Touch and Intimacy on the Dancefloor
This chapter explores the relationship between touch and intimacy between dancers. It asks how and why tactility intensifies on the dancefloor, turning to interviews with partygoers. On the one hand, many of them valued touch as a physical expression of intimacy and as an antidote to prevailing norms of bodily decorum; on the other hand, they acknowledged that dancefloors can be spaces of heightened risk for sexual harassment and assault—a risk that women, trans folk, and people of color feel especially keenly. Nonetheless, several women interviewees stressed how beneficial tactile stranger-intimacy could be to their fun, expressing a utopian desire for a world where encounters with strangers could be open to sensual pleasure without being fraught with danger. This range of experience highlights the pleasures, risks, and potential connections of tactility, all of which point toward the ways in which touch between strangers can offer alternative modes of togetherness.