Consent

To Kiss or Not to Kiss

There is a lot of pressure on men when it comes to making various “moves” on dates. Our society still operates around archaic standards that dictate guys should be the ones to ask women out or initiate the first kiss. Modern woman that I am, I have asked men out and I have been the one to initiate the first kiss, too. I understand from firsthand experience that they can be stressful moves to make.

In the new age of “Me Too,” men are becoming more aware of obtaining women’s consent before making sexual advances. However, I’ve found that in the dating world, the #MeToo movement hasn’t yet translated to the first kiss. Men still tend to make the move without verifying that they have full consent of the women involved.

One of the most devious moves I’ve encountered several times on dates is the “hug and dive.” On some dates, things have gone well but not spectacularly, and so I don’t mind giving the guy a hug as I’m open to a second date to see how things might play out. However, in the trickster version of the hug and dive, my date ends up finding a way to kiss me without my consent.

One of the times it happened to me, the date had gone really well, but I wasn’t sure how my date was feeling about me. I definitely liked him and wanted to see him again, but I was under the impression he hadn’t seen me as anything more than an interesting potential friend. Thus, as we parted outside the restaurant, I was actually surprised that he even gave me a hug. As we pulled back from the embrace, he dove in for the kiss. I was completely in shock to suddenly have his lips on mine, but it was a good shock as I had liked him. Unfortunately, it turned out to be our one and only date as he had misrepresented himself.

The other time the “hug and dive” happened to me recently was far less welcome. I’d been on a date with a guy who was perfect for me on paper. However, in person, the chemistry was only one way: he liked me, but I was bored by him. I felt like he had no personality. When the date was ending, he asked me, “So when are we meeting again?” I didn’t really want to go on another date, but I scheduled one in hopes that he might be better when he didn’t have “first date nerves” going on.

As we were getting ready to leave, he failed to offer to walk me to my car (a block away in an urban parking garage). While I don’t need to be walked to my car, it’s a courtesy most men tend to offer in this area, especially if it’s been an enjoyable date. It’s also an implicit way of seeing if a woman is open to being kissed, as a guy walking a woman to her car usually implies she likes him and wants to be kissed. However, since my date didn’t offer to walk me to my car, I took that to mean he was interested in seeing me again but not completely taken with me. He moved to give me a hug, which I was fine with. As I pulled back, I made sure my face was turned away from him as I really didn’t want to kiss him.

However, he didn’t take the hint that my face wasn’t towards him. He dove in and somehow managed to reach my face with his, immediately inserting his tongue inside my lips upon first contact. His tongue. If there’s anything worse than an unexpected kiss, it’s an unexpected kiss with tongue. <shudder> While it wouldn’t have been a bad kiss at all if we were in an established relationship and I wanted to be kissed by him, without me having invited it, the kiss felt invasive and just plain gross. Twenty-four hours later, I canceled the second date we had set up. I just couldn’t go through with it after all of that.

So how can guys know if a woman wants to be kissed? Let’s start with eye contact. If a woman is not looking you in the eyes, she doesn’t want you to kiss her. Don’t go diving in for a kiss if her head is turned. Don’t make a move without her consent.

How can you get her consent? ASK! It’s a very simple thing to do, and asking can be very romantic, especially for a person whose love language is words of affirmation. Hearing him ask to kiss her can be a form of foreplay and can heighten the excitement of the moment.

In one of my more recent relationships, the man in question and I had been messaging for several weeks before we actually met for our first date. He was a romantic, and I was very attracted to him via our messaging. The night before our first date, I explicitly wrote to him that I was looking forward to meeting him in person so that I could finally give him a big hug. He replied that he was looking forward to that hug very much, and that if I was feeling it during the evening, he was open to kisses as well. To me, that was perfect. He declared his intent and desire but let me have safe boundaries of being able to let him know when I wanted to be kissed.

As it turned out, the chemistry was beautiful that first night together. After spending some time walking around holding hands, I turned to him and said, “You wrote something about being open to kisses if things were right.” He replied, “Yes, I did,” and with that, he made the first physical move toward kissing me. He knew that if I brought it up, I was wanting to be kissed. That first kiss (and the many others that followed it that night) were wonderful in part because they were consensual and romantic. They weren’t forced, and they were very much desired by both of us involved.

Bottom line, guys: just ask. Tell her you’ve had a wonderful evening and that if she would like you to, you’d like to kiss her, but if she’d like to wait, you respect that as well. You get bonus points for letting her know you respect her boundaries, far more than you get from thrusting your tongue unexpectedly in her mouth.

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