With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, our attention naturally turns to thoughts of love and romance. Ironically, despite all of the media hype advertisers place on it, many folks (especially women) report that real romance is in short supply in their relationships.  The stress and restrictions imposed by COVID-19 have made matters even worse.  That said, now is a good time to talk about romance and desire because there is good news for folks who want to rekindle their passion.

Just so we’re all on the same page, romance is commonly defined as that sense of excitement and mystery associated with love. It is a special feeling that is hard to describe.   Although romance includes sexual feelings, it is important to realize that it is more than simply erotic desire.  Romantic feelings are not just about attraction. They also include a sense of safety and trust and a sense of being cared about by the object of one’s love.  Romance is an essential ingredient in happy and lasting marriages because it provides the emotional glue which holds people together and helps them endure conflicts and hard times.

When that special feeling flags, romance can be heightened by creating special ambience. Things like candlelight, flowers and special dinners can help contribute to the romantic mood but it is important to understand that loving and compassionate behavior between partners is the key ingredient needed for romance to flourish.  Thus, one doesn’t have to splurge or go to a lot of trouble to be romantic. It’s the little day to day things which matter most and serve to reflect and remind each other of the love they share .

Kissing is one of the most often overlooked and undervalued gestures which will evoke romantic feelings between lovers. While couples report that they still kiss, they also report that kissing often has become almost perfunctory and has lost a  lot of its pizazz. This observation leads us to the title of this blog post: The Five Second Kiss.  While kissing is a natural human impulse, obviously, not all kisses are the same.

Sometimes kissing is a friendly greeting or gesture which shows a delight in seeing a loved one or friend. Between lovers and married couples, kissing also is an expression of love which exhibits physical passion. The five second kiss is a special type of kiss which is more than a friendly greeting but is not directly sexual. The five second kiss unites and creates a mood for intimacy. The five second thing is the crucial difference which makes a big difference.  Taking a few seconds longer while you keep your lips pressed against your partner’s stimulates both physiological and emotional responses which are vital for lasting romance.

It is helpful to understand what happens during a five second kiss.  When the lips of lovers meet and remain in contact for five seconds or longer, each person receives a shot of serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin which not only feels great but are also a physical expression of the emotion of love which induces and intensifies a sense of closeness and joy. Along with romantic kisses comes the anticipation of becoming physically intimate.  Looked at from a practical point of view, kisses are a way to maintain romantic feelings and to prevent  getting into a romantic deficit.

While kissing is usually abundant in the early stages of a relationship, over time its significance tends to decline and can become something in which one is just going through the motions.  Indeed, when couples complain that the romance in their relationship has fallen off, the first questions I ask are: Tell me how and how often that you kiss?  Stress, too many commitments and fatigue are the most common reasons cited when couples don’t kiss more. Unfortunately, the responses I hear back expose that many folks who are unhappy with their love life don’t kiss enough and even when they do kiss, their kisses have become mere pecks on the cheek.

Doing more kissing for at least five seconds is a simple change that couples can do which will increase the amount of romance ( and mostly likely sex) in their relationship.   Once you give this a try, you will be amazed what a big difference such a simple thing like taking a little longer to kiss makes. It’s also great to learn that, for healthy relationships, even though romance has been neglected in the past, it’s never too late to get it back.  If you have a romance deficit and want to improve but aren’t sure what to do or feel a little awkward getting started , know that breaking the ice is the hardest part.  Here are some tips to help you get started.

  • Assess your relationship’s romance and intimacy levels. Think about how much romance you feel in your partner and vice versa. Think about how often and how you kiss. How often do you have sex ?   Ask yourself if you and your partner want more ?   If your interest or sexual activity has declined, think about when did the decline start and why?
  • Become intentional . If you want more intimacy , say so. Talk things over with your partner and don’t wait to start kissing longer and being more fully present when you kiss.
  • Be Honest. If you are distracted or not in the mood for a five second kiss, say so and make sure you get back to your partner when you are. Likewise, if your partner isn’t in the mood, don’t take it personally. Things are not always about you.  Talk things over and figure out the problem.
  • When you kiss, be fully present and think about why you love your partner.  Put everything else out of your mind. Think about how much you love your mate and remember all of the things about him/her for which you are grateful.

If you are having trouble with any of the above tips, don’t give up. Get help from a professional. You’ll be glad that you did.

Rev. Michael Heath, LMHC, Fellow AAPC                  2/02/2021

Image attribution and acknowledgement : Freestock.com