I'm struggling how to describe someone who likes non-sexual physical contact, such as touching, hugging and/or does these kind of actions regularly.

As a German, my first thought was "touchy", however that seems to mean something different. "Handsy" seems to have negative implications and imply some kind of molestation-component, as in forcing themselves on others. I'm looking for a word that just describes someone who is very comfortable with and really enjoys regular physical contact. Is there such a word?

It would be used like "John is a very [x] person, he always hugs people on their first meeting"

  • 2
    Tactile is a bit of a 50-cent word. Conversationally, many linguistically impoverished speakers might say John is a touchy-feely kind of guy. But this is often used metaphorically of someone who likes talking about emotional feelings, rather than someone who likes physical contact with others. Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 12:02
  • "cuddly" might work.
    – Xanne
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 5:54
  • Skinship a Japanese and Korean derived word describes the type of intimacy in your question. Not sure how to characterize a person who craves skinship in a single word.
    – Kris
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 12:04
  • Gregarious gets close to describing such a person.
    – Kris
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 12:10
  • 1
    kissing, hugging, embracing and holding hands are all manifestations of affection. You can describe yourself as being affectionate, and in touch with your feelings, although that doesn't necessarily imply you are openly affectionate. Hey, got it just as I was writing.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 18:25

3 Answers 3



(of a person) given to touching other people, especially as an unselfconscious expression of sympathy or affection.

(Oxford Dictionaries)

  • 1
    Please always mention the source by name, and if it's online, add a link to it.
    – NVZ
    Commented Jul 9, 2017 at 11:43

Not the most common use, but haptic also fits.

From MW:

  1. characterized by a predilection for the sense of touch

a haptic person

  • 1
    Heh. Definitely an odd response, but I could see somebody like Neil Stephenson word in this way. ;-)
    – Stephen R
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 13:04

You can also say two words, physically affectionate or just affectionate or cuddly.

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