Dear MKE SEX,

I have a little problem. Okay, a medium-sized problem. I’m in a long term relationship with someone I really dig. Basically things between us are great, except for one thing: I don’t really like the way we kiss. Our cuddles are good, the sex is above average, and we laugh a lot. We’ve already been doing this for years, and I don’t want it to end. But I don’t like the kissing, and I don’t know how to tell my partner. Any ideas?

Thanks,
Cat’s Got My Tongue

Dear CGMT,

This is a bit of sticky widget, isn’t it? The fact that you’ve been together for a long time, and that you’d like to stay together, says a lot about the kind of relationship you’ve built. That the two of you cuddle and laugh says that you’re able to talk about lots of different things, and that you enjoy each other in a variety of ways. It can be really uncomfortable to tell someone you care about that you don’t enjoy something as deeply personal and intimate as their kissing. That difficulty is magnified when you’ve been tiptoeing around the issue for a while. You don’t want to hurt your partner, and you don’t want to risk the relationship. It can feel like you’ve missed the window to have this conversation, and now you’re just stuck with mediocre kissing for a long, long time.

But if the table was turned, what would you want your partner to do? Would you really want someone you love to suffer through your kisses or your touch? Or would you rather know there’s a problem so the two of you can take steps together to share kisses you both enjoy? Personally, I think kissing is the cat’s pajamas, and I’d do anything to be able to do it as much as possible with someone I care for.

So, here are a few suggestions of what to do to find your kissing happy place. First, be as direct as possible without hurting your partner’s feelings. If something has changed in the way the kiss is given, say that. “We used to kiss with a lot more tongue. I really miss that.” If the kissing has stayed pretty much the same, but your feelings have changed, you can say that, too. “I used to really enjoy the way you’d bite my lip, but recently it hasn’t felt very good to me.” Throughout it all, be clear about your dedication to the relationship, and the positive things in the relationship.

After you’ve let the cat out of the bag, you could try taking turns leading the kiss. “First, I’ll kiss you. Then you can kiss me.” By showing your partner exactly how you like to kiss (or be kissed), you’re helping find a solution instead of just dwelling on the problem. Ask your partner to describe a perfect kiss for you, including atmosphere, setting, and sensations. Then, take the opportunity to share your idea of a perfect kiss. Similarly, when you’re watching TV or a movie, point out kisses that look really good to you. You can even ask to mimic the kiss later on.

Once you’ve started experimenting with new kissing styles, be sure to provide lots of positive feedback when something feels good. Make sure that you’re still engaging in plenty of other kinds of intimacy together; hold hands, share long hugs, read to each other, or brush each other’s hair. Stay close to each other, and keep trying. With enough communication and practice, the two of you can be sharing purr-fect kisses for a very long time.

Curious about cunnilingus? Anxious about anal? Do you have questions about queefs or problems with your prostate? Lucky Tomaszek is the education coordinator at The Tool Shed: An Erotic Boutique, Milwaukee’s only mission-driven, education-focused sex toy store. Send her an email at mkesex@gmail.com and she’ll get back to you with an answer.