You were out with a guy—perhaps you were dating, or you were simply hanging out—and then out of nowhere, he touched your waist from behind.
You got caught off-guard and he left your mind spinning.
What could his touch mean?
In this article, I’ll talk about what it could all mean and why he just did what he did.
Touch is tricky to read
People don’t really consciously think about body language all that often. Most of the time, it’s instinctual and we understand what something means without thinking about it.
And it’s precisely the reason why it’s so confusing to read sometimes.
After all, our instincts can be off.
You might wonder why a man would want to touch you. And the answer to that… depends.
There are so many factors to be considered. Where did he touch you? Did his hands linger on you? Did he do it while he’s drunk? Did you touch you in a friendly way?
You can speculate all you want—we can have a thousand guesses— but unless you ask him directly (and he’s self aware and gives you an honest answer), you’re never going to know what their touch really means.
But hey, that’s why we’re here.
We can at least make smart guesses so you’ll know the right approach.
What it means when he touches your waist from behind
1) He’s comfortable being with you
This is the most obvious, most basic reason when a man touches you on purpose.
It doesn’t matter so much whether he’s in love with you or just sees you as a friend. For him, you’ve already broken down each other’s walls and he’s comfy doing things with you.
Let’s think of it this way. Would you be able to touch someone you’re not comfortable with? Of course not. And this could be a good sign if you’re ever going to have a relationship.
2) He’s just naturally touchy
There are some men (people, really) who simply like to touch. They see nothing malicious about it. It’s just something that they do out of habit.
You will know this right away when you’re around other people he’s friends with.
Does he slap, tug, and wrestle with his bros? Does he wrap his arm around female friends as a brotherly gesture?
Then it would clear things up for you.
But here’s the thing: it doesn’t mean he doesn’t like you, does it?
The best way to know if a naturally touchy person likes you is by closer inspection. Compare how he touches others to how he touches you. If he touches you exactly the way he touches others, then he’s just a naturally touchy person.
3) You have magnetic chemistry
Maybe he can’t stop himself from touching you because he’s pulled in by your presence. It’s as if you’re a big magnet and he can’t help himself but be near you.
This is the reason why some people can’t keep their hands off of each other, and maybe that’s the reason why did what he did.
Do you feel a strong, magnetic connection with him, too? Then the chances are higher because chemistry usually happens mutually. If you feel it, he probably feels the same way.
4) He’s seducing you
A man touching your waist from behind can give you goosebumps—the good kind if you like him, the bad kind if you don’t. And that’s because the waist is one of the most intimate zones in our body.
Don’t be fooled that it’s just nothing if the guy has shown other signs that he likes you. If he’s touching your waist from behind, he obviously knows what he’s doing!
It can even be the start of foreplay if you respond with equal enthusiasm.
5) He’s marking territory
If he’s touching your waist when you’re around other people—especially if there’s someone being extra friendly towards you, it could mean that he wants to show them that he got you first.
It’s a “code” for other men to back off and stay away from you because you’re already theirs.
When there’s an outside threat like other men around, men tend to rush towards the girl they’re into and show their “ownership” over her.
6) He may just be a natural flirt
Now this is quite the same as the naturally touchy guy (and he can even be both), but while the naturally touchy guy does it without malice, the natural flirt is, well, a Don Juan.
There are those who are conscious that they’re flirting with people but there are those who aren’t even aware that they’re doing it because they’re so used to doing it!
If you pay close attention to him, you’ll see that he’s perfectly happy to flirt around with girls as if it were nothing.
He might not even mean anything by it and back off when a girl decides to reciprocate.
7) He wants to see your reaction
Will you freeze, call for help, or blush and smile?
He wants to know.
Maybe he figured out that instead of asking you directly if you’re into him, he’d rather get your candid reaction by touching your waist from behind. And it’s a smart move.
After all, touching someone on the waist is something not so innocent, but not so sleazy either.
It’s a “safe” test to know your interest. He’d rather do this than ask you directly if you like him too. Because what if you said no? That would be too hard on his ego.
But if you don’t respond to your touch, then he can just simply back away. Or if you get mad and furious at him for making this move, he can defend himself and say “what? I was just messing around!”
8) He wants to know your limits
He wants to know how far he can go with you—if you pull away or just let his hand rest on your waist, if you touch his arm or whisper something naughty in his ear.
If you respond positively, then he knows where he stands with you. Not only will this make him happy, he’ll know how to approach you physically.
If you call him out for it, then he’ll say sorry and not do it again (if he’s a respectful man). He will just then try to woo you in less physical ways and try again once he’s confident that you like him, too.
9) He’s hungry for touch
Men are generally touch-deprived compared to women. That’s because women freely express their closeness by hugging and holding hands with their other female friends and family.
For men? They’re expected to NOT touch. If they do, they’ll be accused for being a predator or for being “gay.”
Maybe your guy is too touch-deprived that when he’s uninhibited —like when he’s drunk—he can’t help but touch you.
And because he’s been too touch-deprived for a long time, he’d aim for your waist, and not just your arm.
10) He’s trying to make someone jealous
Of course, his attention might not exactly be on you. It could be that he’s trying to make someone else jealous.
By touching your waist, he makes it look like the two of you have a thing.
It’s not always easy to tell, but he would try to make it obvious for you so that you can play along instead of ruining his game.
Sometimes he does it without making it obvious to you. If this happens out of the blue, look for clues by following where his eyes go.
11) He wants to get out of the “friendzone”
If he’s someone you know as a friend, then chances are that he’s touching your waist so you can finally see him in a romantic way.
He’s hoping that his touch will make you realize that his feelings for you run deeper than friendship. Or, if you already know and have already turned him down, that you’ll finally feel something and change your mind.
Think about the times when you batted your eyelashes at a guy who’s been acting a little oblivious. This is exactly like that.
12) He thinks it’s just a friendly gesture
But of course, he could always just think that it’s just a friendly gesture and not think any deeper about it.
It might seem absurd—how could he not realize it’s a very personal gesture?—but if you think about it, we are all taught things that we simply don’t bother questioning.
For example, you might think it’s polite to smile all the time when you’re talking to someone. But that very same gesture comes off as fake and creepy to others.
It could be that he saw others putting their hands on another’s waist, misunderstood it, and decided to try doing it himself.
13) He’s trying to assert dominance
As a rule of thumb, men are physically stronger than women, and touching someone without their consent is a provocation.
Men are aware of this. And where it counts as an invitation to get into a brawl when it’s between two men, when it’s between a man and a woman it’s a clear show of dominance.
He’s aware that he’s stronger than you, and he doesn’t expect you to confront him over it. This is most likely the case if he talks over you, and cases like these are a good reason why you should always have some pepper spray on hand.
14) He’s distracting you
Let’s face it. Being touched is distracting.
Whether you were talking beforehand, or if you were doing your own thing, your attention will be divided between that and his hand.
Perhaps your thoughts were on a downward spiral, and he wants to distract you and break your train of thought.
Or maybe he’s trying to flirt with you, and he’s trying to keep you in the moment, so you won’t say hello to your ex who just entered the room.
15) He has no respect for boundaries
We all have boundaries, and it’s common sense not to breach those boundaries unless there’s an emergency of some kind.
Generally, touching a person’s waist is a violation of personal space. And if he has absolutely no good reason for doing so, then you’d be right to feel grossed out about it.
If you’ve expressed your discomfort before and he still keeps doing it, then this guy doesn’t respect boundaries.
Expect him to be a no-boundaries guy in other aspects as well.
16) He has confidence
Whether it’s something he has in spades, or something he gathered just for that moment, there’s no doubt that the guy has confidence.
There are a lot more risks than you might realize about touching a woman’s waist from behind, whether you’re an acquaintance or a stranger.
It takes guts to actually go and touch someone on the waist. After all, he risks having you deck him in the face, or scream, or use pepper spray on him if you aren’t feeling charitable.
Whether you like his approach or not, there’s no doubt about it that he’s brimming with confidence.
17) He’s just trying to score
He’s interested in you, pure and simple. By putting his hand on your waist, he’s given himself the excuse to know the curves of your body by letting them drift down to your hips.
For men, the waist has always been part of a woman’s sex appeal. In fact he might as well be touching your hips, your behind, or your chest.
A hand on your waist also makes the situation that much more sensual. And of course, adding in a bit of sexual tension is always helpful when he’s trying to seduce you.
18) He wants to know how HE feels towards you
Another reason why he might touch your waist is because he’s not sure how he feels about you, and wants to know.
Perhaps he has complicated feelings towards you, and wants to settle it once and for all by trying to see what feelings are awakened (or not) in him when he touches you.
In this case, you might see him trying to flirt with you if he does feel something. If he feels nothing, he’d take his hand back and try to play it cool.
19) He wants to show others that he can “get” you
As far as men are concerned, every other man he sees on the street is competition. And what better way to deal with competition than to announce that he has already won?
By putting his hand on your waist he’s making it clear to others that he has your interest and that he can “get” you.
He makes his move and hopes that all other men would see it and say “Wow, he’s one heck of a dude.”
In other words, he could be using you to make himself look good for other men.
20) You are in his way
While perhaps not the most romantic or hopeful of reasons, it’s also entirely possible that he touched your waist because you’re in his way.
It could be a gentle touch, meant to get your attention so that you would step aside or at least make room for him. It could also be a forceful touch, meant to shove you out of the way.
Either way, it’s especially obvious if this is his reason for touching your waist because he’s not going to stay and chat with you. He’s going to either keep walking past you, or look past you.
21) He’s trying to hide his sexuality
While society has by large become more accommodating of gay people these days, there are still people who feel like they must hide their sexuality from the world.
Perhaps they grew up with parents or friends who didn’t accept them for who they were, for example.
And to maintain his cover—or to prove that he isn’t gay—he would try to act flirty towards women. And that includes touching your waist.
If you notice him doing this while you’re with his parents or people he’s trying to impress—and he won’t do it when you’re alone— then it’s probably the case.
22) If he’s your ex, he wants to reconnect
Touch has always been a powerful tool for communication, and touching you at the waist specifically has special significance, especially if it’s done by your ex.
I have already talked about how the waist is a sensual part of the body to touch. By touching you on the waist, he’s trying to respark the feelings you used to have for him.
Perhaps he might even hope you’d remember the many times he held your waist in the past, and be thrown into a bit of a memory trip.
23) If he’s a guy you just met, he’s smitten by you (but you might want to run away!)
You feel a hand on your waist, and you turn around expecting someone you know—but instead you find yourself facing someone you haven’t met yet, or just barely knew.
This is obviously a sign that he’s smitten by you—that he finds you attractive and that he wants to get closer to you.
But at the same time, there were so many ways he could have caught your attention without invading your personal space. You probably want to get out of there, fast.
24) If he’s your boyfriend, he wants to let people know you’re together
But even your current boyfriend can make you wonder why he touched you in public, especially since he’s not the touchy type.
Arguably, between an ex, a stranger, and your boyfriend, your boyfriend has more right to touch you than the other two do.
By placing his hand on your waist, he’s making it clear that you’re his. This is not a one-sided gesture either, because if you return the favor and touch his waist, then you’ll also make it known that he belongs to you.
This can be very useful, especially when the two of you are in a bar, a disco, or any other place that might be hostile to women.
25) If he’s a superior or a teacher, you better hope it’s just a brotherly gesture
You may or you may not like being touched at the waist. It can be sensual and romantic, even protective. But it’s also a very domineering gesture.
If a superior or a teacher decides to touch you on the waist, you better hope they’re doing it just as a brotherly gesture—one that means “I’m comfortable with you.”
But chances are that he’s trying to push his sexual attraction on to you.
And given the fact that he’s in a position of power over you, this could count as sexual harassment. Because of that, it helps to be cautious around him.
26) He’s just shy and doesn’t know how to approach you
He is quick to say sorry and tell you that it was an accident. But of course, there’s something about how attentive he is being, or how chatty he gets that tells you otherwise.
It could be that he’s just too shy to tell you straight away that he likes you, and because of that, he doesn’t know how to breach the topic.
So he touches your waist and then passes it off as an accident, hoping that you’ll take a hint and decide to approach him about it first.
What you can do if you want him to pursue you
1) Well, tease him back of course!
If you’re into him and you can tell that his touch wasn’t just a touch, it’s not fair that only he gets to have all the fun. Two can play this game!
If he just jolted you with a touch on the waist from behind, how about giving him a signal yourself?
You can test the waters with how assertive you can get so that the game stays mischievous.
You can perfect your sensual eye contact so that when you catch him touching you, you can give him that look of approval.
The best thing about it is that it doesn’t even require you to touch him. His imagination will go wild thinking what you could do if you actually reciprocated physically.
You can also do it hands-free!
Close the gap and stick close to him so that your shoulders are touching. Or if you’re sitting across each other, your knees or legs brush ever so lightly.
These small gestures show you weren’t offended by his touch earlier and that you’re actually receptive, but also passing to him the baton if he should take it up a notch.
2) Set a ticking bomb
Now that you’ve expressed that you’re okay with him touching you at the waist, you need to show him that you’re open to longer, or more intimate touches.
Attraction is like a plant that needs to be nurtured, so he can’t just stop at that one gesture, right?
He’s clued you in that he’s NOT the shy type so you better seize the moment while he’s at it.
If you like him, it’s understandable that you also want to respond in kind. I’d think grabbing his arm or elbow as you walk along would be just right as a trade off but you’re free to choose a different form of touch too.
But how do you set a ticking bomb? By posing a threat.
Again, make him feel that you’re not going to wait around.
Here are some ways you can do it:
- Make him a little jealous.
- Tell him you’re actively searching for a date (in a casual way, of course).
- Give him all the attention he needs, then stop.
It’s like an artful way of stimulation so he has an end goal in mind, and you can be certain it’s not just the waist.
When you should walk/run away
It’s one thing to be touched when you’re attracted to each other, but it could be creepy or scary otherwise.
It’s unfortunate that some girls get to experience unsolicited touching. The waist is sensual and close to the more private parts of the body. Many people have had fantasies about it so it’s obviously a place where lines need to be drawn.
In no way should you put up with inappropriate behavior.
So here are some instances where you should definitely put your foot down:
1) When you’re not comfy
If he’s touching you and it makes your skin crawl in a bad way, you can move his hand away. You can walk away from him so that his hand will slide off if he’s not grabbing you.
You can make a sound expressing your dislike, or explicitly tell him with clear words that you weren’t happy with what he just did. You can look him in the eyes and say “Hey, that wasn’t cool”.
2) When you know he’s obviously toying with you
He’s deliberately sending you mixed signals and it’s not even funny.
This guy thinks he can play around with your head, telling you to be friends but wants more from you by touching you in a place that’s obviously a bit private. Or he ghosted you on occasion but gets touchy-feely the next time you see each other.
Tell him he can play his games somewhere else because you’re done with it.
3) When he’s married
Flirting with married men will lead to disaster, most of the time.
He might have made the first move by putting his hand on your waist, but be the better person and do not give him any encouragement.
Unless he’s already in the process of divorcing his wife and he’s really someone you’re compatible with, then you’re better off finding other guys who are available.
4) When he’s power tripping
Sometimes men will touch you just because they can.
When they are in a position of power such as your superior in the office, they extend their boundaries of authority beyond the workplace and think they can have their way with you even for tasks outside of work.
It could be a teacher or professor, or simply a colleague that you look up to. If they put their hand on your waist and you feel like being forced into it, you need to get away.
You don’t have to be rude, but you can be more aggressive if they aren’t taking you seriously.
Remember, unwanted touching is considered sexual harassment.
Touching your waist from behind is an obvious sign of attraction coming from him.
It’s a bold move that declares he wants to take your relationship to the next level—whether it be from strangers to friends, or friends to lovers.
If you didn’t like it when he touched you, set clear boundaries and be firm.
If you liked his touch, then enjoy it when it happens again. Or if you’re bold enough, go ahead and be the first one to touch him the next time you’re together.
It could be the start of something wonderful.
Can a relationship coach help you too?
If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
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