Not too long ago, I had an interesting conversation with a few other wives. The topic of discussion was What Happened to Kissing?!
The general consensus was that once men got married and knew that kissing could lead to really good stuff (yay, sex!), they seemed to want to skip smooching and aim for their real target from the get-go. And these ladies were, understandably, disappointed.
Now I’m not here to bash men. Plenty of guys enjoy kissing too. And this was hardly a statistical sample of wives from which I could draw firm conclusions about marriages in general. But I’d be willing to bet my cat — who likes me least among everyone in the family, but I digress — that most marriages could use a lot more kissing.
Kissing is one of the romantic activities that too often falls by the wayside in the busyness of our lives and the settling in of our marriages.
Why should you be kissing more?
Health Benefits. Practically speaking, there are health benefits to kissing. Among the perks are lowered blood pressure, easing of cramps or headache pain, facial muscle toning, and cavity-fighting. And contrary to the opinion some might have out there, kissing actually boosts your immune system by introducing your mate’s “germs” to you in small, manageable doses that build up your ability to fight off illness later.
Body Chemicals. Kissing also releases several body chemicals that increase sexual desire and bond you to your beloved. Dopamine triggers the reward system in our brain; endorphins give us a joyful buzz; phenylethylamine has an aphrodisiac effect; adrenaline energizes you; and oxytocin makes you feel more attached to your kiss-mate. In addition, men transfer some testosterone to their wives when they swap saliva which helps to fuel her sex drive. And if that isn’t enough, we also release pheromones, which are attraction chemicals that we, more or less, “sniff out” with each other. All those body effects gives us happy feelings about the experience, our partner, and the potential for sex later.
Intimacy-building. Beyond the biology, kissing builds relationship. The experience of kissing requires us to be face-to-face, even eye-to-eye, which is a very intimate posture. Up close, we’re also engaging our olfactory senses, and smell is the sense most tied to memory. Indeed, a research study showed that people had better recall of their first kiss than their first sexual intercourse. And it’s a personal expression of yourself that has so many variations. Putting your lips together is a lot like a dance, with you having to adjust to one another’s moves to make things work smoothly. It forces you to move in rhythm with your partner.
Love expression. Song of Songs begins with this verse: “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine.” This biblical wife links the experience of kissing with knowing how delightful her husband’s love is. This theme is strongly represented in our literature, entertainment, and culture as well. Just think about the amazing kisses from novels you’ve read or movies you’ve seen or even weddings you’ve attended, and how you walked away thinking, “Wow, they’re really into each other.” Or think back to one of your favorite kisses with your husband and how that made you feel. Did you get the tingles? Feel warmth spread through your body? Experience a swell of love in your heart?
Do the genders differ?
Let me return quickly to my original conversation with those wives, who were wishing their husbands would get the memo and bring back some passionate kissing to their marriage. While I didn’t have a statistical sample, one research study indicated that men really do view kissing differently from women. On the whole, of course.
“Males tended to kiss as a means to an end — to gain sexual favors or to reconcile. In contrast, females kiss to establish and monitor the status of their relationship, and to assess and periodically update the level of commitment on the part of a partner” (University at Albany, A Kiss is Still a Kiss — or is it?).
If you’re a guy reading this post, let me break it down for you the way men often like things said — no hints, no frills, to the point. If you want your wife to feel confident of your love, secure in your marriage, and stirred up sexually, you’d better get to kissing her. And kissing her the way she likes to be kissed. None of that slurp-up-her-lips stuff. Y’all know what I’m talking about: Woo her with your mouth. I believe completely in your ability to sweep your lady off her feet with some sexy, sexy kissing. And will it lead to sex? You might get lucky right then and there. But you might not; rather, you might slowly nurture the romance and excitement in your marriage in ways that will pay dividends in your relationship and in your bedroom in the future. Besides, you might find out that kissing for the sake of kissing is pretty awesome after all.
What’s stopping you from kissing more?
Once you understand the benefits, what more do you need to start kissing again in your marriage? I think you need three things:
Commitment. Prioritize kissing in your marriage. Make it a habit for a while, even a goal. Like you could say, “We’re going to kiss for several seconds every day when we get home.” After a little while, you probably won’t need to think about it. You’ll just enjoy it enough to do it automatically.
Time. We often feel so in a hurry that we don’t take time for little things like kissing. It seems like an optional activity, so it doesn’t happen as much as it once did. But what if you devoted just five minutes a day to kissing? Could you find five minutes? Make time.
Communication. Some of you aren’t even sure you want to kiss more. Because if kissing is like a dance, your husband is constantly stepping all over your feet, so to speak. Basically, the kissing isn’t that terrific. Here’s where you both need to speak up and talk about what makes a great kiss. Be positive about asking for changes in what he’s been doing, but offer what really curls your toes. Tutor each other, practice often, become experts.
Now what do you think? Are you kissing enough in your marriage?
Sources: CNN – 8 health benefits of kissing; Web MD – What’s So Great About Kissing?; Men’s Fitness – Kissing Helps Boost Your Immune System; Sparkly Science – The science behind kissing: 10 things that happen when we kiss; Daily Mail – You’re more likely to remember your first kiss than losing your virginity