I know this will probably seem bizarre and even trivial, but please bear with me. I'm not even sure how to go about explaining myself, but here it goes: I absolutely hate to kiss. Whether it's a single, casual kiss or a make-out session, I have never in my life enjoyed kissing any of the men I've been with. Kissing, obviously, is such a fundamental aspect of romantic intimacy, that this has led to various problems in my relationships.
I don't think the root of the problem is something as simple as not wanting to kiss because it will lead to more intimacy, because I feel completely comfortable engaging in more intimate sexual acts. However, kissing has impaired my sexual satisfaction lots of times -- I'm so absorbed in thoughts about how distasteful kissing is and how resentful I feel about making out that I don't enjoy any of the more interesting things that are going on during the kissing.
In the past, the guys I've been with have often been one of two extremes: an extremely aggressive tongue-fiend, or a sloppy, lots of lip movement, extended-session make-out type. Neither of these styles appeals to me. For a time, I thought I just needed a guy to come along and give me a kiss that would knock me off my feet. But I think I've had enough experiences now (I'm 20, and I'm not tremendously experienced -- it's probably safe to say there are about 4-5 guys whose kissing style I've come to know fairly well) to clue me in that it can't simply be that all of these men were horrendous kissers.
Naturally, I've thought of the fact that I myself may be a terrible kisser -- it's entirely possible -- but I think the more probable (and not entirely contradictory) possibility is that I'm just an unengaged kisser. I probably kiss like I'm on the verge of falling asleep. Because I've never enjoyed kissing, it was never something I really wanted to get better at, never something I particularly cared about doing well. I usually mentally check out, set my lips on autopilot and then start compiling a weekend to-do list while making out.
This problem seems ludicrous, even to me, but it can have some serious consequences. In the past, I've unintentionally hurt the feelings of the man I'm with with my evasion tactics (as one boyfriend realized early and said, bewildered, "You always start talking when I kiss you.")
At present, there is no boyfriend; I've turned down quite a few date invitations for fear that I'll be obligated to engage in a goodnight kiss. It really has become a serious fear, the only thing in my life that I would consider nearing the status of phobia. I truly do want to move past this, since I'm tired of this constant anxiety and reluctant abstention from "making the first move" with guys I like.
My Lips Are Sealed
Dear My Lips Are Sealed,
Here's an idea: If there's a man you want to go out with, tell him you want to go out with him but you have to tell him something first, something that was driving you so crazy you actually wrote to an Internet advice columnist about it. That will get his interest. And then tell him just what you told me, about your past experience with kissing, and your fear that even if you like a guy a lot, you might not like kissing him. It will make for an interesting story.
He will probably ask you what the Internet advice columnist told you. Tell him that the Internet advice columnist told you that for you to have a successful kissing experience, you have to like the guy, and know him pretty well, and trust him, and be able to communicate with him without him freaking out and getting all weird and silent or saying "Please baby please baby please baby please." Tell him especially not to say "Please baby please baby please baby please." And tell him that if you get to like each other a lot, you'll be willing to try kissing him, but tell him not to push it. If you really like him, and you don't want to give him the wrong idea, you can even tell him that you're not saying you don't want to have sex with him, just that you've had some bad kissing experiences. But that's up to you -- it would be understandable if you didn't want to start talking about sex with him right away.
The main thing is to get the subject out there, in a lighthearted and non-creepy way, so it's not driving you crazy, so you're not worrying the whole night about that last moment of the evening when he walks you to your door and holds you by the waist and looks into your eyes and leans forward just a little. If you get to the door and he starts into his windup, tell him the Internet advice columnist reminded you to take this stage of the relationship slowly, especially if you really like the guy.
Want more advice from Cary? Read the "Since You Asked" Directory.