The kissing conversation

I like everything about the guy I just started dating except the way he kisses. What can I do to improve this without hurting his feelings?

I talked this over with a friend who considers herself a “universal kisser,” meaning she has a variety of kissing styles she appreciates. I’m envious of this. I think I’m more of a kissing snob with staunchly entrenched preferences.

But kissing is an intimate physical conversation, and I believe we can learn to speak—and even appreciate—certain individual’s unique styles of communicating. It needs to be a conversation. Are you both listening?

My universal kisser friend says that she tries to teach and learn through her mouth (again … jealous). But there is one trick I know to work on developing this physical language. One of my partners likes to play a game in which we take turns taking the lead as we kiss for roughly 60 seconds. The other person tries their best to listen and follow along. We intentionally learn each other’s preferences. I LOVE this game.

Besides this, I do think there are times when using actual words can help. But first — are you used to talking during sexy times in general? If not, start there. The more that the two of you are used to conversing in bed, the less likely a suggestion will crush either of your egos.

Then, when you run into a specific issue while kissing (like this one person I dated who enjoyed licking my teeth — not my thing), bring it up in a way that doesn’t make a big deal out of it. “I’m not into it when you lick my teeth, but I love your tongue against my tongue, and how your mouth feels against mine. Can we try that again?”

If I were to receive criticism on the way I kiss, I’d want to still feel connected to and desired by my lover. I think the same is true for all of us. So keep touching them, focus on your desire for them (because feeling desire usually shows), and make sure that for any criticism you give, you offer twice as many compliments. Let the compliment be the last thing they hear before you start up your all physical conversation again.

Have a sex or love question? Jera has answers! Send questions to or DM Jera on Twitter @thejerabrown.

Jera writes about sexuality, spirituality, and social justice. They are the author of Just the Tip, a queer-friendly, sex-positive, relationship advice column and the editor of Sacred and Subversive,...