I'd rather empty the Hoover bag than kiss my husband
23:30 GMT, 28 March 2012
My first date with my husband was spent kissing, unapologetically, in the corner of a Soho wine bar.
From what I remember, it was great. Our enthusiasm for such overt osculation went on like this for the best part of two months.
We kissed everywhere and anywhere — at Michelin-star restaurants, high-level work events . . . the cheese aisle in Sainsbury’s. We didn’t care. Friends would tell us to: ‘Get a room.’ Family members would look down at their shoes whenever we were near.
Hands off: Almost one in five (18 per cent) married people don't kiss their partner for an entire week (posed by models)
But that was then. Ten years and two babies later, it would be fair to say we’re far from the serial snoggers we once were. In fact, we can barely remember to give each other a peck on the cheek in the mornings.
Long-term love doesn’t have to eradicate kissing, but I think you’ll find in most cases there’s an obvious dwindling effect. Last year the British Heart Foundation ran a survey that revealed almost one in five (18 per cent) married people don’t kiss their partner for an entire week, while two in five kiss for just five seconds or less when they make love.
This is because the thrill of a new relationship is much more likely to induce Spontaneous Passionate Kissing (SPK) than when you hit the comfortable stage. Surely, it’s only natural that when those oxytocin-induced highs start to fade, so do the kisses
Call me unromantic, but I don’t have a problem with this. Deep down, I think kissing with tongues is best left for teenagers (apart from when you’re in the initial throes of new romance when, for a limited period, you’re allowed to act like one).
Snogging behind the bike sheds at school was fun. But all that sucking and slurping at your neighbours’ dinner party I’d really rather not. I should point out I’m incredibly grateful and not the least bit offended that my husband feels the same way.
In our experience, you just get to the stage when SPK isn’t as appealing. It starts with the realisation that morning breath is actually quite revolting. Then it becomes more about the fact there are other pressing matters to attend to — like filling in your child’s homework form or changing the Hoover bag.
Leisurely and protracted pursuits such as smooching on the sofa for hours on a Monday evening are all very well — if you don’t have a life. Then there are the children to think about. Surely, they’d rather chew off their own arms than watch their parents wrestling it out in a game of tonsil tennis
It’s not that I don’t find my husband attractive — I do, very much so. I guess I’ve just come to like that I can have a cheese and onion sandwich whenever I feel like it and not worry about the consequences.
Pucker up: Kissing helps to release important chemicals which helps relationship bonding – good news for the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge who are pictured here kissing on their wedding day
In my youth, I was captivated by the kissing scenes between Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing. But the longer you’re in a relationship, the more incongruous that kind of kissing becomes.
Obviously, there is still the odd racy occasion. My husband and I were recently taking a stroll on the Cornish coast during a rare weekend away when, quite unprompted, he lent in for a spot of SPK — and, though shocked initially, I have to confess it felt surprisingly good.
On a day-to-day basis, the truth is I don’t miss my days as a perpetual snogger one bit. Most of the time, I think my husband and I would be happy to make like the Eskimos, rub noses and be done with it. Unless I’ve had more than two glasses of Sancerre, which is a completely different matter.
This doesn’t mean we don’t love each other. What we need, I suppose, is more motivation to pucker up — and no, the Google research that swears you burn 26 calories in a one-minute kiss is not enough to inspire us.
So I set about looking for the other benefits of kissing regularly. Psychologist Max Blumberg told me: ‘Kissing helps to release important chemicals which helps relationship bonding and, interestingly, reduces cortisol which leads to stress.’
Lovestruck couples aged 18 to 24 kiss an average of 11 times a week
But, even this isn’t enough to make me snuggle up to my husband for a nightly smooch.
I’m sure my friends feel the same. Not that I’ve asked them. I’ve learned over the years they usually lie about love and sex — either massively exaggerating or toning down the truth.
Having said that, I caught some married friends really going for it in my kitchen at a dinner party I was hosting the other week. I was disconcerted to say the least.
I felt like pulling them to one side and saying: ‘Stop embarrassing yourselves! You’re in your 40s, you’ve been married 15 years, you have a mortgage for goodness sake.’
But it also made me faintly suspicious. Why the need for such a public show of affection Was their marriage in trouble I’m not sure what’s led me to believe SPK is so often linked to showing off but frankly, a married couple who feel the need to exchange saliva in public is peculiar, isn’t it
On the flip-side, part of me can’t help wonder if my husband and I should be making more of an effort on the kissing front Blumberg would have me believe not doing so is a reflection on my marriage. He says: ‘If both partners enjoy kissing, the lack of it is often an indication that something else is wrong.’
I’m not aware we have any underlying problems. I take the fact my husband and I don’t feel the need to snog all the time as testament to how relaxed and contented we are. After all, it’s not like we don’t find other ways to be intimate. Still, maybe I’ll book another trip to Cornwall soon, just to be on the safe side . . .