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.