Kissing is associated with our first experience of pleasure, breastfeeding or feeding from a bottle. The sucking action of a newborn baby is a reflex action that happens automatically as it nuzzles a teat and the pleasure of having its hunger met is imprinted on its brain. With the birth of a new romantic relationship, similar waves of pleasure can envelop a couple from the first kiss. But what role does deep kissing play in long term relationships? Is it a step that many couples skip to their own detriment?

The science of kissing

Deep kissing or open-mouth kissing not only mimics feelings of pleasure and security from when we were a baby but kissing also stimulates the hormone oxytocin which produces bonding and attachment feelings that the breastfeeding mother experiences. But wait there’s more. Saliva also contains testosterone and the exchange of this hormone when kissing adds to the desire for more. Testosterone is the hormone that increases desire in both men and women and although men have far more floating around in their bodies, it is women who are the most sensitive to it and are therefore more influenced by subtle amounts. Kissing even lowers cortisol levels making the person feel more relaxed and chilled out. But kissing is also a single focused activity which means you can’t really be concentrating on your phone or watching TV when you are deep kissing your partner. It requires intimacy, vulnerability, and acceptance, all of which are qualities needed in satisfying intimate relationships.

When it goes wrong

There is an old saying which states, “There is one who kisses and one who turns the cheek.” It hints at relationships where there is a difference in the power balance or a difference in the one pursuing and the one distancing. Deep kissing on the other hand is not a one-sided affair. In other words, when you are deep kissing, you are fully in, you are not casually exchanging a greeting. And this is where it gets interesting. Deep kissing is intimate, there’s no denying it.

But we humans associate connections with everything. So this means that when we only ever deep kiss at the time we have sex, intimacy gets compartmentalized. It results in women, in particular, interpreting deep kissing with their partner’s need for sex, rather than it being a practice of intimacy by itself. This compartmentalization means that intimacy is reserved for only times of sexual interaction and puts the rest of the relationship at risk of disconnection. The opposite of this concept is reflected clearly in new romantic relationships. Often there is deep kissing outside of sex and both partners find it pleasurable for its own sake.

So why does deep kissing deteriorate in long term relationships? Why is it often only reserved for sexual interactions and why does it even go missing altogether in far too many long term relationships? The answer may be that the compartmentalization factor is responsible. This is because when it is only ever associated with sex it can be a turn-off, especially to women. However, when deep kissing is associated with intimacy in our minds, it becomes a real turn on.

The solution

When women have sex without intimacy, sex becomes less pleasurable. Some men, on the other hand, often struggle with intimacy and tend to tolerate sex without intimacy with no complaint. But as the relationship ages, the diminishing intimacy often drives the woman crazy. She longs for a deeper connection and more fulfilling interactions. She craves deeper intimacy outside of sex.

So the solution is really for the couple to have intimacy without sex to break the association that intimacy is only reserved for times of sexual interactions. This is where deep kissing can help. When deep kissing starts to happen outside of sex, the couple can act like new lovers, who just find being together pleasurable and enjoy being intimate for intimacy’s sake. This reveals how deep kissing can mirror what’s happening deeper down in the relationship. If things are not going well, then deep kissing is often the first thing to go.

So never be the one in your relationship that turns the cheek. Be the one that kisses for kissing’s sake. Never imprint your relationship with the association that deep kissing is only reserved for sex. Rather, imprint your relationship with intimacy exchanges regularly throughout every aspect of your interactions. Deep kissing, when used in this way, can increase intimacy but also pleasure and desire in even old relationships. Think about ways you can kiss your way into deeper intimacy and how this could deepen your relationship like nothing else.