Is a first kiss a litmus test?

I recently read an article about first kisses, and it didn’t sit right. The author called a first kiss a litmus test. It’s how you confirm that he’s into you, she wrote — it’s how you determine whether he’s confident.

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And maybe, for her, that’s what a first kiss is. And maybe it is for you, too — a gauge you use to measure stuff, like your interest in a person, or a person’s confidence. But is it supposed to be?

People kiss to express, but the author suggests that kisses also express independently, that ultimately we can trust how the first one goes to be a guide by which to make actual life choices. (In the author’s defense, she did add a disclaimer, which I’ll paraphrase: probably don’t dump a person because the first kiss is awkward.)

But stats she quoted, which said that lots of people end relationships because of a “bad” kiss, allude to arguments that I have heard before, in response to older posts I wrote: that one first must be physically intimate and second must appraise the physical intimacy in order to determine whether chemistry exists.

Which I don’t buy.

I think it’s a lie — the same lie part of our culture tells us about sex. That it should go a certain way the first time or the relationship isn’t meant to be.

As if we’re supposed to be physically intimate in order to determine to whom we’re attracted, instead of acknowledging that we generally want to be physically intimate with the people to whom we’re attracted.

As if, in a kiss’s case, what determines a relationship’s viability is lips. As if authentic love is powerless over mouths that fumble.  As if practice is totally out of the question.

Which I definitely don’t buy.

And so I wonder if to call a kiss a gauge that we can use on a quest to determine “how into each other we are” or “whether a guy is confident enough” is just to shroud a different, unfortunate quest, for something else so widely primarily sought: effortless gratification.

Like this post? Check out “What a first kiss can tell you” by Wendy van Eyck. New to my work? Check out my book, Chastity Is for Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Episteme

    Honestly? I think that a first kiss is mainly calibration for a second kiss. Between often situations of anxiety in the moment and simply not understanding each other facial velocity, the first kiss is as likely going to be off-target as to be anything else.

    But some of that may be informed by my so-called experience with such things!