As with many milestones in life, your first kiss is often a memorable and exciting occasion.
“I was 17, and the girl I kissed was a friend that I had in high school, and it was a terrific experience,” author William Cane says. “It was exciting because it was the first, and … that lip contact was certainly different from when I had kissed my grandmother or my aunt.”
His first kiss made such an impression that Cane — a pen name for Michael Christian of New York City — wrote the popular book The Art of Kissing.
Not everyone remembers their first kiss. Maybe it just wasn’t that special.
“If it was a negative, maybe it’s best that it’s erased from memory, and you could focus on the other kisses that may be more successful down the road,” Cane says.
Why Kissing Is Important
The exact history of kissing is unclear. For example, we don’t know if early humans kissed or how. Experts have long debated whether it’s an instinct or something that people learn to do.
“Kissing likely arose and disappeared all around the world throughout history for a variety of reasons having to do with human intimacy and bonding,” says Sheril Kirshenbaum, an academic specialist at Michigan State University and author of The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us.
Kissing can serve a bigger purpose than a sign of romantic affection. For example, Kirshenbaum says, it’s an important part of building a bond between mothers and babies.
“Our earliest experiences as infants often involve lip stimulation through being nursed and kissed by our parents,” she says, “and later, we associate these sensations with feelings of love, comfort, and security when we want to express how we feel to someone else.
“Kissing brings two people together like no other behavior,” Kirshenbaum says. “Each partner actively engages all of their senses to learn about the other.”
Marilyn Anderson, author of Never Kiss a Frog: A Girl’s Guide to Creatures From the Dating Swamp, says “it not only bonds you, but it makes you happier, it reduces your stress, it can even help your skin.”
But she warns that when adults build a bond through kissing, it could turn into a problem.
“If you are in the world trying to meet somebody, yes, kissing can certainly tell you if you’re compatible with somebody. And what I say in Never Kiss a Frog is, don’t kiss the wrong guy, because it does have this bonding influence on you. If you get too bonded to somebody and he’s the wrong guy, you might stay with him too long.”
Health Benefits of Kissing
Locking lips is “nature’s ultimate litmus test,” Kirshenbaum says.
“Our lips are packed with sensitive nerve endings that stimulate a relatively large part of our brain associated with taste, touch, and scent,” she says.
Smooching is a way to gather clues about another person’s suitability as a partner, without knowing that you’re doing it.
It also triggers the release of important chemicals in your brain. “Kissing influences neurotransmitters and hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin, which also play a significant role in our relationships,” Kirshenbaum says.
Oxytocin, for example, is linked with feelings of closeness, intimacy, and security. Showing affection with people you love can boost oxytocin. When your body releases oxytocin because of physical touch, it can create a base for total-body well-being.
Kissing, hugging, cuddling, and snuggling, even with pets, can make you healthier overall. These things may help you:
- Feel good
- Lower blood pressure
- Avoid illness
- Ease stress
You might think there’s a certain ick factor in sharing saliva. Most of us have caught a cold from a sick family member, whether through a hug or kiss or just from being around their germs.
Research has found that couples share about 80 million bacteria during a 10-second smooch. But that’s a small percentage of the tens of billions of bacteria that live in the human mouth.
Is There a Right or Wrong Way to Kiss?
Kisses can have a variety of meanings. They’re a way for family and friends to show nonromantic affection. In some cultures, everyone greets each other with pecks on the check or air kisses.
When it comes to romance, there’s no right or wrong way to kiss, says sexologist Claudia Six, PhD, of San Francisco.
“Everybody walks putting one foot in front of the other, but we all look different doing it,” Six says. “Everybody has a way that they walk, and everybody has a way that they kiss.”
Still, you probably have a personal preference.
You might like it when your partner caresses your cheek or gently holds your neck during a kiss. Or you may find a full-body embrace more fulfilling.
“I don’t know too many people that would like to be slobbered on, but there are people who kiss and it’s real wet. Some people don’t like it,” Anderson says.
But for others, a slobbery kiss may be perfect.
“I think kissing isn’t something you can really teach,” Anderson says. “I think if somebody is doing something and you don’t like it, you can certainly tell them or try to teach them. But I think that there’s a chemistry when two people kiss, and hopefully, you find somebody that that has the chemistry with you.”
Six says the basics of a good kiss are clear to most people: “Brush your teeth, shave. I just say, be present. This is what I always tell people. It’s always about ‘how you be.’ It’s not about what you do, it’s how you be.”
Kirshenbaum boils it down this way: “From soothing a fussy baby to expressing romance, kissing has so many meanings, best interpreted by the people doing it.”
William Cane, author, lecturer, New York City.
Sheril Kirshenbaum, academic specialist, author, East Lansing, MI.
Marilyn Anderson, author, screenwriter, Los Angeles.
Penn Medicine: “Can you Kiss and Hug Your Way to Better Health? Research says Yes.”
Microbiome: “Shaping the oral microbiota through intimate kissing.”
Oral Diseases: “A practical guide to the oral microbiome and its relation to health and disease.”
It's not always easy to tell the difference between lust, sexlove and true love. You know you have something special with your man, but you're still feeling things out and figuring out where you stand. But how do you know when it's truly true love? According to Madame Noire, there are 7 things you should be comfortable doing in front of your guy.
Every relationship differs, but being yourself ensures happiness on both ends. Sometimes that means showing your not-so-boyfriend-friendly side. And true love means finding a guy who is totally okay with (and sometimes even crazy about) that side. So, without further adieu, here are Madame Noire's compilation of things you should be able to do in front of a guy you truly love. Oh, and then there's how I'm making out in my relationship.
1. Getting mad (at him): "You shouldn't fear letting your man know when he's upset you….That type of communication should make [you and your partner] closer." We rarely fight, but once a month, without fail, my inner lady-beast unleashes on the person closest to me: my lovahhhh. But J is seriously so good at putting up with my PMS mood swings that always wind up directed at him. Last week I got angry when he stood too close to me in the bathroom while I was blowdrying my hair (there is no rhyme or reason) and he knew just to walk away from the situation. He's even matured to the point where he knows that sometimes I just need to vent. So he doesn't argue back, he just listens. I can't ask for more than that.
2. Getting mad (at others): "It's healthy to be a bit of a crazy you-know-what sometimes, and you want a man that is not only okay with that, but finds it attractive that you don't let anyone step on you." J encourages me to be less of a push-over (especially at work when I tend to stand in a corner quivering in fear) and stand up for myself, even if that means turning into a not-so-nice version of myself. He's my biggest cheerleader (he has spirit fingers to prove it) and I feel braver pitching new ideas when I know J has my back.
3. Crying: "Give him that chance [to make you feel better] and don't go hide whenever you feel the need to cry." Okay, so, I'm not really huge on the waterworks. But I do have one guilty pleasure: watching* Grey's Anatomy* every week and balling like a baby. J wonders why I would watch a show that makes me tear up so badly and I just tell him that it's my one release a week (I really feel better after that one good cry). He *kind of *gets it. He just goes in the other room when Grey's is on now.
4. Being insecure: "You want a man who hugs you, gives you that reassurance, indulges you in your momentary lapse of insecurity, and then forgets about it." GUILTY! I have become such a codependent dresser. I literally cannot choose an outfit in the morning without getting J's approval (what can I say, my man has style). But starting off my day hearing my boyfriend tell me he likes the way I look allows me to feel confident (and loved) and ready to tackle the world.
5. Looking unkempt: "Men feel closer to a woman when they get to hang in bed with her, looking the way she only looks at home." Here at Glamour, we're always hearing that guys love girls when they're less done up. They prefer the jeans and tee look. That's guy pretty. But even I had a hard time letting my guard down with J in the beginning—I wanted to look as put-together and sexy as possible for him all the time. And then we moved in together. Now he comes home and finds me with my sweatpants and glasses on eating ice cream right out of the container…and he joins me.
6. Getting sick: "If you're going to spend your life with this person, they need to know that you are human." Let's see. There was that first weekend being sick at home together a few months back, the time I passed out in the shower during sexy time…and then there was last weekend when I drunkenly puked on his shoes. Can we all agree that I've crossed all my bases with this one? Sorry J, sorry.
7. Being affectionate to others: "Physical closeness is a human need! [Your boyfriend] should be secure enough in himself to know that just because you hug, or even kiss on the cheek, a male friend doesn't mean you want to tear his clothes off." I have tons of guy friends and J has even more girl friends. He has never complained about me being affectionate with others, but that might be because when we're out with a group of people I make sure to give him extra attention. I'll be the first to admit it: I love PDA with my man. And no, I don't mean over-the-top making out in front of our friends. But I am guilty of grabbing his ass in public. God, I love that ass. And he knows it. So, no, J doesn't mind if I give my high school bud a kiss hello.
Where do you stand with your boyfriend according to this list? Are you comfortable enough to show him your not-so-boyfriend-friendly side? Would you say you're in true love?
You're heading out on a first date: Will the night end with a kiss or not? It's likely all you're thinking about in the hours leading up to said get-together. But don't let it overwhelm you.
If you're having a great first date with someone, the conversation is flowing, and you can feel the sparks flying between you both, you may be wondering if you should kiss this person at the end of the date. On the one hand, it's clear that you enjoyed your time with this person and had some laughs, but on the other hand, is it too much too soon?
It's not surprising that there is a vast array of differing opinions as to whether or not you should kiss on a first date. When it comes to your dating life, it's important to understand the different views in order to determine what works best for you.
Read on for some pointers on how to follow your gut when it comes to kissing on the first date and what might be right for you.
See if You Have Chemistry
If you’re on the fence, consider this: One of the benefits of kissing on a first date is that it can actually help you determine if there’s even chemistry between you and your date. While you may have hit it off and have a lot in common, kissing on a first date enables you to see if you have any romantic rather than platonic potential. If the kiss is as terrific as the date was, this can be a great indicator that you have matching styles. If the kiss turns out to be bad, consider it an early indicator that you may not have compatible sexual styles, which could become more of an issue down the road.
In an article on Psychology Today, Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. states that a first kiss is “positively [ornamental] behavior in and of itself and is linked to relationship satisfaction and commitment in adolescence and adulthood,” adding, “If kissing is part of the search for self-definition that occurs in adolescence, as the authors propose, that first kiss could help you gain some clarity into your own goals and values.”
That said, give it a chance. Just because the first kiss might not have you seeing stars doesn't mean that you should drop your potential suitor like a hot potato. It just might help aid in your decision, that's all.
Enjoy the Fun
Another reason why people like to kiss on a first date is that kissing is—let’s face it—fun. When you’ve had an enjoyable, engaging, and thrilling first date with someone, sealing the evening with a terrific French kiss can be a way to add an exclamation point on the great time that you had with one another. And, in some cases, kissing on a first date can leave you both excited about getting to see each other and kiss each other again in the future. Sheril Kirshenbaum, author of The Science of Kissing explains, “The more anticipation you feel leading up to a kiss, the greater the dopamine spike.” Besides, if you’re both vibing, don’t get bogged down with what you think you should or should not be doing. Follow your instincts!
Leave Your Date Wanting More
Those who are opposed to kissing on a first date are often believers in the "less is more" mentality. While you clearly had a nice time with this person, there's something about leaving him or her wanting more that can work in your favor. By withholding a kiss on a first date, your date may leave wondering what it's like to kiss you and be even more motivated and inclined to ask you out on a second date. Playing hard to get can start on the very first date when you decide to save your kisses for another time.
Don't Expect It Leads to a Second Date
If you're wondering if you should kiss on a first date, the harsh truth is that it doesn't signify that you'll have another date with this person. There are plenty of daters who end up kissing at the end of a great first date, but then never hear from or see this person ever again. In some instances, kissing on a first date can simply mean that you're kissing this person goodbye for good, as many people who are serial daters or are only interested in hooking up may go in for the kiss now only to ghost you later.
Go With Your Gut
When it comes to kissing on a first date, it's important to remember that it's totally your decision. As no two first dates are alike, it's up to you to decide whether you'd like to kiss this person or not. And in most cases, this simply happens in the moment. There are many factors that can play a role in this decision, and sometimes the location of the first date, the time of day, or even the weather can be the reason to kiss or not to kiss at the end of the date.
The key is to trust your gut and go with what your instincts tell you, as having a blanket response to always or never kissing on a first date isn't entirely realistic. You have to trust yourself, and the more first dates that you go on, the more dating apps you join, and the more you put yourself out there, the better you'll be able to recognize firsthand if you should or shouldn't kiss someone.
Photo: © Unsplash (Main Image)
Love is one strange thing – happens when you’re least expecting it, leaves you when you need it the most. It’s almost as if it has a will of its own. No matter how much you may want to hold on, love that has to die dies anyway. No matter how much you cling on to it, it’ll still slip away if it has to. And that’s why they say, not every love is forever. Sometimes, we spend years trying to ‘make it work’, clenching on to the remains of the love that once was, hoping everything will be the same again. Falling out of love happens to the best of us and the least we can do for our partners is to be honest about our emotional absence and let them go.
1. The things that you were once found adorable – those small little eccentricities – the funny sound she makes when she laughs, the way she never gets your sarcasm, her habit of constantly questioning everything, her emotional outbursts – they have begun to bother you. You snap too often, get annoyed at the smallest of things she does and wonder how you ever found any of that attractive.
2. You go out on dates every week. She doesn’t nag like most men say their girlfriends do. She’s completely okay with you hanging out with your guy friends every weekend. You understand and support each other in every way possible. Everything’s just perfect – only, it really isn’t. Something’s amiss. Something you can’t put a finger on, but something your heart really longs for. Something that seems to have gotten lost in all these years. Is it the excitement, is it the spark? Love? Maybe!
3. The idea of meeting them doesn’t excite you anymore, even if it’s after a long time and we’re talking months here. You don’t feel the urge to see them anymore. Gone are those days when you’d take the train even on a rainy day just to meet her over a cup of coffee and talk to her about anything and everything under the sun. Now, you’re always secretly hoping the date gets cancelled because you’d much rather be doing something you really enjoy.
4. Even when you do go out on dates, the silences become awkward and the conversations, mundane. There’s always some place you’d much rather be. The emptiness is so haunting, it’s almost like the both of you can see it – this impermeable void that has found a place on the table. Every time you go out on a date, you walk back home with a bad aftertaste, the reality of a lost battle staring at you right in the face.
5. Remember how you did all you could to make her smile when she was upset about something? You’ve kinda forgotten what it felt like to be that concerned. Arguments and fights are often left unresolved now. You’re not in a hurry to mend things anymore. You’re fed up of trying to make it work, so you just let things be; you don’t ask her if she’s fine anymore, you don’t try to cheer her up, you ‘give her space’, you let her cry to sleep, because putting in more efforts just sounds like an ordeal now.
6. You don’t like listening to her anymore. You don’t want to know what she did at work, why she fought with her mom, the new dress she bought or how she’s been feeling lately. You don’t want to have conversations. You don’t want to know anything anymore. Those nights you spent just talking over the phone, listening to each other’s voice, whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears seem like a distant dream now. Missed calls and unread messages don’t seem to bother you anymore. You just want to hang up the moment she starts talking.
7. You don’t feel the love when you look at them. You don’t feel a thing when they hold your hand or give you a hug. There’s no romance left. You never feel the urge to give them a surprise or make them feel good. You’re still ‘the perfect boyfriend’ for the rest of the world but you know you’re doing it out of duty, not out of love and it’s hard to hide.
8. You prefer your friends’ company over her. Even when you go to a party together, you often find yourself drifting away and being surrounded by your friends, while she pretends to be socializing because sitting alone would be awkward. We all have our days when we want to spend some quality time with our best buds but when you start doing it just to escape your relationship. It’s time to face the truth.
9. There used to be a time when you’d burn with jealousy every time she got attention from the guys, not because you were possessive but because you loved her so much that you wanted her to notice only you. A little bit of jealousy and insecurity is natural, even healthy in a relationship. But when the thought of her being with someone else stops troubling you, you know the love has died.
10. The sex isn’t as intense or passionate as it used to be before. It feels good (when does sex not feel good), but it’s different. Staring into her eyes is not the same. Hugging her close and tight doesn’t feel as warm anymore. Waking up next to her doesn’t make you feel things anymore.
When people face adversities in their love life or marriage, they blame many factors including lack of love or sex, time constraint or incompatibility, etc. According to experts, couples raise the alarm when they find sexual intercourse has been missing from their life for a while, a long while to be precise. In a state of anxiety, they end up believing that if they somehow bring back the lost passion between the sheets, their relationship too would magically heal. But they are far from the truth. According to a new research, the frequency of cuddling is a better indicator of a happy and healthy relationship than the frequency at which the couples have sex. Which means, the more you cuddle, the stronger your relationship would grow. Let’s look at the reasons why:
02 /7 What experts believe
“Cuddling, which is a non-sexual intimacy, allows a couple to enjoy a feeling of emotional security. One of the biggest advantages of non-sexual intimacies, like cuddling or a peck on the cheek, is that it allows a person to put down his guard and be more emotionally open. No relationship or marriage can be successful without emotional security and reliability. Whereas in the case of sexual physical intimacy, couples are more concerned about physical pleasure, which of course is equally important in a relationship like emotional bonding. However, not many people are aware of the decline of the emotional health of their relationship,” said Shweta Singh, a senior consultant psychologist.
03 /7 Middle-aged men are more vulnerable to emotional tenderness
According to a research conducted by the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and reproduction, “Among middle-aged couples in committed relationships, tenderness is often more important to the man than the woman; regular kisses and cuddling lead to greater relationship satisfaction in men than in their partners.”
04 /7 Cuddling releases feel-good hormones
Besides letting a couple enjoy a sense of emotional security, cuddling also has other benefits. When a person cuddles with a partner, he can smell his partner and feel the warmth of her body. This experience of smell and touch help to release the feel-good hormone oxytocin, which makes couples feel happy and enjoy each other’s company more. And what could be more important than that?
05 /7 A cuddle doesn’t require special plans, right?
Unlike physical intercourse, you do not need to make special plans to cuddle your partner, right? Which means, you can cuddle your partner more often than getting under the sheets to make love. However, sometimes it is not easy for couples to take out time for this simple romantic gesture, especially couples with children. And here’s why we bring to you a cuddle plan.
06 /7 The cuddle plan
You do not need any specific time to cuddle but having a comfortable couch or a bed can be very helpful. One thing that you should try to do while cuddling, is disconnecting from the external world. So, it would be a good idea to not carry your laptop or mobile phone to your cuddle couch. Talking sweet nothings can make your partner feel wanted but choose the subject carefully. Because if you end up talking about work or children, the entire purpose of this activity will be ruined. And, don’t be in a hurry. Just let the moment last.
07 /7 Added health benefits
If you are still not convinced that cuddling is good for your relationship, let us tell you more about the health benefits of cuddling. According to scientists, cuddling lowers the level of the stress hormone cortisol. And since cuddling aids the production of oxytocin, which is also known for its calming effect, it can help a couple to sleep better. If you want to connect with your partner, sleep better and be stress-free, you need to cuddle more, right?
Have you ever dealt with couples where one partner had issues with being touched? That’s the situation I am in now. I have been seeing a guy for about eight months and he’s really great. He’s sweet, gives me little gifts, great conversationalist, supports me, has a lot in common with me, etc. But one thing I’ve always found strange is that he doesn’t really like to touch me or be touched very much.
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For example, we will be sitting next to each other on the couch watching a show and I’ll reach for his hand, but while he lets me touch it briefly, he pulls away fairly quickly and folds his arms or something. I can lean on his shoulder for a little bit and that seems okay, but he doesn’t go out of his way to touch me. Even hugging seems difficult. He’ll do it if I initiate, but he always breaks it off first. He also never goes in for the first kiss. We have sex, but that’s kind of distant too, in that we don’t really make eye contact and afterward he heads straight for the shower rather than cuddling with me.
This has taken some getting used to for me, as I am used to relationships where there is a lot of touch. Everyone is different, and I want to respect his differences and his boundaries. I don’t think this is something we can’t overcome. It’s just hard not to be touched by my partner, and I don’t know why it’s not as important to him as it seems to be for me. I did a little reading online and saw that abuse or trauma in a person’s past could make them more averse to certain types of touch. If that’s what’s going on, he hasn’t told me anything. And it doesn’t feel right to ask him about his past in that way if he doesn’t want to volunteer it.
What do you think might be going on? Is this just how some men are? —Out of Touch
Dear Out of Touch,
Thank you for your note. While I’m not sure how “some men” are, I know how this man is, based on your description. You sound quite compassionate, incidentally, a great quality in a partner.
It does sound as if your guy has some discomfort with physical closeness. It is hard to discern what the source of that might be. I was impressed with your research and estimation of the cause as you try to understand him better. I hope he returns the favor.
I was struck by your comment that “it doesn’t feel right to ask him” about his past. Why? It may be hard for you to broach the topic. You may fear you’re wrecking the “honeymoon,” but I don’t see a good reason for you to suffer alone; you need more info here.
One way to attempt this is to say you find the topic awkward but necessary to discuss. I am fairly sure you are not the type to say, “So what’s the deal here? Think I got cooties?” At an opportune time, you could start with something along the lines of, “Listen, this is awkward and I don’t mean to rain on our parade, but I’ve noticed you tend to pull away when we’re close, and it’s confusing me.”
You can state your feelings without making demands or intrusions. Examples of this might include, “I find it a little odd or disconcerting when you run to the shower after sex,” or, “I really like cuddling after sex, but it seems you really don’t,” and so on. It gives him an opportunity to open up about a potentially tender issue.
I assume he, too, may feel awkward or antsy about the topic, which is why he hasn’t brought it up. He may be relieved when you do, in the thoughtful way you expressed in your letter.
I can’t see how bringing this up would be too forward. It would likely be worth your while to reflect upon why this is hard for you. I can only imagine that, over time, his barriers will become more off-putting—perhaps even cold or rejecting, even if he doesn’t mean it to be. We need our partners to care about how we feel and vice versa, even when there isn’t 100% agreement. Such emotional respect and trust is the mortar of intimacy.
In your case, you would need to loosen your own internal boundary regarding introducing a sensitive topic. He would need to ease up on his interpersonal barrier, enough to get the conversation started. Clearly you and your guy have different attitudes around touch, which cannot help but have an impact on the overall connection.
If you are right in your astute speculation that this is trauma related—and that would be my guess as well—it may be affecting him in some emotional or psychological way. As mind and body prove to be more intertwined as research on this progresses, there is undoubtedly some reason your guy is motivated to stick with a boundary that sounds a bit rigid.
It is nearly an axiom for me that, when it comes to close relationships of any stripe (even between therapist and person in therapy), rigidity can strangle spontaneity, love, or caring. The main thing I suggest you focus on, regarding whether this is a tolerable problem, is not the content of his response but how he responds.
All couples, at various stages, have issues that need addressing. What is important is how those issues are discussed and negotiated. As the cliché goes, relationships involve compromise. In the end, while neither person is disappointed nor thrilled at the micro level, the overall relationship is happily continued.
If your guy were unwilling to be even a little uneasy in talking about this issue, or talking about why talking about it is difficult, that would be concerning. The magic words in his response, were I your individual or couples counselor, would be something to the effect of, “Yes, I can see how that’s awkward or hard to understand for you.” The yellow or red flag would be, “Why are you bringing this up? There’s nothing to see here.”
Drs. John and Julie Gottman, pioneers in couples theory and counseling, say the “four horsemen of the apocalypse,” or major red flags in relationships, involve either excessive criticism or defensiveness. These are the danger zones: boundaries that are too rigid or a consistent lack of empathy between partners. Thus, while romance and finance tend to provoke anxiety in couples, it is how they are dealt with that matters, along with the degree to which each person emotionally “hears” the other.
In your case, you would need to loosen your own internal boundary regarding introducing a sensitive topic. He would need to ease up on his interpersonal barrier, enough to get the conversation started. Clearly you and your guy have different attitudes around touch, which cannot help but have an impact on the overall connection.
I think you would be doing him a favor by bringing this up, because if he wants to be in any close relationship it will have to be dealt with. I would hope he’d be relieved at your courage, since the move would show him that the relationship is important to you.
Without risk, relationships suffocate. Keep the focus on how you feel, as best you can, and what you hope will come from discussion. Starting with a mention of the “good stuff”—such as his generosity, great conversations, and so on—could make the more difficult parts easier. You might want to partner with a couples counselor who can help facilitate things.
It’s not wise to seek out problems in a relationship . But sometimes, they present themselves in the form of you and your partner’s body language .
INSIDER spoke with body language expert Tonya Reiman to see if your body language can raise some red flags for your relationship.
Of course, nothing on this list serves as a conclusive sign of doom for any individual relationship. Everyone is different, so something that might indicate unrest in a relationship for one couple could be just another day for another couple.
All the same, it can be useful to know which body language clues to look out for — you know, just in case.
1. Lack of eye contact.
Has it been a while since you got a good look at your partner’s eyes? If so, that could be a bad sign.
“Eye contact is incredibly intimate,” Reiman told INSIDER. ” Eye contact shows trust and emotional openness [and] tells the partner ‘I am yours.’ If your partner once offered up their eyes and suddenly stops, it’s a red flag.”
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you and your significant other have to spend hours gazing into one another’s eyes. There may also be some legitimate reasons why your partner doesn’t engage in intense eye contact. F or example, some people on the autism spectrum have difficulty making eye contact, according to The Mighty.
But if your partner is making a pointedly avoiding eye contact, and they don’t seem to have any good reason for doing so, you might want to have a talk with them.
2. Kissing without tongue.
“In a long-term relationship, [kissing] associates us with love and passion,” Reiman told INSIDER.
A good way to lose some of this love and passion is by moving from kisses with tongue to quick pecks on the lips. It’s not that tongue-free kisses are bad, but if they are all that’s happening, it’s a sign that you and your partner may not be bonding as much as you should.
3. Kissing with less enthusiasm.
Another kissing-related red flag: the amount of excitement — or lack thereof — you put into it.
“Kissing is an emotional, biological, and psychological boost,” Reiman told INSIDER. “If your partner kisses you with less enthusiasm [than before], it’s a red flag.”
4. Less overall touching.
Reiman identified a lack of touching during “non-significant” times, like watching TV or eating dinner together, as a possible red flag.
“T ouching, whether it’s hugging, kissing, snuggling, or spooning tells the other person you are close to them as it symbolizes intimacy, emotional closeness, and happiness in a relationship,” Reiman said.
Not every couple uses physical touch to express affection. But suddenly losing a sense of ease when it comes to touch can point to trouble in a relationship.
5. Shifting from caresses to pats.
Your partner doesn’t have to stop touching you altogether. Sometimes, all it takes to signal that they may not be as invested in the relationship as they once were is a change in the way they touch you.
“Often when love is starting to wane, a person will go from touching and stroking a partner to patting a partner,” Reiman told INSIDER. “Unfortunately, this is usually a slow progression that isn’t noticed until it’s too late.”
6. Walking out of sync.
“M ost couples in love mirror each other and thus walk in sync,” Reiman told INSIDER. ” When this walking pattern is disrupted on numerous occasions, it indicates that there is a potential disconnect between the couple.”
This is another factor that probably shouldn’t be taken 100% at face value, as there are many, many reasons why someone might walk slightly out of sync with another person. Still, if you’re noticing a consistent discord in your pace compared to your partner’s, it may indeed be a red flag.
7. An abnormal blink rate.
Another thing that may be useful to pay attention to is your partner’s blink rate — specifically, if it changes from what you’re used to seeing.
” Blink rate is significant as it is an indicator of mental arousal,” Reiman told INSIDER. “It typically shows when an individual is uncomfortable or stressed and therefore could be another red flag.”
Because the rate at which one blinks can serve as an indicator of two totally separate things blinking itself may not necessarily serve as a red flag — but you should definitely pay attention to any sudden changes that your partner makes.
8. Leaning away.
” Couples sitting down to watch a movie have a tendency to lean toward one another with their heads, bodies or feet,” Reiman said.
If you notice that your partner seems to be leaning away from you during moments in which you would otherwise be touching, Reiman said that “it’s a big signal as it denotes a willingness to give up touching time with your partner.”
9. Neglecting to show empathy with their movements.
Some red flags may be more subtle than you realize. Take, for example, the way your partner expresses empathy when you’re going through something tough. If they can’t seem to grasp that you are upset, and don’t make any moves to comfort you, that’s a bad sign.
According to Reiman, part of being in a successful relationship involves ” stepping into someone’s shoes and experiencing what they are experiencing. When we are in love, this becomes automatic — sometimes we may not understand the why of our partners reaction, but we always feel their pain. If one person in the relationship isn’t mirroring back feelings of the others obvious distress, it’s a signal they no longer share your pain.”
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Kelly Gonsalves is a sex educator, relationship coach, and journalist. She received her journalism degree from Northwestern University, and her writings on sex, relationships, identity, and wellness have appeared at The Cut, Vice, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and elsewhere.
Ever been in a relationship with someone who just loved to share skin-to-skin contact with you at all times? Or maybe that’s you when you’re in a relationship. That love for hands-on intimacy is exactly what the physical touch love language is all about.
What is the physical touch love language?
Physical touch is one of the five love languages, and it refers to expressing and receiving affection through touch, physical closeness, and other forms of physical connection. Kissing, hugging, holding hands, and sex are all ways of showing love through the physical touch love language.
Most specifically, having touch as a love language means that small physical gestures—such as having a partner put their arm around you in public or snuggle up close to you on the couch while watching TV together—matter a lot more to you than things like gifts or saying “I love you.”
There’s a physiological reason physical touch is so enjoyable: That skin-to-skin contact triggers the release of certain hormones associated with pleasure and bonding, explains licensed marriage and family therapist Kiaundra Jackson, LMFT, of KW Couples Therapy.
“If someone’s love language is physical touch, they may or may not know it, but they enjoy the release of the ‘feel-good hormones’ our body secretes like serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin,” Jackson tells mbg. “Oxytocin is known as the bonding hormone. That hormone is the same hormone released between a newborn baby and its mother, which is why skin-to-skin contact is highly recommended for bonding after childbirth.”
Illustrator (Hoang Loc / Pexels)
JAKARTA – There are many expressions of love that are expressed in romantic relationships, one of which is kissing. Apart from being an expression of love, kissing can make your relationship warmer, closer, more comfortable, and more belonging to each other.
Unconsciously, did you know that in a romantic relationship, men are the ones who tend to ask to be kissed more often than women? Relax, this is not a matter of lust. Launching from Elitedaily, Friday, March 12, kisses and hugs are expressions of affection.
Men who really sincerely love and love their partner will express it through a kiss. So, when a partner asks to kiss and hug more often, this is not always because of lust alone.
Apart from being affectionate, a man who often asks to kiss you is a sign that he is admiring you. He feels happy and wants to love you sincerely. He not only wanted to show it through seductive words, but also through deeds. Well, this action is carried out in the form of a kiss.
If a man is fascinated by your physical appearance, he will not hesitate to kiss you. Asking for a kiss is a sign that he is very affectionate and afraid of losing you and feels very deep homesickness. To treat that longing, kisses and hugs are the most appropriate way to do it.
The kiss is not only on the lips, but on the forehead or cheeks. In essence, when a man kisses a woman, that’s where he feels very happy. This is also the reason why kissing can create an emotional bond for partners in a relationship.
So, that’s the reason why men ask to kiss more often than women. So, how many times has your partner asked for a kiss today?
Go ahead: Give your partner a hug or cuddle while you catch some Netflix. According to recently published research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, it just might build a stronger relationship.
The study, led by Binghamton University doctoral student in psychology Samantha Wagner, particularly looks at the effects of non-sexual intimate touch — for example, hugging, holding hands or cuddling on the couch, rather than actions intended to lead to sex. Attachment style refers to human social bonds and exists on a spectrum; avoidant individuals prefer more interpersonal distance, while anxious individuals seek greater closeness. This style develops in childhood, but can change over time and vary with the individual in question.
“It all depends on how open, close and secure you feel with that person, which is impacted by many, many factors,” Wagner said.
To determine the connection of attachment style, touch satisfaction and marital satisfaction, researchers used a sample of 184 couples over the age of 18, consisting of husbands and wives; same-sex couples were excluded. Because the study protocol included hormonal sampling, individuals on hormonal therapy were also excluded, as well as postmenopausal, pregnant or breastfeeding women. They were interviewed separately on their attachment tendencies, the amount of touch and routine affection in their relationships, and their relationship satisfaction.
Researchers expected to find that avoidant individuals preferred less touch, while anxious people prefer more. What they found was more nuanced.
The more routine affection that couples experienced, the more they felt satisfied with their partners’ touch, even if they had avoidant attachment styles. With low levels of physical affection, anxious husbands were less satisfied with the touch they received, but not anxious wives, who may instead choose to solicit the missing affection.
For men, higher levels of routine affection are associated with relationship satisfaction; in other words, touch is a positive, the icing on the marriage cake. For women, lower levels of routine affection correlated with relationship dissatisfaction, meaning that touch is an essential ingredient and its absence is a negative. It’s a subtle distinction.
“There’s something specific about touch satisfaction that interplays with relationship satisfaction but not dissatisfaction for wives,” said Wagner, who noted that further research studies may be able to clarify the distinction.
Whatever a couple’s attachment insecurities, the perception of how their partner touches them has the greatest association with “touch satisfaction.” In other words, more is better because they can more easily see that their partner is trying to engage with them.
Overall, the study shows an association between non-sexual physical affection and solid marriages, although the current data can’t establish cause and effect.
“Interestingly, there’s some evidence that holding your partner’s hand while you’re arguing de-escalates the argument and makes it more productive,” said Wagner, who has used the technique with clients.
However, Wagner emphasized that the study focused only on healthy, consensual touch — not manipulation or abuse. Touch holds different meanings for people, she pointed out; someone with autism spectrum disorder may be overwhelmed by tactile sensitivity, and someone with a history of trauma may experience touch as averse.
Wagner is, by her own admission, a hugger and has long been fascinated by the healing possibilities of touch; she wrote her senior thesis as a qualitative review of the uses and benefit of touch across the lifespan. But questions continued to arise: Why do some people enjoy touch more than others? And do they benefit more as a result?
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, couples may want to consider adding more affection to decrease stress — as long as their partners are receptive and willing.
“Feel free to give some extra snugs on the couch. There’s plenty of evidence that suggests touch as a way to decrease stress,” she said.
But she notes that the coronavirus pandemic also may lead to touch deprivation, as social distancing keeps us physically apart from one another. Consider, for example, healthcare workers who are quarantining themselves from their own families when they return home, to keep the virus from spreading to their loved ones.
“I think we should all hold the loved ones we can a little closer and be thoughtful of the struggles that others might be having because they can’t do just that,” she said. “If anything is true for me, a hug has become even more precious than it was before.”