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First Kiss And Showing Affection
First Kiss And Showing Affection
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First Kiss And Showing Affection

Youth

Thinking about kissing or showing someone affection can feel a bit scary, but this nervousness is completely normal. Before you decide you’re ready for that first kiss or even a hug, consider whether you trust and feel safe with this person. Think about why you want to get physical. Is it just to fit in or to please the other person? If it’s because you truly want to be closer to this other person and show them affection, then you may be ready for that first kiss. Before you do anything ask yourself this question: Did they consent to a kiss, hug or hand-holding? The only way you will know is if you talk to the other person and find out what you’re both comfortable with.

 

There are lots of ways to show affection, like kissing or holding hands. However you and another person choose to show affection, you might be worried that you’ll do it wrong. Nobody is born knowing how to kiss or exactly when to ask another person if you can hold their hand. If you trust and feel comfortable with the person you want to show affection, things may be awkward at first, but you’ll talk and eventually figure out what feels right together. And if you’re still not sure about all of this, talk to an older sibling, a parent or other trusted adult.

FAQs

How do I know if it is okay to kiss my partner?

It can definitely be confusing to know when you can and can’t kiss someone you like.  The only way to know for sure if you can kiss your partner or engage in other sexual behaviors with them is to ask them each and every time. This is called getting their consent. It is very common to think that your partner may be into kissing or another sexual behavior by the way they are acting, but just because someone is acting a certain way, it doesn’t necessarily mean they want to engage in a behavior.

If my partner says “yes” to kissing, does that mean I can touch their genitals?

Just because a person consents to one sexual behavior, it doesn’t mean that they are consenting to all sexual behaviors. It may seem like they want to go further or engage in other behaviors, but the only way to know for sure is to ask for consent. It is important to communicate with your partner about what behaviors they want to engage in each and every time.

Parents

Parents and caregivers play an important role in allaying children’s concerns about first kisses and showing affection. Young people may feel nervous or concerned that they haven’t yet had a first kiss or about how to kiss. Parents and caregivers can reassure children that no one is born knowing how to kiss and there is no age by when a person must have had a first kiss.

 

It’s important that children know that they get to decide for themselves if or how they want to show affection. Talking to your children about why they want to show affection can help them figure out if they are ready to show affection to another person. If they genuinely want to be close to another person, parents and caregivers can help them figure out what they are comfortable with, recognizing that there are many ways two people might show affection for one another—from hand-holding to kissing and hugging.

 

Discussions about first kisses are also a great time to talk about consent. It’s important that young people know that it is never okay to pressure another person to do anything. Encourage young people to talk with their partners to figure out what both people are comfortable with. When parents, caregivers and other trusted adults have these conversations with the young people in their lives, young people know they have someone to turn to if they have questions or want to talk.

 

CONVERSATION STARTERS

If you start essential conversations about topics like consent with your children, then they will know they can come to you with questions. The easiest way to start these conversations is to talk about issues as they come up in everyday life, like while watching shows or movies together.

 

Consent is unique in that it can be discussed and demonstrated in many non-sexual situations in everyday life. Using each other’s belongings and giving hugs or kisses are just a couple of opportunities to demonstrate consent with your child.

 

Here are some ways to start these conversations:

Ask your child if you can hug or kiss them

When you want to hug or kiss your child, getting your child’s permission first is a great way to demonstrate consent. If this is not something you have done in the past, you can explain why you are asking for their consent and begin the discussion about why it is important to gain consent—especially in sexual situations.

Bring up consent while watching shows or movies

If you are watching a show or movie where two people are kissing or about to kiss, you can use this as an opportunity to ask your child if the people kissing consented to that behavior. You could also ask what someone should do if they are not sure their partner is consenting.

Educators

Educators can help students understand that they get to decide for themselves if or how they want to show affection. Supporting your students in understanding why they want to show affection can also help them figure out if they are ready to show affection to another person. If they genuinely want to be close to another person, there are many ways a person might show affection to someone else—from hand-holding to kissing and hugging.

 

Discussing first kisses and affection is a great time to talk about consent. It’s important that young people know that consent does not only apply to sexual behaviors, but it also includes behaviors like kissing. Students should understand that it is never okay to pressure another person to do anything. Young people should understand that consent means that both people actively and verbally agree to whatever behaviors both partners are comfortable with.

Discussion Questions

After watching the video with your class, process it using the following discussion questions:
  • What are some examples of ways to show affection that you noticed in the video?
  • What are some examples of things you should consider before showing affection to a partner?
  • Why is it important to talk with your partner about your level of comfort with different ways of being close and showing affection?
  • What would you tell a friend or younger sibling who is thinking about having their first kiss?