10 WORST Kiss Scenes in Books
Today we're talking about terrible kiss scenes and the writers who write them. If you're a romance lover like myself, I am sure you have read some foul kiss scenes that haunt you in the night. I'm not entirely sure why they're so prevalent. I don't know if it's because these writers have never been kissed before and thus don't know what they're talking about. Or if they've just never been kissed well. It could be that they're just trying too hard to be creative, or they're regurgitating shit that they've read themselves. It's probably all of the above. I don't care either way, just so long as it stops. You're hurting me!
I'm listing the ten worst kiss tropes that are popular in fiction today. You know these tropes, you've read these tropes, and you might have even written these tropes. In this case, I don't like you.
A few disclaimers: you’re gonna notice that most of the examples on this list are heterosexual kisses, and usually, the shitty kisser is the male party. That's only because nearly all of these terrible tropes are prevalent in heterosexual romances, and usually, the man’s the one who's doin’ the shitty kissing. I didn't make the rules! Blame shitty writers out there. They're the ones stinkin’ this up.
Additionally, like all my trope lists, I reserve the right to change my mind, but I highly doubt I will be changing my mind about any of these tropes because they're fucking disgusting. Now clench your butt cheeks and buckle in. This is gonna be a bumpy ride. You've been warned.
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Number 1: Let’s Talk Super Close to One Another’s Faces WITHOUT Kissing
Bonus points if you include a whole lotta heavy breathing. The intention of this plot device is clear: you're trying to build tension and make readers crave this kiss. Only to be like, “Sike! It ain’t coming.” Neither are the characters . . .
The thing is, people don't actually do this . . . to my knowledge. No one just stands really close together, talking into each other's mouths. I mean, if this is a thing that actually happens, then I'm happy to have avoided it because it sounds awkward as hell.
We're just pressed together, whispering and breathing. It’s not romantic. All I can think about when I read this scene is, “Did anyone eat onions? That's gotta suck.” The characters are usually gazing into each other's eyes, fighting the urge to kiss. But bitch you got this far! Your lips are millimeters apart. Just do it! But no, they dart away because that's normal and comfortable for everyone. It's like putting in just the tip. You're already in there, might as well go all the way.
Number 2: I Wanna Hear You Beg
Beg for what? It's just a fucking kiss. Have some goddamn self-respect! I understand some people find the whole begging thing a turn-on when it comes to sex, but kissing? I can get kissed by anyone. Why do I gotta get on my knees and grovel for you?
If someone asked me to beg for a kiss, I’d leave. Don't insult me! What makes your mouth so special? Am I even going to enjoy this experience? Because a lot of kiss scenes are pretty awful. So if anything, you should be begging me. I'm the one taking the risk here. I also just find the whole “please” thing kind of embarrassing. It's one thing if you're being playful, but if you're genuinely like, “Please, oh please, just kiss me.” Jesus Christ, have some standards. You're better than debasing yourself for minimal affection.
Number 3: Tongue Flicking
I haven't kissed a ton of men in my life, but I can guarantee no one flicked their tongue inside of my mouth. If somebody did that, I'd be like, “Woah, buddy! Whatcha doing? It's not a clitoris.” But I see the word “flicked” in so many kiss scenes, so someone out there must think it's sexy. All it does for me is make me think of lizards.
This is how you're kissing people? This is what turns you on? I swear this is evidence that lizard people exist. Otherwise, why would this be a thing? No one flicks when they kiss, right? Am I'm missing out on some intense hardcore life experience? Turns out first base is frenching, and second base is flicking. Must’ve skipped that step.
Number 4: Their Tongues Battled for Dominance
So now we're fighting. Mouth fighting, specifically. This line sucks because, like most of these tropes, it creates a weird visual. I see tongues wearing helmets and holding little swords with their tongue arms. You've made a muscle sentient, and now I'm distracted.
Forget the kiss. Which tongue is the victor? How do you decide if a tongue wins? Is it kinda like a thumb war? Does the winning tongue have to pin the losing tongue? And if so, does it matter which mouth it happened in? If you pin a tongue in said tongue's mouth, does that mean that you defeated them in their own territory? Does that mean you are now king of their mouth? You've conquered their land, so now they have to swear allegiance and pay taxes to your tongue. What happens if the losing tongue revolts? Do the teeth ever get involved, or are they Switzerland in the situation?
What were we talking about?
Number 5: He Tastes Like Coffee and Cigarettes
GAG. Coffee is delicious. But you know what's 100% rancid? Coffee breath! And cigarettes? That's the taste you wanna dip your tongue into? An ashtray? Yet, somehow this description is prevalent in so many kiss scenes. And every time, it makes my brain boner shrivel up until it inverts. Tumbleweeds are passing through my vajim-jam. That's how dry it is. You did this to me.
I actually posted this on Instagram, and several people commented, “Well, I like the taste of cigarettes.” Honestly, I applaud their bravery for admitting that because I do not have the spine to publicly admit that I enjoy the flavor of hot garbage. If we're gonna normalize romanticizing disgusting flavors, why not go all in? Say he tasted like cat food and liver. Or toothpaste with orange juice. Might as well get creative with your grossness because “coffee and cigarettes” has gotten a little cliche.
Number 6: Their Lips Slammed Together
After they regained consciousness, they were rushed to the ER and treated for their concussions. "Slamming" and "crashing" are very common verbs used in kiss scenes, and I just gotta wonder if these people have ever kissed before. What about two mouths slamming together sounds appealing?
You know there are teeth behind those lips, right? That is exposed bone you are literally crashing together. If the characters don't get a concussion, they will at least have dental damage. It's not sexy to turn affection into an act of violence. Why are you attacking someone with your mouth? Is this stage one for the battle of tongue dominance? I just don't see why writers make so many kiss scenes brutal. It's bad enough that you're exposed to so many germs. You don't need to add another reason for your characters to go to the hospital.
Number 7: He Shut Her Up With a Kiss
You were so sick of hearing her talk that you kissed her non-consensually? Talk about romantic! Who said chivalry is dead? Bonus douchebag points if he shuts her up when she's really pissed.
That is what I don't get about the shut-up kiss. It's fucking rude! But the woman always reacts first with surprise and then by melting into the kiss. That would literally never happen in a million years. First of all, she's usually fuming, which is why he's so keen to shut her up. So if that's the case, she should be even more pissed now because he just showed her that he doesn't give a shit about what she had to say. And he violated her.
How are people writing this and thinking, “Yeah, this is peak romance. Readers are gonna love it.” Because everyone loves being invalidated and assaulted at the same time. Honestly, if the shut-up kiss happened to me, I'd be afraid for my life. It just feels like something a rapist would do. I would whip out my mace real quick.
Number 8: His Kiss Was Possessive
How can a kiss be possessive? Explain this to me. Possessive means showing signs of wanting to own you. So does his mouth want to buy you? Like a product? Make it make sense. But often, this line is combined with, “His mouth overtakes her,” and then I get it. He's just a shitty kisser. He's doing that giant mouth thing that fifteen-year-old boys do when they're just learning to kiss. A lot of ladies out there know what I'm talking about. Those were dark times.
I read these scenes, and I just think of a man opening his mouth so wide. As if he's a snake unhinging its jaw. He's just overtaking her mouth, along with half of her fucking face. He's getting near nostril level. And you know there's drool involved; it’s just inevitable when you go all in like that. If it wasn't already clear, this, once again, is not romantic or attractive. It is face-eating levels of cringe.
Everyone who has been on the receiving end of this kiss knows that it is supremely uncomfortable. You can't breathe, your skin is chapped, and there's slobber on your chin. Maybe leave the possessive kiss back in high school where it belongs.
Number 9: He Plundered Her Mouth
How did this become a thing? Who brought this phrase into existence? Why did no one realize they’re a virgin? How does one plunder a mouth? What exactly do they steal in there?
Yarr matey! I’ve come to plunder your booty. Gimme your gold teeth and walk the plank!
I'm not gonna lie. When I heard that this line was a romantic cliche, I thought it was a joke at first. But people actually write it in kiss scenes. A lot. Why? Aside from the fact that it makes no fucking sense, the visual it gives me is someone thoroughly licking the inside of another person's mouth, getting into every nook and cranny to find everything they can plunder. Writers, I beg you, if at any point you thought “plundering her mouth” was a romantic thing to write, please reflect on yourself, your life, your decisions, all of it, because something has gone terribly wrong. Obviously.
Number 10: And Then They Kissed
That's it? You got us invested in this ship. We've been waiting for this moment. And that's how you're playing it? "Their lips touched." End of scene. Fuck you right in the face. You dangled the carrot for so long, and now we're getting none of the details. You're a dirty rotten son of a bitch. How dare you toy with my heart like this?
You can't write a romance and give zero payoff. That's some chicken shit, blasphemous behavior. Can you tell I'm angry? I know that describing a kiss can be awkward, but it's not like I've got multiple videos on the topic.
Give us something! Even if it's just a paragraph. I want to know things. The only time I think it's okay not to describe a kiss is if you're going to describe it in any of the ways on this list. If that's the case, “Their lips touched,” is the superior option. But then again, if you don't know how to describe a kiss without making it disgusting, maybe you shouldn't be writing kiss scenes at all.
So that's all I've got for you today!
These kiss tropes are illogical! If you read any kind of romance, I promise you have seen at least one of these terrible kiss tropes, and if you have any sense, I'm sure you hate them as much as I do. If you wanna read some dark fantasy romance that has none of these terrible tropes, The Savior's Champion and The Savior’s Sister are available in ebook, paperback, hardback, and audiobook at all major retailers. I’m just sayin’! Ya know, if you wanna try it out.
Back on topic! Which of these tropes makes you swallow your own puke? Comment below.
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