No petting please, we're American

January 10, 2014, 8:44 PM GMT+0

Americans are resolutely against sexual public displays of affection, but are otherwise generally tolerant of the ways couples might publicize their relationship.

Public displays of affection - often abbreviated to PDA - are one of the thornier issues confronting the any couple newly, or not-so-newly, consumed by the powerful currents of love and desire. Most of us manage to keep a grip on ourselves and keep things decent in public, but occasionally some people stray, much to the annoyance of other people around them. If you're a celebrity like Michelle Rodriguez or Cara Delevingne, however, the consequences need not be entirely bad as it can thrust your name into the headlines yet again if you get cozy with one another at a basketball game. 

The latest research from YouGov shows that most Americans think that it is inappropriate for couples to engage in 'heavy petting' (75%), make out with each other (71%) or even undertake a little lighter petting (55%). Many people (35%) seem to be uncomfortable with one person in a couple resting their head in the lap of another, while 20% of Americans don't like seeing a kiss on the lips when they're out and about. Virtually no-one - only 1% of the public - has any problem with seeing a couple hold hands in public. 

As seen above, most of the public disagrees with couples making out in public, but attitudes towards public displays of affection vary significantly according to age. 32% of over-65s oppose to kissing in public, compared to only 14% of under-30s and 18% of people aged 45-64. Attitudes also differ towards making out, with older Americans - particularly those aged over 45 - being much more hostile to making out in public. Nevertheless, most under-30s (56%) also think that making out is an inappropriate thing for a couple to do in the street. 

Asked whether or not it is inappropriate for a couple to kiss in public, people in the South (23%) are more likely than Americans in any other region to say that kissing in public is inappropriate. 19% of people in the Midwest and West think it is inappropriate, while only 15% of people in the Northeast agree. 

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: Getty Images