There’s way more to holding hands than you think—and it’s usually not that innocent, either. Instance A: Justin Timberlake’s set-the-Internet-on-fire handhold through Alisha Wainwright, his costar on the upcoming film Palmer.

While the PDA is, to be fair, more PG than R-rated—no one’s ever going to yell in ~ you to gain a room—holding hands is quiet an intimate act. “It feels an excellent to hold hands through someone we know since it’s all around wanting to it is in close come them," claims Toni Coleman, LCSW, a psychotherapist and relationship coach in the Washington D.C area. "We only organize hands with people we have actually a details level that comfort with or attraction to."

“Holding hand invokes a hopeful feeling around one another, so friend both feeling sexy and wanted. It’s practically like foreplay."

Cue every the feels: as with massage, kissing, and hugging, “research mirrors that touch, like holding hands, release oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that offers you that feel-good buzz,” says Coleman. If you’re not in the hand-holding habit, friend should shot to do it more, as a surefire means to an increase intimacy. “It invokes a hopeful feeling about one another, so girlfriend both feel sexy and wanted. It’s practically like foreplay,” she says.

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As a veteran hand holder, though, you could not realize the there room so plenty of ways—Coleman counted at least seven—to execute the not-so-dirty deed. And while hand holding is, in general, a special type of nonverbal interaction that sends out a message to not simply each other, yet people on the exterior of your relationship, too, the you’re really into your connection, every specific kind of handlock claims something particular about her relationship.

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So, yeah, you deserve to say a **whole lot** there is no words. Peep the seven different ways you and your S.O. Could be hold hands—and what each style means for her bond:

1. Handhold style: fingers intertwined


Your fingers might be intertwined, and also you may also be reaching earlier to touch your arm, too. (I’ll contact this the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.) This way you both crave a depths connection. “Intertwined finger say, ‘I’m right into you. I want to obtain closer—and i can’t quite get close enough,’” claims Coleman. As soon as you’re both willing to grab every other’s hand favor this, it says you’re on the same page with wanting to build or proceed a solid connection. Sweet!

2. Handhold style: loosened grip


You two might be warming up to the whole hand-holding thing. “A pair may organize with a soft grip once they don’t understand each other well and also are cautiously make the efforts to begin a connection,” says Coleman. “There’s a sweetness, however it’s an ext subtle and cautious,” she says. Pay attention to that initiates: anyone reaches because that the hand is expressing that desire for physical connection. And also in part cases, your partner is signaling to others about them that, ahem, you’re “taken.”

3. Handhold style: On peak and bottom


Picture this: Your partner is holding her hand through both of theirs—one of your hands is on peak of yours and the various other is top top the bottom. They’re probably additionally staring into your (starry) eyes as you talk. “This is nearly a kind of embrace. All the skin-to-skin call maximizes the oxytocin high,” says Coleman. This extreme handhold signals the your partner is 100 percent paying attention to your every word.

4. Handhold style: Firm—but no interlaced—grip


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This all depends on whereby you room in your relationship. “Usually as soon as you view this, it’s one human holding onto the other much more tightly,” claims Coleman. The hand-holder might be tightening your grip in a protective method to sell comfort or reassurance if the various other is anxious, she says. One more possibility: A tight hold may no signal affection—it can likewise be miscellaneous someone supplies to assert their dominance. Context matters here.

5. Handhold style: arm draped combo

You’re both sitting next by side. Their arm is draped about yours, and you’re holding their hand. Acquire a room, maybe? “This says, ‘I’m so right into you, I want to be as close together possible, and also I desire the civilization to know exactly how we feel about each other, too,” claims Coleman. Gripping each other in this form of loving way is additionally showing a sign of assistance for the other person. Say it through me: aw.

6. Handhold style: One hand gently resting on top

Eek. Room you having the “should we breakup?” talk? when you placed your hand on height of someone else’s and also let it remainder for a minute while friend speak, it may mean that you’re delivering bad news, states Coleman.

“In details situations, you might be poignant the other human being briefly on the hand to gain them to look at you when they’re upset,” she says. That"s not to say this kind of stop hands means you"re doomed, but you might want come pay fist to various other body language cues to better feel the end your status.

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7. Handhold style: Over-the-shoulder walk

Not to be perplexed with the over-the-shoulder sit, once you perform this when walking, it’s basically a PDA cuddle. “It says, ‘We are one. Also though we’re walking under the street, we’re staying as associated as us can,” claims Coleman. Organize on, baby!

Jessica MigalaJessica Migala is a wellness writer specializing in basic wellness, fitness, nutrition, and also skincare, with work-related published in Women’s Health, Glamour, Health, Men’s Health, and also more.
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