Loose lips

I love my man, but his kisses leave me cold. How can I teach him how to turn me on?

Published December 9, 2003 8:16PM (EST)

Dear Tracy,

I've never had this problem and I'm hoping you can help. I'm extremely attracted to my man, and vice versa. We are incredibly sexually compatible -- except in the kissing department. His kisses range from being just tolerable to being an outright turnoff. What's weird is that on the rest of my body, he kisses me perfectly. But when he kisses my mouth it's different. The problem: He has no tension in his lips. Loose lips creep me out.

He used to lead with his tongue and a way too open mouth. I got him to stop that. But he still kisses sort of like a toddler. The upside? He's eager to learn. So eager that it's endearing. So I ask him for more pressure, and he uses his whole head. I try kissing his hand, his cheek, his chest, using the exact pressure I'm looking for. Then I ask him to do the same to me. To just fit his lips to mine, using his muscles to introduce some tension. But his mouth is either too open, too closed, or too loose.

In his defense, I happen to know that he never really got a chance to practice just kissing before he first became sexually active as a young teen and he has to undo years of habit (he's a widower).

How can I teach my man how to kiss me?

Need to Be Kissed

Dear Need to Be Kissed,

Yours is a vexing problem experienced by many: You are attracted to -- and physically aroused by -- someone who leaves you feeling rather dissatisfied. You may hunger for sexual contact with him and you're (mostly) compatible in bed. That you find his eagerness endearing says you care for him. In many ways, it sounds like a good relationship. And yet, you say, a special ingredient is missing.

First of all, I think you can enjoy sex even if that longed-for ingredient isn't there. This, for me, is the difference between good sex and great sex. This might also be the difference between an interesting, meaningful relationship and that great sensual love of your life who may appear when you least expect. Lots of men and women settle for good sex in the absence of amazing sex, and that's not the worst choice you could make. It would be horrible if you were settling for bad sex -- but this isn't bad sex that you describe. It's good enough until a better fit comes along.

My question to you is, do you really need to be kissed? Before you define yourself as a person who needs to be kissed, perhaps you should ask yourself why. Is it, perhaps, a notion picked up during an earlier phase of your sex life? In high school, perhaps? Do you have orgasms only when kissing is involved? What happens when you just don't kiss him? If you have orgasms, perhaps you don't need to be kissed by this particular man. Perhaps you prefer to be kissed (by someone who knows how) but can do without it. What is it about kissing that you like? Is there another way to (almost) fulfill this desire by doing something else with him?

There may be a way to modify his style of kissing. If, for example, you take the lead -- without discussing it, kiss him on the mouth exactly as you like to be kissed -- he may "get it." Perhaps you're trying to reach his mind by combining words with physical demonstration when it's really just his lips that need a good talking to with your own. Get into the habit of kissing him like this -- and just don't let the annoying stuff happen. When he kisses in a way that turns you off, gently pull away and get busy with some other pleasure. Nibble his neck if you must while contemplating your next move. Don't discuss or try to "negotiate" -- just make it happen. Who knows, you may succeed in brainwashing his lips.

Yes, I know, it's not as exciting as being kissed by Mr. Right, but it may be pleasurable in some small but significant way to take the initiative with Mr. (Almost) Right. I also realize that small pleasures are tantalizing but not satisfying. But perhaps he'll respond by kissing you the way you like to be kissed.

What if he never does? Don't be too hard on yourself -- or him. I've had many partners who respond to my hints, requests and cues but I've also found that some are just learning disabled when it comes to a particular aspect of pleasing me. Imperfect sexual partners do exist. I think it's smart and kind -- to yourself and to him -- if you take what pleasure you can from imperfect sex without investing too much in the situation at large.

Remember also that he may have developed a habit of kissing that comes from years of intimacy and practice with another partner who liked it that way! The very thing you find irksome in bed may have been totally another person's cup of tea and what if he spent years providing this cup of tea? Some people approach sex as emotional attachment, some as social skill. It sounds like he's the attachment type and you're the skillful type. Attachment types can get attached to a way of kissing, touching, performing oral sex or whatever -- and he may never be as versatile as you'd like him to be. It's maddening, but there you are. There is only so much you can teach a person to do in bed. Maybe he's slow to learn and maybe you can refine your teaching skills -- but maybe you'll have to accept that you are incompatible when it comes to kissing.

If you decide to enjoy this man "for now" -- while leaving the door open for new sex partners -- be gracious. Encourage him to kiss you below the neck. Your body might surprise you. Pleasure can be intensified by removing one of the "usual" elements from sex, by resisting some action (like kissing) which you regard as normal. If you continue to have sex with him while keeping your options open, be tactful, discreet -- and fair. Leave him with good memories and create some for yourself.

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By Tracy Quan

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