Oxford University Creates Body Map to Show “Touchability”

Oxford University scientists have created body maps with a colour coded touchability index to show where people feel comfortable to be touched. As expected, the less we know someone, the more uncomfortable we feel to be touched by someone. However, it’s worth noting that men seem to feel that no area is completely out of bounds to a totally strange woman.

Oxford University psychologist Professor Robin Dunbar worked with Finnish scientists to investigate this rather curious subject of appropriate touching.

Almost 1500 men and women from Britain, Finland, France, Italy and Russia were given 13 silhouettes of the human body and were asked to colour the part they would allow a particular member of their social network to touch.

The closer the relationship, the fewer the areas of the body they felt were off limits. Generally speaking, the erogenous zones are a no-go zone for most.

Professor Dunbar said touch helps maintain relationships by triggering the release of endorphins, the feel-good brain chemicals usually associated with exercise. “Touch is universal. While culture does modulate how we experience it, generally we all respond to touching in the same way.”

“Even in an era of mobile communications and social media, touch is still important for establishing and maintaining bonds between people.”

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Oxford University scientists have created a series of body maps that show just where we are comfortable to be touched


The touchability index shows how comfortable males and females are with being touched on various parts of the body, with yellow being the most comfortable and black the least. It shows the variation by different people ranging from partners, relatives and complete strangers