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Uploaded:2015-02-20
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In which Lindsey answers your questions about kissing.

Dr. Lindsey Doe: So, what do you want to know about kissing?

"Is it as gross and squishy as my friends make it seem?" Umm, can be. Tyler Oakley reminds us mouths are the top ends of the anus. Maybe that's gross; it's certainly wet and squishy.

"But God, when her lips come apart, everything turns warm and her sugar sweet breath is in my mouth, and I probably taste like hot dogs but I don't care. She kisses like sweet devouring, and I don't know where to touch her because I want all of her."

"Have I just not met the right person? Would that mean kissing is more pleasing mentally than physically?" This could be the case for you. Kissing is certainly physical, but it's inspired by our psyches. The brain is the one interpreting it as sensuous oral intimacy versus gross and squishy.

"What to do about halitosis?" Halitosis, or bad breath, is a symptom of something funky going on in the body that could be bacteria on the tongue or signals from all the way down here in the liver. Get to the dentist. In the case of temporary bad breath, watch these popular oral brush ads -- they're darling! Practice oral hygiene in front of each other, carry mints on you, use them, offer them. Drink lots of water. My favorite, exhale out your nose so you're not breathing in as you approach, then lock lips, which closes off the odor door, then inhale through the nose. Tell your partner, "Whoa, dude, you can kiss me after you brush your teeth and tongue."

"Why is it called a French kiss?" French kissing, as in open mouth with tongue, because the English-speaking Americans and Britons labelled things "French" when they were more exotic or perverse. You know, because they're sexually wild French. Note: Frenching has come mean making out, but originally, it was oral sex. When in doubt, clarify.

"Can you get STIs from kissing?" Yes. Definitely. We know you can pass herpes orally, and mononucleosis, and new research as of November suggests HPV is a kiss-transmitted infection, though there is still conflict about this. It is possible, though rare, to transmit oral thrush, yeast infections, through kissing. Not HIV. However, HIV is transmitted when infected blood comes in contact with a body cavity, so bloody mouths kissing, why would you do that? Get tested!

"Why does kissing turn people on?" Your mouth has ten thousand nerve endings, a hundred times more than your fingertips. Studies have found testosterone in saliva can pass between partners and may enhance libido that way. I like postulating that it's an intimate way to communicate, and if the message is affectionate, then more testosterone and more turny-ony.

"I would like to know how not to fail at it." Not possible. Trying things and improving your abilities means taking risks and potentially failing. And even if you're planning on being perfect your first go, your partner might not be expecting it, as was the case with Rupert and Emma. Another example would be Jesse Heiman and his GoDaddy kiss with Bar Refaeli: it took them sixty-plus takes. I can tell you how to fail at it: never try.

"What is the best way to deal with getting 'beard burn' from kissing someone with stubble?" Kiss them promptly after they've shaved. Ask them to shave again. There are amazing kissing hacks for stache rash: home remedies. You'll need to determine which remedy is best for your skin, regime, and pocketbooks. It's okay to ask a person to shave. It's also okay for them not to. Even if it means not kissing mouth-to-mouth.

"When (like at what age) do you feel like it gets weird for someone to not have kissed anyone?" I didn't know there was a time.

"How can you help your partner kiss better or differently if you don't want to tell them or hurt their feelings?" In the words of crimelibrarian, "When my husband and I first started dating, he didn't know how to kiss because his previous girlfriend just slammed her face into his. It was frustrating for me, but we talked, and once he told me how he didn't know how, we worked on it, and now he's amazing."

"How do you figure out how to mesh with your partner if the both of you don't have the same kissing style/can't seem to get your lips in sync?" Aglasswall said, "A year ago, my girlfriend was my first kiss. Since then, our kissing has evolved, and we have been learning from each other. It makes me feel closer to her knowing that we have grown and learned together." So talk and learn from each other. There's a great simple tool for this.

"Why do we kiss in the first place?" There isn't conclusive data but the theories are: (1) That it evolved from baby-birding food. You know, chew it up, connect lips, push it in, "ah, that's sweet, now let's do it with a hot man!" (2) It's just a hardwired and innate behavior, like seeking food, or (3) at least one motive or instinct to seek warmth and comfort, (4) a neurochemical test to determine which mates have which traits that best suit the relationship, or rather, the gene pool, (5) maybe operant conditioning, as in :it happened, it felt good, it happened again, the behavior positively reinforced itself into mainstream existence.

"I wish kissing didn't have so many sexual connotations. I love kissing so much, I want to be able to do it with my partners without them expecting sex. Why can't we just kiss? Passionately? Without it meaning anything?" You can, but we can't control what things mean to others, like how rice might be a starchy carbohydrate to you, and for others it could be their only meal. It's okay to talk about these differences, and it's okay to say what you need. If your needs conflict, it's okay not to kiss.

"Is verbal consent the only acceptable consent?" No, no no no. Here are my thoughts on consent. Most consent is not given verbally, but it needs to start there, until you and your partners can trust that you can all communicate and respect verbal and non-verbal "no"s.

Stay curious.