(Not) Kissing Game | Counseling | Therapy

Sex Therapy in Philadelphia, Ocean City, Mechanicsville

Shannon Oliver-O'Neil , LCSW — Therapist, director of intern program, director of rhode island office

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(Not) Kissing Game: Sex Therapy in Philadelphia, Ocean City, Mechanicsville, Santa Fe

Often when couples discuss sexual desire, they imagine it as a concrete, independent force that they have no control over. Either a person “has” desire, or they don’t. This way of understanding sexual desire can cause problems if partners in a relationship have different levels of desire. How can they have a happy sexual relationship if one person wants less/more sex than the other, and desire is something completely out of their control? Fortunately, desire is something people can actively work on cultivating.

For our purposes today, we’re going to take a look at one component of desire, and practice enhancing it. Anticipation is an integral part of desire. Being forced to wait before experiencing pleasure can bring a pleasure of its own. This is because positive anticipation releases dopamine. Increasing the presence of dopamine during a sexual encounter can help increase enjoyment, and increase physical pleasure. By slowing down and increasing anticipation, you and your partner can increase your ability to focus on the sensations in your body. Use the following exercise to strengthen your anticipation “muscles” and explore how anticipation stokes your desire.

Step 1: Set up (Not) Kissing Game

To play the (Not) Kissing Game, set aside an hour when you and your partner can be uninterrupted. The exercise won’t take that long, but it’s important that you don’t feel rushed, or feel pressured to finish and move on to the next part of your day.

Step 2: face to face (Not) Kissing Game

Stand or kneel across from each other. See how close your lips can get without actually touching. Take your time, and see how long you can be almost kissing before one or both of you can’t resist and kisses the other.

Step 3: full body (Not) Kissing Game

Pick a “kisser” and a “kissee.” The kissee will sit or lie down, whichever is more comfortable for them. The kisser will move around their partners body, starting at the top of the kissee’s head. The kisser will aim to get their lips as close to their partner’s body without actually touching them. As they move down their partner’s body, the kissee’s job is to stay as still as possible, and to pay attention to the experience. Resist the urge to squirm, giggle or otherwise shift your focus. Instead, pay attention to the variety of sensations present. How does the temperature change as your partner’s mouth moves up and down your body? How does their breath feel against your skin? Your hair? If they accidentally touch you, can you sense the moment it happens? As they move up and down your body, what are the different feelings you get in different parts of your own body? Where do you feel anticipation building? Where, if anywhere, do you feel it decreasing?

Switch roles, and follow the same “kissing” sequence, starting at the top of the head. Remember that for the purpose of this exercise, you shouldn’t follow it with sex. This is meant to help build anticipation, and it will be easier to build if you take sex off the table.

Step 4: Reflect (Not) Kissing Game

After each person has had a turn as “kissee” and “kisser”, answer the following questions together.

  1. Which role was easier for you? Why?
  2. Which role built more anticipation for you? Why?
  3. Could you tell what had a bigger impact on desire and anticipation for your partner? What body parts did they enjoy being not-kissed?
  4. Were there any moments you felt aroused? When? How did you react to that arousal?
  5. What’s one way you could see incorporating this game into sexual play in the future?

Trouble-shooting (Not) Kissing Game

If the kissee gets the giggles, or otherwise has difficulty engaging in the exercise, that’s ok! This is a symptom of your brain stepping out of your body and the present moment, and putting your focus elsewhere. To refocus, you can try the following:

  • Take some deep breaths
  • Close your eyes, to close out any distractions and bring focus to physical sensations.
  • If your eyes were already closed, try opening them and making eye contact with your partner. Can connecting to them help bring you back to the present moment?
  • Try verbally describing the sensations you are experiencing aka narrating in real time. This might help you stay present.

If you still have trouble focusing, consider journaling or talking to a therapist about the feelings and thoughts that come up during sexual moments that take you out of them. It’s not uncommon for our brains to respond to sexual stimuli with anxiety, guilt, embarrassment or irritation. What’s important is that you take the time to listen and understand why those feelings come up for you, and what you need to do to take care of them.

Once you have played the (not) kissing game through and taken time to answer the reflection questions, feel free to incorporate this game (and intentional anticipation) into your sex play!

* Kissing is a form of physical affection that involves pressing one's lips against the lips, cheek, or other body parts of another person. It can be used as a form of greeting, a sign of love or affection, or as a part of sexual activity. There are many different types of kisses, including romantic kisses, friendly kisses, and passionate kisses.

The act of kissing is thought to have originated as a way for individuals to exchange information about each other's health and fertility through the sense of taste and smell. The release of chemicals such as oxytocin and dopamine during kissing can also create feelings of pleasure and bonding.

Different cultures have different customs and traditions surrounding kissing. In some cultures, kissing is a common form of greeting among friends and family, while in other cultures it is reserved for romantic or sexual relationships.

It's important to note that consent is essential in any physical activity, and all parties involved must give their enthusiastic and informed consent for any physical activity to be considered ethical.

* Sex play refers to sexual activities or behaviors that people engage in for pleasure or intimacy. It can include a wide range of activities, such as kissing, touching, oral sex, vaginal or anal intercourse, and other forms of sexual expression. People may engage in sex play alone or with a partner, and the type of sex play will vary depending on the individual's preferences, desires and boundaries.

It's important to note that consent is essential in any sexual activity, and all parties involved must give their enthusiastic and informed consent for any sexual activity to be considered ethical. Also, it's important to understand and practice safe sex to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

* Sex therapy is a type of therapy that helps individuals and couples address sexual concerns and improve their sexual relationships. Sex therapists are trained mental health professionals who can help people with a wide range of sexual issues, including:

  • Sexual dysfunction (such as difficulty with sexual desire, arousal, or orgasm)
  • Sexual pain disorders
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Premature ejaculation (PE)
  • Delayed ejaculation (DE)
  • Sexual addiction
  • Sexual trauma
  • Gender identity and sexual orientation
  • Relationship problems related to sex
  • Infertility

Sex therapy typically includes individual or couples therapy sessions, and may involve a variety of techniques such as education on sexual anatomy and function, communication and behavioral exercises, as well as addressing any underlying psychological or emotional issues that may be impacting sexual health. The goal of sex therapy is to help individuals understand and overcome the psychological and emotional barriers that may be preventing them from experiencing a fulfilling and satisfying sex life.

schedule directly online. If you prefer talking to a sex therapist first, you may call (215) 922-LOVE (5683) ext 100 to be connected with our intake department. Lastly, you can call our Director, “Alex” Caroline Robboy, CAS, MSW, LCSW at (267) 324–9564 to discuss your particular situation. For your convenience, we have five physical therapy and counseling offices and can also provide sex counseling and sex therapy virtually.

Sex Therapy Services Offered in Philadelphia, Ocean City, Mechanicsville, Santa Fe

    InPerson Therapy & Virtual Counseling: Child, Teens, Adults, Couples, Family Therapy and Support Groups. Anxiety, OCD, Panic Attack Therapy, Depression Therapy, FND Therapy, Grief Therapy, Neurodiversity Counseling, Sex Therapy, Trauma Therapy: Therapy in Providence RI, Philadelphia PA, Ocean City NJ, Santa Fe NM, Mechanicsville VA