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Sealed with a Kiss

My plea for tongue kisses

Author: Emilia Scharabi

Image: Miranda Tate

He pushes his tongue into my mouth, and I am completely flabbergasted, without any clue what is happening to me. All the beautiful Hollywood romances I had watched so eagerly did not prepare me for a wet and unpleasant experience. “How could I have thought tongue kisses were warm and dry?”, I wonder, while he is busy rubbing his tongue on my palate.

The first kiss is a shocking experience if you firmly believe that a kiss could reveal true love, even turn a frog into a prince, while in real life after kissing your big crush for the first time, you feel empty and a bit disgusted. Kissing, an endless amount of Hollywood movies suggests, is the beginning. The beginning of one’s (hetero-)sexuality, the beginning of the real teenage years, of an affair, or even of a marriage (‘You may kiss the bride’)… Not quite so when it comes to tongue kissing among members of the LGTBQIA+ community. If two women kiss each other it's likely to be dismissed either as friendship, or porn for the cis-male spectator. Kissing amongst men is seen as unnatural, and the representation of genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, and transgender people kissing in Hollywood… well, its close to zero. All the while, my first tongue kiss was only the grand beginning of a burning question: why is the whole world obsessed with romantic kissing, between girls and boys, women and men?

After my first kiss at thirteen I reckoned, I was lacking experience. He was just not the one, and I broke it off, after the summer break and several more exchanges of rather wet, uncontrolled kisses on the bean bag chair in the corner of his room. My research continued only months later at a house party. This time with a boy I did not know I was interested in, until we laid arm in arm, again on a bean bag chair (it’s 2014). His face came closer, and my heartbeat quickened, I felt his breath, and then… we kissed, with soft lips and no tongue. I was thrilled, even dared to open my mouth a bit, and tentatively (!) slid my tongue into his mouth.

And what can I say, it led to a life-changing insight (instead of a completely wet face afterwards): I do like kissing, a lot actually. Although, this kiss was certainly not the beginning of any relationship, besides one where you desperately try to evade any eye contact in the years to come. My relationship to kissing had changed for good, I was fourteen, and I wanted to make out. Just for the sake of it. Nowadays, this quest has become harder than in my teenage years. Kissing for its own sake seems not as exciting enough anymore, it’s been reduced to a lukewarm foreplay, always attached to expectations that there is more to come. Thank you, Hollywood! It’s time to reframe kissing, not just as the grand beginning, or teenage drama, but as a sexual activity for everybody, one of its own right.

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