Picture this: you’re at a sleepover with your closest friends, sitting in a circle and chatting about whatever happened the week before. Of course, the conversation naturally shifts to tales of romance and relationships, and you know you don’t have much experience in either. So when someone asks you what your first kiss was like, what are you supposed to say when you haven’t had it?
Hits a little too close to home? I know it did for me, at least until I had my first kiss in college. I must have spent hours daydreaming in my classes, wondering what it might be like to plant one on someone I really liked. Would there be fireworks and passion? Would I automatically know what to do? Would it be amazing and memorable?
What I didn’t realize was that all the hype surrounding your first kiss doesn’t let you see why it’s not a big deal if you haven’t had it yet. Even though you might feel anxious about the who, when, and where, there’s no need to worry. If you’re still yet to kiss someone, you don’t have to stress over the details.
There’s no need to give into pressure
It’s no secret that college hook-up culture makes it seem like everyone’s kissing all the time. But the reality is that your classmates and friends shouldn’t make you feel bad for not having kissed anyone — and if they do, then they’re not people you want to hang out with!
And, yes, it definitely doesn’t help when your friends seem to have had infinitely more experience in the kissing department. Or, even worse, when movies and TV shows with characters your age seemed to have it all figured out already (I’m looking at you, Riverdale!). Society puts a lot of pressure on having your first kiss ASAP, but it falls short in focusing on more important things, like making sure your romantic life is only your business and no one else’s. Almost everyone has felt the pressure to conform to an invisible standard of love and dating at some point, and it doesn’t mean that you have to give into it.
It’s not a race
Each person you meet faces different challenges and experiences, so there’s no specific timeline or schedule to follow. It’s easy to feel like you’re “falling behind” if you haven’t kissed anyone yet, but there’s really no need to rush when it comes to romance. While you might be feeling major FOMO when your friends tell their kissing stories, at the end of the day it doesn’t have to be just another item on your bucket list. It doesn’t need to be your typical major coming-of-age milestone, either, even if it does seem like some kind of life-changing turning point that the media makes it out to be.
Jessica*, a sophomore at Ontario Tech University, says that even though she feels impatient at times, she won’t let it bring her down. “I usually follow the train of thought along the lines of, ‘When it’s meant to happen, it’ll happen,’” she says. “I don’t want to force it anyways because it’ll probably take away from the experience.”
The right place and time comes down to what you feel is best, and there’s no competition or imaginary timer. And it won’t make a difference if you’ve done it before or after some of your friends and favorite fictional characters.
It might not live up to the hype
Speaking from my own experience, my first kiss was definitely memorable… but not in a good way. It was the moment I had been waiting for all throughout high school and my first year of college, and my stomach was in knots the entire time. The person I kissed ended up missing my lips completely! In fact, I actually thought there was something wrong with me that caused it to be not-so-great. I felt awful for the rest of the date and really beat myself up over it, thinking it was my fault that it wasn’t TV-worthy.
In hindsight, I realized that the reason why my first kiss wasn’t great was because it was with someone that I didn’t have a lot of chemistry with. There’s plenty of reasons why your first kiss might not be as phenomenal as you imagined, and all of them are valid. It’s totally normal to feel butterflies when it comes to kissing someone for the first time, and you should expect it to feel awkward or maybe even a little weird. And that’s okay! Not every kiss will explode with fireworks and passion. So it’s fine to look forward to your first kiss — but don’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t go how you pictured it would.
And if it does live up to the hype, it’ll be worth the wait!
Kissing will take time to get the hang of, and you will definitely get better with practice. The right partner should be someone you feel comfortable with communicating any stress or anxiety you might feel, and they definitely shouldn’t care if you don’t have a ton of experience with kissing. If you feel as though waiting for the right partner is what works for you, then there’s no need to justify it any further.
Mackenzie, a recent graduate from the University of Florida, says that she was glad she waited to have her first kiss when she met the right person at 18. “Some girls just blossom later, and that’s totally fine,” she says. “In fact, it leaves you more time to figure out what you’re truly looking for in a good partner!”
Having your first kiss can be fun and exciting or maybe even a little awkward and disappointing. In any case, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t had it yet and you don’t have to feel embarrassed that you’re missing out on something huge. Kissing someone for the first time can be a great experience when you feel ready and safe with your partner, so it’s okay to let it happen whenever it does. No matter who you share it with and when and where it happens, your first kiss belongs to you!
*Name has been changed.