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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Kissing & Snuggling: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!

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Author Topic: Kissing & Snuggling: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!
Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
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HI All,

I think kissing and snuggling with a partner are pretty awesome, and really very intimate.. Sadly, I hear a lot of messaging saying that kissing and snuggling are pretty good, but they're only stepping stones to other sexual activities.

In my opinion, and I'd go so far as to say, in Scarleteen's opinion, not true! Kissing and snuggling have their own very special place, whether or not partners choose to engage in other sexual activities.

So, I'll be writing an article for our main site on just how and why kissing and snuggling are awesome.

I would love your input!

What do you think is awesome about kissing and snuggling? ...and, just to be fair, are there things about kissing and snuggling that you've found to be not-so-awesome? I'll admit I have a bias here, but am very well aware that everyone's experience is different so am open to hearing your perspectives on this.


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Oh my goodness, where to begin?

For starters, they tend to be the most socially appropriate ways to show affection in public places.

I've always been a snuggler, whether with family, friends, or boyfriend, so I'm probably a little biased. Heck, my boyfriend and I occasionally will almost fall asleep snuggling, but he twitches when he falls asleep, so there goes that... [Razz] Still, it's very fun, and while it can be a stepping stone to other things, it certainly isn't always. It's a way to relax at the end of a day, or to start a day happily, and in those cases, is often accompanied by pillow talk about just about anything you can think of. It also occasionally turns into a tickle war, which is oh-so-fun, even though I lose every single time.

Kissing is another one of those really fun things to do. Aside from just something done in passing or to say good night or whatever, it's one of those things that can be (and, on occasion has been) done for hours--not continuously, of course!--without either of us getting tired, or tired of it. Along with snuggling, it's something that expresses feelings that can't be expressed properly in words. I know that's a slippery slope, considering the pervasive belief that intercourse is THE way to "prove" love, but, in my case, at least, it changed nothing. Didn't make my boyfriend and I love each other any more or any less than when we were only kissing and snuggling.

Above all, both of these activities are so NOT worrying when it comes to pregnancy. No matter how many times I've snuggled or kissed, I've never thought I might be pregnant from it--while I've only had one minor scare, that does mean that this is not always the case with other activities, and it is so nice not to have that worry.

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I can't imagine a romantic relationship devoid of snuggling. Just getting to hold someone close and/or be held can be so soothing, and though I don't deny it can be a lead-in to other sexual things, it doesn't have to be. As someone who deals with occasional gender dysphoria and also the simple exhaustion of being a college student overcommitted to a lot of classes and projects, I'm sometimes in a space where being touched sexually can be scary and saddening, or just plain uninteresting because I am so tired. However, snuggling with people feels really cozy and relaxing for me, and often makes it way easier for me to nap, which I need on occasion.

I also really love kissing. I'm happy to have a friend group where a lot of folks enjoy relatively casual kissing and gestures of affection, because kisses are lovely and fun to share with folks I like and trust. I try to stay careful about who I kiss and how I kiss them, though, because I realize more and more as time goes on that a lot of people have some very intense personal feelings tied up in the act of kissing. I've known folks who are happy to be given neck hickeys but not kissed on the lips, or even have sex but not kiss, and others who will make out on a whim. I work hard to remind myself that there is nothing useful about making assumptions of what kissing means to people - if I want to know, I need to ask.

I currently have a casual relationship with a friend that consists entirely of kissing, snuggling, and clothed BDSM activities. We make out, do kinky things we're mutually interested in, and then cuddle while talking about how we're feeling and giving each other support and advice on the other relationships in our lives. It's a very pleasant and comfy arrangement that we're both enjoying quite a lot, and it's a way to explore pleasure and closeness with someone outside of my primary relationship that carries no pregnancy risk and only a saliva-related STI risk. I also get an extra bit of pleasant amusement out of it, because it is so out of line with more traditional notions of what both snuggles and BDSM look like.

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Even when my boyfriend an I were very sexually active, we never got tired of snuggling or kissing. For me, especially, I loved just holding him and snuggling him for hours on end, and having nice long kissing sessions. They didn't always lead to other things, and were just nice in and of themselves; at times, I preferred the intimacy of snuggling and kissing to sex.
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I am a very tactile person and LOVE snuggling. My sex drive sometimes drops pretty low, but even in those times I spend a lot of time kissing and snuggling with my partner. Also, I also have "platonic snuggling" relationships with a lot of my friends where we cuddle a lot and are physically fairly intimate, but in a nonsexual way. I live across the country from most of this friends group now, and I do miss being in the middle of a backrub-circle or a snuggle pile on a couch during parties.
Honestly, I would probably rather give up explicitly sexual contact in my life before I would give up kissing or snuggling friends or partners.

The only downside of this sort of activity, I've found, is that some people do see snuggling or kissing as "stepping-stone" activities and assume that if I'm into making out and cuddling with them I am also consenting to sex. And while sometimes I am happy to go from one activity to another, this is not always the case. I've had more than one relationship where the person I was wish wasn't very respectful of this and would push for sexual contact I wasn't interested in it at the time.

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Jacob at Scarleteen
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I love a good snuggle and snog (maybe snoggle should be a word!).

I feel so accepted and peaceful when someone will snuggle with me and it feels like a broader acceptance of me based on being able to feel relaxed with me as a person. I appreciate that trust so much. While, sex is cool in a different way.

Times when I don't like it is when it makes me horny when I just don't want to be, like if it's just inappropriate. I'd prefer non contact than that needy awkwardness... Plus I would definitely not want to feel like the kind of person Mo describes!

Another situation is during the night in bed if I'm feeling emotional/depressed, hugs can feel a bit like too much contact, and a bit claustrophobic.

Kissing rocks for other reasons, mouths are such tender sensitive parts of us that with someone I care about it feels like I can still taste them when they're gone and connected to them when we're apart. With strangers it's just exciting and new and immediate that I get all giddy, which I love. (I probably love oral sex because of how it combines all this stuff with sexual energy).

Kissing negatives... Wow I can't think of many, unlike snugging it seems less likely to happen if I don't want it. In some relationships it has become a ritual that can feels like an obligation which is unwelcome and it takes out a lot of fun. Kissing someone simply because they initiated it (especially if we're drunk) can feel horrible too when realising it's unwanted: Slobbery facegobbling yuck!

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It's such a wonderful way to feel comfort and relaxation especially for someone with anxiety. A simple way to feel safe and warm and comfortable and calm.

I also like it because, in my relationship's boundaries, snuggling and kissing are things I can do with more than just one person! Especially the snuggling. So I like that, for me, there is something so relaxing and comfortable I can share with friends and then some other things reserved for just one person. Especially in a long-distance relationship, getting to cuddle with friends nearby is so important! And a great way to bond as humans.

I like it because it's versatile and encompassing. You can kiss and be kissed anywhere on a body. You can snuggle in a myriad of positions and be touched anywhere with different pressures and patterns..whatever the mood dictates. You can multitask - snuggle while cooking, walking, reading, watching a movie, talking.

And, it's perfect for this weather! (where I am anyway - 35 F). There's actually a really cool article called "The Power of a Hot Body" I just read in the NY Times.

And I love kissing for the obvious..lips are so soft and sensitive!

I like snuggling and kissing because there's so little pressure or time constraints. With sex, often, there's almost "steps" to it, and while you can always stop in the middle, it can be frustrating to get interrupted before you feel done. With snuggling and kissing, you can do it for just a few seconds or for hours! It's so much more flexible. There's not this, then this, then this. Also important for someone with anxiety.

Which brings me to something my boyfriend and I have been discussing more lately, about increasing our time spent snuggling and kissing..I was trying to figure out why things always feel rushed and I think so much of has to be how our ADHD subconsciously makes us more impulsive and impatient. So even though we're both enjoying the snuggling and kissing, our ADHD makes it particularly hard to take our time and just live in the moment! But now that we're both conscious of it, I think we'll try and have more MINDFUL snuggling and kissing..not impulsiveness like hey, my penis says this, so now let's do this, quick! It's what we both want asap!
So. Slowing down. It's a good thing. Kissing and cuddling = slowing down.

As for the negatives..I've found it so much trickier to explain to a partner how I like to be kissed than how I like to be touched in other ways. For example, it's easy for me to show a partner how I like to be fingered by guiding their hand but it's trickier to guide someone's lips - or describe what you want. At least for me. Kissing is something where I feel like I've either had partners with whom it worked perfectly and we just happened to love kissing and being kissed in the exact same ways, or where we never got it quite right and I've been unable to adjust it to my liking. My boyfriend and I have been kissing for a year and a half and I still don't feel like it's quite right! So, a negative to kissing is how subtle/nuanced kissing perfection can be and thus difficult to obtain.
As for snuggling..hard to think of any! Maybe those rare times where it's a challenge to find the right position. A windowsill or lamp or table corner sticking out. If only our houses were constructed of pillows [Smile]
Oh, and what Jacob mentioned about it making you horny when you don't want to be. Very much agree!!

[ 01-25-2013, 01:59 PM: Message edited by: Lilerse ]

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Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
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Dusting off the article i'm writing in preparation for finishing and publishing it, I decided to come back and read these responses. What awesome and amazing thoughts these all are.

For myself, I adore snuggling. it can be snuggling affectionately with non-romantic friends, or it can be snuggling with a romantic partner. Sometimes those two kinds of snuggling will feel different, but sometimes they're pretty darn similar--soothing, satisfying, and, well, snuggly. [Smile]

Kissing, for me, is intensely intimate. I will allow most friends to kiss me, but will seldom initiate kissing or kiss a friend in return. The same goes with family members. I just don't enjoy, and am often uncomfortable with, platonic kissing. Romantic kissing is quite a different story, though. [Wink]


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