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Missing the kissing

Alice,

What do I do about a man who no longer kisses me during sex? We still have sex on a regular basis, but he no longer looks at me while we have sex. He always covers his face when we are together. It has been months since he has kissed me. I am starving for affection. I happen to be in love with this man.

— Chapped lips

Dear Chapped lips, 

To find out why the smooching has stopped, you may need to start moving your lips for a different reason. A dose of communication with your partner about your sexual and emotional needs as well as your desires may lead you to a better understanding of why their behaviors have changed. 

Before you start the conversation, consider ruling out any physical reasons why your partner has stopped kissing you. Maybe he's embarrassed because he developed cold sores and doesn't know what to do about them. Maybe he could be worried about his breath (or yours). Since it takes two to kiss, have you tried initiating the kissing? If yes, how did he respond? Is this behavior more recent or has it been going on for a while? Were there other changes in your relationship that you can recall that may have caused this shift? As you ponder some of these questions, they may give you a little more information about the situation. 

After reflecting on possible reasons for this lack of lip-locking, you might consider how to approach the conversation with your partner. To start the conversation, you might try letting him know what your preferences are around kissing and sex. You may also try letting your partner know how this lack of kissing makes you feel and how it has affected your relationship. Give him a chance to respond; find out if this is just a phase he’s going through, whether or not it's been unconscious behavior on his part, or if something else may be going on in your relationship. 

If after having this conversation, you find that you and your partner are facing some unanticipated complexities or you're still not satisfied with the smooch level, another option to consider is enlisting the help of a professional. Sometimes looping in a mental health professional who specializes in helping couples can be beneficial because they are unaffected by the outcome of the conversation and can help mediate challenges around relationship and sexuality. You might also try meeting with a mental health professional to set up individual sessions so you can further explore and process your own thoughts and feelings about the changes in your relationship. 

Since you love this man, sharing how you feel and finding out what's going on in your relationship may help to bring you closer or give you the information you need to move forward. It’s possible that your partner simply isn’t aware of your desire for more physical affection and having the conversation may be just what you need to bring your lips closer together. It may also bring to light factors that could strengthen your relationship in other areas. All in all, being able to have a discussion with your partner about your concerns can be key to the sustainability of the relationship. 

Sealed with a kiss, 

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Last updated Dec 05, 2023
Originally published Sep 01, 1994