Pucker up

puckerup_headerFor women, kissing is not always the appetizer. Often it’s the main course.

by Sheila Wray Gregoire

Have you kissed your wife today? I mean really kissed her. Not some split second peck, but have you enveloped her in your arms, pressed your lips against hers and given her a smooch to make her toes curl?

No? Why not?

Do you realize the benefits of kissing? Dentists say it produces extra saliva to slow tooth decay. Doctors tell us it boosts our metabolism to twice its normal rate. Psychologists tell us it helps relieve stress. But ask a woman, and she’ll tell you that kissing makes her happy!

I’m not sure if men realize how much women love kissing. From the time we are small, little girls are mesmerized by kisses. When we dream about our wedding day, we focus on the dress, the flowers and the music, but it all culminates in the kiss. We rarely fast-forward from there. Even as a teen, when I imagined my dream date, I pictured strolling hand on hand, or sitting on a bench with his arm around me, all leading up to that magical kiss beneath the moonlight.

As a guy, you probably pictured more than just the kiss. And perhaps, if I’m honest, I’d admit that we girls dreamed of that, too. On the whole, though, it wasn’t the potential for wandering hands that made us breathless; it was that sweep-me- off-my-feet smooch. That’s what we practiced into pillows, giggled with best friends about and drifted off to sleep imagining.

And then we got married and the kissing stopped. What a rip-off.

When Keith and I were engaged, we took kissing to an art form because we had so much practice. Everything else, of course, was off-limits since we wanted to wait for marriage, but we indulged where we could.

But after the wedding I felt kissing had become too dangerous. When we were first married, Keith treated kisses as if they were down-payments for something later. And since I couldn’t guarantee what my mood would be like when bedtime loomed, I decided kissing was too much like an IOU to make it a safe activity.

Maybe you’ve encountered this same phenomenon in your marriage. Have you ever planted a stupendous kiss on your beloved, felt her melt in your arms, and then had her suddenly turn cold when your hands began to wander?

What just happened? She was enjoying herself, wasn’t she? Doesn’t she like it when you touch her? Yes. And no.

In general, men need sex, but they can take or leave affectionate embraces. Women, on the other hand, thrive on that affection; it’s sex we don’t necessarily need. If every time you get affectionate you try to move it to the next level, you cheapen something that is really important to her.

For women, kissing is not always the appetizer to something; often it’s the main course in itself. Sure it may be accompanied by sex, but it’s also available on the side, from the á la carte menu. And to us, that can make it sweeter. We need intimacy and emotional connection, and kissing can deliver that even better than sex. Our bodies are pressed together, we’re breathing the same air, and we can’t turn our faces away, as we can during sex.

That doesn’t mean women don’t want sex! But if your wife feels feel like you’re kissing her only as step one in a four-step process, then you’re telling her, “I’m only spending time with you right now to get something I want.” What she wants to hear is, “I love just being with you and experiencing you, however we do that.”

I know kissing without it going anywhere can be frustrating for a guy, and perhaps you’d rather chuck it to save yourself that hassle. But if that’s your attitude, then the only rolling your sheets are likely to experience will be because your wife turned you over when you were snoring.

That’s because unlike men, women need an excuse to get aroused. It doesn’t just happen. Kiss your wife, and you get her body beginning to think in that direction. If you assume that it has to go in that direction, though, she feels the pressure and can’t relax, and now the best key she has to turning her libido switch on is gone. Kiss her during the day, with no agenda, and she’s more likely to be interested in wandering hands at night!

That may sound akin to asking a lion to be a vegetarian, but the more you give her affection, without always expecting something else, the more likely you are to get that something else. She’ll feel valued, loved, and desirable, so she’s more likely to act on those feelings.

Try this experiment for a month. Every day, kiss your wife for at least 15 seconds straight. Don’t let your hands wander too much (unless hers do!). And then walk off. You just may find her begging you to come back for more!

Sheila is the author of several marriage books, including Honey, I Don’t Have a Headache Tonight: Help for women who want to feel more in the mood. You can find her speaking at marriage conferences around the country, or at www.SheilaWrayGregoire.com.


The article above was featured in the September 2009 issue of SEVEN magazine.