Your Call: How Can They Maintain Intimacy If They Can’t Kiss?

photo by Ezyan Y.

We get a lot of advice questions coming in at EMandLO.com, but sadly, we just can’t answer them all. Which is why, once a week, we turn to you to decide how best to advise a reader. Make your call by leaving your advice in the comments section below:

Dear Em & Lo,

My boyfriend just had gum surgery and as a result, I can’t touch one side of his face for three months, and I have to be especially careful kissing him with tongue. I just saw him for the first time since his procedure, and I was too nervous about hurting him to really get into anything. Normally, I really love caressing his face when we make out. He said that we can still do everything else as usual, but I feel like I can’t have passionate sex without passionate kissing! Do you have any suggestions for me or us? I love him and we’ve been together for a year, but I can see myself maybe feeling less connected to him over the next few months because we can’t properly kiss.

— Sugarlips

What should Sugarlips do?


  1. I am sure you will find a way just be careful and maybe its a sign you guys need to start talking more istead of kissing!
    Good luck!

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  3. I can relate with your situation! There have been times when I’ve regularly had cold sores and haven’t been able to use my lips for (ahem) anything for up to two months, which is definitely a drag for both me and my partner. I’ve found that the more I just accept it for what it is and focus my energy on other ways of showing affection (cuddling, touching, talking, eye contact), the less of a toll it takes on our intimacy. When I’m stressing about it and feeling frustrated, that’s when the intimacy is effected and we both end up feeling disconnected and frustrated. Specifically, focus on your other senses, maybe try some sex positions that don’t center around being face to face, etc. When you do get to kiss again, it will be awesome!

  4. Don’t see this as a hindrance; look at it like a challenge. Find new ways to ‘kiss’: literally, metaphorically, digitally, however! Make the wait something that will have you smolder with longing–the attitude you see this with is completely your choice.

  5. This question makes me 1) want to point and laugh at the OP, just a little. and 2) feel sad.

    I’m a military wife. I go long spans of time unable to physically connect with my beloved. There are a MILLION ways to keep intimacy alive. It requires thought, creativity, and true deep affection for your partner. If all you want from them is the physical aspect of intimacy, then your relationship is doomed anyway.

  6. oh my goodness, this poor guy is undergoing a painful surgery and you’re worried about the kissing part? have a little sympathy — i’m sure he really wants some lip-locking too, but the poor dude’s orally incapacitated. if you love him, it’ll be easy to feel connected to him without being joined at the mouth. unless you’ve been feeling like there’s distance between you for other reasons, there’s no reason to feel intimately detached from him because he physically can’t kiss temporarily. if you’re worried that not kissing until he heals will undermine the strength of your relationship, you should take a good long look at how committed to this gentleman you really are. not kissing for a few months ain’t gonna kill real love. you both deserve to be with someone you’re going to be crazy about even when one of you is down for the count. but give it the old college try — i’d be surprised if you really have as hard a time as you think you will.

  7. Don’t despair – having regular kissing not be an option can just encourage you to get more creative with your intimacy. When my beau was going through chemotherapy for lymphoma, his white blood cell count fell so low that we weren’t allowed to breathe on each other – we had to cuddle while wearing sterile face masks. Kiss his neck, his forehead, his earlobes, his hands – learn to be a little silly in the ways you show affections and bump noses with each other, or just rest your foreheads against one another and nuzzle. Lovely as lips may be, they are not the only body part it’s fun to kiss. You’ll figure something out.

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