When His Kiss Tastes Bad

Another question from the grab bag of queries posed to me at in Q&A with J at HHH post. I wonder how many wives have a similar situation. Here’s the topic a commenter wanted me to address:

Difficulty finding zest to kiss my dh since he has habit of using tobacco (chew). When goes to kiss all i can see in my head is all that crap in his mouth, although he’d never attempt to do it with it in his mouth. Just seriously grosses me out. And I really like to kiss.

Premarriage, I dated one guy who dipped and one guy who smoked. While they didn’t do it right before we kissed, I agree that such habits don’t exactly scream, “Put your mouth on mine!” In fact, I’ve wondered where we even came up with such ideas. Who was the first person to stick a bunch of leaves in a piece of paper, roll it up, and light it inches from his mouth? Who first grabbed a wad of tobacco leaves and decided to shove it between his lip and teeth to gnaw on for a while?

Other substances in one’s mouth can make for a less-than-approachable set of lips — foods with pungent flavors, alcohol, or anything else you don’t like. While you might wish that your honey would stop using whatever is turning you off, don’t hold your breath. Especially when it comes to tobacco, it’s hard to quit. It can be done, and I would hope that your husband would make healthy choices for himself and for you, but it is a struggle and he may not quit. You still want to be able to smooch with your mate.

There seem to be two issues here — what’s actually going on with his mouth and how you think about it. What I mean is that it’s both your husband’s tobacco use and that you can’t stop thinking about and feeling disgusted by it.

You have a few options.

Talk to him. Tell your hubby that you love to kiss him and want to do so freely, but you are bothered by his chewing tobacco. Ask that he brush his teeth, use a mouthwash, chew a fresh-breath gum, or suck on a mint before you two kiss. You might even come up with a cute way to remind him in the moment. Let’s say he leans in for a smackeroo, and you ask, “Are you lickable?” or “Minty mouth or tobacco tongue?” Check in advance what ways he prefers you to use to remind him to freshen up a bit for your kisses.

Vary your kisses. If you think he’s been chewing (or smoking or whatever), keep your kisses closed-mouth or kiss other places on him. Then as soon as you know his mouth is fresh, move in for the make-out. Don’t be stingy with the kisses, but give these clues as to when you are more open to open-mouth kissing. He might notice the pattern, ask what’s going on, or you can even explain. Hopefully, he’ll understand that you do desire to put your mouth on his, but you feel more comfortable doing so when his mouth is clean.

Use a demonstration. This one totally depends on what sense of humor your husband has! Read him carefully and proceed cautiously. But if you want to demonstrate to him what your issue with the tobacco is, you might pick a substance that he hates and eat it in front of him. Then move in for a kiss and watch his reaction. If he flinches, then you can laugh and say something like, “What? You don’t want a garlic kiss?” If you two laugh about it, you can explain that you feel the same way about the tobacco. I could easily make this point in my house by devouring tuna-fish and going in for the kill; my hubby, meanwhile, knows better than to kiss me after eating peanut butter. Hopefully, your husband will understand your point and approach kissing accordingly. (My sweet man even warns me now: “I just ate peanut butter. Let me brush my teeth first.” I jump away from his lips like a wild hokey-pokey move and wait for the fresh mouth.)

Get over it. All that said, it won’t hurt you to kiss someone who has been chewing, smoking, drinking, eating onions, etc. You can retrain your mind to focus on the physical sensations of the kiss. It will take time to move your thoughts away from “gross” to “great.” But our brains are pretty powerful, and we can master our thought processes by practicing. If you want to try this, simply use this approach when you begin to kiss: Every time your mind turns to the yuck factor, refocus to think about how his tongue is touching yours, or the feel of his hand on your back, or the texture of his hair as you run your hand through. Get the idea? Over time, your mind will readjust, and you’ll be able to think about the kiss more than the tobacco that was there an hour ago.

Use masks. I’m joking. But I found this interesting picture:

Couple with surgical masks kissing

When your dear hubby does present himself all fresh and kissable, make it worth his while. In the meantime, if you want a little more about kissing generally, I did a series on the loveliness of lips locking: In Celebration of the Kiss; The Punctuation of a Kiss; and A Little Instruction for the Kiss.

Best wishes and happy smooching!

10 thoughts on “When His Kiss Tastes Bad

  1. Sis

    My husband hates to kiss me if I’m wearing lipstick, even if it is the staying-on kind. I have to wipe it off before he comes home.

    1. J

      My hubby’s not too crazy about lipstick either. I tend toward tinted chapstick around him (love Burt’s Bees).

    1. J

      I know some Christians argue that you should wait until you’re married or engaged to kiss, but I personally don’t believe that’s necessary. I wrote this post for husbands and wives because that is my target audience. However, I would expect the principles to translate to dating or engaged couples as well. Thanks for the question.

  2. Anonymous

    My DH does smoke and drink alcohol, which I find both taste and smell terrible. I am already not fond of kissing and his habits make it that much harder for me to show him affection in this manner.

    1. J

      Hope something in this post helps! You can also pray that he will stop. Sadly, there is a reason for the saying “like kissing an ashtray.”

  3. Erin (Mystery32)

    Matt and I made an agreement early on that we are free to tell each other when the other’s breath smells. It works out nicely because we have both had times when we need to say “Umm… you might want to chew some gum or brush your teeth real quick…” There are no hurt feelings because we had already talked about it and both had our turns of having stinky breath. I also have a rule that he does not get kissed when he smokes cigars. He doesn’t do so often, but when it comes down to it, he must choose which he wants more. 😉 I like to say that I’m saving his life in the process!

    1. J

      I know a bunch of men now who are into cigars. I don’t get it. I hope hubby opts for your pretty mouth over some stinky cigar the majority of he time, Erin!

  4. Anonymous

    My hubby just generally doesn’t brush his teeth very often. I’m super grossed-out when he tries to kiss me with a nasty-tasting mouth. I haven’t yet found a delicate way to remind him, he gets mad no matter what I try! He doesn’t care what my breath smells like.

  5. Grace Pamer

    So glad my hubby gave up the smoking. It really was like kissing an ash tray at times. Now its great, well apart from mutual morning avoidance until teeth clean! 😉 They should invent a robot to drop a spray into your mouth just before you wake up or something.

    Thanks I’ll tweet this out
    Grace

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