Our culture is obsessed with kissing. Should you do it? Should you not do it? Are you doing it well enough? Here’s how you could do it better. And make sure to have some horror stories about the worst ones!
And whether you’re pro or anti-kissing on the first date, it’s likely that you’ve at least thought about it. But have you ever thought about why it’s such a big thing?
As it turns out, kissing reveals far more than someone’s favorite gum flavor.
A Quick Health Scan
Andréa Demirjian, professional Kissing Expert and author of Kissing: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About One of Life’s Sweetest Pleasures, recently spoke to Well and Good about the science behind our smooches.
She explains that the act of kissing goes back to caveman days. “It’s believed cavemen sought a mate to procreate by smelling and tasting the saliva of young cavewomen.” These prehistoric Romeos instinctually relied on an immunoglobulin in our saliva that indicates good health.
Kissing doesn’t just reveal one’s health; it also tells you a lot about their hygiene. Dry, chapped lips and foul breath can mean your match isn’t worried about cleanliness. Or worse, maybe they don’t brush their teeth at all – do you really want to go back for date number two armed with that info?
Finally, a snog can disclose snacks your boo might’ve been munching on before your date. Rich, fried and spicy foods linger on the breath longer and leave unpleasant aftertastes in the mouth. Plant-based foods tend to fade quickly and leave a neutral odor.
A Peek Into Their Personality
People uncover a lot about themselves during intimate moments. And while none of us want to be remembered our worst, most awkward kissing fumbles, how we kiss reveals a lot about the kind of partners we are.
Tender, warm and playful kisses are all good signs. Kissing partners who are present, pleasant and paying attention to you are likely to be the same way in their relationships. (And let’s be honest, the bedroom, too.)
Alternatively, it’s important to notice when your partner isn’t present. True, there’s a very real possibility that they are nervous and stuck inside their heads. But aloofness could also be a sign of someone uninterested in making you their priority.
“If their kisses are stiff and swift, if they’re not taking the time to enjoy you or ensure your enjoyment, or they make you feel rushed, don’t expect them to give you a bite of their dessert or their last piece of gum,” Demirjian says.
No one wants a partner who is aloof or stingy with affection. So, pay attention to their kissing technique: it might clue you in to bigger problems down the road.
A Barometer For Personal Respect
Speaking of bigger problems, kissing can disclose perhaps the single most important thing about your partner: whether they respect your boundaries. As obvious as this one might seem, it’s often the most overlooked.
Kisses that are aggressive or one-sided are all red flags. Are you kissing your partner back, or are they forcing themselves on you? Passion is one thing, but overpowering is another.
To be clear, intense kissing does not make a sexual assaulter. Communication is critical when it comes to kissing. Everyone has their own styles, turn-ons and turn-offs. Unclear, unspoken or vague boundaries are bound to create miscommunications.
Plus, how will you tell if someone respects your boundaries if they never know what they are? Be firm and advocate for yourself. The right partner is going to think that’s one of the sexiest things about you.
In short, consent is key. Someone willing to cross that line is someone worth dumping.
A Close Up On Your Chemistry (Superficially Speaking)
Moreover, kissing gives us useful compatibility metrics on both superficial and scientific levels. It’s fair to assume someone with poor hygiene might not be too worried about keeping the house clean. So, if you’re the ultimate closet organizer, maybe it isn’t meant to be.
Further insights into your boo’s personality are worth considering, too. For example, one person’s confident is another person’s cocky. What might be endearing to some, others might perceive as timid. Be honest with yourself – do you like the person you’re kissing?
A make-out sesh can also determine whether you and your partner are operating at the same passion level. “If their kiss is more of a peck,” Demirjian explains, “they may not be into kissing or may not have a very lusty appetite.”
Asexuality is on the LGBTQ+ spectrum and is perfectly normal. But of course, a passionless smooch might also be a sign that there aren’t many sparks between the two of you. That’s okay, too. Don’t force it.
Scientific Data Collection
Finally, we send messages via pheromones. “Chemistry is really that intangible indication of something more primal as it relates to how individuals’ pheromones mix,” Demirjian says. “How your tastes, scents, and smells come together to make a perfect mix, like a unique house cocktail.”
According to Natalie Wolchover from Live Science, evidence suggests that we find these pheromones in sebum, an oily substance that coats our skin and hair. We use these pheromones to determine compatibility.
“Studies show that people usually prefer pheromones of those with different types of immune systems than theirs. This is possibly because this genetic difference would improve the health and vitality of any offspring they produced together,” Wolchover explains.
In conclusion, pay attention when you pucker up — there’s a lot to learn from that end-of-the-date first kiss.