Oral Spelunking: The Intimacy of Kissing

Groom kissing bride's handMany of the sex workers I’ve known refuse to let anyone but their spouse kiss them on the mouth. You would think that kissing “down there” would be more intimate but, surprisingly, it seems that for most people kissing a partner on the lips makes a more profound statement than kissing the genitals.

Frequently couples whose relationships are suffering report that they stopped kissing on the lips long before they stopped having intercourse. Why? Anthropologist Helen Fisher has pointed out that many of the major senses have their outlets on the human face. There is vision, taste, smell, and hearing (on the edges). So it may be that kissing on the lips or face provides a much more intense experience.

We also talk about someone “getting in your face” when they are being confrontational. To intentionally let someone get in your face is to allow yourself to be vulnerable in a very intimate way.

Recently a woman in her late forties lamented that her husband of 25 years had never asked her how she liked to be kissed. She likes delicate little butterfly kisses that are “dry…I just want to tell him to turn off the water works!” She decided during that session to tell him, or better yet show him what she liked, and reported later that their sex life had improved as a result.

I’ve heard it said that French kissing is the oral version of spelunking. One sex therapist colleague swears that it’s called that because French women found it to be an effective way to make French men shut up! I’ll never forget my first experience after a high school dance with “frenching.” The guy jammed his tongue deep into my throat like he was trying to reach my tonsils—a truly horrifying experience.

And can you remember hickeys? You know—the bruises that result when a lover sucks on your skin with a vacuum force that causes internal bleeding. Usually these show up on your neck, although one woman complained that her boyfriend had given her one on the middle of her forehead—who knew?

The neck actually is a glorious place to give and receive lots of tender kisses—most people report that they yearn for more attention to their neck as well as their eyelids, cheeks, ears, noses, and yes, even foreheads foregoing the vampire action of the previous paragraph!

Thorough and enthusiastic lovers will enjoy discovering and rediscovering their sweethearts from head to toe, finding new places their partner loves to be kissed. Here are a few suggestions….Skin folds or places where the skin creases tend to be exquisitely sensitive and love to be kissed. Examples include behind the knees, in front of elbows, under breasts, the nape of the neck, on eyelids, armpits, between fingers and toes, and behind ears. (One of my own favorite places since I wear glasses and get rather sore is behind my poor ears!)

Interested in a few more areas? The lower back and bum can be exquisite places to kiss and caress—and don’t forget bellies and navels. Some view the belly button as a tiny vulva, or equally sensitive point for men. These people love having their navels licked, sucked, and titillated.

The wisest thing that I suggest to people of both genders exploring a new relationship is to simply ask your partner to kiss you the way s/he likes to be kissed. You get to lean back and let them take over, and you get to learn all kinds of wonderful things! This type of deep surrender is what true sexual intimacy is all about.

Related articles:
Fanning the Spark of Sexual Passion
9 Secrets for a Lifetime of Like, Love, and Lust
Breaking the Cycle of Being TOO Comfortable in Your Relationship

© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Jill Denton, LMFT, CSAT, CCS, therapist in Los Osos, California

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Cheryl


    August 1st, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    All the making out and sex is great but there is that special something about kisses that put them right on top of the list of truly connecting with your partner.

    And yes, being kissed in places you enjoy them the most is a gift that few people receive. Many of my friends complain that kissing, like intercourse, has become a written-script with their husbands. There is no discovery with each other and that can really mess things up, if this isn’t enough mess in itself.

    So go to your partner and get on a discovery path. Trust me, it is totally worth and both of you will be asking for more!

  • Kevin

    Kevin "the Turtle"

    August 1st, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    How do you get your partner engaged in kissing. My wife of 17 yrs has never really been a kisser. From the earliest points of our dating until now she simply doesn’t like lips, wet, dry, tongue, brushing. Intercourse is a fan favorite, but lips are just not appreciated.

    How do I get her more involved?

  • george


    August 2nd, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    but it is all a set of chemical reactions in our bodies,isn’t it?then how is it that one form of intimacy is ‘better’ than another if it causes the same chemical reactions? is kissing not over-hyped as a means to show your love or to enjoy intimacy?



    August 3rd, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    @george:Maybe it is chemical reactions.But that is what dictates our emotions and feelings.now you wouldn’t want to be called a robot with special materials on the outside who works according to the micro programs of chemical reactions running inside you,isn’t it?!

  • campbell


    August 5th, 2012 at 4:30 AM

    Ok now I am concerned. . .
    my wife never wants to kiss anymore like she used to
    does this mean she’s just not that into me anymore?
    we used to could sit around and kiss for hours
    now she sort of acts like it’s a chore
    and that bugs me, becaus it is something so important to me
    and to the health of the relationship too
    but she doesn’t see it, she says she has too much to do
    i know there is a household to run, but isn’t the marriage worth that kind of hard work too?

  • earl


    August 5th, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    ^^campbell:talk to her about it.dont just let it stop at chores.ask to to tell you what is really bothering her and if there is something you can do to help.not talking will only worsen it.and if the chores are really getting to her,then maybe you guys need some time off on a litle holiday.

  • campbell


    August 6th, 2012 at 4:27 AM

    Thanks earl! I think it is long past time that we had a talk so you guys wish me luck! Think I might need it.

  • Lisa S

    Lisa S

    August 7th, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    I have never really given that much thought to how much more inti,ate mouth kissing is than actual intercourse, but you are so right!

    Sometimes it is easy to get emotionally detached from your sexual partner, but there is just something so much more intimate and comforting about kissing that really does bring you closer to that person, and can make it difficult to break that connection in a relationship.

    Sex can kind of become robotic and meaningless, but kissing is more emotional than that. If you think that there is a problem with your relationship then look at how often you and he kiss and how that feels for you. It should still make you tingle all over when you are kissed by someone you really love.

  • kendall taylor

    kendall taylor

    August 9th, 2012 at 4:56 AM

    My boyfriend and I love kissing! I could kiss him for hours!

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