Q: and Tell.      I’ve always enjoyed kissing as part of the buildup to sex, but my current boyfriend doesn’t share my enthusiasm. Recently, he confessed to me that he doesn’t like the way I kiss him. I really don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Could you describe how men want to be kissed?  –— Shannon

Dr. Linda: Sorry, Shannon, I’ve heard too many men describe too many different ways, and even amounts, of kissing they like to hazard a guess about what your boyfriend wants. What I do know is that lots of people—both men and women—care a lot about kissing in satisfying ways. Some even reject prospective partners once they’ve decided they are “bad” kissers! So here are some tips.

When it comes to talented kissing, a “demo” will accomplish far more than words alone. Let your boyfriend know that you appreciate his honesty and genuinely want to please him. Ask him if he could show you, as well as describe to you, exactly what he likes. Take five to ten minutes for your practice session (or sessions). (11)

If we’re talking about open mouthed, passionate kissing, as you implied, does he want you to use slow tongue movements?  Fast?  Deep? Shallow? A blend? Find out if he likes kissing during intercourse, or if it’s distracting. While you’re at it, find out what kinds of affectionate or playful kissing he likes as well.

If you discover that you don’t like the kind of kissing he likes, at least give it a shot for a few weeks. You might have a “try it; you’ll like it” conversion. If not, maybe you can agree to alternate your-favorite, his-favorite kissing that accompanies “royal treatment” focused on you or him.


Q: Extra-marital sex.    I am not actually writing for myself, but for a good friend of mine who is like a sister to me. She recently got involved with a married man, whom she truly adores. He seems to have real affection for her, even if they both realize it’s basically a sex thing.     My friend worries that her lover will not only end the affair, but stop being friends with her as well, since they’ve been sexual together. She tells me that if she lost both the friendship and the sex, she doesn’t know if she could ever recover. What can I do to help her?    ––Irma

Dr. Linda: I’d be a little concerned about her doubts that she could ever recover. First loves more often trigger such feelings. Heed any signs of significant instability such as excessive alcohol use, drug use or anything else that suggests she would consider harming herself when the affair ends.

Encourage her to socialize in settings where lots of unattached guys are likely to be hanging out. Go with her if she wants company and spend as much time with her as you can. The more time she’s doing these things, the less often she’s with Mr. Married. In time, she’ll probably see the light and may even get the courage to end it herself.

She’s lucky to have a true friend who is concerned about her best interests.


Q: Fun with Mirrors.     Lately my boyfriend and I always have sex in front of a mirror and it really turns us on to be able to see each other. But I’m a little concerned. Can we become too dependent on this?  —Carrie

Dr. Linda: There’s nothing wrong with what you’re doing, if it turns you on. On the other hand, once something–anything–becomes a requirement for getting turned on and carrying out sexual activity, you’ve entered the world of fetishes. The main problem with fetishes is that they cramp your style: no fetish available, no sex.

It’s a little hard to imagine mirrors becoming mandatory. Consider this: If you and your girlfriend took a camping trip, would you find yourself in the middle of the great playground of nature with no urge to play? Or would you be forced to bring along a giant mirror?

Of course, dependency that hasn’t reached fetish proportions could also dampen your love life. It’s probably time to shift from  we “always have sex in front of a mirror”  to we “really enjoy it when…”.

Variety and novelty also fuel passion. You and your boyfriend are obviously not inhibited (lots of people wouldn’t dream of watching themselves) so I’d suggest you and he share other wild ideas that you’ve never done before.


Q: Stuck in a rut.      My boyfriend and I enjoy doing different things but sometimes we can’t think of something new to try on the spot. We revert to our regular habits and then we’re a bit disappointed. We seem to get great ideas after the fact. Any suggestions?     —Joanne      

Dr. Linda: In writing Love Skills, I came up with an adventurous idea that’s worked well for many (I’ve received lots of positive feedback on it.)  First, create a “LovePlay Suggestion Box.” Sit down together. Write down on slips of paper any ideas for creative sex play that appeal to both of you. Fold up each suggestion and put it in the box.

Here are a few ideas to get you going: Put on sexy, alluring clothes; wear a mask; go on the town with no underwear; a new position, sexual activity or location; body painting; role-playing.

Place other ideas in the box whenever they occur to you, so it’s stocked with fresh suggestions. Any time you want to try something different and playful, simply fish out a slip of paper and do whatever it says. If you draw an activity that doesn’t appeal to you at the time, simply toss it back in and select another one that does.