Why I Don’t Kiss on First Dates

“The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because this kiss already has within it that surrender.”-Emil Ludwig

The night of my birthday, I found myself in a first-date predicament. I had agreed to go for after-dinner drinks with a man named Mark. After two hours and one-and-a-half vodka sodas, Mark leaned in to kiss me.

Should I be flattered or offended? I thought as I quickly turned my head to avoid his lips.

“No?” he asked. “I thought it would be a nice birthday present.”

For me or for you? I thought to myself as I smiled and shrugged my shoulders, attempting to be cute. “The vodka is more than enough,” I said with a laugh. Awkward.

On the way home from the date, I couldn’t stop thinking about the non-kiss. In the past I would’ve been upset if a guy didn’t try to kiss me. I might have even interpreted my date’s lack of lip-to-lip contact as a lack of interest! But these days I just can’t see myself kissing someone on the first date. Why would I want to kiss someone I barely know? What’s the joy in that? Who knew if I would ever even see him again? This is NYC, after all. My-oh-my, has my thinking changed over the years!

A kiss used to be so simple. In junior high, it was a fun, nonchalant thing you casually shared with friends during games like spin the bottle. In college, you might have even enjoyed a drunken make-out session with a perfect stranger. Until recently, a kiss was just not a big deal.

So, what happened?!

I guess after a few serious relationships—and a few pretty intense recovery periods from them—we all wisen up! We realize we have to protect our hearts and begin to ascribe actual meaning to a kiss. We see that these formerly fun, playful signs of affection are actually really special moments filled with intimacy and layers of meaning. For me, it’s no longer enough to simply want to kiss a guy just because I’m attracted to him on a physical level. I now recognize that in order to enjoy a kiss, I need to have a connection with the guy mentally and emotionally.

Thinking about my non-kiss evening with Mark made me actually laugh out loud. After all, so many people discuss whether or not to sleep with someone on the first date. And here I was, unwilling to smooch! What on earth did Mark think of my prudishness? After all, we are in a hook-up culture! Men and women everywhere are enjoying no-strings-attached sexual relationships—and finding it normal.

I began wondering what a guy’s perspective was on this situation. I texted my close guy friend Tomer to see what he thought about kissing on the first date. His response surprised me: “If you’re weak enough to kiss you should also have sex. Women need to create anticipation, because it always heightens the excitement.”

Translation: Tomer agreed with me. He was saying that men should show some kissing restraint on a first date—and so should women—otherwise they’re just serial kissers!

Speaking of restraint, after my kiss-worthy (wink, wink) date with Mark, it took him a full week to call me. Meaning? Although he lacked impulse-control when it came to smooching, he seemed to very capable of keeping himself in check when it came to calling me.

During this non-calling time away from my non-kissed date, I was asked out by another guy named Ari who took me to a lovely dinner, then walked me home. When we got to my door, Ari leaned in…then gave me the sweetest, hugest, warmest hug goodnight. Yes, I do hug on a first date. Ari then looked me in the eyes and asked when he could see me again. We made a plan for a second date.

All this got me thinking. I realized that the kind of action I like best on a first date, is the action of making plans, not making the moves. When a guy asks me out again, I feel my heart flutter with excitement of what’s to come—and at the same time also feeling a sense of calm knowing that there will indeed be something further to come!

The truth is:

When a guy attempts a kiss on a first date, all he’s saying is: “Mmmm! I’m sexually attracted to you!”

But when a guy chooses to hug you and ask you out he’s saying: “Hmm…I’m really looking forward to getting to know you more!”

The latter is far more exciting to me than even the hottest tongue-wrestling match.

-Lindsay Kriger of ifonlyiknew.tv

Lindsay Kriger is a New York University grad with a B.A. in Psychology and the founder of IfonlyIknew.tvthe go-to relationship resource for young women. She has trained with the PAX Mastership and Leadership Program, taught by internationally recognized Relationship Expert Alison Armstrong, and at 23 is the program’s youngest trainee to date. Lindsay has attended numerous seminars on male-female relationships and partnership-building, establishing herself as a relationshipologist and dating guru for young women. She lives in New York City with her dog, Harvey.

GIRL TALK TIME: What do you think? Do you kiss on the first date? Why or why not?

21 Comments

Post a Comment
  • Veronica:

    @ MKIVTT you are a total douche!! you are the type of a guy every woman should avoid dating, I don’t care how much time and money you spend on a date, and if you don’t call I don’t care, I would not be interested anyways after that stupid kissing episode..I am not kissing nobody on a first day! Period.

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  • mkivtt:

    What a load of crock. You women who don’t even hug on a first date (read comments above!) can look forward to a lonely life. Those of you who don’t kiss can probably kiss half the guys who ask you out goodbye (pun intended).

    As a guy, why waste time and money on a girl who turns her cheek when you try to kiss her? Are you serious? He’s not dropping to his knees and proposing, nor is he putting his hand down your pants. It’s a KISS. Nothing more. Not kissing a guy tells him “Hey buddy, thanks for the free drinks and good time, but you’re not even worth a simple peck on the lips.”

    Women who won’t kiss will not get a call back. Take it from me and pretty much all my guy friends. There are plenty of women out there who think nothing of a silly two second kiss on the lips, and that’s all it takes to tell a guy you liked him and the date. Hugging and kissing on the cheeks is what we do with our mothers and grandmothers.

    Enjoy being 45 year old cat ladies.

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  • nila:

    I think it depends on the 2 people and the situation. If it were someone that I have known for a while (friend that asked me out) then I don’t see anything wrong with kissing someone you already know on the first date. I can’t say that I never kiss on the first date because it happened twice and too fast for me to move my head. The first guy and I still continued dating and became amazing friends after he realized he didn’t want to date or have a relationship (newly divorced). The second one and I are still dating and the main reason that I didn’t mind the kiss is because he noticed and said how much of a nice person that I am, he also noticed my good heart, my hard work, and intelligence first (he brought someone to my job). He talked to me before he decided he wanted to even have a date with me.

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  • trinigyal89:

    i wouldnt kiss on the first date simply because it gives an impression of you being too easy or too comfortable. gotta leave room for imagination

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  • Tamed04:

    All this got me thinking. I realized that the kind of action I like best on a first date, is the action of making plans, not making the moves. When a guy asks me out again, I feel my heart flutter with excitement of what’s to come—and at the same time also feeling a sense of calm knowing that there will indeed be something further to come!

    {Reply}
  • avatar
    affinity05:

    Kissing is very intimate. I feel when two people kiss you are allowing your emotions to enter one another which can lead or give off the impression you are into that person. Its hard to know if you are into someone on the first date, especially if you casually dating.

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  • robyn:

    totally agree

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  • lycorish:

    It’s all personal preference but I find it interesting that it takes so many folks so long to realize that kissing is more intimate than cavalier. I’ve never been a big kisser but I will kiss you on a first date if I’m truly moved to.

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  • frugalista757:

    I guess im the odd one out. I believe it’s ok as long as it feels right. This is not to say that everytime I went on a date I kissed him (just twice) but also in those instances we had several conversations before the date.

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  • vdrake18:

    exactly! why would i want to kiss someone i barely know? A guy tried kissing me after buying me a flower for valentine’s day and I turned my cheek. I told him I barely know you, and I don’t think he liked that, but I am glad I did it because now he shows no interest. So we know what he wanted!

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  • avatar
    s blaise:

    I like this artcle. Good advice

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  • boholechugita:

    That is a really good advice.

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  • Maxine Weiss:

    I really like this post. I have always kind of felt the same way but couldn’t or just didn’t take the time to put it into words. A girl can always tell in her gut what the guy’s intentions are even if you don’t want to admit it. I think it really is about time more of us follow our instincts and don’t do anything we aren’t ready for. Or give the guy something he hasn’t earned yet. He will never think you are a prize if he didn’t have to win you.

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  • marisa:

    I tried not to kiss in the first date

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  • avatar
    Rita:

    I don’t kiss on the first date either.

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  • Mrs LeMay:

    kiss who on 1st date….r u crazy!!!!!

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  • marcy777:

    Kissing on the first date is a no no! Knowing that he waited and wasn’t pushy “asking “No?”" tells you he really wants to get to know you and isn’t there for other ovious reasons!

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    1. marcy777:

      obvious*

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  • Crispy:

    Don’t kiss and tell

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  • Joy:

    I totally agree. I only hug on the first date if I like him. Otherwise just a thank you.

    {Reply}
  • OohLaLovie:

    good advice

    {Reply}

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