Can kissing be more intimate than sex?

Dear Dr. Patti:

I'm living with a wonderful man who is recently divorced. His ex-wife was sick for a long time, then got better but left him. I know he still has resentment toward her. Our sex life is great, and we really care for each other. My problem is that he doesn't kiss me that often. I am not sure why. And when I ask him, he says he doesn't know why. I don't want to push. Do you think it has something to do with a fear of committing?



Dear K:

I have a boatload of suspicions about what might be happening with your new man. Most of those are about his not having completed his relationship with his past and the flood of feelings connected to his wife. It seems to me that he feels a sort of betrayal, knowing that for years he was denied pleasure with someone who, once recovered, abandoned him for someone else or something better. What's most important for you to know is that you are not a mind reader. Only HE can tell YOU what's really going on inside and out. I have a sense that he needs to work this through with a professional counselor who can guide him to unearth the well of unresolved issues and get on with his life with you.

Your need for kissing is valid. Many women I counsel (and some men, too) consider kissing more intimate than sexual intercourse. The action of sharing breath with another human being, of being face to face, is quite an intimate act. Once we get close to someone, and then they leave us, it takes time to heal. Those wounds are often deeply seated ones from old experiences and require time, patience and understanding to overcome.

Maybe you and your honey need to make an agreement that you will lighten up on your expectations for intimacy right now. Give him some room for healing. Give yourself permission to love him, without demanding that it be done in a certain way. If after a reasonable period of time he still avoids your passionate lips, then you will have to make a tough choice about your relationship. Till then, ease up and enjoy what closeness you do have and celebrate your pleasurable connection.

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