Power PDA: The Dating Trend Meant To Be Witnessed

Public displays of affection, or PDA for short, are nothing new. From holding hands to giving your partner a kiss, public displays of romantic affection abound in movies, online, and in, well, public spaces. Over the past year, though, power PDA has emerged as both a dating trend and a statement in favor of unapologetically being in love. Think Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker, who have no qualms about kissing on the Kardashians' namesake reality show and red carpets or posting steamy and edgy photos to social media, and who feel no need to defend themselves when someone says that they're showing too much PDA. That's exactly the gist of power PDA, you can't have too much of it because it's meant to be witnessed.

Power PDA challenges the societal notion that only lovestruck teenagers should show outward signs of affection. With power PDA, there's no justification needed for a couple to defend why they're expressing their love. There are no rules to power PDA, but taking notes out of the power PDA playbooks of celebrity couples like Kardashian and Barker, you can go straight for intense makeout sessions on top of your partner without a care as to who else might be around. Of course, consent is always important and even though power PDA is unapologetically conducted in pretty much any setting, be as respectful as you can to the boundaries of those around you (don't let anyone steamroll your love, though!). Power PDA is about healthy, consensual, and genuine love. 

Power PDA is unapologetic love, not a performance

One primary distinction that should be made when it comes to power PDA is that it isn't intended to be a performance. Rather, it's a statement of unapologetic love. On her family's TV show, Kardashian explained that she wants her kids to see a loving relationship, which is why she and Barker are open with their power PDA at home as well as in public (via The Independent). In showing unapologetic displays of affection around their children, the celebrity couple is on to an evolutionary quality that can show kids what healthy adult love should look like while bringing a couple with children closer together in the midst of chaotic family life. Research cited by Live Science supports this, indicating that birds who engage in displays of affection for their monogamous partners tend to put more effort into raising their young.

But power PDA isn't always meant to send a message. Sometimes it's conducted merely because two people are so madly in love that they don't care who sees. They're so over-the-top in love with one another that they don't want to let a single second go by without expressing their affection. Especially in a post-pandemic world, many people are here for the celebration of love through physical affection. After quarantine, there's a newfound appreciation for physical closeness and power PDA is the ultimate expression of love for love's sake. Power PDA is a celebration of life, love, and the gift of being together.

PDA has physical benefits

Not only is power PDA your own statement of the love you have for your partner, but publicly showing your love through public displays of affection can actually have benefits for your relationship. Women's Health reports that there is scientific evidence backing acts of PDA like cuddling, holding hands, hugging your partner, and kissing because the physical closeness shared in those moments can lower cortisol, the stress-inducing hormone, and replace it with the euphoric love hormone oxytocin. And with so much else that keeps us worried and overwhelmed, even just trying to survive a day while successfully adulting, who wouldn't jump at the chance to lessen their stress? With power PDA, think of the unapologetic statement of love communicating the additional benefit that you don't want for your partner to be stressed. A loving relationship is one in which both people take care of one another, and taking your partner's worries and stress away, even momentarily, is something you should definitely be unapologetic about.

Perhaps you've heard of a love glow, a visible aura of joy around someone who is in love. There's science to back the benefits of lowering stress levels on your skin, with excess stress causing premature aging and breakouts. Harvard Medical School reveals that there's a skin-brain connection that directly correlates the hormone levels our bodies produce with the wellbeing of our skin. With reduced cortisol and increased oxytocin from power PDA, both you and your partner can radiate the love glow.