Kissing During Sex: Is It Important?

    Updated 10 November 2020 |
    Published 17 December 2019
    Fact Checked
    Reviewed by Tanya Tantry, MD, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Medical Consultant at Flo
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    When it comes to kissing and sex, there is no reason not to enjoy it as much as you and your partner want. The benefits of kissing, which are many, don’t stop at the bedroom either: from relieving stress and anxiety to increasing your bond with your partner, kissing during sex is good not just for you but for your relationship as well.  

    Benefits of kissing

    If it’s less stress and anxiety you want, or more self-esteem and better health, you’ll want to start kissing more. Given the host of benefits that come from puckering up, there’s no reason not to incorporate more kissing into your life — and not just in the bedroom.

    Boost happiness

    When you kiss, you are lowering your level of cortisol — the hormone responsible for managing stress that’s also a marker of depression. But kissing does more than beat stress. The trifecta of “happiness hormones" — oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine — get released when you give or get a smooch. And all those kisses will also leave you feeling closer and more affectionate with your partner.  

    Relieve stress and anxiety

    The release of oxytocin also reduces anxiety. Less anxiety, more feelings of wellness and relaxation? Yes, please!  

    Create an emotional bond with your partner

    Oxytocin plays a role here, too. It impacts pro-social behaviors by encouraging bonding and trust. The more oxytocin, the more trusting, relaxed, and connected you feel. These feelings can, in turn, lead to a relationship that lasts longer and is more satisfying.

    Improves your sex life

    Kissing is a kind of partner-potential litmus test that’s often used to help determine whether a relationship progresses or not. Those who give good kisses are far more likely to be deemed worthy, while bad kissing is usually seen as a deal-breaker. Good kisses can lead to arousal, which can lead to sex. The good bonding feelings that occur during a passionate smooch-fest can also dial up the quality and passion of a sexual encounter. And the more kissing you do, the greater the sexual arousal, so kissing while having sex is going to ramp up the sexual arousal as well. If you are experiencing a low sex drive and lack of desire for sex, you may find those feelings improve with kissing, if that’s what you’re interested in.

    Good kissing can lead to arousal, which can lead to sex. The good bonding feelings that occur during a passionate smooch-fest can also dial up the quality and passion of a sexual encounter.

    An increase in sexual arousal can also increase self-esteem because kissing reduces cortisol, which in turn boosts confidence. And kissing has other physical benefits as well. Kissing lowers blood pressure, alleviates headache pain, and even reduces hives and other signs of an allergic reaction. What’s more, one study found that couples who have regular and romantic kissing sessions both showed improved cholesterol. As if all this weren’t enough, kissing can even tone up to 34 facial muscles and burn calories.

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    To kiss or not to kiss during sex?

    Given all of kissing’s impressive benefits, kissing during sex seems nearly a foregone conclusion. Still, personal preference and level of comfort all factor in when deciding whether to kiss during sex or not.

    Sex and kissing are a pretty natural pair for most people. There’s really no reason not to, so if kissing during intercourse is something you and your partner feel like doing, by all means, go for it. There are times during a sexual encounter, though, where kissing may not make sense. While it can be a welcome part of foreplay, kissing may not be easy or even possible in certain positions or in the heat of the moment. The decision to kiss during sex also depends on your personal preferences. You may feel it gets in the way, or you may feel it’s central to a fulfilling experience. Either way is OK. There are no rules when it comes to kissing during sex. 

    If you want to increase your smooch factor between the sheets, consider these good kiss qualities:

    • Think good grooming: Research has found that kissing is but one part of an overall good grooming assessment that’s important in determining whether a partner is attractive or not. So having good hygiene, including clean teeth and fresh breath, is important when it comes to kissing.
    • It’s not all about the kiss: Good kissing without physical contact like a loving touch or caress misses the mark. Having good physical contact is also considered necessary to have a kiss be considered great.
    • The assertive kisser wins: A kisser who commits to the kiss, instead of engaging only half-heartedly, is seen as a better kisser, regardless of gender.
    • Lose the tongue (initially): Going in for the first smooch? One study found that a soft, closed-mouth kiss is always preferable to an open-mouth tongue probe for that first kiss. Researchers found that, for women especially, more time was needed in order to share a more adventurous, passionate, and saliva-sharing kind of kiss.

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    Is it OK if your partner doesn’t kiss you during sex?

    While it might be OK that your partner doesn’t kiss you during sex, if it bothers you, then it’s very important to speak up. However, if your partner won’t kiss you during sex, there may also be an underlying issue that shouldn’t be ignored.

    There can be many reasons why your partner doesn’t kiss you during sex. Research has found that men in general often care less about kissing than women do. Kissing during sex may also be awkward. Your partner may feel that some less-than-sexy behaviors like grunting or sweating will be a turn-off to you and so may forgo trying to kiss completely. 

    There can be many reasons why your partner may not kiss you during sex. Research has found that men in general often care less about kissing than women do.

    These reasons are mostly minor, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about the lack of kissing during sex if it’s bothering you. Let your partner know how you feel. You can also try switching things up. Long-term relationships can often result in less spontaneous, more perfunctory sex, which can result in fewer orgasms for you. Feeling frustrated in the bedroom is a signal that it’s time to mix it up. To that end, if possible, plan a special evening: Go out to a nice restaurant or a special music event. Get out of your regular habits and roles. That, combined with talking about your feelings, may be just the change you need to watch your partner come around. 

    While the reasons for not kissing during sex can be unintentional or minor, if you feel unhappy at an overall lack of intimacy, this may be a sign of more complicated relationship issues. Be open to discussing the problem together, with a therapist if needed. Problems in the bedroom are very common in relationships but can be helped through open dialogue and, sometimes, mediation in the form of couples therapy.

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    The takeaway

    Kissing anytime, not just during sex, offers so many emotional and physical benefits that it makes sense to include more of it in your life. Although there are many perks, a stronger bond with your partner, both in and out of the bedroom, is one of the best reasons to keep the kisses coming. 

    History of updates

    Current version (10 November 2020)

    Reviewed by Tanya Tantry, MD, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Medical Consultant at Flo

    Published (17 December 2019)

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