the first kiss is overrated
Everyone’s waiting for that first kiss. That pregnant moment tingling with anticipation when suddenly neither of you can hold in your desire one second longer and you explode toward each other in passion. Or else that slow, deliberate moving together, compelled forward as you stare hypnotically into each other’s eyes. Or else that mid-sentence impulsive interruption that neither of you were expecting but just magically happened.
Or some other similar kiss trope that we probably saw in a movie. We’ve all seen too many movies.
The problem with the first kiss is that it is a moment that has been given far more weight than it deserves.
Should a first kiss be the thing that suddenly changes the frame between two people from social to sexual? (Should a frame-change from social to sexual even be sudden at all?) Can it foretell the amount of sexual chemistry that will be present between those two people? Should that first kiss be the memorable turning point in your relationship when you knew you were meant for each other, or even just that you wanted each other badly? Should it be what the night is building up to? Should it be that nervous moment where you finally found it if it’s ‘gonna happen’ or not?
The problem with kissing as an inaugural sexual act is that it requires an amount of assumptions about each other that is at best awkward and at worst unsafe. The 1930s first-kiss moment was originally born as a man ‘taking’ a woman and claiming her for his own. It then slowly evolved into an 1980s moment-of-truth that ended poorly (possibly comedically) for losers and triumphantly for heroes. But sexuality has evolved a lot since then.
Now we’ve invented mutual consent.
Desire can be communicated (as well as repelled) involving words, but also via small – almost psychic – posture signals, looks, and physical gestures. Sex nowadays is less and less about ‘taking the plunge’ and more and more about slowly dipping your toes, then knees, then thighs into the water.
Although rash people throughout history have been known to dive straight into the main course, eating – both as an art (which is what I think sex should be) and as a science (which is what human sexuality is) – is better savored as a thing of courses. A sequence of evolving delights where dessert should come last, a light entree first, and kissing should probably fall somewhere between the appetizer and the main course, among the hodge podge of soups and salads (which, incidentally, don’t usually come in any particular order to any but the most finicky eaters).
Nowadays the sexual tipping point may start with a variety of different nudges.
Visually, the eyes are usually a good place to start. Physically, collarbones, fingertips, and even knees are sensitive to sedition. Motion, proximity, expression, and, in some cases, a non-disclosure agreement may all serve as today’s ‘first kiss.’
The first kiss itself can then act as a bridge instead of a front door.
Great achievements are usually built step by step, not leap by leap or plunge by plunge.
Save the kiss for a little bit later.