The kissing style of the younger generation

Dec 8, 2008 at 6:04 a.m. ET

I've been asking some of my close friends a question that is making them all uncomfortable but, like the good friends that they are, they are offering me advice to the best of their abilities. My question has to do with kissing and some differences I've noticed in some of the girls I've kissed lately.

This thing I've been noticing has taken a toll on the rest of my experience with these girls. A good kiss is like a great opening scene in a movie. It grabs you and pulls you in and you don't turn away from that screen until the very end. Your emotions are on edge, but you enjoy the uncertainty because, at the same time, there is a miraculous feeling of comfort within the moment.

The trend that has been bothering me is that the three girls I've recently made out with do a lot of pecking. That is, pecking on the lips and cheek and neck. Sure, this feels great, but there is not as much passion in these kisses. And there is a major absence of tongue.

Now, I'm very sensitive about tongue use. But I believe it is necessary for a "sexier" kiss. I never go in first with tongue, and I use it in a pretty discretionary manner: I go with the girl's whims. I feel her vibe during a kiss and then give or take tongue accordingly. Sometimes it's passionate with a ridiculous amount of tongue. Or sometimes it's just gentle, with the tips of tongues touching. It can be a combination of both.

I anticipate what the first kiss with a new girl will feel like. Part of that anticipating has to with her tongue skills and how our styles will be compatible or clash.

In all three cases, I didn't really get aggressive with my tongue because I don't want a girl to feel like I'm attacking her with it. But I did eventually get frustrated with the lack of tongue, and the passion was lacking throughout the kissing. How is it possible, in some instances, to make out for two hours without using tongue in a kiss? I've tried to develop a theory for why the latest group of girls I've made out with have not used enough tongue.

The only unifying factor with all these girls I made out with is that they were all at least five years younger than me. This led me to believe that, at some point, there must have been some kind of cultural shift that my generation of kissers is not aware of: Maybe younger people just don't use as much tongue? Growing up, it was definitely part of the kissing learning process. But maybe this whole generation learned with different standards and ideas about what a passionate kiss is.

Is it possible that there was some kind of cultural shift or generational gap between me and these girls when it came to kissing? Perhaps.

Remember when France opposed the war in Iraq? Americans spitefully renamed all things "French": freedom fries (French fries), freedom dressing (French dressing), freedom manicure (French manicure). Maybe these girls are very patriotic and became so angry at France's opposing the Iraq war that they decided to subscribe to "freedom kissing": freeing themselves from French kissing.

On a more serious note, all three of my confidants (one girl and two guys) said, yes, they do enjoy having tongue involved in kissing and found it strange that there was virtually no tongue involved in my recent kisses with the three girls I made out with. One of my friends simply stated about one of them: "Maybe she's just a bad kisser."

Perhaps. But in my world of self-doubt, I considered whether I had too much garlic on my breath, or if these girls were just younger and intimidated and I should have taken more command with the use of tongue in our kissing. But I'm actually confident in my kissing style — it allows us both to express ourselves — and I really don't like attacking with my tongue. I like to use it skillfully and appropriately.

So, that begs the question: Is it possible that the younger generation just isn't into that?

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Reprinted with Permission of Hearst Communications, Inc. Originally Published: Freedom Kissing: The Kissing Style of the Younger Generation