The Lost Art of Kissing

The subject of kissing, or actually the lack of it, has come up recently in conversations at parties. People were bemoaning not only the lack of kissing, but the increase in bad kissers in the past few years. This sent me on a journey to get comments from other people as to whether they had noticed anything, and the responses were interesting.

Marah Fellicce of Red Bank, New Jersey, said that she, too, has noticed “the world of kissing has significantly diminished. Kissing can be a wonderful and intimate experience, one that can in some cases, rival the main event.” She says there is “an over sensualizing of the experience between any two people, and a built in desire to hurry up, but what can you expect in an age of instant popcorn?” Franklin Riga, who emphasized the fact that he was a straight male, agrees: “I think that perhaps kissing is becoming a lost art.”

Romance novelist, Kathy Newburn says that kissing is, “totally sensory-all five, in fact. You will feel each other, hear, smell, see and taste each other, all factors that build desire and pleasure. So linger and enjoy, and ultimately practice mastering the art of the kiss.”

The author of “Kissing and Cooking for Couples,” Kim Reutzel, says she believes “kissing is a way to stay and get connected in more ways then one. The touch allows the physical juices to flow creating a soul connecting experience that can rekindle the fires within.”

What Beverly Hills psychiatrist, relationship expert and author of the best selling book “Bad Boys: Why We Love Them, How to Live with Them and When to Leave Them,” Dr. Carol Leiberman, has to say about the recent drop in kissing explains a lot. “The decline in kissing is in part due to our ever-growing ‘to-do’ lists and ever-diminishing time.” She goes on to explain how kissing is actual “the most intimate part of a sexual encounter, since the true feelings of each partner are communicated to the other during this act. People can fake feelings during other aspects of sex, relying upon lust for erections or even orgasms. But they can’t fake what they really feel towards their partner during a kiss. Men and women have become increasingly afraid of intimacy. They don’t want to reveal their true feelings through a kiss because they are afraid of getting too close and then getting hurt.”

Mary Jo Fay, author of several books on relationships, echoes the thought: “People ARE jumping to sex so fast that they are missing the amazing intimacy, anticipation, and heightened awareness that spending more time on kissing and not rushing the sex part can provide.”

“For starters, it’s very intimate and binds you in a way that sex does (you are exchanging body fluids if nothing else),” explains Alison Blackman, publisher and writer for AdviceSisters Publications. “Perhaps that is why prostitutes don’t care to kiss, either. A romantic kiss can mean anything from ‘I like you’ to ‘I adore you’ to ‘I just want hot sex and then I want to forget you.’ It’s an emotionally charged activity. And I think we spend so much time in front of our computer screens that physical connections of all types have diminished. Not a good thing, but a sign of our times.”

But it’s not just the lack of kissing. The other part of the problem is bad kissing. One woman who asked not to be identified because she doesn’t want to hurt her husband’s feelings said, “I have been married almost eight years and since the first month have hated kissing him. He sticks his tongue in my mouth and just wiggles it around like a worm having spasms.”

“I’d make good kissing a deal breaker,” says thrice married Jessie McCaskill. “I now know if someone can’t give themselves up to the kiss, they aren’t naturally sensual people.” Dating expert Mary Jo Fay agrees, saying she believes “bad kissing can be enough to say NEXT to someone else without a moment’s hesitation. Bad kissing usually leads me to believe that the sex won’t be good either.”

Marah Felliccee has even gone so far to teach classes in the art of kissing around the U.S. in New Orleans, Boston and soon in New York City. But she’s not alone. As a matter of fact, you can even go so far as to get a certificate in kissing from Sexologist and Founder of Loveology University, Dr. Ava Cadell, who says she has “made it a priority to educate people on the lost art of kissing with a certified course.” There is even a whole web site ( www.kissing.com ) dedicated to teach people how to be better kissers and the various methods to do just that. “We all love it…but some of us just don’t know that we love it till we’re taught!” says Portland, Oregon resident Don Clarkson.

Really, the easiest way to improve is to ask someone who really is a good kisser to teach it to you. And think about how much fun that can be.

Perhaps all is not lost. Maybe instead of being a driving force in the front seat of human sexuality, it has moved to a place in the backseat. And conceivably it has not lost its appeal so much because of the way people think about sex. Kissing went from the hand, to the mouth and now to the genitals. It wasn’t so very long ago that oral sex was seen as very intimate. Now it’s just another way of showing affection, much as kissing was years ago.

But Ann Keeler Evans, the Marriage Examiner columnist for the “Philadelphia Examiner” doesn’t really believe that kissing has lost its place in intimacy. She has a very high regard for it when she stated in one of her recent columns that “kissing is an art form. It is not a prelude to any thing; it is the culmination. It is not an appetizer, but dessert! It is the chocolate soufflĂ© of desserts. It is the fine wine savored not only with food but also alone.”

Kissing will never really go out of style. Teenagers on dates are a good example of that. But as some of the people interviewed for this article stated, couples who have been together for a while seem to lose interest. Ki Mirra of Burlington, Vermont put it that people “really relish the closeness that kissing encourages.”

And certainly for many people, kissing a truly unspoken form of communication. Architect, Christine Leonard, who has to deal with couples a lot in her business, says she sees a lot of hello/goodbye kissing between these couples and feels she can usually “see true love in a kiss.”

Hope does spring eternal. For some kissing is sometimes a replacement for more intimate encounters. But for most people it is not something they will ever choose to give up. Just as a good painter wants to always get better, practice the art as long as it takes to be a master artist.

Ace McKay, author of the “The Marriage Playbook says she believes that every person needs to become a leader “in setting the trend for kissing’s BIG comeback” by being willing to show affection for the person you most care for, even if it is in public. In other words, set the example by being the example.

You Must Remember This – It Matters Why and When You Kiss

It was a lovely, and pretty typical, Friday evening. The kids were out with friends and the house was all theirs. They were snuggled together on the couch watching this week’s movie choice. They took turns choosing the movie of the week.

Tonight’s movie was a classic, Casablanca. They both knew it well and enjoyed it every time. They hadn’t watched it in awhile, but when the song came on, “As time goes by”, they both sang along. At the end, they sighed, smiled at each other, and, naturally, kissed to mark the line, “A kiss is just a kiss.”

When the movie ended, Tia turned to Tucker and said, “I liked that kiss. We should do more of that.”

Tucker, recognizing his cue, immediately kissed her gently on the lips. Tia smiled and said, “I like that.” After a couple of moments, Tia said, “Tucker, why don’t we kiss more often? We used to kiss all the time. People used to tease us about the dangers of chapped lips. When did we stop kissing so much?”

Tucker wrinkled his forehead as he considered the question. “Hmm. I don’t know the answer, but I think I know the solution.” And he pulled her closer and locked lips with her. This time it wasn’t so much a gentle kiss as a suggestive one. The suggestion was made all the more obvious by the way he was pulling against her.

To his confusion, Tia pulled away and started talking again.

“Whoa, Tucker. That is not where I was going with the conversation.”

“Tia, we just watched one of the most romantic movies ever made. Then you made a point about us kissing more. I thought our direction was pretty obvious.” Tucker wasn’t so much angry as he was just completely confused. But he was not a novice at this marriage communication thing; he had skills! He reoriented and sat back a bit. He made eye contact and made an inquiry, smiling so that Tia felt that he was on her side.

“Okay, Tia, help me understand what you were thinking.”

Tia had learned to trust that Tucker really wanted to know, so she explained.

“I think we’ve gotten so familiar and casual with each other and so busy that we don’t often stop and just connect through kissing. Kissing means we have to stop doing everything else and just for those few moments be totally with each other. It’s a lovely thing, but I think it’s an interruption of a sort that we don’t often make time or thought for.”

Tucker nodded. This made sense to him. They’d even made do too often with just making a kissing gesture across the room when one or the other of them left the house.

But, looking at Tia, Tucker had a suspicion that there was another thought there that she needed to share.

“Tia, there’s something else on your mind. Spill it.” He smiled at her to encourage her to speak freely.

“Well, I think it was more than just time going by. I may have to take some responsibility for this. I think I started to avoid kissing you because I didn’t want to raise your expectations. A lot of the time when we’d kiss, especially if I initiated the kiss, you took it from gentle affection to something more passionate. And then it would seem that you expected it to evolve into sex. I didn’t want to give you that message all the time. So I think I just stopped kissing. But I really miss the kissing.”

Tia looked sad.

Tucker looked thoughtful. His forehead wrinkled again.

“Well, I guess I have to share that responsibility. It’s pretty much true that I would like most of those kisses to be passionate and to lead to more. You’re always beautiful to me, Tia, and I almost always want to be passionate with you. But you’ve explained to me before that your mindset isn’t always in that place, so I guess I get that the passionate stuff doesn’t always feel welcome or well-timed.”

Tia smiled broadly and lovingly at Tucker when she heard how well he had listened and how well he understood her feelings, even when they were different from his own.

Tucker hit the jackpot when he then said, “So how about I just follow your lead if you take the kiss up a notch?” At which point she most clearly did.

KISS is Still Alive After Four Decades of Rock and Roll

KISS became a household name throughout the decade of the seventies. Rock music could never be the same. When the new fab four emerged onto the music scene, they made and unforgettable impression. Four men from New York dressed in leather outfits, high heeled boots, and identity concealing makeup would captivate the world and change the entertainment industry forever. Whether you love them or hate them, everybody knows KISS. The outfits, the makeup, and overall appearance of the band has made them one of the most recognizable bands in the world. Back in the early 1970’s, their stage theatrics amazed and confused (in some cases) concert-goers around the world. With roots in New York City, and all four members residing in the vicinity, they put together a local following initially, and after a few years of album releases and constant touring, proceeded to go national and by the mid seventies eventually rise to international recognition. During the 1970’s, KISS would tour endlessly, appear on TV shows, and promote their new sound and look any way they could. That’s where things got interesting. KISS merchandise began to appear not only at the rock concerts, but at your local toy store, record store, gift shop, etc. KISS, with the help of Aucoin management, began producing and promoting everything KISS. There were dolls, notebooks, posters, keychains, transistor radios, board games, and much more. Although KISS wasn’t the first band to produce themed merchandise, they were the first to do it successfully and at a level never seen before. Many of these products would eventually be re-classified as KISS collectibles a few decades later. These KISS products would eventually help them to earn the “hottest band in the world” badge. Their arsenal of albums, eyecatching appearance, KISS themed merchandise, and fiery stageshow would put this band in a class all by itself. This level of fame unfortunately caused turmoil among band members, substance abuse entered the picture as well, and the band began to self destruct. Peter Criss, the band’s drummer was the first to part ways with the group. He was immediately replaced and the band played on.

As the 1980’s arrived, many changes were taking place within the band including the departure of Ace Frehley the spaceman, a fan favorite and original guitarist. His replacement lasted just a few years and then was replaced as well. Overall KISS had a total of four lead guitar players during the 1980’s. The biggest change however was the removal of the makeup and the beginning of a new era for KISS with a toned-down stage show and performances in street clothes (more or less). The band would release a total of ten albums throughout the decade and would sell more concert tickets than even they expected. The band’s new appearance and evolving rock sound kept fans coming back for more.

The 1990’s were eventful in terms of KISS. Their drummer, Eric Carr passed away from cancer in 1991. Eric became a fan favorite performing with KISS longer than their original drummer Peter Criss. KISS eventually moved forward with a new drummer and a new album, but there was more to come in the 90’s and it came in the form of something totally unexpected… the KISS convention. Fans around the world were beginning to gather to commemorate KISS in their makeup days. Tribute bands, KISS memorabilia and collectibles, as well as plenty of die hard fans would pack various venues to celebrate the KISS they remember from the 1970’s. These KISS conventions were never sanctioned by KISS but were truly a sight to see. Were the original band members watching? We’ll never know but we can imagine they were. The next event worth mentioning took place in 1995 when all four original members took the stage for an unplugged show, an MTV production. An idea that some fans rumored was brought on by the successful conventions and the growing number of KISS collectibles. This show would eventually trigger a reunion tour complete with makeup and stageshow as only KISS could do it. The fans went wild for KISS. They sold out shows around the globe and made guest appearances anywhere they could. The kings of promotion were back in the limelight just like days of old. The merchandising reincarnated into something fans had never seen before. Dolls and keychains gave way to lava lamps, bottled wine, video games, and even a KISS casket. KISS was big business again and with the fame and fortune came the same old problems again.

By 2000 it appeared Peter Criss and Ace Frehley were both beginning to tire of the KISS experience both with rumored problems. Original members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley showed no sign of slowing down. Touring continued and the band eventually settled down with drummer Eric Singer, who had already been performing with the band after replacing Eric Carr, and guitar tech Tommy Thayer. Although the touring has not been nearly as intense in recent years, as of 2009 the band is still performing, still wearing makeup, and still selling concert tickets and of course, KISS collectibles.