When I was a young teenager in love, there were few options available for displaying physical affection, both because I was scared to (sex) and simply because unaware of alternatives (innocence/sexual ignorance). Kissing, however, was pretty much a no-brainer.
My first kiss happened when I was 13. We both had braces (and believe me, we were terrified by the rumors that we might actually get stuck together), I was taller than him, and we arranged for it to take place behind the YMCA after school. We also had an audience of giggling friends to ruin the moment. But, somehow, there was still a spark (probably because of the anticipation and the surging hormones that had the ability to override everything that was wrong with the situation).
Later in my teens, when “making out” became a thing (I didn’t know the science then, but do now) kissing actually made it harder for me to resist doing more. The transfer of hormones surged my system and made me physically desire more and more kissing, more closeness…sex. It’s a natural and powerful catalyst. With my first long-term boyfriend, I held out as long as possible – kissing, necking, petting – and then finally gave in to oral sex. Back then, I was the only one giving. He didn’t offer, and I was too insecure to receive, anyway. It wasn’t as prevalent among the youth that I knew for boys to go down on girls. There was a whole lot of “fingering,” but that’s about it.
By college, I was having sex on a fairly regular basis. And that sex, came with lots of kissing.
And now…I kiss less during sex. And that’s what I really wanted to explore. The why of the disappearance of my own desire for sexual, intimate kissing:
My husband loves kissing during sex. It’s intimate, and of course…there’s that science, right? And though I can’t quite pinpoint when I stopped wanting to kiss during sex, I do know what I can attribute it to. I have to go into my mind and body quite a bit to achieve an orgasm. I have to really feel things. And that takes focus, which means doing less while having sex.
I know it drives Him crazy, because the lack of kissing in bed, has sort of sifted into our daily lives, too.
We always kiss goodbye in the morning. Usually a quick peck, though on occasion, both of us push to stop and engage in a deeper more connecting kiss. And those ones…those ones make me stop and take notice. Maybe I’m just not mindful enough. Because when we do stop and make the kiss focal, it does exactly what it is supposed to do.
Sometimes, I think I avoid it because I feel too busy to engage…to let what will inevitably happen…happen. And yet, that’s exactly what I need to do. Besides, a kiss does not always lead to something more…physically…right then. It just a place-holder, a promise of something more later, a reminder of what is important. A kiss is a connector…a disrupter…a bookmark.
I cannot remember the last time my Husband and I “made out.” And right now, I’m finding that hard to believe and a little depressing. But, it’s not something that cannot be rectified.
I actually love kissing my husband, which is what makes it even more mystifying. When he kisses me deeply and passionately, I instantly feel it in all the right, tingly places. It still does something to me. And in that way, a kiss can also be a litmus test. If a kiss does not make the tingles rise, there is likely something missing or off…or gone. I’ve had that notice before…the end of a relationship can be quite obvious when there is no longer a spark caused by a kiss.
In our marriage, I feel as if the kiss has become a passive way to connect through the day. A kiss on the way out the door. A kiss before bed. And I think I bear the majority of the responsibility for that.
Hugs are similar. And yet…I crave them. When my Husband hugs me long and hard, I calm, I melt.
I’m not very physically affectionate. Never have been. I don’t know if that is a result of not having a very physically affectionate upbringing. My bubble is large, and I don’t tend to touch or reach out to others. When others (outside my immediate family touch me, it makes me uncomfortable.
But this kissing (and hugging) thing within my marriage? There’s no excuse. We must bring this into focus. Physical intimate contact (outside of sex), should be a focus. Besides, the lack of it may have something to do with our slower sex life. I mean, we have sex…and we have good sex. But we could have better sex…more often. And I’d likely want it more often if we were connecting in this physical manner more often throughout the day.
Besides, physical touch is one of my Husband’s love languages. And I guess that means we aren’t speaking the same words. No wonder we don’t quite connect like we used to.
It’s easy to fall into disconnected routines with people we are around all the time. To take them for granted. To become lazy and complacent. To get too comfortable. I’ve done that. I’ve done that hard. And it’s time to be more mindful about how I go about marriage and love.
What’s in a Kiss? The Science of Smooching by Emer Maguire
The History of the Kiss – How Stuff Works
Science of Kissing: Why a Kiss is not just a Kiss – Sylvia Thompson
A Natural History of Love – Diane Ackerman (one of my favorite books of all time!)