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The Agents Of Ishq Beginner’s Guide To Kissing

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When some of us were small, we thought that kissing was only done in foreign countries. Especially mouth-to-mouth.

And when we were a little older, we started hearing small, tiny rumours of friends of friends who had kissed. Then we heard directly from friends that they had kissed. Now we felt like we were in a foreign country, where everyone knew the rules except us. How to ask, “how to do it?” How to ask, “how to kiss,” without feeling and looking like a fool.

Can anyone learn to kiss?

So here is our hard-won answer. Anyone can learn to kiss.

Picking The Moment

Now, you might have heard the phrase, “Ek hath se tali nahi bajti.” No? Yes, well we are here to tell you that you can have many kinds of pleasure alone, but for kissing you need a willing partner. Now, you might say that you are not into clapping at all and you think you have a willing partner. Think? As in, you are feeling ki those romantic feelings are a two-way street but a kiss hasn’t happened yet. Yes, we’ve all been there.

Are you making an ishq move that is welcome? To find out go here and read our checklist.

Back? Permission mila? Now it’s a question of timing and venue, oh kissless dost.

Let us be the ones to tell you. Don’t worry too much about the venue. “I heard from my boyfriend’s roommate that every time I was about to come over to his hostel room he would spray the place with AXE deo,” says 21-year-old Simran. “I had to tell him to stop.”

Now a kiss with perfect mausam, mood lighting and rose-scented agarbatti would be awesome. But that is a very rare kiss-mat. Many first kisses are likely to happen in the most unfortunate circumstances. Worst rain of the monsoon, one of you have lost your chappals and you are standing in mud. You have got very bad maths marks and you are wondering about life. You have your periods. You are wearing your most hated shirt. All of this could be the right moment if you are both feeling intimate and warm towards the other.

The kiss is a way in which you literally and metaphorically close the tiny gap between you and your lover. So now take a breath and move in.

Moving Into The Kiss/Chetavani, Aage Kiss Hai.

Now, you could be the shy type and feel like this is just too much, three much. You just want to indicate to the other person that you would like a kiss, you wouldn’t mind it, no problem. But you cannot possibly make the move, you’d rather die etc.

Actually, dost, this can be an asset in this situation. Hold your lover’s hand if you are not doing it already. Hold both. It will help you move up closer together and signal to your lover if they are still being a tube light.

If you don’t generally make much physical contact, even touching someone’s forearm deliberately (we suggest forearm and not upper arm), and looking into the other person’s eyes might be a solid enough signal. You could touch the other person’s hair. Instead of saying anything, you can actually use silence to deepen the mood. Your partner should get the hint fairly quickly if you move in the tiniest bit closer.

“I was wondering whether he would kiss me all evening because there was so much tension, plus he was leaving on a plane that night. I was doing non-stop bak-bak when suddenly he grabbed my waist and kissed me, while my hands were flailing about. It was so exciting,” says our friend Anusha, remembering her first and last kiss with the gent.

Now, with great certainty comes great power. AKA the kiss.

The Kiss Itself/Yeh Kahan aa gaye hum? (Kiss pe baba)

We have friends who sometimes come back from exams crying, “All the questions came from the chapters I didn’t study.” Don’t be like that. Don’t go running to get a kiss and then start crying because you hadn’t studied this chapter. Now focus.

Your lips touch, you see a lock of your lover’s hair against your clothes, you pause to breathe and all you can smell in the whole world is the complicated, unique scent of your lover. A kiss can be the most attention you have ever focused on someone or received from someone. If full-on sex can be compared to someone making you a big, warm razai, kissing can feel like someone embroidering you a tiny, beautiful handkerchief. A kiss is all about small movements.

The Kamasutra lists at least a dozen ways of kissing and recommends two in particular:

  • the ‘pressed kiss’ where you press your mouth forcefully against someone’s lower lip,
  • ‘the kiss that kindles love’ where you kiss someone to wake them up.

Let’s talk about the second kind, first.

Staying with small movements. Brush your lips against your lover’s lips. Just once and move away. Then another time. Many small kisses. You can follow this with long slow one, whichever you prefer.

How much pressure is too much or too little in a kiss? It’s a good thing to learn.

Is your lover leaning into the kiss, pressing harder? Is your lover leaning away, trying to catch a breath or at an angle trying to kiss your neck? Kissing is like dancing to a song but it’s as if the song is being composed as you dance. It can go in any direction so pay attention.

Dress Rehearsal

Another way to figure if you are applying too much or too little pressure in a kiss? Close your door. It’s time for a dress rehearsal. Are you alone? Good. Now kiss the back of your hand and see how that its? Too much or too little? Now you know.

In the movies, people always have their eyes closed and their faces at a 30-degree angle (don’t think of maths marks now!) Do you have to?

Not really, but closing your eyes might make the experience even more enjoyable, because it might make you focus on the kissing rather than noticing how big your partner’s eyelashes are. The face tilt is more for convenience, to make sure noses don’t get in the way — you’ll probably find that this happens naturally enough.

What should you do with your hands? Oh, so many things.

Don’t just let them dangle there.

You could hold the other person’s face closer, stroke a cheek with one finger or play with their hair.

In the matter of kissing, generally we suggest dheere se jaana bagiyan mein meaning the small movements funda. But also, in the matter of kissing, sometimes there are no rules.

Our friend Syed says of a first kiss, he will never forget. “We were sitting at the bus stop in the evening. It was a fairly busy street but there was a short period when I suppose no one was nearby. She leaned forward, smiled and then bit my lower lip. The tiniest bite. It was like a small, electric shock. She was smiling in such a wicked way and looking at my lips again. That’s how I knew that I hadn’t imagined it.”

Let’s assume you have got double promotion and have reached that electric shock stage. Licking your lover’s lips or giving it a small nibble can be thrilling. Our friend Devika and her lover are fans of this method. She says, “I always take her lip into my mouth and suck it for a few seconds. We both love it so much that sometimes that’s all we do.”

Vatsyayana while talking about many ways to kiss catalogues these romantic variations.

“While standing and sitting beside her, he takes her chin in his hands,

And the lower lip kisses: that is what the great poets call the kiss indirect.

When the husband takes her lower lip between his lips, caresses it,

And she his upper lip, both suffused by love, and the kisses of each other,

The cupping kiss then it is called.”

You can of course also reverse the roles.

 

When Does The Tongue Make An Appearance?

When we were small, the tongue kiss was simply alarming. Nowadays, we are not so scared.

Here is how to get there, if you want to. You can signal that you want to deepen the kiss by moving even closer or driving your hands into your lover’s hair. You are saying, “closer, closer more, more.” Just without words.

Test the waters by parting your lips and gradually inserting a bit of your tongue into your partner’s mouth. If they seem receptive and do the same, you can start playing with their tongue using your own.

How to do that? Remember that your tongue is actually a muscle. It’s got power. With great power, comes great jolly, as Spiderman said. (Sort of.) Don’t jab your lover’s teeth or tongue. Use your tongue to stroke your lover’s tongue.

Is your door still closed? You can test your tongue’s feel on your hand. It’s fine! No one can see you do this. Your future kissers will thank you for this moment of silliness and suffering.

A kiss is a dance, so there is sometimes drama in not moving also. You are thinking that Guruji is talking nonsense right now. No, Guruji is not. In the middle of the kiss, stop for a second. Stay open-mouthed and breathe in your lover. Your lover will enjoy the teasing, we promise.

Kiss Crisis

Bad breath, spectacles, braces, noses knocking into each other, someone accidentally pulled someone’s hair. You imagined so many things going wrong before the kiss. Somehow the one thing you never imagined goes wrong. What to do now? Move back a little, make a small joke if you can. You will both feel better and you can try again. It’s no big deal.

What might be a big deal? You have been attracted to this person for a long time, you found the right moment, you kissed each other and then… nothing. You are not feeling excited. You might also feel a bit fed up. In which case, stop and smile. Don’t kiss anymore. Now you need to find the right moment to tell the other person it didn’t work and to tell it with kindness.

Is Kiss The Doorway To Sex?

Maybe. Maybe not.

For most of us, if the kissing is good it’s a sure shot route to feeling hot, bothered and romanced. You might find yourself moaning, feeling warmer, jumpier. If you’ve had a steamy kissing session, you may be off to a lovely start. Or the kiss may be just the lovely present to enjoy.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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