What's In A Kiss
The kiss is a common first step of intimacy on any date- whether it be for the first time or part of an ongoing relationship. It is one way that we express our feelings for another. The art of kissing however can make or break where the connection leads. An uninspiring kiss can turn us off intimate relations with a partner. And post-high school, we seem to forget that kissing can be fun in-and-of-itself. Those long and languishing make-out sessions that once were so special become a thing of the past- as though kissing is only a precursor to more. As a result, so many avoid their partner’s kisses for fear that their partner reads it as a green light for sex. How unfortunate that we forget how to simply enjoy the sensuality of lips locking for what it is. And many couples neglect the kiss as their relationship progresses: it is forgotten and replaced by more “intimate” activities. Yet many argue that kissing is their most intimate and favourite type of connection.
Common Kissing Mistakes
Because kissing is such a critical activity to be done well, I asked Lorraine Hewitt (aka CoCo la Crème) for some advice. She is a Toronto relationship expert and teaches workshops on kissing. She finds that the most common mistakes that people make are the following:
Forgetting to take it slow: Eager partners can engage their tongue too quickly and grope too much too soon. Instead, take the temperature of the other person- use all of your senses to gauge their mood and interest. Hewitt states that kissing is like a dance: you want to move in sync together, not pull your partner into a tempo and direction that is hard to follow.
Kissing only with the intention of sex: You can express intimacy through your kiss without expectation of more. Kiss often and in a variety of ways, not only when you have sex on your mind. The connection might lead to more but don’t expect it to: try initiating at times when more is not possible, such as on your way out the door.
Being too routine: The peck is easy but not particularly creative. This type of kiss can happen without being present in our bodies. Instead, become aware of your own and your partner’s energy and reaction. Notice whether your kiss truly conveys your affection or is simply a matter of habit. Pay attention to the feeling of your partner’s lips against yours, feel the texture of their skin. Pull back for a moment and make some eye contact. Think about the message you mean to express- is it that you are hot for them now? or a simple “I love you”? or “I’ll be thinking about you later”? Put the energy of your sentiment into your body and your kiss.
Suggestions for Great Kissing:
Keep yourself in readiness for a kiss: Be aware of the freshness of your breath, whether or not you’ll chafe someone’s face with stubble. Keep yourself physically ready and appealing. Don’t take your partner’s attraction for granted and let your personal habits slide.
Start slowly: Take your time. There is no rush. Enjoy the moment.
Swallow: Slobbery kisses are generally unappealing. Swallow excess saliva. Also note the opposite if your mouth is dry. Sandpaper tongue is equally unpleasant. Drink some water if you’ve had a lot of alcohol or are dehydrated.
Use your whole body: Use your hands, taking time to stroke your partner’s face, back of their scalp, their back. Take little breaks which give you the chance to swallow and communicate with your eyes. Don’t be too gropey though. Just notice and feel your skin against your partner’s skin.
Check in with your partner: If you are not sure if your partner is into it, stop for a moment and ask how they are feeling, ask them to show you what they want and follow their lead, ask them to tell you how they would like you to kiss them.
Giving feedback on kissing is tough because we’ve been told that it should just happen naturally if we love each other. And offering feedback on kissing seems to be more complicated than giving direction and preferences for other types of pleasure.
In order to give feedback, try showing your partner what you want and ask them to follow. Showing is helpful because it is easier than using words, and indicates that you indeed have an interest in kissing, perhaps just differently. You set the pace, state any general preferences such as wanting the kiss to be less wet, and demonstrate what you like with your mouth. Check in and make sure that is also works with your partner: “how does that feel?”
Sometimes we are in a different sexual mindset, for example one partner is gentle and the other is passionate. In order to find a balance that meets everyone’s mood, put your hands on each other’s heart, look into each other’s eyes and breathe deeply in and out until you are on the same level. This tantric technique can bring you out of your own needs and help find the goal of mutual connection instead.
Build Anticipation: Place featherlight kisses on your partner’s face, cheekbones, eyelids, jawline, the corners of their mouth. Trace your partner’s lips with your fingers. Make them hungry.
Start closed mouth: Slowly deepen the intensity and progress to locked lips: top lip to top lip, bottom lip to bottom lip.
Wait for tongue: To see if your partner is ready for tongue, kiss with open mouth, the tip of your tongue along the inner part of their bottom lip and see if they respond by opening their mouth more, putting their tongue forward, or sucking on your tongue. These are all good indications that all systems are go.
Pay attention to your partner’s reactions: Feel every little shiver, listen to moans, notice their body language, watch their breathing. Hewitt reminds us that kissing really is a dance, and that for every action there is a reaction.