The Opposite Sex 

On the mouth

On the mouth

BEN: A frustratedly single friend of mine found himself recently in a bit of a conundrum. He’d been through his share of romantic liaisons that didn’t have a shot in hell—including a series of trysts with an old girlfriend who was a walking, talking sex machine. But then he met what he thought might be the perfect woman: She was cute, but more important, she was bright, funny, and charming, and that’s the holy trinity for possible mates. Interest was strong, and things were proceeding apace when my friend encountered a major problem on a recent date.

Upon returning to his abode after a night out, a makeout session ensued. All of his hopes and dreams were dashed when she responded to his advances with a fatal, small-mouthed, timid-tongued kiss. My friend reported that for three hours, he wanted nothing more than for her to ”open wide and shove her tongue in my mouth.“ So now he’s faced with a potential girlfriend dilemma: Can he overcome the poor kissing skills and concentrate on her personality? Is it possible that she could learn new kissing skills? Would it be worth waiting to see if other sexual skills might make up for the poor spit-swapping style? Or does he call it irreconcilable differences and look elsewhere?

I think I can say for both genders that good kissing is essential. You can be the most drop-dead gorgeous creature on Earth, but weak kissing can halt a motor from running anytime. So what makes good kissing? I suppose it’s one of those situations where it’s to each his or her own—you’ve just got to hope the other person’s style will fit yours. But this much I know: There’s just no turning back from a bad makeout session. Kissing is like walking. It’s something you just do naturally and without any thought. It’s your sexual thumbprint, an innate and unconscious instinct.

For future reference, though, let me offer a man’s perspective on this kissing issue. I think wetness is a definite key. Many of our sexual goals revolve around moisture, so I think this is a particular necessity. And contrary to many female assumptions, we do like to be kissed. An aggressive kisser is a good thing. Truth is, it gets boring always having to take the lead. And for God’s sake, don’t suck the tongue; twist it, turn it, wiggle it, but don’t suck on it. I made out with a girl once who seemed to think this was some sort of sexy practice. The place where my tongue connected to my mouth was sore for days.

You can’t lay good groundwork if you don’t have a good foundation. Badly executed kissing undermines all future work on the couch and in the bedroom. Don’t keep one eye open to see what the other person’s doing. Don’t break rhythm to ask if he’d like some water. Let yourself go, get caught up in the moment. And if your partner can’t match your method, move on to the next candidate.

DANNY: After five consecutive Mardi Gras, I consider myself a bit of a kissing connoisseur. Every once in a while, you’re going to get stuck with the guy who’s been doing nothing but drinking, smoking, and eating Lucky Dogs for four days straight. The kissing might be good, but the breath is going to send you reeling. Conversely, I remember one adorable frat boy I kissed. I started walking away and then turned around and fought my way back down Bourbon Street just to kiss him again. It was that good.

I agree that there’s nothing worse than a bad kisser, but who’s to blame? People learn about kissing from television, movies, and magazines when they’re young. Every kiss is well-executed after about 10 takes. When have you ever seen two people break away from each other after a screen kiss and wipe off their chins?

It doesn’t help that there are countless people who never truly get educated about sex and romance. When I was in the fifth grade, all the girls had to get signed permission from our parents to see The Movie. The Movie was all about menstruation and maxi pads—what was happening to our bodies and how to deal with it. Where were the boys, you ask? On an extended recess. The boys should have had a movie too. One about why bra snapping is bad, what girls are going through when they’re on their periods, the difference between models and real women, and why tongue jabbing is not considered kissing.

Another part of the problem is that no one thinks he’s a bad kisser—or, for that matter, a bad lover. So you take a guy who’s never been taught how to do anything right, combined with the fact that he thinks he knows how to do everything right, and you’ve got a real letdown. Case in point: A friend of mine was dating a guy who violated an important rule—he went down before he went up. That’s right, he ran right to third base, completely ignoring second. Which just goes to show, you may think you’re doing fine with a good first baseman, and the next thing you know, you’ve got a man on third who hasn’t even ventured north for a nipple.

I’ll be the first one to admit that the rules and regulations of any sort of sexual contact are confusing and subject to change from person to person. So like my friend, you may end up with a good kisser who’s otherwise a lousy lover; or maybe it’s the reverse. But when you do get it right, what a joy it is.

Is kissing a deal-breaker in a relationship? I’ll have to agree with Ben and say yes. It’s shallow, but it’s true. He could be the perfect guy (as if there is such a thing), but it just isn’t worth it. And it only takes one hot, three-hour makeout session with a good kisser that leaves your body humming to know why.

E-mail your questions for Danny and Ben to oppositesex@nashvillescene.com.

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