Is kissing on the decline?
The simple kiss holds a prominent place in art, literature and the minds of teens who haven't yet had their first — but have we, as adults, lost our appreciation of lip-on-lip action?
We asked a couple of experts how to put the kiss back on its rightful pedestal.
As a culture, Americans put a lot of emphasis on having the best sex possible (which explains the runaway popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey), but in the pursuit of hot lovemaking, is it possible that we've forgotten how great kissing can be?
"Kissing is often something that you naturally want to do when you are excited to spend time with someone," says dating coach and flirting expert Tracey Steinberg. "But when people start taking each other for granted, they can let kissing fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, the longer and more secure the relationship is, the more likely this is to happen."
"Kissing has powerful health benefits: reducing anxiety, building self-esteem, enhancing connection with another person, lowering cortisol levels, the list goes on and on," Dr. Karim says. "It's important to kiss because it's good for you and it's good for the relationship. It's relationship glue and makes you feel like you aren't alone in the world."
Here's how you can bring back the art of the kiss in your relationship... or enjoy a kiss with a new lover to the fullest.
Leave your worries at the door
"The biggest anxiety about kissing that interferes with passionate kissing is insecurities about being a passionate kisser!" says Steinberg. "The best thing to do is to act as if you are a confident kisser and just enjoy being so physically close to this sexy man."
Don't overthink it
The key to bringing back a passionate kiss in a relationship might be relaxing rather than making a mental note to "kiss more." Letting your feelings bubble to the surface is a recipe for a great kiss, not being a pro when it comes to technique.
"Let it come naturally," says Dr. Karim. "Thinking too much can make it awkward. It's not mechanical — it's an expression of your inner feelings for another person."
Enjoy that first kiss
There might be nothing in this world fraught with more delicious anticipation than a first kiss. If you want a great first peck with a new partner, go with your gut and let your heart lead.
"A great first kiss happens long before your lips meet," Steinberg says. "It is the way you look at his lips and the way you look into his eyes. Perhaps you say something authentically sweet such as how much you enjoy your time with him or how attractive he is. Then you lean in, close your eyes, keep your lips soft and kiss him gently on the lips."
Change up the pace
If you've been smooching your man for years now, or if you've crossed that first kiss milestone, you can still make kissing interesting:
"Kissing is best when there is some variety, so... alternate between fast and slow, soft and hard, deep and shallow kissing," Steinberg says. "You'll also want to take some breaks while you are kissing to look into his eyes and whisper something sweet in his ear. Also, always let him know how much you are enjoying the kiss and caress his face while you are kissing him."
Remember why kissing is special
Even if every kiss you share with your partner doesn't leave you weak-kneed, that's okay. Remember the reason you're getting so close to this person in the first place.
"Kissing is the physical manifestation of how much you care about each other," Steinberg says. "It is a way, without words, to show him your affection. Entering someone's personal space is very intimate and it is what separates romantic relationships from friendships."
Having more romance in our lives: Yes, please!