Kisses do tell

KissWomen place more emphasis on the first kiss than men do. We use it as part of determining if we want to see the man again or not.

University at Albany researchers Susan M. Hughes, Marissa A. Harrison, and Gordon G. Gallup, Jr. recently published their findings on kissing in an Evolutionary Psychology article.

This was another study using only college students, 1,041 in fact. So I’m not sure that we can assume that this information applies to midlife daters. But it does seem consistent with my experience — a sample size of one.

Many of the college students reported having been attracted to someone, then discovered they were no longer interested after they kissed them for the first time. “In other words,” said Gallup, an evolutionary psychologist, “While many forces lead two people to connect romantically, the kiss, particularly the first kiss, can be a deal breaker.”

Exactly. In “In search of the elusive good kisser” I share the challenge of finding men who fit my criteria in this area. As I’ve gone out with 80 men now, although I haven’t kissed all of them, I’ve kissed enough that I’ve begun to relax my standards a bit. But if a man is such a sloppy kisser I need a towel afterwards, or has other kissing habits I find off putting, it will be a factor in my decision to see him again.

Kissing as a determinant of another date is mostly true just for women. Men said they saw kissing an a way to gain sexual favors or to make up after a problem. But women use kissing to assess the status of the relationship. Most females shared they would never engage in sex without kissing. However, men would; men said they’d have sex with someone who was not a “good” kisser.

The study showed that it was more common for males than females to initiate French kissing. In my experience, many men don’t gauge accurately if the woman is ready for that intimacy or not. They go there too soon, which can be a turn off rather than a turn on.

What do you think about first kisses? Does the man or woman generally initiate? And do you use a first passionate kiss to determine if you’re interested in continuing seeing your date?

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20 responses to “Kisses do tell”

  1. k Avatar

    Funny….I’m currently waiting for a first kiss from a guy who is moving slow & respectfully towards that direction. I was just telling my girlfriend the other day…I won’t know if I want to keep going until I kiss him…. and I’ve definitely dumped one for the towel thing!!

  2. bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    While I love a good kiss as much as the next gal, (by good I mean somewhere between doggy slobber wet and dry as old leather), I have dated and, yes, slept with men who were lousy kissers, and dropped some who were good kissers, one was even a virtuoso kisser in my book, (he was an oboist, so maybe that had something to do with it. Unfortunately the rest of his performance was, dare I say it, underscored)…

    Kissing aside, what makes or breaks a date for me is whether or not the guy in question evidences a bit of intelligence, has a good sense of humor, (or at least good enough to make me laugh, which isn’t all that hard to do), and smells good. OK, the last one sounds weird, I know, but I have a highly refined sense of smell, and if something smells fishy or foul, and we’re not near the wharf or the deli, then there’s no second date with this gal.

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  3. Mitsy Avatar

    I say that if you care about the guy on an emotional level, even if he isn’t the best kisser, you can “teach” him how to kiss. It’s something that takes some practice and takes both parties getting used to each other. Same with sex or any other physical intimacies.

    When I was dating the one (separated but not quite divorced) guy last year, I realized that if the guy doesn’t want sex anymore than once every 10 days or so, it ain’t gonna get any better later. This is the same guy who was diabetic and overweight but said “I’m too young for Viagra”. Yeah, well, let his current wife deal with that. :0 Good riddance. LOL
    You can “teach” someone to kiss better or give you affection the way you want, but if they have other problems they are in denial about, it’s best to move on.

  4. Becky Avatar

    Personally, I think kissing is a lost art. I love, and I mean love to kiss. I love to be kissed. I could spend just hours doing that one very thing. I believe if a man is a good kisser, he is probably a good lover. That’s not always the case, I’m sure. I’ve been married twice and neither one of my husbands enjoyed kissing. I don’t know how many lovemaking sessions I had with either where they never kissed me. One was good in bed, the other not. But, I wish more men would take time to learn how to kiss, be experienced at it and not be so quick to jump to the meat and potatoes.

  5. Rod Avatar

    Hmm… now youre making me think of my (ex) girlfriend. The first kiss was absolutely electric and the last one was still great, even though I knew it was close to goodbye and she always commented that I was a great kisser (her ex was a slobberer). Having dated very few, I honestly didnt know there was such a thing as a bad kisser.

    You mean its really hard to find someone with soft sensuous lips who knows how to kiss gently without drooling or is it just hard to find someone you’re ga-ga over?

  6. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Hi Rod:

    It is hard to find someone who knows how to kiss sensually, with a sort of foreplay, without just jabbing a tongue down the throat. Like Becky, I’ve learned to link kissing behavior to love-making behavior — at least in the few I’ve experienced both. So, as she says, since a first kiss (generally) means more to women than men, it wouldn’t hurt if a man was a bit more conscious of his kissing behaviors. Of course, not to say that there aren’t bad women kissers. But as the study pointed out, kissing doesn’t seem to be as big a deal for men as it is for women.

  7. Greg Avatar

    OK, so what constitutes “good?” Let’s get specific here, I need some pointers. Or maybe I don’t, I may be “good” and not know it. Lay it out, girls, what makes yer toes curl?

  8. sdl Avatar


    First and foremost, is being able to read how your partner is reacting to what you are doing, and modifying accordingly but with grace.

    Next is good oral hygeine, as taste, texture, and smell are major factors during a kiss.

    Next, the details:
    Soft, but not smushy lips, not damp or wet to start.
    A light amount of moisture for open kisses, no drooling for French.
    Knowing how to angle the head for a good fit, and varying this as needed.
    Enthusiam- or maybe it’s expressing real pleasure or response to my kissing you back in body language and sometimes noises or breathing- really hightens the pleasure on both ends.
    Using the hands considerately but sensously too- if I am being mauled, the world’s best kisser just lost me.
    Kissing that progresses from shy to romantic to sexual mimics the physical interactions of hands and, err, private bits in pace and actual actions for great kisses.
    French kissing that is more a dance of tongues than drilling for oil or the invasion of the body snatchers.

  9. Dating Goddess Avatar


    A way to tell if you are a good kisser is 1) if women consistently tell you that you are, and 2) they can’t wait to suck face with you and initiate the kisses after the first few.

    And SDL has a good list going. I especially liked her last item! I’d add that to me good kisses have a lot of gentleness with just the lips, which I like to think of as foreplay, before and intermittent with the tongue dance. It’s a caressing of lips with lips. If a man is a great kisser, he doesn’t need to touch me anywhere else and I will want to keep kissing him for hours.

  10. Rod Avatar

    Thanks for those more than adequate descriptions, sdl and DG.

    Is it hot in here? *fanning briskly*

  11. Becky Avatar

    Just remember guys, practice, as in all things, makes perfect. You can’t perfect a kiss if you don’t kiss. DG is right about good kissing being an integral part of foreplay. I can get juices flowing faster with a good kisser – especially one that takes time to graze around my neck with his lips and works his way back to my lips. Kissing is like foreplay for more intense touching, at least for me. Good hygiene is an absolute must, and nothing turns me off faster than beer breath. And, don’t be so fast about using your tongue – a little goes a long way there. I’m reminded of a scene from a movie with Mel Gibson – “What Women Want” and the two main characters sit and make out in a booth in a lounge, and agree that their make out session was one of the sexiest things they’d ever done. Kissing can be incredibly erotic.

  12. Fred Avatar

    I admit that the first kiss is important for me too. Well, actually, the third kiss.

    Often a woman is being very coy and more or less gauging how a man kisses on the first one. They seem to relax and be themselves a few kisses later.

    And the same thing seems to hold true – good kissers – usually sensual overall.

    However, I have been in relationships where they were not great kissers, and have avoided some where they were great.

    More important to me for a long range relationship is whether we can build a good dynamic for dealing with issues….

    Style of dissing is just another aspect of a relationship – worth noting (and hoping for) but not the major indicator. And like the women have suffered the “towel” problem, I have as well.

    One thing I have noticed is that kissing initiated by a woman often drops when a relationship is established. I think that is because a woman might be afraid to “start something” without wanting to lead to sex (some have told me this). So they avoid a kissing session – even though they really would like to. Men often assume that any sensual action should lead to sex. This really gets in the way of being intimate of different levels. Any thoughts?

    Thanks for sharing the kissing insights.

  13. Dating Goddess Avatar


    «One thing I have noticed is that kissing initiated by a woman often drops when a relationship is established. I think that is because a woman might be afraid to “start something” without wanting to lead to sex (some have told me this). So they avoid a kissing session – even though they really would like to. Men often assume that any sensual action should lead to sex. This really gets in the way of being intimate of different levels. Any thoughts?»

    Yes — talking about it! I love it when a man I’m with and I can discuss things like this. If you are only feeling like kissing (for time reasons, or you’ve got a pain somewhere, or whatever reason) I think it’s best to say so at some point so the other won’t think it’s going someplace it’s not.

    Honesty — the fix for most of what ails us!

  14. Lulu Avatar

    DG, kissing is an erotic art, and I love it. I think one of the reasons women in established relationships don’t go in for marathon kissing is that, although they can cope with just kissing for hours, their men will get aroused and feel uncomfortable, and then sex, or guilt, will follow. Even if their man wants to oblige with marathon kissing sessions regularly, his physical discomfort after a while precludes carrying on – my ex used to tell me he was in physical pain! or did he just want to watch the football?

  15. Christine Avatar

    Oh, thanks alot guys…I was doing soooo well forgeting how much I LOVE, ABSOLUTELY LOVE to kiss until I read this post. Time for a shower…or an old romantic movie…or a large chocolate bar!!!

  16. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Christine: LOL!

    Greg (and interested others): I watched “Officer and a Gentleman” last night. Boy, does Richard Gere know how to kiss! Also, not meaning to sound sexist, but I’ve noticed that romantic flicks directed by women have kisses more in alignment with what women like. So put some on your Netflix list.Women, any other specific movie recommendations the guys can use for their home study course?

  17. Christine Avatar

    I loved Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy in Bridget Jones’ Diary. Last scene standing in the snow……I’m melting!!

  18. hunter Avatar

    to all guys,

    Be careful with the first kiss, some women have not been kissed in a long time, are uncomfortable, when it happens and ask us to leave. Call her the next day, for an explanation. As much as women want to talk, they, are too embarrassed to talk about this…..

  19. John Avatar

    I am a fairly recent widower, after many years of a happy and monogamous marriage. A couple of months after my loss (we both knew for sometime that the end was approaching), I felt ready to go back into the dating world.

    I have now had a number of dates and I really feel out of sorts with the whole process. I think that I am a good looking guy with a good profession, and I have been able to at least attract decent dates so far. Well the kissing game has been somewhat awkard and I haven’t quite figured out how to read anyone yet for the first kiss. Things seem to be much different in today’s day and age. The first somewhat serious one went to one extreme. She never wanted to leave the bedroom! To my own surprise, I soon realized that this is not what I was looking for.

    My other dates I have retreated to my usual respectful self, almost to the point of either not even kissing or only on the lips. Each one is different, but how does one know if it should be pursued, open wide and say Ahhhh, or what?

    I don’t want to lose before I even have a chance to begin! (and in the event that some of these ladies are reading this, and they know who they are, I have changed my name to protect my innocence!)

  20. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Hi “John”:

    Good questions. And many men would envy the first lady you described!

    How to tell when a woman wants more? She won’t let up her embrace. Kiss her sweetly, gently, respectfully on the lips. Hold it for 5 or so seconds, unless you feel her tensing in your embrace. If she stays relaxed, and stays holding your closed-lip kiss, break off the kiss and kiss her again — with lips closed. Keep doing this as long as she doesn’t break away, maybe for 3 or 4 times. If she wants more, you’ll feel her lips part and perhaps a little “action” if you know what I mean. Let her set the pace. It may take a few dates to go beyond this, especially if she hasn’t been kissed in a long time by anyone other than her former husband.