How Do You Feel About Being Asked To Be Kissed?

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 6.03% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

One of the things I am super-grateful for these days is that the women I’m attracted to these days tend to be fairly kinky.  And the kink community has its own massive dysfunctions, of course, but in general they’re also usually pretty good about the communication of desires.
So if, on a date that seems to be going well, I ask, “Would you mind if I kiss you?” the answer is usually an enthusiastic “Sure, go ahead!” or a declined “No, I don’t want that.”
But I’ve always been a verbal consenter, mainly because my social anxiety usually doesn’t let me assume, Oh, you’re reading the signs right.  And when I was in my teens and twenties and dating, a lot of the times “Would you mind if I kiss you?” was met with that awkward hesitation of What the fuck are you doing? followed by a suspicious stinkeye that indicated All right, we’ll do it your way, whatever.
Discussing this with women at the time led to me discovering that for a significant number of people, the act of asking spoils the mood.  As Bart Calendar put it:

The number of women who do not want to be asked is really, really high. I have about five or six female friends who reguarly complain to me about how guys they go on first dates with ask to kiss them – when to their minds, they’ve been clearly sending off signals that they want to be kissed so they find it a turn off/consider the guy not “confident enough” for them to make out with.

I don’t know if that number is really, really high – but I do know that the circles I travel in these days have self-selected down significantly.  Gansje asked, quite legitimately, whether I couldn’t do some good by teaching consent education on college campuses, the way that I occasionally give talks on forming healthy relationships at conventions.  And I don’t think I’d be all that helpful at college, because the experience I have dealing with adults who’ve made the decision to try to form long-term bonds with each other is often not at all relevant to, say, your average frat kid looking to hook up with some (willing) sorority sister.  I haven’t been in college life for years, when I was in college life I wasn’t the partying kind, and when college life existed for me it didn’t have the issues of, say, Facebook or texting or the myriads of new and changed social pressures that college kids face.
I’m smart enough to know that the folks I talk to on a daily basis aren’t the same as, say, your average set of people at a nightclub.  For one thing, I think a significant subset of people at your average nightclub would never have heard of polyamory, let alone be cool with it.  I’m not mainstream, and I feel acting as though the mainstream opinion was just this minor issue to be handwaved off when giving advice leads to horrifically bad advice.
Yet as self-selected a crowd as you folks are, I’m curious as to what your reaction is to someone you like asking you for a kiss in the middle of a decent date.  There’s no right or wrong answer here, and so anyone who gets all judgy in the comments will get shut down – but if consent culture involves getting enthusiastic “yes”s, how do you actually feel when someone verbally tries to get one from you for that first smooch?  Or, in the middle of kissing, asks for something more?  Do/did most of your dates ask overtly, and do you wish that new dates would?
Let’s ask, and see how y’all feel.

9 Comments

  1. ellixis
    Aug 28, 2014

    Part of the reason that it puts people off may be because people aren’t used to being asked. That’s just a guess, though.
    As for myself: I like to be asked the first time. It makes intentions clear, and if I didn’t actually want to be kissed it makes it much less stressful to decline if I can say “no, thank you” instead of having to dodge or fend off.

  2. Joyful Girl
    Aug 28, 2014

    I love it; communication and consent are hot! But then again I’m usually the one who asks first…
    I might have been put off many years ago when I thought life was like romantic comedy movies…you should just look in each other’s eyes and magically know, and he will sweep you off your feet…asking would break that fantasy. But who wants a rom com love life– do you ever notice how the story arch conflict is almost always due to a lack of communication, some tragic misunderstanding that could have been avoided just by talking openly and directly?

  3. Rachel
    Aug 28, 2014

    I’m kind of contact-shy even when I’m really enjoying a person, so I think I’d prefer to be asked. Haven’t dated anyone but my husband in a long time, but we actually… counted down together for our first kiss. Because nerves. I guess. 🙂

  4. Yet Another Laura H
    Aug 28, 2014

    Phrasing matters to me, as well. If I hug someone, brushing my face along the side of her face to do the nose bump-and-tilt, with hopeful eye contact, mild grinding, and brushing my lips against hers, the very breath against my lips from “I’d really like to kiss you now,” feels sensual, whereas “Can I kiss you? Would that be okay?” feels a bit like she’s not listening to my shouting-and-telegraphing body language…

  5. Bea
    Aug 28, 2014

    I wonder if part of that is the “shame” thing that hedges sexuality in–especially for women. For ex: If I say ‘Yes,’ does that make me ‘loose’ or ‘dirty’?
    I know that where-and-when I grew up, the answer would have been “Absolutely.” And that would have “devalued” me, socially. So, being “surprised” by the kiss is one thing–agreeing to it can put a woman into a whole different social perception. At least then. And there.
    I know that programming is there, for me. I just have to keep fighting it 😛

  6. Sarah H
    Aug 29, 2014

    Being asked gives me a clear indication that my date is groking my vibe or not. My ability to register subtle body cues goes way down when I’m nervous – removing that whole “likes me, likes me not” agony is a huge relief.
    If the person’s not into what I’m peddling then they won’t ask and I can relax into the “friend zone”. If they do, then I know and we can happily proceed from there.
    It’s true that the asking does detract from the “magical moment” we’re conditioned to expect from RomComs. But, honestly, that expectation is unrealistic to begin with. For my money, I’ll take the peice of mind any day.

  7. Ali M
    Aug 29, 2014

    Where sometimes conversation doesn’t have to take place (if body language has already included touching and hugging, for instance) if that’s not happening – well I’ve been the recipient of a couple sudden kisses over the years that I was NOT open to or expecting, so I LIKE being asked.
    That said, I prefer “Can I kiss you?” or “I’d like to kiss you” far more than “Would you mind?” The latter sounds not only formal, but almost apologetic. I can understand being a mood breaker to some, and even a turn off if its somebody kinky looking for a certain attitude of confidence.
    I also figure if its spoils the mood to ask/be asked, then there’s a chance the person might not be that good at communicating overall. There are LOTS Of things involving sex and kink that need what’s happening to stop right then to have a discussion about, even if it isn’t romantic or sexy to do so.

  8. AuburnValkyrie
    Aug 29, 2014

    Especially in a dating perspective, I’m one of those that like the warning the more Dominant and fervent the better. I like the ability to GIVE consent, to be forced to basically open the door and let a someone in. I want to see the intensity and carnality dancing behind a man’s eyes knowing that He’ll check it if I state I’m not ready. I like being asked to submit to His attentions. I realize some like the CNC aspect or the surprise? . . . . . I like a man who is confident to lay his cards on the table and see what my response is.

  9. JF
    Aug 30, 2014

    It’s all in how it’s said. One of the sexiest dates I had was when a guy looked me in the eyes and said, “I’d really like to kiss you now.” And then didn’t went very still and didn’t move an inch, making it completely clear I could decline or respond by kissing him.
    Another guy did the awkward but sweet, “I’m terrible about asking for what I want, but I’d really love to kiss you…..?” move. Also successful and sexy.

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