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Behind Closed Doors: Hickeys shouldn’t be the ‘necks’ big thing

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November 9, 2015

11:54 PM

Whether you told somebody you ran into a tree, discreetly covered it up with a scarf or wore it proudly, many of us have dealt with a hickey at some point in our lives.

My first girlfriend was very into hickeys. She gave me several at homecoming my senior year of high school. I rocked the pixie cut back then, too, so I had to wear a scarf to school the entire following week.

Trying to hide the massive hickeys on my neck did not really do me much good in the end. I am very, very bad at hiding my emotions, so it did not take long for my friends to figure out the reason behind my sudden affinity for scarves. So why did I bother to hide them in the first place?

Well, at the time, I was embarrassed. Allowing my hickeys to be seen felt like admitting: “Whoops, I spent way too long letting my girlfriend suck my neck this weekend,” which was not information I particularly felt like sharing with everyone.

I’ve grown a lot since senior year of high school (thank goodness), and I do not think that having visible hickeys would embarrass me too much anymore. I have not received any hickeys since that memorable homecoming week, however. That is not by any means a result of having an inactive sex life. It is simply a result of the fact that at this point in my life, I do not find receiving or giving hickeys particularly enjoyable.

Have you ever thought about what a hickey is? It is a bruise. That is why it takes so long for them to finally disappear. Your partner has popped blood vessels in your skin, causing discoloration.

I personally do not want to give my partner a bruise. That is not what loving someone is about for me.

I personally do not want to give my partner a bruise. That is not what loving someone is about for me. I am not out to shame anybody; if you find sucking and biting someone’s skin until they bruise to be sexy, that is great for you.

Here is my question, however: What are you trying to achieve by giving someone a hickey? Sucking and biting your partner’s skin can be very sexy and arousing. After all, your skin, especially on your neck and breasts (for both males and females), is pretty sensitive to oral stimulation. You can, however, suck and/or bite someone’s skin without bruising them in the process.

Now, I have to admit, I have given some accidental hickeys in the past. They were a result of spending too much time gently sucking and tugging with my teeth on one particular spot of skin. It is fairly easy to pop blood vessels this way, even if you are being gentle. However, I have found that I can avoid causing a bruise as long as I spread out the area of skin I am stimulating, or at least take breaks from stimulating any specific area of skin.

Accidental hickeys, however easy to give, are pretty few and far between. Usually, they are intentional. My ex-girlfriend was definitely intending to make those massive marks on my neck. This is where I get confused. Why would somebody be into this? First of all, it can be painful to cause hickeys like that, so it is absolutely critical you make sure your partner is okay with receiving them if you want to give them.

That is enough of a problem in and of itself; hickeys are often intentionally given but unintentionally received, and that is not okay. As always, I am a huge proponent of using effective communication with partners, so please, if hickeys are your jam, make sure your partner is down. That goes both ways: if you want to receive a hickey, make sure you ask your partner if they are comfortable giving you one.

I think the other reason I do not personally find hickeys desirable is because of their visibility. I am very open about my sex life. As I’ve mentioned before, I do not think there is anything to be ashamed of if you are actively having sex, making out with people or whatever you may be doing or not doing. It is not that I think having hickeys is something about which to be ashamed — because it isn’t — but someone leaving a very visible mark on me almost feels possessive. They have physically left their mark on me in a way that other people can see.

I do not care to feel possessed by anyone.

That makes me very uncomfortable. I do not care to feel possessed by anyone. I am a strong, independent woman who chooses to be with someone of my own free will. I may give myself to my partner, but I absolutely belong to no one other than myself. So, I choose not to indulge in hickeys.

It is possible that you have no motivations of possession when giving someone a hickey. It is possible that having a hickey is empowering for you. Both of those things are great; keep doing your thing. Just please, do not try to give me a hickey.

Katelyn R. is a Behind Closed Doors columnist who will not be hooking up with a vampire this weekend.

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  • Katelyn R.