Whether you’re obsessed with all things Windsor or scoff at the idea of rising early to watch the pomp and circumstance of a fairytale wedding, you’re probably aware that Britain’s Prince William married his long-time love, Kate Middleton, on Friday. And while plenty of people are more interested in the gown, the over-the-top hats, and Kate’s pouty junior bridesmaid, others are asking me for my professional opinion of the couple’s first — and second — kiss as husband and wife.
As a sex therapist and co-founder of Good in Bed, I often stress the importance of small gestures like kissing, which can go a long way to strengthening your relationship in — and outside — of the bedroom.
So what do Wills and Kate’s smooches say about the future of their marriage? In case you missed it, the couple kissed as they greeted the public on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. To say it was short and sweet is an understatement: Observers described it as ceremonial, familial, and passionless — if you blinked, you missed it. Maybe that’s why William, in response to the cheering crowd, suggested they try again. And while the second kiss was a little more romantic, it didn’t exactly evoke fireworks. In fact, Kate even pulled away at the end.
Does this mean the royal couple is doomed? Not so fast. Not everyone indulges in a long, romantic kiss on their wedding day, and the Brits are no exception.
“Kate’s apparent standoffishness is forgivable,” explained my Good in Bed colleague Anna Potter. “She’s the first ‘commoner’ in centuries to marry this close to the throne, and she must have been insanely nervous to smooch her new husband in front of thousands and thousands of fans.”
In fact, there’s a reason why the couple didn’t immediately seal their nuptials with a kiss. Not only are premarital PDAs verboten, but the Church of England prohibits kissing both during and after the ceremony at Westminster Abbey. When you consider that pressure — never mind that the Prince and Princess were surrounded on that balcony by the rest of the royal family — you can understand why Wills wasn’t exactly going to dip his bride in soulful movie-star kiss.
I actually found their interaction kind of sweet — and in some ways, their post-nuptial kisses remind me of my own (minus the throngs of onlookers and satellite feed, of course). The art of a good wedding kiss is in its subtlety, brevity, and tenderness. And while we may not have seen overwhelming passion in their smooch, I do think we saw the potential for a loving, stable future built on mutual respect in their eye contact, smiles, and body language. Don’t forget, too, that this is a long-term couple that dated for years before tying the knot.
“I think they’ve got the history to prove they can make it through anything,” said Potter. “Even an awkward — and very public — first kiss.”
Ian Kerner is a sex therapist and NY Times best-selling author of numerous books including She Comes First and Love in the Time of Colic. He is the founder of GoodinBed.com. Ian lives with his wife and two sons in New York City.