THE ART OF KISSING
MILITARY WIVES MAGAZINE

 
 

By Allison Perkins

When you kiss your spouse, do you peck them on the cheek? Twist tongues? Exchange spit? Press your lips against each others’ until it feels done?

If that’s all you think kissing is, then you may be doing it all wrong.

Cherie Byrd, psychotherapist and instructor at the Kissing School in Seattle, says kissing is so much more than just moving your mouth. Kissing should be a way two people connect with their souls, their hearts and their bodies. Kissing isn’t a duty — it’s a gift.

“One of the things that needs to happen in a relationship is they need to know when they are really connected to themselves,” Byrd says. “If you’re not connected to your own self, you can’t get intimate with someone else. It’s this whole practice of feeling at home in your own body, breathing and using your energy.

“Old cultures have ways of teaching what sexual energy is and how it empowers you,” she says. “We don’t have that in this culture. We need to start with something basic that we do every day. Usually, that’s kissing.”

People travel from all over the world to attend Byrd’s one-day class, which costs $335 per couple. More information about the classes can be found at www.kissingschool.com, or pick up Byrd’s new release: “Kissing School! Seven Lessons on Love, Lips and Life Force.”

During the sessions, Byrd says she uses kissing as a way to teach people to open their own heart and to offer it to their lover. The techniques she uses include breathing, eye-gazing and learning how to touch each other’s souls through massage.

“You can drink that love right up while your partner is working on your feet,” she says.

Too often, Byrd says, people want a formula for kissing and lovemaking, to know they’re doing it right or long enough. But there is no such standard.

“This is the experience of sharing emotions through the body. Somebody is receiving something; somebody is offering something,” Byrd says. “There is a dance of energy in the kiss. It’s all about feeling your beloved loving you.”

If you can’t make it to Seattle, Byrd has some suggestions for couples trying to reconnect on their own, especially those who are reuniting after lengthy overseas deployments.

After a long deployment, let your kiss welcome him home

As soon as you see him emerge from the plane, look him in the eye.

“Men, particularly warriors of any kind, really respond to the emotions of their beloved, even more than their own emotions,” Byrd says. “The beauty they see radiating from their woman is not physical beauty, it’s inner beauty. It’s the energy of who they are.

“Even if you can’t be heard for all the cheering and crying, you can always send your love into their eyes and hearts.”

Women need to have the courage to open their heart and embrace their husbands, no matter how many walls he’s built at the moment or how much he has changed.

“You need to look him in his eyes and really see who’s in there,” Byrd says. “Send your energy in there.”

She said women should not be surprised to learn that their husbands return not feeling like the same person who left a year earlier. Byrd says women need to unconditionally accept who their husbands are in that moment.

“For you to allow yourself to be tender enough to merge into their arms in that moment, it’s like giving somebody in the desert water,” she says. “You’re not asking them to be anything other than who they are in that moment, and that really is nurturing.”

Once at home, it’s important to re-knit him back into the family in small ways that show you appreciate him.

“The whole practice of appreciating them is a huge nurturing step to take,” Byrd says. “It’s the small appreciations: You can thank him for driving that night, or it might be something as simple as telling him you don’t remember his eyes being that blue.

“You’re telling him you see him, and you appreciate him.”   

How touch can help a returning warrior feel safe and appreciated

Byrd stresses that after being apart for long periods, a couple has to learn to re-create a sense of safety with each other.

“The threads of energy between you are not so strong any more, and you really are learning how to nurture each other and need each other in a tender way,” Byrd says. “Kissing can be the practice that helps you get there.”

Overcoming a feeling of vulnerability can be one of the most difficult challenges for soldiers returning from war, Byrd says. Wives can help their husbands melt down those walls, she says, by nurturing them through touch and massage.

And there is no quick fix to regaining a sense of stability. As the walls dissipate, and he realizes he’s still OK, Byrd says little by little, he will regain a sense of calmness and security.

“Nurturing is a primary sense of safety. They need a sense of connection again,” she says.

Kissing can help you get there. Byrd says before you even begin kissing, couples should connect through the foreplay of kissing.

“We think of kissing as foreplay, but the foreplay to kissing is making a connection with yourself and your partner. You can be in a bubble bath or just letting your skin touch each other. It’s a very powerful way of getting connected.”

The kiss, a user’s guide

Byrd hates “the peck” — when lovers quickly snap a kiss on the cheek and leave.

“A peck is saying, ‘I don’t have time to kiss you.’ It’s also annoying. You’re breaking contact each time — peck, peck, peck. It’s like poking somebody. It’s never satisfying,” she says.

“When you kiss somebody, you want something that lingers, that makes you go ‘umm, umm, umm.’ It flavors your morning,” Byrd says.

Goodbye kisses, frequent in military marriages, are sometimes the most important kiss you can give.

“The truth is, you don’t know if you’ll ever see that person again. It’s dangerous sending them out to war, and it’s dangerous just going out into the world every day,” Byrd says. “The goodbye kiss is the, ‘if I never see you again, I leave you with this gift of connection, this gift of my love for you.”

And the hello kiss? Well, that can set the tone of the entire evening.

“If he comes in the door, and you look him right in the eyes, take that face and bring it to you like you’re drinking out of a goblet of joy — that’s a way to turn an evening into something,” she says. “Even if you never kiss again the whole evening, you’ll both be humming with this sense of connection that keeps the flow going.”

The kiss should never simply be a mashing of the lips or a full-on tonsil examination. Instead, Byrd says, you can be endlessly creative while keeping the rest of your body alive.

“Frequently, people stop breathing. It also happens when they hug,” Byrd says. “Then there’s no energy moving, no connecting going on. You want to climb into their skin and have them climb into yours and climb into the embrace of your lips,” Byrd says. This is about connecting, saying, “oh, you’re so tasty, let me devour you and appreciate the yummyness that you are.”

Moving the rest of your body with the kiss, stroking their back, running your fingers through their hair and touching their face, also helps make good kisses great.

“If the whole body is kissing, that makes the best kisses.” she says.  

“Nurturing is a primary sense of safety. They need a sense of connection again,” she says.

Kissing can help you get there. Byrd says, “before you even begin kissing, couples should connect through the foreplay of kissing.”

“We think of kissing as foreplay, but the foreplay to kissing is making a connection with yourself and your partner. You can be in a bubble bath or just letting your skin touch each other. It’s a very powerful way of getting connected.”


Kissing School, 7 Lessons on Love, Lips and Life Force by Cherie Byrd

Available on Amazon.com