If Your Partner Doesn’t Like Kissing, Experts Say You Can Do These 7 Instead

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Giving your partner a kiss is one of the easiest ways to show them love and affection. But despite how common it is, some people just don't like it. So what do you do if you find yourself with a partner who doesn't like kissing or making out?

First, it's important to recognize that everyone has their preferences. Even if kissing seems like the one of the most natural things a couple can do, some cultures don't recognize it as a thing. In fact, a 2015 study published by the American Anthropological Association found that 45% of North American cultures don't kiss, not even in a romantic or sexual way.

"The reasons someone might not be into making out can vary," Gigi Engle, certified sex coach and SKYN Condoms’ sex and intimacy expert, tells Bustle. "For some people, they just find it 'gross' or weird. For others, it just doesn't have the same 'pair bonding' or nurturing effect that is has for most people. Essentially, making out just isn't everyone's cup of tea and that's OK."

As long as you and your partner communicate and find ways around it, you should be fine. So here are some things you can do if your partner isn't into kissing, according to experts.

1. Caress Their Face

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If your partner just doesn't like the mouth-to-mouth part about kissing, close facial contact may be fine. As Carol Queen PhD, Good Vibrations staff sexologist and author, tells Bustle, you can try exploring each other's faces using your hands first, and then go from there. "Get into the eroticism and intimacy of this without the pressure of getting into each others' mouths," Queen says. "Cheek to cheek movement, focusing on how it feels to breathe against each others' faces, also soft nibbling if they're cool with it, can be wonderful kissing substitutes."

2. Explore Other Areas Of Their Body Where They Do Like To Be Kissed

If your partner says they're fine with kissing if it's not on their mouth, then discover other places on their body where they do like it. For instance, Queen says the throat and neck area are especially erotic for many people. "Palms to elbow crooks, are also quite sensitive places to kiss, stroke, and nibble," she says. "They don't have the face-to-face overwhelm that some non-kissers find to be too much."

3. Make A Game Out Of Figuring Out What They Do Like

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Talking about your likes and dislikes is probably the best way to go. But you can also make it fun and sexy. As Dr. Rose Schlaff, DPT, women's sexual health coach who specializes in helping women reclaim intimacy, tells Bustle, "Write body parts on a piece of paper, and draw them out of the hat. Touch, massage, or kiss those body parts and see where that takes you. Focus on creating a space that is comfortable for the both of you, and leave kissing off the table for now." If you communicate and throw in some compliments and words of encouragement, it can be an exciting way to learn more about each other.

4. Touch Them Often When They Give You The Go Ahead

There are so many benefits to kissing. One of the biggest ones is the affect it can have on you and your partner's bond. "When we kiss, our brains are flooded with oxytocin, the body's 'love' or 'cuddle' hormone that makes you feel close to your partner," Engle says. It not only makes you feel good, but it can also make your partner feel safe and close to you. The good news is, kissing isn't the only act that has this affect. According to Engle, other forms of affection like hugging, tender touching, holding hands, and sexual play can help you feel close. "When directed to a romantic partner, they stand apart from acts you would share with platonic friend, resulting in feelings of love," she says.

5. Make Meaningful Eye Contact

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"There can be so much communicated and felt when you look deeply into the eyes of your partner," Dr. Carly Claney, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist who speializes in holistic healing and couples therapy, tells Bustle. Some couples might set aside a few minutes each night to do it as part of their nightly routine. But you don't have to. According to Claney, sharing brief eye contact while you're going about your day can create a moment of intimacy.

6. Spend At Least Five Minutes Each Night Touching And Staying Close Together

"What I recommend to my couples (and practice in session!) is extended physical contact," Amy K. Bucciere, LCSW, sex and relationship therapist, tells Bustle. Different therapists have different approaches to this. For instance, Bucciere says David Schnarch, a licensed clinical psychologist and co-director of the Marriage and Family Health Center has a "hugging until relaxed" technique. In this technique, couples stand in front of each other and hug until they're fully relaxed in each other's arms. If done regularly, it can increase passion in the relationship. There are squillions more, but what they all have in common is several continuous minutes of undistracted non-sexual physical contact," she says. Couples who do this regularly typically feel relaxed, recharged, and closer together.

7. Practice Gratitude

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Finding other ways to touch or physically connect aren't the only things you can do. Sometimes words can be just as effective. Practicing gratitude can help you build intimacy and connection. "Hearing about what your partner is grateful for (about the relationship or in general) may foster connection as you learn about one another and share in a moment of appreciation," Claney says.

Again, if you enjoy kissing to the point that it's a need, you may need to reconsider whether your partner really is the right one for you. But if it's not a major dealbreaker, these are some great ways to stay intimate and show your partner affection.