Had one reached out and caressed the other, would that have been an assault?
“If you wanted to make it with somebody, you reached over and caressed their leg,” said Levenson.
He climbed down from the chair and squatting on the floor, took the creature into his arms and caressed her.
1640s, "show of endearment, display of regard," from French caresse (16c.), back-formation from caresser or else from Italian carezza "endearment," from caro "dear," from Latin carus "dear, costly, beloved" (see whore (n.)). Meaning "affectionate stroke" attested in English from 1650s.
1650s, from French caresser, from Italian carezzare "to cherish," from carezza "endearment" (see caress (n.)). Related: Caressed; caressing.