“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.”
A patient of mine asked me the other day if the way someone kisses is an indicator of how good a romantic partner they might be. It’s a very interesting question, and of course, we all have our opinions and experiences in this area.
Fortunately, the University of Albany has performed some extensive research into the matter. In their study with over 1000 participants, it would seem that even the purpose of kissing is different for men and women!
For men, kissing is quite often considered a means to an end, in order to obtain sex. This isn’t too surprising and many of the couples I have treated have complained “he only kisses me when he wants sex.”
Women on the other hand use kissing as a “mate-assessment” technique. They subconsciously evaluate mating potential from the chemicals in their partner’s saliva and breath. It really IS “in his kiss!” Women also use kissing to gauge the status of their relationship. If kissing frequency has changed, something is definitely up!
That’s some of the science, some of the research. For me, the biology is always good to know, yet the psychology is even more compelling. From a biological standpoint, the mouth, lips, and tongue have a tremendous amount of nerve endings and generate an incredible amount of sensation.
And, from an evolutionary standpoint, is critically important for suckling of the infant. This early relationship between baby and breast, baby and mother is critical for physical AND emotional survival. As we suckle we both receive physical AND psychological sustenance. So no wonder that when we kiss our partner, those deep, unconscious memories surface.
It’s extremely powerful. And sometimes it is quite regressive, as we go back to those younger, infantile emotional states with our partners. It’s an amazing bond. The bottom line is that kissing “means” attachment and that both feels good and is instrumental in our survival.
From an interpersonal perspective, the process of kissing communicates a great deal about ourselves to our partner. Think about it. Is your partner relaxed or tense? Is the kiss firm enough or too flaccid and “sloppy” ? Is it open or closed? Are you feeling that your partner is receptive? Can you allow your partner “in” to your life, using the metaphor of the mouth?
Kissing is very much like dancing, in that it communicates where you are in the partnership. Can you lead? Can you follow? Can you alternate as you see fit? Can you find a rhythm together that you enjoy and can sustain?
So, my answer to my patient, and to you is YES, we can learn a great deal about ourselves and our partner through kissing. And, I would love to hear your thoughts, comments and experiences on the subject of kissing. Please comment directly on this blog or email me with your ideas.
Thank you so much,
Dr. Adam Sheck
If you’re interested in more of my thoughts about relationships and creating passion and purpose, please download my Free Special Reports, “20 Rituals For Romance!” and “The Secret To Owning Your Mission!” by subscribing to the Passion Doctor Newsletter at the top of this page.
On your “It’s in the Kiss” article, I once had a boyfriend whose lips were stiff when he kissed, and he was rather closed up as a lover. He couldn’t make love at all and having sex always had to be once removed. He had to be fantasizing that someone else was having sex with me and he was watching.
Thanks for sharing your experience validating the importance of the Kiss. Hopefully you’ve found someone more kissable by now 🙂
Wish you the best,
This old article tugs at my heart strings. I was recently involved with a man who kissed like no other. It started out innocent enough, thinking the other person is cute, felt a spark between us and decided to pursue it. Then we got to know one another and fell hopelessly in love. He is the only man I know where when you kissed him, everything else faded away. I was lost myself in that kiss and simply being with him. Obviously the sex was equally amazing. No initial adjustment was needed. We knocked it out of the park every single time and kept leveling up. Unfortunately life got in the way and we had to end our romance. As luck would have it, he recently had a work trip near my home. Even though we haven’t spoke in 6 weeks, I agreed for him to come by and say a quick hello. Once he was in my presence, it was like time reversed to how it used to be. The man I loved was back and immediately felt this wave of love and warmth radiating from him. He first insisted on an introductory hug at first. We just held each other for a few min and that was followed by a tender kiss on my forehead (he was sick). So me being as confused as ever asked him to kiss me. I said I wanted to see if he was really over me. (note: I’ve never done THAT before with any guy). Suffice it to say, that kiss got out of control very quickly. No one is over anybody. We reignited what I always knew existed. After what can best be described as 25 shades of grey make out session ended, we confessed to missing one another. I heard from him a week later and it’s been silence ever since. That was 3 weeks ago. I don’t know what will happen but I know I will never forget kissing him.
Thanks so much for sharing this, Maryann, what we experience on a visceral level is so powerful, isn’t it?