Wise Readers,

Last week, I asked you: Do you want to be asked before someone kisses you in a new relationship?  How about an established relationship?  What if the questions referred to your own teenage child?

Why the heck would I want to know?!

Because surprisingly, there’s not much scientific enquiry about kissing.  Just a lot of assumptions.  For instance, I recently read a book aimed at teens and young adults that assumes the following:

— Asking before kissing creates respect and also prevents rape by eliminating the guesswork otherwise inherent in sexual interactions;

— Asking before each kiss is a must to prevent sexual assault even in established relationships; and

—Men resist the idea of Asking because they fear it will kill the mood or make them seem like clued-out wimps, but their worries are needless:  “The reality is that women find asking to be very romantic.”

Problem:  No factual support was given for any of these ideas.  What’s the evidence—if any?


Idea #1: Asking promotes respect and prevents rape.

It’s unproven that creating a culture of Asking prevents rapes where there was criminal intent; the hell-bent aren’t going to ask, and probably would not adhere to the answer if they did.

But science shows respect is the bedrock of healthy relationships, and its absence is the soil in which abuse grows. Promoting a culture of Asking might be one of many ways to build relationships that are respectful from the very start, and hence much less likely ever to become abusive.  And several of the Survey respondents linked being Asked to feeling Respected:  


Female, age 18+: “Yes, from my point of view I think that is very respectful and the right thing to do.”

Male, age 18+: “I would like for them to ask to kiss me because just out of respect I would never just grab someone’s face and kiss them.”


But is the current cultural standard of kissing-sans-request leading to unintentional sexual assaults?  The idea is that implied consent is a terrible standard; just as it’s still robbery if a person holds you up at knifepoint and you wordlessly hand over your money, it’s still sexual assault if a person takes sexual liberties and you say nothing contrary.  So if you’re kissing without asking, you could be headed towards assaulting another person without even knowing it.

Leaving aside questionable legal and logic issues inherent in the robbery/rape comparison, from a research standpoint there is probably something to this—especially with very young women at the beginning of a relationship, and men who may not excel at reading subtle social cues.  It’s well documented that most people presume that others feel, think, and want what we ourselves think, feel, and want; men In The Mood may be pushing things further than a partner really wants to go—often without knowing they’re pushing.  Also,  -->men tend to view women’s mere friendliness as indicating sexual interest  -->—so if a woman is actually kissing a guy (however dispassionately), it’d be small wonder if he thought she was into it and maybe wanted more than just a kiss.

Younger women and girls are often least comfortable asserting or outright saying No, for varied reasons ranging from lifelong training/coercion/praise for being compliant and ‘sweet’, to fear of losing a guy they like, to being scared of what a frustrated or angry man might do.   Since women sometimes don’t *say* they’re uncomfortable, a heterosexual couple may wind up participating in sexual acts *he* wants and *she* feels pressured to perform.  Asking from the very first kiss could go a long way towards creating safer, healthier sexual relationships.


What did Survey respondents say?  When it came to their hypothetical or real teen children, even people who said they would find Being Asked to be a personal turn-off often wanted their *children* (particularly daughters) to be Asked:  


Female, age 18+: “I would want them to be asked but I know that is not practical because when I am to be kissed I don’t want to be asked.”

Female, age 18+: “Oh yeah, the other person better ask before kissing my teenage child.”

Male, age 18+: “I have a daughter and I would rather a guy ask to kiss her than just grabbing to kiss her because she is so beautiful and I don’t want someone forcing her to do something that she doesn’t want to do.”


Idea #2: Asking is important even in established relationships.

Ummm, notsomuch.  At least, not according to our Wise Readers and the many college students making up the sample.  They may want their kids to be Asked.  But for themselves—in ongoing relationships where the first lip-lock was long ago?  No.

To wit, whereas 45% of women and 26% of men in our sample said Yes, Ask my teenage daughter/son, 0% of men and just  2% of women wanted to be Asked for kisses themselves in ongoing relationships.  In contrast, 91% of women and 100% of men said NO, they do *not* want to be Asked before their established partner kisses them (7% of women had caveats that amounted to “Sometimes being asked would be okay.”):


Female, 18+: “No, that would be very annoying and excessive after a while.  Once it is established, unless I am sick, we are in a fight, or they just ate something gross, they don’t need my permission.”

Female, 35+: “Yes and no, just keep ‘em coming, kiss me all the time, I can take ‘em all sizes, shapes, moods, I want all of his kisses, every one.”


Idea #3: There’s no social penalty for Asking/ “The reality is that women find asking to be very romantic.” 

Personal confession: I laughed out loud at this.  In my womanly view, the reason men would worry that Asking could cast them as clueless mood-killers is because Asking could cast them as clueless mood-killers.  Yes, as parents, many of us *want* guys to Ask our daughters; when we think of our babies, we are thinking of their safety (paramount), not their sexuality (yikes).  But as my mind traveled over personal terrain, I remembered the guy who pulled me up through my car window and kissed me breathless…not the ones who asked.

Was I alone in those feelings?  Well, there were a range of opinions, but in our Survey, the majority of people wanted *not* to be asked even for that first kiss.  Many were very adamant: !!!  Specifically, 64% of women and 65% of men said NO—read my body language, just go with the moment, don’t ruin it, etc. (Another 20% of the men and 18% of the women said maybe/it depends, and 15% of the men and 18% of the women said YES):


Female, 18+: “…I think it ruins the mood and I want someone who is able to read my body language enough to know when I want them to kiss me.”

Female, 18+: “No, I think that being asked takes the excitement and romance out of the first kiss.  The moments leading up to the kiss are sometimes the most exciting and if you know it’s coming it wouldn’t be nearly as fun.”

Female, 25+: “No.  If they both like each other and the mood is right then the male should take charge.  If the guy asks it makes him look weak.  If he does it without permission it makes him look like he’s assertive, like he knows what he wants in life and is not afraid to go after it.  But this only applies to kissing, not other things….”


Upshot?  We’ve got a quandary, folks.  Teens and young adults may be vulnerable to unwanted sexual contact if Asking isn’t employed from the first kiss, plus Asking could be part of teaching and learning respect in relationships.  A lot of us want our teenage kids to Ask and Be Asked before a kiss. But in our sample, it looks like Asking could lead to social penalties among almost 2/3 of kiss-ees even from the first date, and Asking would be a potential turn-off with over 90% once the relationship got going.

If we expect the pursuer (usually the guy) to Ask in teenage relationships, but we ourselves think Asking is a turn-off, does that put everyone—maybe our youngest and most vulnerable, especially—in a double-bind?  What gives?  As the philosophers say, I don’t know the solution.  But I certainly admire the problem.




THE SURVEY with results:  “May I Kiss You?  (Would You Want Me To Ask First?”

With special thanks to the 85 Wise Readers and students in my classes who responded as of 9 p.m. CST on 2/17/2013.  Please NOTE that this survey represents the stated views of the survey takers, but due to its lack of random sampling [http://www.randomsampling.org/], it may or may not reflect the views of most LoveScience readers, most college students, or the general adult public in any particular location.

You can read the Survey questions here:http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MTL39HG


RESPONSES: (Percentages are rounded and thus may not total 100%; also, some responses fit more than one answer category, as when a person answers both ‘no’ and ‘it depends’.) 


Q1. What is your gender?

Male: 23%

Female: 77%


Q2. What is your age?

18 to 24: 54%

25 to 34: 13%

35 to 44: 18%

45 to 54: 6%

55 to 64: 6%

65 to 74: 2%

75 and up: 0%


Q3. Let’s say you’re dating someone new, and this is going to be your first kiss with them.  Would you want them to ask before kissing you?  (Answer in as much detail as you would like.) 

—18% of women and 15% of men said Yes, they would want someone to Ask before a first kiss.

—64% of women and 65% of men said No.  Many thought being Asked would ruin the mood, or that Asking was undesirable/undesired. 

—18% of women and 20% of men gave an answer indicating that they might want to be Asked, or that whether or not they wanted to be asked would depend on various things. 

Full responses follow:

Female, 18+: No, if they can read my body language correctly they will know that i want a kiss.


Female, 18+: I think it should be discussed before hand, like not right before but earlier. But yeah, ask first.


Female, 18+:  If i was dating someome new, and i was going to have my first kiis with him,depending on how long we had benn dating the question would be asked.If we had been dating for more than five moths the question woulld not be necessarry. Now if had been dating for a week the question needs to be asked.


Female, 18+:  No, it should be a moment when you just know its right, dont ask me if its a good time.


Female, 18+: No, I would not want them to ask, if I was approached with a kiss and I didn’t feel comfortable at the time, I would simply dodge it. If it was right timing, It would be a lot more romantic.


Female, 18+:  no i would not. i like a man who is brave enough to make the move on his own. women do little things and you, well he’ll know if you want to be kissed or not. we want men not boys


Female, 18+: No I would want them to make the move when they thought the time was right.


Female, 18+: No, I would want it to be random and a surprise.


Female, 18+: I’m not sure. I think for me, it would depend on how things had been going and how we are both feeling.


Male, 25+: No, because I wouldn’t go on a date if I wasn’t in to them and/or if they weren’t into me. It could ruin the moment.


Female, 18+: No, it’s should come natural.


Male, 18+: A part of me would want the person to ask and yet another doesn’t.


Female, 18+: No i wouldnt want them to ask first. Better to let the moment flow. If both persons are wanting it, it will happen naturally. Asking first can come off as unexciting, or may lack passion. And in some cases i may be shy and want the other person to initiate and take charge of that first move.


Female, 18+:  Yes, because sometimes what might feel like the right time for the guy wouldn’t necessarily feel right for me. Especially for the first kiss, you kinda want to be a little wary of barriers.


Female, 18+: Not at all! I think it ruins the mood and i want someone who is able to read my body language enough to know when i want them to kiss me.


Female, 18+: No, I like it when it just seems right. Like, we get quite and it just makes sense, or we’re dancing and it just happens.


Female, 25+: I would not want them to ask before kissing me.


Female, 35+: No, I wouldn’t want them to ask.


Female, 25+: No. Go for the gold. Softly at first preferably. Come to think of it, I don’t have any problem initiating the first kiss. This may be while I’m still single. Hmm. I just vote let it happen naturally so asking typically ruins the suspense and mystery.


Female 35+: No


Female 35+: Assuming I am liking this person, no. I would want the moment to give itself and then just kiss. If things are going well, and there’s desire, there should be moments looking into each others eyes, smiles, maybe other cues, that just make it inevitable. That’s what I would like happen instead of asking.


Male, 18+: No, that would make me feel awkward.


Female, 18+: No I wouldn’t want them to ask for my permission for it’s not romantic, but I also don’t want him to do it so suddenly. Would love him to slowly signaling me before the kiss.


Female, 18+: No


Male, 45+: sure that works, but i prefer the unknown dramatic chess game that brings me to the first kiss


Female, 25+: Only rhetorically. By this time there should be no doubt if I’ve sent out the appropriate signals.


Female, 18+: No i would want it to be in the moment


Female, 18+:  No, I think that being asked takes the excitement and romance out of the first kiss. The moments leading up to the kiss are sometimes the most exciting and if you know it’s coming it wouldn’t be nearly as fun.


Female, 18+: Yes, from my point of view I think that is very respectful and the right thing to do.


Male, 45+:  No, I would not. I wat the first kiss to be passionate and spur of the moment.


Male, 18+: No it should feel like a natural thing. Im a guy so i always like to take the first step when it comes to that kinda thing.


Female, 18+: Yes I would find it rude and forward to assume that I wanted a kiss or was ready for that. It is very respectful to ask permission.


Female, 25+: No, I want the to remember the moment


Female, 18+: I would say … yes. Not being asked is spontaneous and lovely in it’s own way, but being asked eliminates some awkward/embarrassing moment when you’re not sure you are going to be kissed or not (then again, I haven’t had my “first kiss” yet so …)


Female, 18+: If this would be my first kiss i would want for them to ask me before kissing because this would show whether he/she has respect for you at the beginning of the relation.


Male, 18+: I would like for them to ask to kiss me because just out of respect i would never just grab someones face and kiss them.


Female, 25+: Asking before a very first kiss is polite, but not required.


Male, 35+: I would not expect to be asked before someone moves in for a kiss. That being said, I would expect the kiss to be G-rated.


Female, 65+: Not necessarily. At my age, let’s just get it on!


Female, 18+: I would love it if it just came out naturally. I wouldnt mine if he asked though, it would be cute too.


Female, 25+: No, I wouldn’t want to be asked I think it just makes it akward. I like the surprise of a first kiss.


Female, 25+: I wouldn’t want to be asked but let it come by itself instead. I’m shy when it comes to know what I have to do when I am in love with someone new.


Female, 18+: It just depends on how long we have been dating. If we have been on a couple of dates and talk a couple times of a week then, no.


Male, 55+:  Never. Being a guy, I’m considered easy!


Female, 18+: No. I feel like that would be awkward i would want them to make the first move and lean in for the kiss first so that i could react on if i want to kiss them back or not.


Female, 35+: I could go either way on this one. Asking is a respectful thing to do, but part of me desires the element of surprise. Short answer: No, not really.


Female, 18+: It depends on how the first date is going, and how comfortable we’ve gotten with eachother in that one date.


Female, 18+: Yes, I would prefer if he or I asked something like “Can we go steady?” before kissing, versus kissing right away, because sometimes you’re not fully sure if you want to go steady with the person yet.


Male, 25+: No.


Male, 18+: Kisses shouldn’t be something you ask for, they should be spontaneous and in the moment! It seems a little odd to have to ask for a kiss. Everyone has seen the movies where two lovers look into each others eyes, giving each other the unspoken go ahead, and the kiss happens. The only time that asking for a kiss seems appropriate or necessary is if you and your partner aren’t as comfortable with one another yet.


Male, 18+: no i like surprises and wouldn’t mind it. alls fair in love and war.


Female, 35+: NO!!!


Female, 18+: No I wouldn’t that would make it obvious. It’s suppose to come naturally and it’s suppose to be cute. Just come close and hold the person and kiss them.


Female, 25+: Depends on the evening. I’m inclinedc to say no to keep it more spontaneous.


Female, 18+: I say talk definitely talk about it first and when right before they kiss you get like a confirmation for you.


Female, 35+: No


Female, 18+: No, I would much rather it be a surprise.


Male, 18+: It doesn’t really matter to me if they want to ask then ask. But if they want to go for it, that doesn’t bother me either


Female, 55+: No surprise me!


Female, 55+: I wouldn’t mind, but I would think the couple would both sense it was ok.


Female, 35+: Not really…it seems formal and not intimate and passionate as I would want a first kiss to be.


Male, 65+: Depends on which date. If it was a blind date, or a first or second date on which she’d asked me out both times, yes. Otherwise, probably not, because if I didn’t want to be kissed, I probably wouldn’t go out with her a third time.


Male, 55+: No


Female, 35+: I like to be spontaneous, whatever that means in the moment..


Female, 18+: I think I would prefer someone asking me instead of just sneaking it in. Because then I can prepare, but at the same time I feel that if they ask I’d get more nervous and wouldn’t be able to.


Female, 45+: No, I would not want them to ask me. I would hope they were smart enough to figure out if kissing was appropriate or that I liked him enough to kiss him.


Female, 25+:  no


Male, 45+: If things were going well I would be pleased whether they asked or not. If I were not so sure about that, their asking would make it possible to decline somewhat gracefully, so it’s good if they ask either way.


Female, 18+: I would not like them to ask first… My favorite part of falling in love is the spontaneity. I love being surprised and having a guy who is confident. Personally.


Female, 25+: No. If they both like each other and the mood is right then the male should take charge. If the guy asks it makes him look weak. If he does it with out permission it makes him look like he’s assertive, like he knows what he wants in life and is not afraid to go after it. But this only applies to kissing, not other things. If the boy kisses the girl and she doesn’t like him, he will learn a valuable lesson.


Female, 35+: not in particular, but it wouldn’t be a huge turn-off if they did, either. especially if asked a certain way.


Female, 18+: No. I would prefer that they just kiss me within the heat of the moment rather than asking.


Female, 35+: I really don’t think it is whether they ask, but how any asking is done. I’ve been the lucky recipient of an un-requested but most welcome kiss, and I’ve also been the unhappy recipient of a sloppy smooch that was both un-requested and un-wanted. Ick. I’ve also been asked before, and in those cases it always seemed a formality – both they and I knew that the kiss was welcome. I’ve never been offended by a request – I think it’s sweet. If you’re not sure, then ask. But do it when it seems like all the lights are green, and do it sweetly. To the right woman, you’ll appear gallant. You might also be told no, in which case she wasn’t the right woman anyway.


Female, 18+: No, because i feel like that would ruin the moment, i would want it to be more like a surprise unexpected. lets say that we went out to dinner and then to the park to take a stroll i would want it to be unexpected on our little walk then actually stopping and him asking me if he could kiss me. i find that very awkward.


Female, 18+: There are times i wish they could if i know i wasn’t attracted to them just for i can say no, but if it was the person i liked a lot i wouldn’t mind them going for it.


Male, 55+: Yes but mainly to be sure @ mutual intentions (to kiss that is!


Female, 18+: No, I like the suprise and rush that comes with it. Its just a kiss.


Female, 35+: Eeeewuh. No. I would be turned off by the request. It gives me the unmanly vibe.


Male, 35+: No. I recall a date (early 20s) asking to kiss the girl and she said “No”. I shoulda’ just done it!


Female, 18+: Kiss me first


Male, 45+: no


Female, 35+: If we have been dating successfully for awhile, no I would not want to ask me. It would ruin the spontaneity and excitement of the first kiss!


Female, 18+: Yes, I would prefer being politely asked.


Female, 35+: I don’t think a verbal request is necessary. The leaning in and pausing for me to move forward or not is enough of an ask. Also, sometimes the ninja kiss is very erotic.


Female, 18+: I am an 18 years old female and in a long-term relationship.  When we were only dating, he didn’t ask, and I wish he had.  I find it strange thinking this because I’m a spur-of-the-moment girl, but the kiss was awkward, and unjustified.  There was nothing particularly special about this moment and though I thought I was ready for it, I found this kiss to be unwelcome.  Maybe I hadn’t sensed our chemistry yet, maybe we didn’t have it at the time.  Either way I wished it had been on both of our terms.  I am in an established relationship and I take great comfort in our agreement to never say no to a kiss without an explanation (this does not imply kiss rape).  It has helped me to become more comfortable with our intimate relationship by being open.  I don’t have children so I wouldn’t know how to respond to the last question.


Male, 60+: I’m a 60 year old male.  I would not be too interested in being asked about a kiss on a first date.  By definition, a kiss is an act of intimacy, particularly when we’re not talking about the social cheek-peck type of kiss.  If it’s a mouth-to-mouth kiss between two people on a date, a kiss heralds an initial plateau of intimacy between two people.  And if you have to ask if you are on intimate terms with someone,…then you aren’t.  It should be obvious when interpersonal chemistry makes kissing appropriate.  Nothing sexier than a mutual, wordless appreciation of the rightness of the moment for moments of intimacy.  That’s up to her.  Oh, and my response also applies to my hypothetical “established relationship”.


Q4. In an established relationship, would you want your partner to ask before kissing you?  (Answer in as much detail as you would like.)

—In established relationships, men and women alike (91% of women and 100% of men) were extremely likely to say No, they don’t want their partner to ask first. 

—Only 2% of women said they do want to be asked for kisses in an ongoing relationship.  No man said that.

—7% of women and 0% of men gave instances where they might want to be asked for kisses (maybe/depends). 

Full results are below:

Female, 18+: Yes and no, i like playing around and being asked to be kissed but then i also like when they take charge and just give me a surprise kiss


Female, 18+: In an established relationship It would be cute for those little surprise kisses.


Female, 18+: I would like to be asked by mypartner in a established relationship before kissing me.Not because it would be necessary, but because for me it would be respecful. I don’t like people doing things to me,without asking me before.


Female, 18+: I dont think they should ask if they can kiss me but they can ask for a kiss because it shows at that moment they want that connecting and they are asking you for love not taking it


Female, 18+: No, the couple is most likely already used to being with one another.


Female, 18+: no, if we’re in a relationship you should expect there to be kissing. obviously you dont expect to be making out in the grocery store, there is a time and place. simple pecks are okay all the time. they’re short and sweet, giving the effect as if its natural something you’ll be doing all your life.


Female, 18+: No because if dating/ in a relationship already with someone I clearly have alot of feelings for them and would want them to just make the move when the time is right.


Female, 18+: No.


Female, 18+: I don’t think I would. I think those little surprise ones would be the best.


Male, 25+: No, because I’m already with them. already comfortable.


Female, 18+: They shouldn’t. But it depends on the mood and place.



Male, 18+: In an established relationship i don’t feel as if my partner should have to ask.


Female, 18+: No i wouldnt want them to ask. If were dating its pretty much understood that ive excepted you into my space and i want to be intimate with you. If im not in the mood for kissing i will let my significant other know and make it clear.


Female, 18+: No. I’d rather they’d have a sense of that kind of thing by the time we’ve become an “established” relationship. No need to ask.


Female, 18+:  No i prefer my relationships to be very relaxed and comfortable and that seems overly formal.


Female, 25+: No way, I like it better for it to just happen, be more natural.


Female, 35+: I would not want them to ask before kissing me.


Female 25+ No. Unless it’s in front of my or his parents or in front of a camera.


Female 35+: No


Female 35+: No. I don’t think it’s needed. When you know each other already, you know when there are kissing moments. However, maybe once in a while, to change things up a bit, a dinner date and a question, might work.


Male, 18+: No, that would be really weird.


Female, 18+: No need to ask when I can read his eyes and mind


Female, 18+: No


Male, 45+:  she can kiss me anytime anywhere and any place she wants


Female, 25+: NOPE.


Female, 18+: I would not want them to ask it would feel weird.


Female 18+:  No, I think it would be weird if the person I was in the established relationship with asked me. I don’t think the two fit together.


Female, 18+: No, if is an established relationship I believe that there is enought trust and there’s no need to be asking before kising.


Male, 45+:  Absolutely not.


Male, 18+: Again it should be a ntural thing. If the mood is right and its the right setting you cant go wrong.


Female, 18+: No, that would be very annoying and excessive after a while. Once it is established, unless I am sick, we are in a fight, or they just ate something gross, they don’t need my permission.


Female, 25+: No, he need to know my feeling


Female, 18+: In an established relationship, I think it should be fine to be kissed without being asked. You are together after all. Though I supposed being asked could re-spark an old memory (if your partner asked to kiss you on your first kiss)


Female, 18+: In a establish relation i really don’t think that your partner needs to ask before kissing you. Because both of them already know each other more and have confidence in each other.


Male, 18+: In a established relationship it is a lot diffrent because you have probally already kissed a couple of times so i wouldnt mind.


Female, 25+: No, in an established relationship, asking is not needed.


Male, 35+: In an established relationship, I think a kiss becomes an appropriate form of expression and would only expect to be asked “have you brushed your teeth yet?”


Female, 65+: I think the relationship is in trouble if my partner has to ask me for a kiss.


Female, 18+: If established ? i would like it to go natural.


Female, 25+: No, I think after awhile it becomes routine. For instance everytime we say good bye,come home or say thank you and give a kiss.


Female, 25+: No. Because whenever we would see each other, we would feel like kissing at first sight. He wouldn’t hold it to ask.


Female, 18+: No I most definitely would not want to be asked I would just expect it to be done


Male, 55+:  No way!


Female, 18+: I think if we are in an established relationship it really wouldnt matter at that point if they kissed me or not but im not a big fan of PDA so i would rather kiss behind closed doors and maybe a peck or two in public just to keep it a little classy.


Female, 35+: Absolutely not. Have at it!


Female, 18+: No, affection is part of a relationship.


Female, 18+: No. I don’t think it would be necessary for him to ask if we were already dating.


Male, 25+: No.


Male, 18+: If you and your partner have an established relationship, it shows that you’re comfortable enough with one another to show affection without prior permission.


Male, 18+: no, if its an established relation ship then both of us are free game.


Female, 35+: NO!!!


Female, 18+: No, they can kiss me whenever they please. Unless I’m irritated.


Female, 25+: No.


Female, 18+: No, because they can be cute if they are little surprises.


Female, 35+:No


Female, 18+: I don’t think it should be asked because if you are with someone you should be able to kiss whenever


Male, 18+: No i rather them just kiss me and it be more spontaneous instead of kinda like a routine


Female, 55+: No just take it!


Female, 55+: No


Female, 35+: Again, it’s too formal.


Male, 65+: No need. In an established relationship, even if “just friends” I probably wouldn’t mind, because I think the type of relationship would probably determine the type of kiss.


Male, 55+: Hell no


Female, 35+: Yes and no, just keep ‘em coming, kiss me all the time, I can take ‘em all sizes, shapes, moods, I want all of his kisses, every one..


Female, 18+: No, because if I’ve been in a relationship for a while with the same person, then I think I would be more comfortable with them kissing me without asking.


Female, 45+: No, I would hope that I knew him and his actions and he knew me well enough to know the right time for kissing.


Female, 25+:  no


Female, 45+: No, it’s welcome either way.


Female, 25+:… if he’s joking. Like “can I kiss you?” after a fight or if he’s playing with you about being too lucky to be with you or something. Not honestly, “Can I kiss you?”. No. No. No.


Female, 25+: No. There it should be alright for them to kiss you whenever. Even if the other person is not in the mood for it. The kiss might make them feel better afterwards. At least it does for me.


Female, 35+: no, unless i’m obviously in a prickly mood.


Female, 18+: No. Within an established relationship, it should be rather normal to be kissed by my partner whenever s/he likes or whenever I like.


Female, 35+: I’m hoping that my established sweetie knows when it is appropriate to kiss, and when it would be welcome to me. Unless it is a very public place or there is some other reason why you want to be sure your partner is on board, just act as the spirit moves you.


Female, 18+: no i would not like that because a kiss to me isn’t something really that you ask it just happen when the moment it right, or maybe even when you feel like having a kiss. i think that by surprise is way better to because if he asked i would feel forced to say yes even though its a really awkward question to answer.


Female, 18+: no i wouldn’t, because im there’s, plus thats what relationships are all about it, giving yourself to them and expressing it towards the other person


Male, 55+: I would prefer more spontaneous affection once our relationship is established.


Female, 18+: No, its more mutual.


Female, 35+: NO! This question makes me laugh. Really, by now my partner should know that there are only a few situations where I wouldn’t want a kiss.


Female, 18+: No – no need to ask.


Female, 18+: No


Male, 45+: no


Female, 35+: No. I like my husband to be aggressive and “manly”…just take charge, have confidence, and give me a romantic smooch!


Female, 18+: No


Female, 35+: Hopefully in an established relationship, my partner would know me well enough to know when I would welcome a kiss or not. I mean, most of the time I would, but not when I’m brushing my teeth, for example.


Q5. Assume that the question is about your teenage daughter or son.  Would you want your son or daughter to ask/be asked before initiating/receiving a kiss from a date?  (Answer in as much detail as you would like.) 

—Of all questions 3-5, this one was the most likely to get a Yes.  45% of women and 26% of men said they would want their child to be Asked before a kiss.  This was the only question on the survey where Yes was the most frequent answer—and then, only for women respondents.    

—The “maybe/it depends” responses were about as frequent on this question as on the feelings about one’s own first kisses with a new partner question.  21% of women and 16% of men gave a “maybe/it depends” answer regarding whether they wanted their teenager to Ask/be Asked for a kiss. 

—Men and women alike were likelier to say they wanted their teenage child(ren) to Ask/be Asked than to say that they themselves would want to be Asked for a kiss in a new relationship.  This was true even if the respondents were teenagers at the time of answering this survey. 

—Respondents seemed not only more protective of real or hypothetical children than of themselves, but especially so towards real or hypothetical daughters. 

—34% of women and 58% of men said No, or they thought this was their child’s decision to make. 

Full responses follow:

Female, 18+: yes, i would like them to be asked to be kissed first it does show respect.


Female, 18+: Oh yeah, the other person better ask before kissing my teenage child.


Female, 18+: I don’t have kids but would definity would want for my daugther to be ask before a kiss. She would be a teenager and most teenagers do not know what they are doing or what they want. If i would to have a son , well guys are different and i do not think that his date will ask him, if she can kiss him, so i would like to him to be aksked but i don’t think it would happen.


Female, 18+: it depends on the person if it is a clearly mutual relationship then they should know whats right for them


Female, 18+: Yes I would like him or her to get asked, Unless He/She is at the age where they know what feels right or wrong.


Female, 18+: (who did not want a man asking her, either in a new or established relationship) for starters we as talking about the circumstance that they are kids.well as for having a daughter i would rather the boy to ask her for her permission for the soul purpose that they are only children. but as far as for my son i would expect him to ask the girl out of respect for her and to show that he has manners.


Female, 18+:  I would hope my child would learn and grow up to be alot like me and be smart for one to who she associated herself with and wouldn’t waste her time kissing everyone. If she really cared about this person them he would kiss her when he thought it was right and just make the move


Female, 18+: No.


Female, 18+: First, it would probably depend on their age. And second, again, it would depend on how things had been going.


Male, 25+: Yes, depending on a male or female teenager. If a boy I would want him to be respectful, especially if he is teenager, to girl. Actually both for both male and female. At a young age they need to learn whats right and wrong.


Female, 18+: I would make sure that my kids pick the right people to be with and be careful. But I can’t stop tem.



Male, 18+: Depends on if their partner is trusted.


Female, 18+: No, once they are mature enough for the situation i feel if they are using their best judgment and have respect for others there isn’t really a need to ask.


Female, 18+: Yes I would want them to ask/be asked. Especially as teenagers cause your figuring things out. No need to be smooth and take charge of some serious making out, ya know. They shouldn’t be that confident, because it just might hit them back in the face.


Female, 18+: As long as it’s just a simple kiss then i don’t mind either way it is up to them.


Female, 25+: I guess I’m a romantic, but I feel like a kiss will happen when the feeling is right. And I am a strong personality and will tell someone if I don’t desire that, and I hope my daughter or son would be just as direct if there is no desire to have it happen in the future.


Female, 35+: I would want my teenage child to be asked before a kiss.


Female 25+ No.


Female 35+ Yes


Female 35+: Probably not. I’d want the special moment to give itself do that they wouldn’t have to ask/be asked. Maybe this is my perception of romantic kissing. I think asking takes away a bit of romance. Somebody may ask when it’s completely the wrong setup. Haha.


Male, 18+: Well I wouldn’t want be asked so I guess I wouldn’t really care it’s up to them.


Female, 18+: No. I want my kid make that kind od a decision on their own.


Female, 18+: No


Male, 45+: like my first answer, i believe the mystery of the attempt is part of the thrill of the first kiss


Female, 25+: Yes, to make sure it’s consensual. But I guess the teenagers have their own views about these things.


Female, 18+:  Yes I would want my daughter to be asked, seems sweeter


Female, 18+:  While I know that kissing can lead to a lot more than just a kiss the way I see it is if my son or daughter are already in the situation where they will be kissing someone it doesn’t make a difference to me if they were asked or not.


Female, 18+: Yes, I would like that I and belive if I talk to them they would do it.


Male, 45+:  No. I think that it takes away everything that is special about the first kiss if it has to be cleared or approved first. A first kiss should be special regardless of who is sharing it.


Male, 18+: i would hope that they can feel that the time is right and go for it especially if its my son. Now if it was my daughter, theres no kissing until she’s 18 ; )


Female, 18+: Yes I would. That demonstrates respect for my child’s/their date’s boundaries. I wouldn’t want them to take advantage of someone/be taken advantage of.


Female, 25+: Yes, I don’t know.


Female, 18+: I think so. An unwanted kiss would be sad, and an unwanted “first kiss” would be devastating.


Female, 18+: If my teenager i would prefer whether s/he could be kissed from the date,simply because shows what are his/her values.


Male, 18+: I have a daughter and i would rather a guy ask to kiss her then just grabbing to kiss her because she is so beautiful and i dont want someone forcing her to do something that she doesnt want to do.


Female, 25+: I’m not a parent, so I don’t know how valuable my opinion is on this subject, but I would think for teenagers, asking permission would always be appropriate!


Male, 35+: I would teach my children to ask/be asked. Teens are still figuring out the dating and courtship rituals and it’s better to have permission than to risk an innocent offense.


Female, 65+: I would be very pleased if the young man asked my granddaughter if he could kiss her on that first date. No tongue involvement, please!


Female, 18+: I would like it if they ask me, so i can answer any question they have, then someone else.


Female, 25+: Yes, but my daughters would not be unsupervised on a date as a teen. But yes because they would both be in the process of getting to know and reading a person not in a relationship.


Female, 18+: I don’t know. I would just tell her/him to do as s/he feels about a firt kiss.


Female, 18+: Yes I would want her to be asked so the feeling is mutual. If I had a son I would expect him to ask considering this would be his first relationship.


Male, 55+:  Yes! Boundaries need to be established and respected during this learning period of life.


Female, 18+: it would depend on the age for me seeing as i probably wouldve like to be asked for a kiss before i was 16 and after if i was dating someone it was common to kiss and what not.

Female, 35+: I would want my son or daughter to make that decision, as my kissing preferences are my own and in no way indicative of my child’s preferences.


Female, 18+: Yes, I would not want me son or daughter to feel in any way violated because someone went right for it and vice versa.


Female, 18+: Yes. In the case of teenagers still living with their parents, it is probably best for the parents to get to know the person he/she is dating and let this be based on their approval.


Male, 25+: No.


Male, 18+: The answer would be different depending on my child. If it were my son, I’d tell him not to rush or pressure them, the time will come and you will feel it. For my daughter I’d tell her not to let him/her force it onto you, when you’re comfortable with him just give him/her a sign that it’s okay to kiss you, if he/she does ask to kiss you then let them know how you feel about it and if it’s alright.


Male, 18+: no, they’re kids let them have there fun because they only live it once.


Female, 35+: NO!!! Kissing should be two souls coming together — even if you make a mistake it’s better than one soul saying to another, “Pardon me, but do you mind…?”


Female, 18+: It depends how the person is, and how they feel about themselves.


Female, 25+: Same as number 3. I think that if they are mature enough to be dating and kissing then spontaneity is good.


Female, 18+: Yes, definitely. This is also talking about your child and you want them to be safe and be forced in to anything.


Female, 35+:Maybe…depends on the situation. “Teenage” covers 7 years- big difference between 13 and 19! Or even 14 and 16…would hope that kissing isn’t an issue until at least 15 or 16!


Female, 18+: I would want them to be asked but I know that is not practical because when I am to be kissed I don’t want to be aske


Male, 18+: Well if its my Son he better just go for it lol and if it my daughter I have nothing to worry about cause no boy is going to kiss her untill she 18 :-)


Female, 55+: Yes!


Female, 55+: Maybe….I think it might be respectful for a teenage boy to ask his date if it’s ok since teenage boys don’t necessarily have great instincts about what teenage girls are thinking. Of course, what teenage boy asks his mother what she thinks about that? I would have loved to offer my opinion though. I’m sure a teenage boy would love for his date to surprise him with a big ol’ kiss.


Female, 35+: Well yes!! No, not really if I want them to have a great experience of passion but I want them to be protected! Ugh….


Male, 65+: Again, I think it would depend on how long they’d been going out. On my first date with my future wife, at the end of the evening, I said, “I’d ask to kiss you, but I have a cold.” She said, “That’s okay,” and we did.


Male, 55+: No. But I would want them to know it was ok to avoid the kiss or stop the kissing.


Female, 35+: Certainly yes, but teenagers kissing is a whole different game, there certainly needs to be firmly established personal boundaries in place. My statements above are meant to be taken within the context of a closed, committed love.


Female, 18+: I guess it wouldn’t really matter as long as they felt comfortable doing it. I guess it would really depend on their personality.


Female, 45+: Maybe ask on the first kiss, but after that, if they both like each other enough to want to be in each others company and to kiss or be kissed, it should happen naturally.


Female, 25+: no


Female, 45+: I don’t feel I can answer this. To me it would indicate some degree of self-consciousness and self-control if they asked/were asked, which is good, but often the unasked kiss is welcome and exciting. Obviously if they are thinking they won’t want to be kissed they should give clear signs that they aren’t receptive yet, but otherwise… And we’re talking just kissing here, no further!


Female, 25+: Oh man. Ha. It would be cute if a girl asked my son. That makes everything I just said sound sexist. But it’s a little MORE cute when I girl is shy. To me, anyway. I think it would be awesome if my son had the guts to kiss a girl he liked without asking. If my daughter asked a boy to kiss him… again. I think it would be cute. But I would be applauding if she did it on her own. If a boy asked her, that’s entirely up to her. If she wants to be asked, that’s fine. If she likes spontaneity like her mom, that’s cool too.


Female, 25+: I think life lessons such as these, are something every person needs to go through. It helps them learn about themselves as well as other. It also teaches them the importance of communication skills and boundaries when dealing with another person. So as to whether I would want my son to ask/be asked before initiating/receiving a kiss, I’d say either/neither and just do what feels right to him. He’ll learn a valuable lesson either way.


Female, 35+:  my son is being taught to ask for physical contact for anything because he regularly rolls right past boundaries he doesn’t know is there. following suit with dd because that is only fair, even though she is very very empathetic and intuitive. we want them to know that they have boundaries and that their physical space and body is their own. so, we ask and they ask and everyone knows it’s okay to speak up with a “no thanks” or a “NO!”


Female, 18+: That would be entirely up to them. It’s their decision and I would be happy with whichever they liked.


Female, 35+: If my son was unsure, I’d suggest he ask, sweetly and respectfully. But I’d also counsel him that if he wasn’t sure, perhaps they aren’t ready just yet. There may be a fine line between carpe diem and “Eew! What are you doing?!”


Female, 18+: at this age i think it could go both ways because in all honesty it all depends on the person and its personality. because if they are very romantic and stuff then yeah unexpected would work out for them but if you where more reserved then i would think that they would have to ask before actually give each other the kiss.


Female, 18+: In my perspective no, but because as a parent and i wouldnt have no clue what shes getting herself in school with guy wise, i meen everyone has a first kiss somehow right? so yes i wouldnt mind.


Male, 55+: I think its a personal value judgement. I wouldnt try to legislate how they feel, especially since its only a kiss..


Female, 18+: I dont believe they should ask me per say, but I would want to be in the loop on where their relationship stands. Even if i said “no dont kiss them,” chances are they are going to do it anyways. Might as well know than to be left in the dark.


Female, 35+: I think my son should wait long enough to kiss a girl until she’s clearly into the idea. If he’s having doubts, he should not try to kiss her. I think my (hypothetical) daughter should not initiate, but it’s up to her whether she would want a boy to ask.


Male, 35+: No. Puppy love is awkward – but no need to ask permission for a kiss. Ask forgiveness, not permission is my motto. I wish it was when I was younger!


Female, 18+: No


Male, 45+: no


Female, 35+: Since I believe we raised our children with good values and morales, it should be their decision.


Female, 18+: I would like them to do what feels comfortable for them


Female, 35+: I think it depends on the teenage couple. I’d rather they determine what their preferences are rather than having mine imposed.


Research for today’s article comes from developmental, social, and evolutionary psychology and human sexuality, and last week’s kissing survey http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MTL39HG  (full results below).  There is very little empirical research on kissing, though, especially when we consider how common kissing is; about 90% of world cultures kiss, but we don’t know that much about it.  If you want to read another LoveScience article on the science about kissing, please refer to this link: http://www.lovesciencemedia.com/love-science-media/passionate-kisses-too-much-to-ask-1.html

All material copyrighted by Duana C. Welch, Ph.D., and LoveScience Media, 2012.


© Copyright 2014 Duana WelchPh.D., All rights Reserved.