy enough to let him touch her is a huge indicator of how MUCH she does trust him.

      I get that entirely!

      Thanks! :D

  7. I AM HERE FOR THIS SERIES. Especially this one. There is no love language I speak LESS than physical touch, so all my characters tend to, like, not touch each other ever. Which is fine for some of them. But I really like some of your ideas for incorporating touch for the ones that are more touchy where I'm just like how do I write you????

    I think part of why characters kissing all the time, from page 73 onwards, is so annoying is that, instant gratification isn't all that fun in stories? You want it to MEAN something, and when they're constantly touching each other it just...stops meaning anything.
    "If you need the physical touch to inform the reader that your characters are in love, there's a problem." Amen. As if that's....ALL that love is??

    (And this kind of all applies to friendship too, wouldn't you say? The love languages? It seems to me that's another area they're useful, creating authentic on-page friendships. So I guess that'd be cool to see addressed with the other languages. Though of course it would also make sense if you just want to keep this particular series romance-focused.)

    1. I get that for sure xD Yes! I hope that list helps, for sure. I'm going to have to come back to it myself xD

      YES!!!!! The tension of having to wait is killer but it's so good. I love when you have to wait and wait and wait til stuff happens--the payoff feels so much better *flails*

      Physical touch is NOOOOTTTTT the biggest thing about love! In fact, if it is...you have a serious problem xD

      Yes, definitely! This series is mostly focused on the romance side of things, but I may well add some stuff about friendships in the future posts ;))

  8. Ooh I like this!!! YES I agree with the not everyone likes physical touch equally! And the not going too far that it makes you uncomfortable. All great points, Faith!

  9. Okay but first of all can I just say that I adore how your dad asks your mom before he kisses her. That is such respect.

    And yesss I love this! My goodness, I NEED to see more relationships in books and movies that are not so mega-focused on physical touch. "If you need the physical touch to inform the reader that your characters are in love, there's a problem." <-- SO true. Contrary to what media wants you to think, a relationship is not a countdown to the first kiss or, ahem, other things.

    And it's not something I think about much, but there really do need to be more couples that aren't as noticeably physical, because the fact is some people just AREN'T. One's first thought might be that if they don't want to touch someone, maybe they aren't really in love. But love probably won't change your love language, you know?

    I can't wait for the rest of the posts in this series! AAAND I can't wait to hear about your new WIP, too! ;D


    1. I knoooow. When I was younger I thought it was weird, but now that I'm older...I loves it.

      YESSSSSSSS. Thank you so much. Love is more than a feeling and more than touching, folks. We're not fourteen. xD

      Yes! I try to write both sorts, because I know that people are people and it's not a problem either way (as long as you're tasteful with it, haha.) Like in my new book the main couple just...doesn't touch. They aren't touchers. But the main couple in Pentegreens touches allllll the time. So it's just a matter of figuring out what your story needs, ya know?

      Thank you! and that intro to my new WIP is coming next week :D

  10. GOOOD Faith!!!! This is a GREEAATTT post.
    Thank you, thank you. *clapping*

  11. AAAAAHHHHHH this series is fantastic!!! I'm so here for this! Especially considering I don't know much about the love languages XD

  12. I knew Esma's was touch. Fantastic post!


Hello, friends! Do make yourselves comfortable and stay for a while--I'd love to chat with you! I simply ask that you keep it clean. :)