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Auntie SparkNotes: Should I Kiss My Boyfriend?

Dear Auntie,
So I’m in my first relationship with a guy. He used to be my friend, and now he’s my boyfriend. We’ve been together for over a year now, and I haven’t kissed him yet despite him being a really nice and loving boyfriend. He’s asked me to kiss him a few times over the past year, and I said no. He doesn’t argue with it and respects my personal space. I love cuddling with him, but I haven’t worked up the nerve to kiss him. Should I just go for it? I’m wondering if past dreams and desires are holding me back. I had quite a few nightmares in my childhood of being abused. (If you’re thinking it’s something in reality, nope. Just nightmares.) I guess I’m also probably afraid of kissing him because I’m worried he’s not the “one”? But I don’t think that’s what is holding me back. It could be based around my major sensitivity. Holding hands with him and cuddling seems to be enough for me. 

Well, great! Because here’s the thing, Sparkler: If that’s your limit, that’s perfectly fine. There’s no requirement that you escalate beyond the cuddling stage if cuddling is all you’re comfortable with—and when it comes to your reasons for feeling that way, “I don’t want to” is a perfectly good one. You don’t have to dig any deeper than that.

HOWEVER. After a year of dating, and knowing that your boyfriend would like to take your relationship to a lip-locking level, and considering that kissing is something you’d presumably like to add to your repertoire someday, with somebody, it would also be perfectly reasonable for you to try it and see how it goes—and you don’t have to dig any deeper to do that, either. The fact that you’re nervous isn’t meaningful on its own; that’s a totally normal way to feel about kissing someone, especially if you’ve never done it before! But if you’re genuinely torn about it (which it seems like you are), and you’re wondering if you should give it a try (which you definitely are), then hey, why not? There’s no harm in testing out something you feel ambivalent about to see if you like it or not, and it’s not like kissing is a high-stakes, life-or-death decision that will fundamentally alter you as a person. In fact, the absolute worst-case bombshell scenario is that you discover you don’t enjoy smooching at all—in which case it’ll be an easy choice to say, “Been there, done that, not doing it again.” (Or at least, not anytime soon with this particular guy.) The one big benefit of actually trying the thing is that you get a lot of useful information right away about whether you like it or not.

Of course, if you just read that last paragraph and found the very idea of kissing your boyfriend nauseating and horrifying instead of intriguing, then that’s also useful information—and you probably don’t need to go any further to know it’s not something you want to do right now. (Although if that’s the case, you should probably tell your boyfriend how you feel so that he doesn’t keep getting his hopes up; it’s only fair).

That said, whether you decide to lock lips with your current BF or not, here’s a bit of advice: when it comes to kissing, beware the urge to assign so much significance to Your First Time™ that you repeatedly pass up a perfectly good opportunity to kiss a perfectly good guy because he might not be the one. You’ll be setting yourself up for immense disappointment whenever you finally do kiss someone, having saddled the event with expectations it cannot possibly live up to—but you’ll also be psyching yourself out of any number of interesting, informative, worthwhile experiences that might have taught you something really useful about what you want out of a relationship. Which is why, if it’s all the same to you and you’re genuinely ambivalent, the answer to “Should I just go for it?” is practically always a yes.

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Nervous about kissing and want some advice? WE GOT YA.