Does kissing feel different after years together?
July 15, 2011 12:51 PM   Subscribe

I know that familiarity with a long-term partner plays a part, but I'm curious: for those of you who have been with the same person for 5+ years, do you find that when you kiss passionately, it doesn't have the same melty zing, even if you're very attracted? I was recently thinking back over all of my previous relationships, and realized they were so short that I never had much of a chance to experience change. I'm female, late twenties, and engaged to an awesome, sexy guy. But I noticed a shift in how I feel about kissing. It's enjoyable, it makes me feel connected, but I get turned on a whole lot slower. Kissing used to be my go-to for instant "voom."
posted by ParisMess to Human Relations (23 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

Yes, but there are, shall we say, compensations.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:54 PM on July 15, 2011 [16 favorites]

for those of you who have been with the same person for 5+ years, do you find that when you kiss passionately, it doesn't have the same melty zing, even if you're very attracted?

posted by AlliKat75 at 12:55 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

my husband are coming up on 4 years, but we've been friends for 11 years. kissing is really good way for us to get all the way dressed to go out and then have to rip it all by off again. if anything, it is more passionate now then it used to be. i think a couple years ago some of our kissing had started feeling routine and we started doing it less. we both noticed and now we kiss every single time we get into bed and we try to make more times for spontaneous kissing. in this vein, we got mistletoe and put it somewhere we were constantly bumping into each other.

if you want to renew your kissing voom button - make a weekend where you're ovulating and take anything over 2nd base off the table entirely. you'll break your own rule by sunday, but it'll be a hell of a lot of fun to get there.
posted by nadawi at 12:58 PM on July 15, 2011 [18 favorites]

These are things that happen when you've been with a partner long term.

Failure to cope with these sorts of things are why the divorce rate is as high as it is.
posted by PsuDab93 at 1:03 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yes. One of my friends, who loves his wife dearly, described it going from the feeling of being struck by lightning to the feeling of licking a 9-volt battery. As someone above mentioned, long-term partners make up for it (hopefully) by knowing exactly what turns you on and doing just that.
posted by lunalaguna at 1:07 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

Do you find that when you kiss passionately, it doesn't have the same melty zing, even if you're very attracted?

No. But I have to say the Bear is a wonderful kisser. To me it is the quality of the kiss, not the newness, which gives it zing.
posted by bearwife at 1:07 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

I've been with my husband for 5 years or so now (2 of the married) and I think our kissing is getting better and better. We have figured out what we both like and when he wants to bring the heat he can still set my heart (and other parts a flutter). For me while some of the super intense passion of a new relationship may have faded, it has been replaced with a whole different kind of passion. The kind where he knows me so well he can make me blush like a little school girl by whispering in my ear or stroking the back of my neck.

Its a definite case of what you loose on the round abouts you gain on the swings.
posted by wwax at 1:22 PM on July 15, 2011 [5 favorites]

After ten years with my partner, it's still a battle to not go right into "fuck me mode" if we kiss for any length of time. If it's more than a quick kiss hello or goodbye, all bets are off.
posted by Sternmeyer at 1:48 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'll put it this way: I'd worry if/when we stopped kissing (and then you realize you barely noticed), than if I the kissing changed in quality. When it was a Bad Sign is when I was willing to have sex but not to kiss my long-term partner; so much so that I no longer remember kissing him at all, even if we had, by the end. Anyway, a part of the swoopiness was just nervousness on some level, anticipation, adrenaline: like, you weren't sure you could do it, you hadn't gone further so frequently yet that you can count on it. The intimacy was shocking. Basically (I seem to remember), it was like at first kissing was a form of sex.

The trick to keeping that feeling (I think) is to not have sex every time you french-kiss for longer than 3 minutes, or even every third time. Train your body to not expect it anymore. It's a bit torturous though. Even if it takes you awhile-- at first, say, it'd take 15 minutes to feel the lightning, and then 5 kisses and 2 weeks later, it'd take 5 minutes, and finally you'd be ready to die after a minute. Try kissing in different places, too-- like, places where you couldn't go further very easily, or times where you don't have the time to do anything else. I think as the relationship progresses, we do a lot more things-- we talk more (and have sex more) instead of communicating a lot of feeling just through kissing. This is probably a good thing. Still. If kissing were to bear more weight again, you betcha it'd be swoopy if you're in love with him.
posted by reenka at 2:18 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh hell no. 16 years, and her kisses still curl my toes and leave me breathless.
posted by spinturtle at 2:27 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

If it is true that kissing is a way to determine reproductive compatibility, as has been theorized by evolutionary psychologists, it would make sense that once it is no longer novel and compatibility has been established, it would not be as good.

What makes this change and whether it always happens if it is true, is not known.
posted by Maias at 2:28 PM on July 15, 2011

Husband isn't the hugest fan of making out, but we did lots of it early in our relationship but less now, so yes, things have definitely changed. But when I can get him into lip locking, it's still pretty awesome.

(I really, really like making out, though, so pretty much any making out makes me squee.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:41 PM on July 15, 2011

Do you find that when you kiss passionately, it doesn't have the same melty zing, even if you're very attracted?

After seven years, I've found that we kiss less, but we generally have fallen into kissing one of two ways. The first is when we're both leaving for work in the morning, and when we get home from work, and before we go to bed, etc. An expression of love, certainly, but the second certain type of kiss will quickly flip the circuit breakers.

Learn that second kiss. Know it. Use it wisely.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:41 PM on July 15, 2011 [3 favorites]

In the beginning, a big part of that melty zing is risk: I'm electrified by wondering if it's really as good as I think. Five years down the line, the melty zing is certainty. I'm so excited because coming home is DAMN GOOD.
posted by sestaaak at 2:42 PM on July 15, 2011 [6 favorites]

Been together almost fifteen years with a lot of ups and downs, but yes, the last time we kissed made me melt.
posted by saucysault at 3:06 PM on July 15, 2011

There are kisses and then there are kisses. The regular hello/good-bye kisses aren't as zingy as they used to be. But the kisses that are intended to be more ...whoa nellie.


We've been together almost 12 years.
posted by deborah at 5:41 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

The answers to this question are making me absurdly happy.

And yes, make a point to make out for a little while and you'll remember why you liked it so much in the first place. I definitely find that to be the case.
posted by 8dot3 at 6:29 PM on July 15, 2011 [2 favorites]

make a point to make out for a little while and you'll remember why you liked it so much in the first place.

Totally, completely this. There's no rule that says just because you've been together for years and heard each others' farts, all the magic is gone! It's just getting started!

Just slide a gentle hand behind SO's head and...have fun. It still works, trust me!
posted by deep thought sunstar at 8:30 PM on July 15, 2011

Best answer: I think the only honest answer is, It depends on the couple.

1. For some people the instantaneous zing intensifies.
2. For some people the zing stops being instantaneous builds up more slowly but they get there eventually.
3. For some people the zing fades but they don't mind, they manage to find other ways to have sexy fun and it's all good.
4. For some people the zing fades and it leaves them cranky and unsatisfied and maybe it isn't so good.

But I think the important part is #3. Just because your kissing zing has faded, it doesn't mean the relationship is doomed or you have to break up or even that you won't keep having good sexy fun in other ways.

The above answer works not just for kissing-based zing but for just about any sort of romance- or sexual-activity-based zing you might be interested in.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:43 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

The zing is supposed to fade. Those chemicals go away eventually. What you're feeling is what kisses really feel like without the neurochemical assist. Being successful in a long term relationship is about learning to love life without, well, drugs, more or less.

But here's the deal. There is a reassuring peace about love that comes after longevity. It's a kind of joy that you cannot access, really, even in the first decade. After twenty-eight years together, kissing my wife does not feel like an exotic thrill, it feels like Home. The Right Thing. Every time.

To get the zing back, you need to either get someone new or trick your brain into experiencing "new" in some way. Okay, I guess. But chasing and lamenting the zing just gets in the way of getting down to the real business of love -- becoming Home for each other.
posted by cross_impact at 5:26 PM on July 16, 2011 [4 favorites]

My wife and I are celebrating 20 years of marriage next month. For us, the zing is definitely still there - but it's a different zing somehow, like we're both on the same side of the kiss, if that makes any sense at all.
posted by jbickers at 7:05 AM on July 17, 2011 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everybody for your answers. All of these responses from long-term partners are very inspirational!
posted by ParisMess at 3:03 PM on July 17, 2011

I agree with nebulawindphone, it's different for different people. I'm 8 years in and it keeps getting better and more exciting, but that's just kind of been the trajectory for us.

The important thing is net happiness, not the details of compare and contrast.
posted by French Fry at 10:12 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

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