Gender Differences in Kissing

Jun 17, 2010 • News, Research

Kissing rocks, bottom line. Today, it’s largely considered a sign of affection and/or desire in about 90 percent of the world. We know this — and if we don’t know, we suspect. But just what makes a kiss excellent?

That’s what Susan Hughes, based out of Albright College in Pennsylvania, sought to find out. Surveying 1,041 college students, she asked questions about their preferences, styles, attitudes and behaviors with regard to kissing. A summary on eHarmony (they have articles? Who knew!) recapped the findings of the survey:

  • The average number of people men and women report to have kissed by the time they reach college is 14. (We’re a little shocked, frankly. We think they’re lying. Then again, we’re kind of free with our desires here at Sex and the 405, we’ll own it.)
  • Some 50 percent of men have had sex without kissing their partner first, compared to 10 percent of women.
  • Apparently, men base whether they want to kiss someone on their facial attractiveness. Women focus on teeth.
  • Kissing appears to be more important before sex than after. Overall, kissing seems to be more important for women than men in having a satisfying sexual experience. Men were also more likely to have sex with someone they considered a bad kisser than women.
  • Men seem to prefer wetter kisses with more tongue than women, but both sexes preferred more tongue with a long-term partner. (“That’s so true!” exclaimed our editrix when she read it. It’s really funny, but considering the wild sexual antics she’s chronicled here and elsewhere, she is a really prudish kisser.)
  • 59 percent of men and 66 percent of women have been turned off by a potential partner’s kiss at some point in their lives.

Hughes concluded that women seem to emphasize kissing as a means of evaluating a potential mate and monitoring the status of a relationship. Men, on the other hand, use kissing as a lead sex and as part of conflict resolution.


Photo by Timothy Wells. Information from eHarmony.