Years ago, I went on a few dates with a man named Hector whose kisses were like pesky flies. He was a great guy, smart and fun with a beautiful body, but his tense lips buzzed around my face. They seemed to be everywhere at once. I was continually trying to catch hold of one of those fast flying kisses, but by the time I arrived at the landing site of the last kiss, another one was angling at me from another direction.
It was a frustrating disappointment but without a good kissing connection, I quickly lost any desire to be intimate with him. He wasn’t the first kissing misfire I’ve encountered, nor was he the last. Although it didn’t work for me and this particular pecker, it did make me wonder about the dance that flows between the mouths and minds of lovers.
For me, great kissing is a tumbling dance of desire. Where watery sensitive soft lips flow and teeth fire into animal nibbling. Where the atmosphere of my lovers mouth is the only air I need to thrive. My mind turns off. I become a roiling delicious playful circling and cycling. Every cell in my body lights up, every chakra blossoms, every fear evaporates when the kissing transports me and my partner into an intimate realm of ecstasy.
I had never considered the idea of actually teaching someone how to kiss until one day when a man named Edward asked for kissing instruction. Unlike Hector, Edward was aware that he had been frustrating his various lovers over the years. Because his lips were on the small side, he would push them outward like a ring of calamari. It had been this way his entire adult life and he wondered if anything could be done about it.
I was very intrigued and inspired by the idea of teaching Edward how to kiss but it begged an important question. Are there universal truths of good kissing that can be taught? Of course, this is a highly subjective topic but since Edward asked, I began by analyzing the great kissing I’ve experienced and came up with a basic lesson plan.
Without making it too complex, my remedial concept to teach Edward was to break kissing down into four basic actions.
Prepare your kissing instrument.
Connect without an agenda.
Listen and follow.
Co-Create from the flow.
Once Edward mastered these actions, we would then flow them together in a kissing dance. I was eager to see if it was possible but knowing Edward I knew that it might take more than just one lesson.
Edward is very intellectual. He is a smaller asian man in his early 40s with a thick crop of straight dark hair. He is not very expressive. He’s an engineer and scientist. When I presented him with my plan, he liked the idea of four things to learn. “Seems very reasonable.” he intoned. “Not very complex.”
When I included the part about these four basic actions swirling together in a dance, I could see his eyes begin to drift. “I am not a dancer,” he said matter of factly. “I do only the Macarena at weddings when I’ve had too much to drink. And not very well.”
“OK…well. We’ll see what we can do.” I say positively.
We start off with the four basic elements. The first is to prepare Edward’s kissing instrument, basically to relax. Stiff lips are no fun to kiss. I help Edward relax his lips, tongue, jaw and neck. Facing him, I tell him to copy me as I shake my face and loosen my jaw. I open my mouth wide, stick out my tongue and move it around.
I can’t tell if Edward is really trying. He moves his head a little side to side and opens and closes his mouth a little. Already, I can tell we are outside of his comfort zone but he says he will work on the relaxation exercises at home.
“Let’s try a visualization,” I suggest. I have Edward close his eyes and just listen. “As you relax your lips, you notice that they naturally fill with blood and blossom outward. As you allow your jaw to float beneath your skull, you notice it drops slightly with gravity. Feel your tongue wide, wet and heavy in its resting place. Scanning for and letting go of tension prepares your mouth for activity. You may begin to salivate. Whether it is a ripe peach or a lovers tongue, relaxing your mouth is an invitation to sensation.”
Edward opens his eyes. “I can feel my mouth now. I am ready to kiss.” He leans over to me with his relaxed face and just as he is about to connect, he thrusts out his lips like the kissing fish I used to have as a kid. Out. In. Out. In.
“I am kissing and relaxing” he says.
“That is great,” I say “but we may have to work on a few more elements before we get to the kissing.”
“OK.” Edward continues to practice.
“The next step” I tell him “is to connect without an agenda.”
“My agenda is to kiss.” Edward says adamantly.
“Another way to put it is to simply connect your relaxed mouth with your partners without your kiss already preplanned. Like that puckering you’re doing there. That is an idea of kissing you learned somewhere. Every kiss is different so to be a good kisser you need to start each new kiss with a beginners mind.”
“Relax your mouth like before and close your eyes.” Edward looks like he is sleeping. His mouth slightly hanging open. He pops open an eye to see what I’m doing. “No peaking” I say and I slowly lean in to him and touch my soft relaxed lips to his.
Edward jumps. “What was that?”
“That was the beginning of a kiss” I say.
“Oh OK, do it again,” he says and I lean in a few more times and simply connect my lips with his and then sit back.
“No action,” he says.
I can tell Edward thinks to be good at something he has to do something. For many, slowing down and remaining open is more difficult than making things happen.
“Not yet,” I say. “If you were to land on a new planet, would you immediately get to work doing something or would you spend some time just exploring the new terrain? Same idea here. Every kiss is a new planet and the first thing you want to do is to explore the environment. Listen, taste, smell, just connect for a while before you do anything.”
“Got it. OK, next!”
“Next, we listen to and follow the kiss,” I continue.
“How can you listen with lips?” Edward asks genuinely curious.
“Good question.” I respond.
Listening to and following a kiss suggests that a kiss is alive and moving. Almost as though it were an animal, it moves in many directions. Listening to a kiss is to track where its going. Following a kiss, we move our mouths in order to stay connected.
“Think about it like this” I say. “The leader of a good kiss is the kiss itself. You don’t have to make it happen. Just stay open, relaxed and connected. And let the kiss lead the way.”
I wasn’t sure if Edward was listening or following. He started puckering once again with a confused look on his face.
“Let’s start from the beginning. Relax your face. Let’s connect without the puckering action and slowly let our lips float and touch. Just that much.”
Edward relaxes his face and closes his eyes. I lean over and very gently touch my lips to his. He stays perfectly still as I move my lips over his.
“Let your head move, slowly at first but keep your lips connected to me.” Edward responds by moving his head side to side. It had not dawned on me that one of the reasons Edward struggled with kissing was because he was physically, creatively limited. But he managed to go slow and although he moved only right and left, he was able to follow and stay connected. It would take more work to explore more flowing physical creativity but that would be an exploration for another day.
“Let’s go to the last element. To co-create from the flow.” As we are kissing, we follow our unique flow. And from that flow, we will find moments that we naturally, instantaneously want to enhance, repeat, and savor. “Perhaps my tongue slips in between your lips and I enhance the moment by pushing in further. Perhaps you like how that feels and you suck on my tongue and hold it for a moment. These sensual moments of connection emerge from the flow. We both give extra energy in moments and in response, we surrender in moments. In between, we relax back into following and listening.”
“Stay relaxed. Stay connected to the kiss. And let it flow.” I encourage. Perhaps not my best lesson plan but there was more subtlety to kissing than I had imagined.
Edward was puckering up and ready to go. I had to admire his enthusiasm. “OK, got it. Let’s kiss now,” Edward says.
Again, he relaxed his face like he was asleep and leaned in. Edward and I kissed for another ten minutes. Our lips connected and we slowly began to move. Every once in a while his pucker would get stuck. I would float away and encourage him to relax his mouth.
It wasn’t a miraculous transformation but I have to admit, there were a few great first steps. Ever the scientist, I thought I could track him going through the list of basic elements over and over again. He would pull back and relax into his sleepy face, then connect to his lips to me and remain still for a few seconds. We moved together slowly for a few seconds then he would pucker or wait for me to do something. Perhaps he was not ready to launch himself beyond the basics into the chaotic swirl of freedom that is kissing just yet, but it was after all only his first kissing lesson.
Before we said goodbye, I asked him what he would remember most from the lesson and he said “kissing is not science,” which I took to mean he struggled a bit. Then he said “I am not Edward when I am kissing.” And for a brief moment, a smile flashed across his face to quickly disappear into his sleepy relaxed expression. I knew one more kiss was coming my way.