Hmm. How do I start this off? Let's begin with a woman I used to know who, since she was old enough to kiss, she absolutely loathed it. Since I'm someone who is the total opposite, I never got where she was coming from, especially since, once she started having sex, she was all about doing that. At first, I thought this rainbow unicorn felt that way because perhaps her first experience sucked (according to her, it didn't). My next thought—and forgive me for going dark for a moment—was, because we are both survivors of sexual abuse, maybe PTSD-related childhood trauma had something to do with it. She's a pretty self-aware individual. She said that wasn't it either. According to her, "kissing just isn't my thing". But how could that be? For several years, I chalked her up to just being an intimacy anomaly and (tried to) let it go.
But while I was working with a ministry that got people off of and out of porn, while I was the teen mom director for the local branch of a national non-profit and also since I've become a marriage life coach, to my surprise-borderline-shock, I've met many people who are just like the woman I just mentioned. Although they are all about copulation and all of the fun that comes along with it, and also while many of them are in quite functional relationships, if there's one thing that they can totally-and-unapologetically do without, it's K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Really? Wow.
In the effort to figure out what this semi-underground-movement is all about, I decided to do a little bit of investigating. I'll share with you what I discovered (via some research and a few "please leave my name out of it" interviews). But if you're someone who also hates to kiss—or you're in a relationship with someone who feels this way—I'd like to hear your thoughts (in the comment section) on this, what I considered to be, really layered and surprising phenomenon too.
Kissing Is Dope...Isn’t It?
From my observation, whenever we sit down to recall our first kiss, it typically comes with two stories. There's the kiss you got when you were probably in elementary school and no one knew what the hell they were doing. Then there's the, somewhere in high school kiss, that has the potential to make-or-break your feelings (at least at the time). My first was this blonde white boy who lined all of the girls up in his first grade class along a fence and kissed us. Whatever. My second was this Black guy, who basically thought he was God's gift to women, who kissed me against a tree. It was horrible. Man, if I could imagine what a dish feels like in the rinse cycle of a dishwasher, that kiss nailed it (he was also a complete ass afterwards but that's another story for another time). He really could've ruined kissing for me, but I think because I was always a curious person when it came to almost all things sexually-related, that's why I didn't give up. It's kind of like when I think back to my personally chosen first time (because again, I was sexually abused, so my actual first sexual experiences weren't my choice). It wasn't super bad or super great, but I kept at it because, from what I saw in movies and heard from others, there had to be more to sex than what I had experienced.
I must say that I'm glad I stuck with it because, over the years, I've had some phenomenal kissing experiences. Top notch. Truly wonderful. Has-even-resulted-in-orgasms smooches. To me, kissing is erotic. Kissing is comforting. Kissing finds a way to convey things that can't be expressed with words or even any other kind of act. Yeah, kissing is bar none dope.
That doesn't mean that, if I choose to think really hard, I don't also get that it can be a little bit gross too. For starters, our mouths are the dirtiest parts of our body. Plus, let's not act like we're not literally "swapping spit" with another individual whenever we do it (ironically, drool is one of the words that makes my skin crawl). And, if you and your kissing partner aren't in sync, it's almost like you'd prefer to clean a toilet than to continue. But since, to me, the good kisses far outweigh the bad ones, I've never gotten to the point where I'm not down to do it. I mean, coming to that kind of resolve is just crazy…right? According to what I've learned on the internets, actually…it isn't.
Take this study that I read on kissing, for example.
After surveying 168 different cultures, only 46 percent of them kissed with 45 percent of the North American cultures choosing not to kiss at all. The reasons why? It was because they either found kissing to be gross or unpleasant.
Instead, they opted for the alternative known as the oceanic kiss. Ever heard of it? It's when two people stand really close to one another's faces and breathe deeply without allowing their mouths to ever touch (I don't know if that's sexy or infuriating, to tell you the truth). Does any culture actually enjoy kissing? Actually, yes. According to the study, Indonesia, Spain and South Africa dug kissing a lot, although PDA is mostly frowned upon.
Anyway, since 45 percent of Americans are good without kissing and I am indeed an American, I decided to see what else I could find out about how folks feel about kissing on this side of the world. You can always count on a Reddit thread to provide some interesting insights. On the thread "How many of you ladies don't like kissing, or didn't like kissing. If it's now enjoyable, what changed?", I read quite a bit about women who loved or hated kissing based on how they felt about their partner at the time, along with women who enjoyed lip contact but totally wanted to keep tongues out of it and, women who, although they can't quite put their finger on it, are aggravated with kissing. That made me want to ask some people even closer to home about their thoughts. It was intriguing to say the least. I've included their perspective on why they prefer not to kiss below. (Most of their names have been changed, mostly because some of their partners do not know what they decided to share with us.)
5 People Share Why They Hate Kissing
Melissa. Married. 29. "You know how people talk about 'faking it' when it comes to orgasms? I don't know what it is, but while I would never do that, I fake it all of the time with my husband when it comes to kissing. I like his lips a lot, but his tongue always feels awkward. Like a lizard that's trying to dart in and out of my mouth. It's not that he's a bad kisser…well, I don't know because I've never really liked doing it. I always feel like it's such a waste of time. Can we just get on with it, please? Yeah, I've never told him that, so definitely don't use my real name."
Jackson. Single. 35. "If you've ever been told that guys can have sex with a woman and never kiss her, you've been told the truth. I've spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out what's up with that. I think it's because we can put a condom on our dick. When you're kissing, you're all out there…exposed. It's vulnerable and intimate and a lot of us don't want to be that with just anyone. For me, kissing means I'm really into you. Sometimes sex is just a release. That's why I wouldn't really say that I 'hate kissing' so much as I've had more sex without kissing than with it. If I want to cum, I don't need to kiss. If I want to be close to someone, I'll kiss her. Some may be triggered by that, but a lot of guys feel the exact same way."
Eric. Single. 25. "Yeah, I'm not a kissing fan. Mostly because a lot of women go in assuming that they know how to kiss. I do like to kiss all over a woman. I like even giving head. But mouths just always felt wet and weird to me. It hasn't really prevented anything that I've wanted to happen to happen so, I don't ever really give it any thought."
Taylor. Single. 27. "It's not necessarily that I think kissing is nasty. For me, it's all about chemistry. There are some people I enjoy kissing, but it's rare. It's only been two so far. I liked it with them because of the way their mouth felt with my mouth. It wasn't too aggressive. It wasn't too soft either. I don't quite know how to explain it. It just felt…good. Kissing annoys [me] because…I need to go at the same pace and when I can't match you, I'm not feeling that. Also, I don't see the point in kissing and that's it."
"Kissing revs me up and I don't want to be revved up for no reason. To just be kissing without it leading to more, it kind of makes me feel angry and unfulfilled. I think that kissing should be a precursor to something. It's like, starting a car. Once you turn the engine, what else are we gonna do. Just sit here?"
Tanya. Divorced. 41. "I hate kissing because, it's just nasty. Say what you will but all of that spit is just gross. I don't know why people think that it's OK to have a preference when it comes to sex positions or erogenous zones, but if someone doesn't like kissing, somehow, they are breaking some sort of sexual cardinal rule. Believe it or not, yes, you can be very intimate with someone without their tongue being rammed down your throat. Pecks are fine. Tongues are not. A lot of my partners have felt the same way. There are definitely more of us 'non-kissers' around than you might think, girl."
Tanya is right. There are clearly a lot of folks who have active sex lives who are just fine without kissing, thank you very much. And while the reasons certainly run the gamut, I'll be the first to say that the stance is common enough that it should no longer be seen or treated as "odd" or "strange", including by me. At the end of the day, like everything else related to sex and intimacy, kissing is a preference, not a requirement or a given. And many people are just fine with that. Full stop, chile. Full stop.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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