How do you kiss when you have social anxiety?


The answer is you don’t!

At least I didn’t. As a young, anxious guy, I had never done it, didn’t know how to do it or where to start. Kissing belonged to the realm of unknowable, removed from my experience as surely as trips to the moon or karaoke on a Friday night.

I was deeply ashamed of the fact that I had never kissed anybody and would never consider telling anybody about it. If you are a girl it might be more bearable to have no experience in this area, but as a guy I felt like a complete failure. I never talked about it even with my closest family.

But as bad as I would feel about it, it never occurred to me to do something about it. Meeting a charming person and setting my lips on hers was branded as IMPOSSIBLE! in my mind. Because, if a simple chat would cause me to sweat, make my voice tremble and speed up my heartbeat, how were I to progress to that magical moment? I couldn’t imagine it and I DIDN’T WANT IT. I was aware that this should be arousing encounter of two sexual beings, but I felt as an ASEXUAL being, lastingly castrated by the anxiety.

I remember one situation at a wedding reception of my cousin, when I was 21 years old. It was well into the night and the time came for a  wedding game, wherein the groom throws his bow-tie to a group of bachelors and the bride throws a bouquet to a group of girls.

A girl I didn’t know caught the bouquet. Then came the groom’s turn – suddenly I saw the bow-tie flying in my direction, so I caught it. I was a bit drunk and didn’t realize the consequences until it was too late. It turned out, the winners had to kiss in front of all the wedding guests!

Could you imagine worse conditions for a first kiss of a social phobic?

It was a traumatizing moment, only slightly tempered by the alcohol. Everybody started to applaud to encourage us and it was clear I couldn’t back off from it. I faced the girl, fixed my eyes on her lips and then kissed her with as much lip action as I could muster. It probably looked as if I was trying to eat her…

The world didn’t fall apart and now I think back to that situation with a smile, but back then it haunted me for weeks, instilling in me feelings of humiliation and failure. The end effect was that I feared kissing even more.

It would take years before I tried it again…

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