Kissing. What a wonderful thing. Could there be any greater demonstration of affection? Greeting your lover with a kiss has to be one of the most exciting things imaginable … and saying goodbye to them with a kiss leaves both of you with anticipation of your next meeting. But how important is kissing really? What is its significance in relationships?
I recently wrote a post on Dating Pet Peeves and the most feedback I received on the Blog, FaceBook, Email and Twitter were comments on point number 6 – someone who’s a bad kisser. It made me reflect on how important kissing in a relationship really is. I really didn’t think about it that much before, I knew it was important, but I didn’t put it higher than anything else.
The Science of Kissing
In my research on the topic, I came across this great article by Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne in Psychology Today about “The Kiss of Health“. She argues that kissing can give you life-extending benefits. What she says is that research has shown that “kissing—often and long—may actually improve your health, benefit your well-being, and improve your intimate relationships.”
Dr. Whitbourne maintains that “successful long-term relationships are characterized by physical affection.” That I agree with because nearing the end of my marriage, the lack of physical affection was definitely present. It declined over time actually, once that was gone, there really was nothing left in the relationship to hold on to. Although it’s nice to have a wild and passionate love affair, it’s the act of physical touch that stays with you and rejuvenates you. This makes a lot of sense to me and why I think that “one night stands” and purely sexual relationships do not provide as much fulfillment as those where there is some physical affection. The only purpose they do serve is to “scratch an itch” (so to speak).
The article talks about the specifics of a study that was done to test this theory (you can read about the details in the article), but it was interesting that the group who engaged in more kissing with partners reported to have more physical benefits such as less stress, less anxiety, they were able to deal with difficult situations better, they were more satisfied in their relationship, they exercised more, argued with their partner less … and had lower cholesterol. Ya, I know. Interesting isn’t it.
The Art of Kissing
OK, so now we know it’s healthy, but how do we do it correctly? Is there a right or wrong way to kiss? Well, that’s a loaded question!! I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to kiss. I think you connect with some people and some you really don’t. I’ve been on dates that I wanted to kiss the person, and some where I seriously didn’t feel inclined to touch them at all. So it really depends on the chemistry between two people. Does kissing always have to lead to sex? NO WAY!! There are studies about the need to go back to the “make out session” in relationships. Build that tension, enjoy each other and focus on each other. I like that idea. I think it’s a great way to go back to that hot passionate place you used to be with someone. Talk about re-igniting the flames!!
So because you know I love lists … here are some tips to keep in mind when kissing your partner and a peck on the cheek or lips just isn’t in order:
- BREATH!!!: Make sure you have a clean mouth and pleasant breath. This definitely should be a “given” but seriously people, breath is important.
- TENDER: Keep it soft and tender to start it creates anticipation … don’t jump into the crazy passionate kissing right away.
- EYES: Open or closed? this is a personal preference, I prefer open.
- NOT JUST THE LIPS: Use your whole mouth, but again, keep it simple then take cues from your partner. Use your hands, touch.
- PASSIONATE: Shows that you are into the other person and demonstrates real intimacy with them (after you started tender).
- RELAX: the kiss should be natural and not forced, if you aren’t feeling it back from the other person then that’s your cue to stop and re-assess the situation.
The Kiss: Science or Art?
I would argue that the kiss is definitely both a science and an art. We know we enjoy it and we know that it makes us feel good and connected to another person. We know we don’t want bad kissers and we know that if the kissing stops then so does the intimacy. How we kiss and who we kiss is all up to us. What’s important is that we always do what feels good. Kissing, like any other intimate act, should never feel (or be) forced. Kissing should always come naturally.
Now stop reading this and go kiss someone!! I know who I’d like to kiss right now …
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva