The song was well received by critics. Chuck Taylor of Billboard said that "'How to Touch a Girl' again casts the youngster with a crafty melody, albeit strikingly similar in structure to the previous hit. Despite the bizarre, almost perverse title, this track could propel the burgeoning talent all the way." In a review of The High Road, Bill Lamb called the song "a near perfect piece of teen pop."
Although the song appeared within the lower regions of the pop charts, it failed to chart on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 due to lack of promotion from her label Blackground Records, becoming JoJo's second single to do so, the first being 2005's "Not That Kinda Girl". The single did, however, peak at number four on the BillboardBubbling Under Hot 100 Singles and number 76 on the BillboardPop 100.
The music video, directed by Syndrome, premiered on MTV's TRL on December 7, 2006. The video shows clips of JoJo sitting in a room filled with old vinyl records, sitting on a staircase, and singing on a Los Angeles rooftop at sunset. There are also scenes of her in an apartment in a green dress; special effects allow JoJo to be seen multiple times in the same shot. There is also a storyline involving a young couple on a date. Near the end of the video, a boy played by Cody Longo, seemingly her boyfriend, meets JoJo in her room with the albums, and the two embrace.