The Kiss of Love

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,

Juliet, 1594

Cortes/detail (

Did you know that the expression French Kissing” is not necessarily French?  In France, they call it baiser amoureux‘–a love kiss–which is a much nicer expression if you ask me.

Do the youth of today still use the expression, French Kiss?  If they do, that’s enjoyed quite some longevity.  However, if I remember correctly, the term “suck face” was also used widely in my youth– though often disdainfully.  (It still creeps me out.)

I read a novel once, set in early Japan, which explained that ‘kissing‘ had not been part of their culture until Westerners arrived–and indeed, this is  true for other cultures as well.

It’s hard to imagine a “kiss-less” society, isn’t it?

I remember my first tongue kiss.  No fireworks there.  It was more like having a wet washcloth placed in my mouth.

Fragonard (

Later kisses were spectacular— including those early ones with my husband.  But with a quarter of a century between us, the kisses aren’t as “fresh” as they once were.

I’ll never forget the line about kisses from the movie Sleepless in Seattle (I think it was that one.)  Three married women on a lunch date were discussing sex.  One woman asked another how she could have sex with her husband if she hated him so much.  She replied that you didn’t need love for sex, only for kissing–and all three women nodded their heads.

I did too.  But does that mean that a marriage is loveless if there’s no kissing?  My great-grandmother was sweetly married to her second husband for almost twenty years before he passed away when they were both in their early nineties, but they never shared a kiss. Literally, never.

So kisses can’t be everything, just as good sex doesn’t necessarily mean a marriage is healthy.   But I’m still moved by kisses–the ones I can feel in my toes when I see them on the screen;  the ones I turn away from on the street that inexplicably stir something inside.

When I was in Paris, the City of Love, in my early twenties, I couldn’t get enough of Rodin’s sculpture, The Kiss.  Of course, in art as in film and novels, the best kissing goes to the young couple or at least the new one.

Rodin (

Though one of the most famous pairs of lovers argued that there was nothing in a name, what did they know?  They still lived at home with their parents.  Maybe a rose would smell as sweet no matter what you named it.  But I’m going try calling tongue kissing,”the kiss of love,” and see what life that brings to my middle-aged smooching.

Kelly Salasin

(To read other posts on the topic of marital intimacy, click here.)


2 thoughts on “The Kiss of Love

Add yours

  1. Well written post. If I recall correctly, kissing has an interesting history and didn’t always used to be used to designate friendship.

    Personally, I find that the mouth, more so than any other part, is the most intimate place on the human body. So much of what we are happens there.


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