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The Move to Hook Up or Break Up: The Value of Kissing in an Intimate Relationship

He goes in for the kiss, she leans into it. The expectation, the passion anticipated as hot, wanting, yes! Only to have the kiss fall short of spectacular. OUCH! The last thing you want is your partner to say you are an “OK” kisser; you want to be the best kisser ever! So what do you do? How do you proceed? Well, there is much to be said about the kiss, but it is more than performance, more than excellent breath, it is all about connection!

Ok, connection might be a confusing word for me to use for some of you who are more analytic than emotional. If the word “connection” leaves you confused about what I mean, then you are more apt to desire a more technical definition of kissing is rather than the meaning behind the kiss! Alright, then let’s offer you some analytical definitions of a kiss, then we will follow up with a bit of ‘abstract’ discussion to ease you into what I mean by ‘connection is key in the kiss.’

Kissing is thought to have evolved from the practice of primate mothers pre-chewing food for their young. Chimpanzees feed this way, so it is likely our early ancestors fed this way, too. This prehistoric lip-puckering may have later developed as a way to comfort hungry children in scarce times and then evolved as a general expression of love and affection. Chip Walters explains in Scientific American Mind (2008) how kissing has evolved into an act of intimacy which can even feel addictive! There are densely populated neurons in the lips lie beneath the thinnest layer of skin on the human body. With every smooch, sensory information is rocketed to the brain and unleashes a cocktail of hormones, setting off intense sensations and emotions. This means a kiss may not just be a kiss!

Kissing someone may even allow our brains to tap into unconscious mechanisms for determining compatibility. In other words, a kiss can give you important information about the future of a relationship. In a study of gender perceptions to kissing, 66 percent of women and 59 percent of men say that they have lost interest in someone they were attracted to after a “bad” first kiss. But the first kiss is only the first step! Females especially use kissing to gauge the level of commitment in the relationship – the more enthusiastic the kisses, the healthier the relationship in their minds!

The technicalities of kissing are basic, and, for most people, not very sexy. The more complex and steamier part of kissing is the point of “connection,” the emotional part which is based on the emotional responses to your partner based your own senses. What is most challenging for many couples is that one partner wants the passion and connection, henceforth, the connection that kissing represents, where the other partner may be focused on the more functional aspects. They want to help their partner feel the way the partner desires, but they go at it by feeling like they have to kiss right, technically right, rather than emotionally ‘right.’ Unfortunately, there seemingly is no right or wrong techniques to kissing per se, there only seems to be an “oh, yes” or an “oh, no” that is individual to each partner.

Ok, I lied. A general consensus to kissing don’ts include: slimy, slobbering wet kissing from not remembering to swallow frequently; attacking the partners face with a wide mouth as if you are a python ready to swallow your partner whole starting with their head; darting of the tongue in and out of the partners mouth such as an snake; piercing hard lips that peck like a chicken; rough, dry, cracked lips; and lack of dental hygiene like regular brushing.

Beyond these few faux pas, the sense of connection comes from being able to read the body language of your partner through their lips. Connection is a sense of knowing when to lean in for more, to take a breath, to probe with your tongue, to know when to swallow, and more… This sense of reading your partner can be learned, however, most couples cannot teach each other. In fact, trying to teach each other often leads to further separation because they actually FIGHT over it!

That’s where a relationship consultant can help. Through discussion and responding to each partner’s different learning styles, the consultant can often communicate with each partner in a way that isn’t construed as negative or hurtful. Rather, a consultant can act as an interpreter to assist the couple to communicate in a way that is positive and leads to solutions like the joy of kissing.

So what are three ways lovers can communicate more effectively for better kissing techniques? Andrea Adams-Miller, “The Leading Authority on Healthy Relationships,” suggests:

1.) Engaging in tantric exercises such as breath play while they are sitting face to face, knee to knee. In breath-play, when one partner breaths in the other breaths out, so inadvertently they are breathing in a circular pattern. This type of breath play allows each partner to be still to observe the physiological responses of each other and teaches them to read and to respond to the other partner in agreement. Additionally, breath play provides a more comfortable pattern for breathing that prepares partners for breathing appropriately during kissing.

2.) Engaging in hand play is another helping mechanism. In hand play, the partners put their hands together palm to palm and move their hands in response to each other focusing on responding to the slightest move. Without using words, the partners engage in playful motions to learn each other’s reactions in response to each other’s movements.

3.) The third suggestion is to kiss each partner’s hand as they desire to be kissed focusing on the approach, the linger, and the pull away. In doing these actions, the partners have a chance to show their partner what feels good to them. In response the opposite partner kisses the hand of the first kisser to replicate what the other partner demonstrated. This, of course, requires hand washing and the ability to laugh as it does seem quite silly at first. However, it is such an interesting and playful way to show each other what they desire. Plus, each partner reveals how challenging it is sometimes to recreate what they feel their partner doing. So, patience and pleasure focus is key here as it may take several tries for each partner to correctly respond and mimic their lover’s actions.

After these three scenarios are attempted, the couples might be better suited to kiss their partner as the partner desires to be kissed rather than focusing on resenting the other partner for not kissing like they think they should. If you are having difficulty connecting, desire more passion in your relationship, or need coaching to understand these methods better, then contact Andrea Adams-Miller, to schedule an appointment. Andrea consults with couples all around the world through face to face meetings or Internet technology. As a result of each session with Andrea, each partner discovers the ways to incorporate what their partner desires with what they desire resulting in a happier couple who wants to settle in and make out. Definitely resulting in couples who are ready to hook up as soon as they get home rather than break up! Sign up at to receive a copy of the chapter of her latest book!

Walter, Chip. “Affair of the Lips.” Scientific American Mind 19.1 (2008).

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