I was reading about kissing in an advance copy of Andrea Syrtash’s Cheat on Your Husband (With Your Husband) when it hit me: I couldn’t remember the last time my husband and I had played tonsil hockey.
Sex? Yes, this was definitely happening, and it was happening on a regular basis.
But French kissing? Not so much.
Even weirder: When I began asking other married couples about French kissing, I could find only a few who were still doing it.
Some of this stemmed from familiarity. For instance, my husband and I have become so familiar with one another after 12 years of marriage that we tend to go straight for the home run. Not only did we not linger on first base, we tended to skip it altogether.
When I brought up the issue with friend and fellow writer Laura Vanderkam, author of the time-management book 168 Hours, she said, “I just don't buy the line that people don't have time to be romantic. In the time it takes to watch one commercial you could kiss your partner passionately every night. It's not about time. It's about making things a priority.”
And, I realized, I wanted to make French kissing a priority. The lips and the tongue are among the most sensitive parts of the body, after all. I was neglecting them. (The other very sensitive parts, by the way, are the hands, fingertips, face, neck and feet).
So one night, I told my husband, “I think we should tongue kiss every day.”
He looked at me as if I’d just suggested that we streak naked through the neighborhood.
“What? Is it not fun to tongue kiss me? Is it a chore?” I asked.
“No, no. I’m just. I’m. I’m surprised,” he said. “Why do you want to do this?”
“Look, I think it would be good for us. And it’s not like it’s that difficult, and it doesn’t take much time.”
The next day, while on his way out the door, he puffed out his chest and said, “I am going to kiss my wife,” and he planted one on me.
Here are seven things I’ve learned from kissing my husband:
1. There are different kinds of kisses. Peck kisses are a great way of saying, “Hello.” Tongue kisses, however, communicate a different message. It’s this: “You are so very sexy.”
2. Kiss with gusto. What you do just before and just after a kiss is just as important as the kiss itself. Smile, make eye contact, and compliment one another.
3. Get your hands involved. Remember those sensitive nerve endings? Cradle your spouse’s face or neck as you kiss.
4. Try new moves. Chances are your tongue goes through a set repertoire of motions. This can lead to boredom. Get creative and change it up.
5. Practice good oral hygiene. When people are dating, they usually show up with a mouth that has been painstakingly brushed, flossed, whitened and freshened. Then comes marriage. Suddenly you are interacting first thing in the morning as well as right after you’ve eaten garlic knots. If you are going to be French kissing during the day, be considerate of your spouse and brush after meals.
6. Hit a few singles. If you only kiss as a prelude to nooky, it will act as a signal to your spouse that you expect a home run. This can create tension in the relationship and cause your spouse to get nervous and retreat whenever he or she sees your tongue coming. That’s why you want most of your kisses to be mere base hits. They will serve as daily foreplay that will allow desire to build, ensuring that both of you are more often in the mood for home runs, too.
7. Create kissing reminders. If it’s been a long while since you’ve French kissed, you’ll want to come up with ways to remind yourself to do it. Kevin Decker, from Return on Relationships, stays in the habit by Frenching his wife hello and good-bye. The couple also practices what they call “toll” kisses. If one of them is ahead of the other on the stairs, the one behind must offer a kiss in order to go ahead. It’s not a bad idea, and I’m definitely thinking about trying it.
Alisa Bowman is the author of Project: Happily Ever After, the true story of how she saved her marriage. She is also the creator of ProjectHappilyEverAfter.com, a gathering spot for recovering divorce daydreamers.