My first kiss came at an embarrassingly old age and under mortifying circumstances. A girl I had dated for some time suddenly asked me to close my eyes without offering any explanation. Doing odd things like this was not in the least unusual for our relationship, which was fun and spontaneous at the core. I did as I was told and she planted a big fat kiss on my unexpecting lips and walked out the door without a word.
It was... get ready for it... an assignment for a class. Students in that class were asked to do something outside their comfort zone. However, this friend's comfort zone was pretty darn broad to begin with, so she knew actually fulfilling it would take something extra. She would have to face one of the few things that intimidated her. Among them was me--the enigmatic boy with whom she had been best friends for quite a while, but who had somehow failed to take the slightest initiative in escalating the relationship.
After being relieved of my lip-virginity, my innocence unwillingly taken from me, I sat pensively wondering why it felt like such a big deal? Why should I care? Why didn't I experiment more? I decide I had better get comfortable with myself enough to explore. The idea made me slightly nauseated.
I remembered a time during high school when I had watched my buddy kiss his date on the porch when we dropped her off (we were doubling). It had made me really angry. I don't know why it was so hard for me to consciously understand what is so obvious to me now--I wanted him to be kissing me. Although I told myself I was losing my two best friends (to each other), the real problem was that the relationships between the three of us hadn't played out in the impossible way I secretly preferred. So, I was miserable and channeled my displeasure into a ridiculous philosophy that kissing was cheap and insincere. It got me out of a lot of kissing for several self-deluding years.
My kissing boycott extended to hand holding, rubbing backs, or any other mild publicly acceptable affection as well. I attributed my reluctance to hold hands during dates to my virtue--I wanted it to really mean something when I was affectionate with a girl. I once forced myself and was rewarded with sweaty disgusting hands for the evening as well as feeling cheap and dishonest. It was not particularly pleasant, but I gave it a shot. In a laughably stupid lack of insight, I was completely mistaken about my motivations and my conclusions about why it was unpleasant.
Fast forward now to my first real kiss. I was at the airport with a girl that I was thinking about asking to marry me. It was awkward because I loved her, but as with the other women in my life, I wasn't sexually attracted to her. Could it work? I had to try to make it work. So I kissed her. The kiss was powerful in some ways and disappointing in others. It was powerful because I initiated it. It was pathetic because I had no idea what I was doing. It was powerful because I loved her and I wanted to desire her. It was pathetic because the desire was all wishful thinking. I just wasn't feeling it.
We got engaged and made it our habit to get lots of practice making out. I got a lot better. ;-) We got married and I got better still. One may even say (if that "one" is my wife) that I'm a really good kisser. And she has, ahem, lots more experience with other kissers than I do!
So, now, when I read posts about being repulsed by the prospect of being affectionate with someone to whom there is no sexual attraction, I get it. And this post has no great moral to it--I just note that somehow I used to be at point A and now I'm at point B (getting lots of hetero kissing action, and thoroughly enjoying it). The getting from one to the other is quite a mystery.