Should I Practice My Kissing on My Friend?

glovelove00
asks:
Ok so I'm 15 and I've still never been kissed. Yes, yes I know this website is mostly focused on sex but I don't have anyone else to talk about this with. I have had opportunities but I have just never really been head over heels for the guys I could have kissed. Am I being too picky? There is this guy who is my friend who has told me that he loved me. I love him too but as a friend, not romantically and he knows this because we've talked about it. I'm afraid that in the future if I did find the perfect guy that I did want to kiss, I would do it all wrong and ruin the moment completely. Could I kiss my friend as a test run without ruining things? I love him enough not to want to play with his feelings but I have still always wondered.
Sam W replies:

A great part about doing sex ed is that it's a place where you can ask questions about all aspects of relationships. What can sometimes get forgotten, even in sex positive spaces, is that for some people kissing is as big a deal as sex is.

Let's tackle the first thing I notice in your question: that you feel like being 15 and never having kissed anyone is somehow odd. And that you're somehow being picky for not smooching the first dude who wanted to smooch you. The truth is, plenty of people go through high school and college without kissing anyone. Sex, love, and kissing are all things that happen at their own pace for each person. They don't follow schedules or timelines. We have a lot of cultural stories about when they should happen, but those stories are based more in fantasy than in the reality of human relationships. Luck, location, desire and a whole host of other factors play a role in when and who we end up kissing (or dating, or having sex with). So being 15 and never having kissed anyone? Not weird at all.

There can also be this notion that creeps in about how we should take the first chance at a kiss we get, because...well, the answer to that has never been entirely clear. But it sets up this ooky precedent that you should share physically intimate moments with the first person who offers, regardless of how you feel about them. There's nothing wrong with kissing as many people as want to kiss you, but it's best to kiss out of desire rather than obligation. Because that's the pattern you want to set for yourself as a sexual being going forward. Doing physical things with people because you feel like you "should" can lead to you doing things you don't want out of that same sense of obligation.

I hear you saying that you're worried that not practicing kissing with your friend will mean you somehow kiss the first person you really wanted to kiss wrong. I'll let you in on a little secret: for the vast majority of us, that first kiss is going to be awkward. Maybe a little disappointing as well. When we see the first kiss depicted in movies, books, and on TV, it's this perfect, romantic moment that leads to magically wonderful relationship. That depiction leaves out the nerves, the partner who's a little too into using their tongue, the bad breath, and all the other fumbling, silly, sometimes sweet awkwardness that is the reality of a first kiss. That kiss can be incredibly meaningful, but it won't be perfect. And that's absolutely okay.

It might help to think about kissing as being like riding a bike. The first few times you do it, you'll be a little wobbly (hopefully you won't fall over or crash into a tree while kissing, although stranger things have happened). Over time, though, you'll get the hang of it and start to feel a little more confident in your smooching skills.

Given all this, should you kiss your friend as a trial run? I suggest not. Beyond all the reasons I've mentioned, kissing someone who is romantically interested in you but who you aren't interested in is a risky maneuver at the best of times. There's a high chance of it leading to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Given that we've established that a kissing trial run is not necessary, it isn't something to risk your friendship over.

On top of that, even if you did end up using your friend as kissing practice, there's no guarantee that would prepare you to smooch someone you actually did have a romantic interest in. Bodies, and the people within them, respond differently to the same sensation. So something that you did while kissing your friend that he enjoyed may leave another person feeling "meh." The way to get good at kissing a partner is to practice kissing that specific partner.

Hopefully this has given you some things to consider about kissing. I want to add that where you are in your life, right on that cusp of beginning to explore things like kissing and relationships, is kind of a fun place to be. Not that it isn't stressful and full of tricky choices. Simply that you're at a place where your best days, those filled with kisses and those without them, are ahead of you. And that's something to look forward to.

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