Photo Essay: Public Displays of Affection in Mexico


Callejon de besos, GuanajuatoGet a room! In Mexico, I thought this often as I saw young couples in the park, hands rubbing on each other, tongues probing the inner reaches of each other’s mouths. There is a lot of PDA, or public displays of affection, going on in Mexico. It is a passionate country.

In addition to the kissing, there is a lot of hand-holding, canoodling, and hugging. Also, you see families holding and hugging in public, which is quite sweet and nice, I guess, if you like to hug and stuff. I am not from a hugging family, so it is a bit odd.

This is in sharp contrast to Indonesia and India, two places I recently traveled, where you almost never see men and women engage in PDA. Touching in public is taboo. There is a saying in India that you can piss in public, but you can’t kiss in public.

All across Mexico, I found myself taking photos of these tender moments, though I was often too embarrassed or dumbstruck to try and photograph some of the semi-pornographic activities I saw. There are limits to my voyeurism, it seems.

Mexico Street Photography –  Public Displays of Affection

Instructions for comments:

1. Tell me where you are from.

2. What are the PDA customs there? 

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30 Comments on “Photo Essay: Public Displays of Affection in Mexico

  1. I come from Singapore and it’s getting more and more “westernized” (that’s how we call it here) and so PDA of the new generation is pretty high here… Some of your pictures are nice…

  2. 1. I’m from the USA. 2. PDAs are very common in my world. Several years ago, Steve and I were walking to our car after closing the shop for the day. We were holding hands and he opened my car door for me (as he always does). The next day, another local shop keeper came over to tell us how sweet she thought we had looked. I guess we would fit right in in Mexico!

  3. I am from Venezuela, but lived in quite a few countries, including Mexico. Yes in comparison to Asia or even Europe it might seem
    Like to much, but actually in Latam these shows of affection are quite common, to the point that I didn’t found anything out of the ordinary these shows of affection compare to other counties in LATAM. Have you been to Brazil? Thats one of the places that I actually found uncomfortable, São Paulo for example people are kissing all the time in the street, to the point that if you don’t do it, your Brazilian partner might think you don’t like her.

    • Thank you for the insight. That is interesting about Brazil and I could see that being a problem for someone not being affectionate enough for their partner.

  4. I’m from Pakistan. It’s similar to India in that male-female PDA in public is very uncommon. However, public hand-holding between male friends is extremely common! 😀 Even if the relationship is platonic. I find that very sweet because hand-holding between male friends is relatively unusual in a place like the UK, where I live now. 🙂 Some might think it’s “unmanly” but personally I think it’s beautiful to be able to comfortably express your friendship like that 🙂

    • Thank you for the insight. Yes, hand-holding by man-friends is common in a lot of places. I remember being in Egypt and a guy held my hand as we walked down the street to his shop. It was very strange at first but I got used to it. It is interesting how different cultures touch in public.

  5. After 2+ weeks in Taiwan where even good friends greet and say goodbye with nothing more than a wave, it threw me a bit to land in the Philippines where people practically have sex in public. On a public ferry, I thought one woman was going to give oral sex to her boyfriend!

    • Interesting. I wonder if 400 years of Spanish and American rule changed things for the Filipinos? That is interesting to know about Taiwan too. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I’m from Canada & canoodling is as open & free as our land is. Some engage, some don’t, entirely a personal comfort choice.

  7. I’m in Canada too, Edmonton, Alberta and I’d say we’re an affectionate lot! I’ve seen (and engaged in) all levels of PDA. I second what Lynn said, its a personal choice.

    • That sounds like the US. Our countries have more of a mix of people so there aren’t as many deeply formed rules like in Pakistan or Singapore, as other commenters have noted.

    • I am sure religion and tradition play a big part. It is interesting to me in many muslim countries heterosexual males hold hands but they can’t hold women’s hands. Someplaces I have been, like Greece, people are all over each other in public.

      • Hmm, why would heterosexual males want to ever hold hand in public, in muslim countries. I’ve been to Greece twice but did not notice it. But I will be sure to keep an eye open next time.

      • It is just a different culture. On more than one occasion heterosexual males have held my hand in the Middle East. It is just what it is. It seems weird to us, but it is normal there.

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