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Edel Jarboe
Kissing Connectivity: Keeping Your Relationship Hot

A kiss can mean so much, or nothing at all. Remember when you were five years old and you thought kissing was yucky? It wasn't until adolescence that the meaning of a kiss was slowly revealed to us. Between giggles we confessed our first kisses, our secret initiation into the "adult" world. No one talks about kisses anymore. Oh, we read about them in romance novels or see them on the big screen, but no one discusses them in hushed whispers between blushes and giggles. We are adults. Kissing is commonplace for us now. Most of us kiss our partners without thinking at least once a day. But shouldn't a kiss always be special?

What Is a Kiss?

A kiss is more than the sharing of lips and breath. It is a mingling of hearts and souls. A slight tingle, a funny feeling in the tummy, a racing heart, is to be expected. A kiss is an intimate connection to another human being and a simple way to express love and affection. It is also a way for us to confirm that our partner is "the one" and traditionally, the marriage vow is sealed with a kiss as well. What better way to seal the promise of love?

The First Kiss

The anticipated first kiss is one that we both long for and dream about. And, whether remembered as sweet and tender, shy and hesitant, or as bumped heads and noses, we don't forget it. A kiss is a thing of wonder. We wonder if and when the object of our affections will bestow us with a kiss. We wonder if our knees will get weak, our pulse will race, or if it will be a dud. So much depends on a kiss.

We analyze every detail of our interaction with the opposite sex with the precision of a scientist. He smiled at you when you walked by. Does he like you? You went to see a movie with subtitles and he seemed to like it. Does he really like foreign movies or is he only trying to please you? Will he call you again? You go out on your second date. And then, somehow, you kiss. Your heart soars. He likes you! Could this be love?

According to Leslie Parrott, Ed.D, co-director of the Center for Relationship Development ( at Seattle Pacific University and author of "Relationships: Making Bad Relationships Better and Good Relationships Great", women do read more into kissing than men. "It can make them feel attractive, cared for, and even boost their self-esteem. Women unconsciously use kissing as a barometer for how much they're respected, valued, and loved," says Dr. Parrott.

The Passionate Kiss

You can't wait to feel and touch each other. Your mouths and hands are busy, your hearts are pounding, and you can literally see sparks fly. Passion is a wonderful thing. It makes us feel more alive, more connected to our partner. But, realistically, one cannot expect passion in every kiss. Kisses can range from slow, sweet ones to urgent, fiery ones. Moreover, it us unrealistic to expect passion every single day of our lives.

How many times in books, the movies, and in real life has it been proven that a relationship built on passion alone cannot survive? Without a deep, emotional connection between two people, a lasting love cannot thrive. And by lasting love, I mean one that can withstand the ups and downs of every day life. Factors like compatibility, similar values and goals, mutual respect, trust, and friendship should be weighed alongside physical attraction. A passion that feeds on itself will eventually burn out.

Are you and your partner in a romantic rut? Have your kisses with your partner lost their zing lately? Don't throw in the towel just yet. As your relationship continues to grow, continue to grow the passion. If you and your partner concentrate on feeling an emotional connection with each other, you will make a passionate connection as well. "For couples who have been [together] for some time, kissing isn't as exciting as it was when you first started dating," says Dr. Leslie Parrott. "But you need to continue to make kissing a priority," she continues. "Passionate kissing is great but one of the goals of kissing is to stay connected."

The Perfunctory Kiss

"Bye, Honey. Have a nice day," we say with a quick peck on the lips as we leave in the morning to start our workday. It's part of the routine. Just one more thing to do on our way out the door. Often, once the days of courtship are over, couples tend to fall into a routine, which is anything but romantic.

A kiss can communicate so much. Love, tenderness, passion, and devotion, to name just a few. It can also serves as a barometer of a relationship. "Because kissing is a part of the daily interaction a couple shares. It can send spontaneous and frequent signs of affection and love," Dr. Parrott states. In the early stages, we kiss our partners a lot because we need the reassurance that a kiss can bring. Once we are settled into a relationship, we need less reassurance because we feel more secure in our partner's love. But, as time goes on, there is the danger that a couple will stop expressing their love with kisses. The kisses start to taper off. You only kiss hello or good bye or while making love. The love that is between you, while cherished, is not something that you think about anymore. It is just there. Sometimes spoken, sometimes not.

No one likes to be taken for granted, especially not your partner, and your love shouldn't be either. A kiss is such a simple way to keep the love you and your partner share alive. Notice that I said share. Both you and your partner owe it to each other to work at keeping the love and passion alive. Yes, love requires work too. Anything worth doing or worth having does. However, Dr. Parrott also advises "while it's great when you and your partner are on the same passion scale, there will be times when one partner will go through a quieter time sexually. Don't take it personally or withdraw. Stay connected by talking and touching and giving them space."

Kissing 101

1. Remember how special you and your partner are together.

2. Be creative. Kiss your partner's forehead, eyelids, cheeks, nose and chin, before kissing your partner on the mouth.

3. If you don't like your partner's kissing style, tell them gently how you would like to be kissed. Better yet, show them.

4. Gently caress your partner's hands, neck, or back as you kiss. Make it more than a mere meeting of the lips.

5. If you don't have time for a "real kiss", make a verbal promise of "Later." You and your partner will have something to look forward to and you will have put the magic of anticipation back into your relationship.
Edel Jarboe

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