Kissing never goes out of style

By Ginger Manley | Posted: Wednesday July 24, 2013

Published July 2013 Mature Lifestyles of Tennessee

Dear Ginger,

I've just read your new book twice (Assisted Loving: The Journey through Sexuality and Aging), and I love it. There is so much information I never knew, and I think I can say the same for almost all my friends. However, you don't say anything about kissing, and I just love kissing. Is kissing still in fashion?


Dear Ginger,

I get together every week with my Friday Night Widows group,and recently we were talking with Mary Jane about getting back into the dating scene. It's been seven years since her husband died. She wanted to know how to start kissing at this age (we are all late 60s). Do you kiss with your mouth closed? Do you French kiss? What do people do today, and is it the same as when we all started out many years ago? Thanks.

Lisa Ann

Dear Janice and Lisa Ann - and all the Mary Janes out there,

Yes, kissing is definitely still in fashion. I had no idea I failed to mention it and am so appreciative of your bringing it to my attention, Janice. I certainly did not mean to leave out such a fun topic.

I subscribe to a daily meditation on healthy sexuality that each day spotlights one word pertaining to sexuality. On June 15, the same day I heard from Janice, the topic was kissing. It was so appropriate to these questions that I am reprinting it here for my readers.

“The touching of lips as a sign of love between humans, interestingly, has no known origin. In fact, there are debates as to whether kissing is an innate or learned behavior. Other mammals besides humans smooch while others rub noses as a greeting of affection, comfort, or to form social bonds. On a practical level, when our faces are close together, we exchange scents and biological information telegraphing whether we are making a good mate selection. Ultimately, however, people kiss because it feels good. Our lips are comprised of erectile tissue and, like our tongues, are filled with nerve endings. Kissing is erotic and activates our arousal and pleasure centers in unique and exciting ways.

“And for that reason, kissing is one of the most intimate things two people can do with each other. To kiss deeply and slowly is to surrender to a level of closeness with yourself and your lover. Inevitably, caressing and fondling follow kissing – but don’t let your arousal rush you away from the moment. Slow your kiss and taste your partner’s lips, feel the scent and heat of your lover’s breath, and give yourself over to the sensations that arise in the moment.

“When kissing, our eyes automatically close. Lost in our own personal reverie, we take a trip to Venus with our lover as our co-pilot. Kissing arouses the body and signals to your partner that you’re aroused. In this state of surrender, the scents of your bodies mingle, and the touch of your embrace enhances the act of kissing, creating further arousal. Languish in the kiss and let the union of your lips be the moment of meeting, lovemaking, and contacting the divine within each of you. Kissing is sensuality in action and, during intercourse, leads to high levels of eroticism.” Alexandra Katehakis & Tom Bliss,, accessed June 15, 2013.

Most of us remember anticipating our first kiss from someone outside our family. Sweet 16 and never been kissed. How do we do it? Do we keep our eyes open, our mouth closed? Do we wait for the other person to initiate or step up and smack lips, taking the lead ourselves? Do we kiss on the first date or wait until the third? (That was the advice I was given as a teen.)

By late 60s, as you and your friends are now, Lisa Ann, most of us have experienced thousands of kisses, some wonderfully passionate and some just brief pecks, and all in-between. But the anticipation of newness is familiar. Most people who have been in previous relationships have developed a style of kissing – hello and goodbye kisses, celebratory kisses, sexual warm-up kisses, lovemaking kisses, and others. When you think about starting a new relationship, you bring that pattern of kissing to your side of the street. Your styles may differ from the other person’s styles, which can intensify the fun, but occasionally newly formed couples find themselves at odds around these style questions.

This is where couples need to practice True Oral Sex, my name for using our mouths and ears to talk things over with the other person. As teens and young adults, most of us just figured this out without conversation. Today we have the time and the abilities to use our brains and language to solve problems.

First, start the dialogue with yourself. Think about what you like and what you don’t like. On more than one occasion when I was in practice, I heard stories about kissing preferences. “He seems to want to lick the back of my throat – it makes me gag.” “She doesn’t move when she kisses me – just lies there like a statue while I try to arouse her.” If you have some hang-ups about kissing, this is a good time to address them. If you have some things you really love, like having slow, deep kissing in which you are the total recipient or you love to give passionate smooches in an unbridled way, acknowledge these and celebrate your sensuality. Secondly, find a way to talk with your new lover about styles and preferences and when you have enough information, go for it. Kissing is wonderful fun, has no caloric restrictions, and one of the best ways to bond a relationship. Yeah!



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