Handholding Across Sexuality 🌈

Men’s hand goes on top in opposite-sex couples (even if he’s shorter); height matters for same-sex couples.

Heterosexuals & lesbians rate handholding as the most intimate form of non-sexual touch (Chapell et al., 1998; Alison Che et al., 2013).

Preliminary Data (N = 909)

· Literature Review (“assume direct quotes”)
Alison Che et al., 2013a
Alison Che et al., 2013b (Canada & US)
Chapell et al., 1999
Terry F. Pettijohn II et al., 2013
Bodie & Villaume, 2008
Primate Research

The Biometrics of Height

· Sidenotes.
Outing As A Form of Abuse
First-Born Women Have More Siblings Than First-Born Men
Nature & Nurture (Zhang, 2021)
1,100+ Legal Benefits of Marriage

Colorism is 5000 Years Old — Sandra Wilde et al., 2014
Racial Status & Educational Status

Preliminary Data (N = 909)

Straight women’s lover’s hand goes on top regardless of if their boyfriend is taller (66.93%) or shorter (81.25%), though women’s hand goes on top more often when she’s taller (18.75%) than when she’s shorter (14.84%), χ2(2, N = 400) = 47.11, p < .001.

Bisexual women indicated that their lover’s hand goes on top while holding hands if they are (1) shorter & (2) they are dating a man, χ2(1, N = 127) = 21.06, p < .001.

Consistent with research suggesting greater egalitarianism in #LG relationships, lesbians/gays were more likely than heterosexuals to report that either hand goes on top regardless of who is taller, χ2(3, N = 452) = 21.8, p < .001.

Out of 400 opposite-sex couples, there were only 14 in which the girlfriend was taller, and in 9 of them the girlfriend was bisexual.

Consistent with past research, men in opposite-sex couples were more likely to put their hand on top when holding hands, even if they were shorter (Chapell et al., 1999; Pettijohn II et al., 2013), whereas lesbians & gays were more likely to report that they took turns (e.g., either person’s hand on top) & were somewhat more likely to determine hand placement as a function of who was taller in the relationship (Che et al., 2013).

Literature Review (“assume direct quotes”)

Alison Che et al., 2013a

Among women in same-sex relationships, “a woman who had previously been partnered with a male was more likely to take the trailing hand position.”

Alison Che et al., 2013b (Canada & US)

“Men and women, in general, differ in their communication of emotion via touch (Hertenstein & Keltner, 2010).

It is our impression that gay men hold hands less often than lesbians. Consistent with this, the gay men were significantly less likely than the lesbians in this study to agree with the statement that “handholding is the most intimate form of [non-sexual] touch” or to describe handholding as a way of staying “connected” to their partners.”

Chapell et al., 1999

[Observations of] “15,008 handholding couples [found that regardless of] differences in height, age, hand preference, ethnicity, culture, and sex of the initiator of handholding in public, men were significantly more likely than women to have the uppermost hand.”

Terry F. Pettijohn II et al., 2013

“Over 90% of males in heterosexual romantic couples, parents in parent child pairs, and older siblings in child sibling pairs tended to place their hand on top when holding hands.”

Bodie & Villaume, 2008

Different types of handholding convey different levels of closeness, with fingers intertwined & fingers interlaced with arms crossed associated with the most intimacy, followed by palm on palm, and fingers only associated with the least intimacy.

Primate Research

When howler monkeys engage in handholding it’s the male who takes the lead (Brockett et al., 2004).

The Biometrics of Height

One may argue that straight women would have their hand below their lover’s hand even when they are taller out of habit. For instance, the biomechanics of height influence handholding even when the variable of sex has been isolated. Indeed, a study on handholding among lesbians found that “height is the most significant predictor of handholding position in lesbian, [indicating] that the taller partner will likely have the lead hand even when gender differences are eliminated from the partnership” (Che et al., 2013).

In addition, heterosexuals experience far less variation in the dynamics of who is taller-shorter compared to lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. For instance, a straight male may never date someone who is shorter than him whereas a gay male may have an equal mix of taller boyfriends and shorter boyfriends. Moreover, bisexuals’ may handholding scripts may depend on the sex of their lover. That is, a bisexual woman with a boyfriend may have her hand below his even though she had her hand on top (or rotated positions) with an ex-girlfriend. Thus, we were particularly interested in bisexuals’ handholding patterns as a function of the sex of their partner and who was taller in the relationship.

Akhmetova, L. & Willis, J. (2022 — in review). Handholding across Sexuality & Mixed-Orientation Couples.

Sidenotes.

First-Born Women Have More Siblings Than First-Born Men

Girls have more siblings than boys as many families continue having children until they have a son (Basu & Jong, 2010; Clark, 2000; Filmer et al., 2008; Haoming Liu, 2013; Jensen, 2003; Kimberly Babiarz et al., 2018; Laura Rahm, 2018; Laura Rahm, 2020; Park & Cho, 1995; S Anukriti et al., 2015; Yamaguchi, 1989).

.

Nature & Nurture (Zhang, 2021)

Nature: Buss et al. (2001) investigated the cultural evolution of mate preferences in American people over a half century (1939–1989) and found that women expressed disproportionately higher desires for mates with financial resources than men did no matter what decade/generation was examined.

Nurture: However, the magnitude of this sex difference became smaller over time.

1,100+ Legal Benefits of Marriage

“According to a report filed by the Congressional Budget Office, marriage affords its constituency over 1,100 legal rights, including tax breaks, adoption and parenting privileges, access to family health care coverage, hospital visitations, and end of life decision-making (Holtz-Eakin 2004). People in unwed relationships do not have the same access to these privileges, which results in a system of inequalities based on marital status. In comparison to unmarried people, married people are happier (Holt-Lunstad, Birmingham, and Jones 2008), wealthier (Gibson-Davis 2009; Zagorsky 2005), and healthier (Holt-Lunstad et al. 2008; Horn et al. 2013; Waite and Gallagher 2002).”

Racial Status & Educational Status

Among #multiracial participants’ parents, when mothers had higher racial status we found 55% of dads had higher edu status, but an edu-race status exchange was only found for 17.1% of moms when the father had higher racial status, χ2(1, N = 61) = 9.30, p = .002.

It seems most Blasian individuals in our data have one Filipino parent, matching population level data.

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Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.