Romantic partners can share many different types of kisses. From a sweet peck on the cheek, to a steamy AF, pressed-up-against-the-door makeout sesh, every smooch conveys something different depending on the moment. Oh, and the forehead kiss? That one makes us melt into love-struck puddles of mush. Fact.
“The forehead kiss demonstrates a strong emotional intimacy,” says Laurel Steinberg, PhD, clinical sexologist and relationship therapist. It’s not a greeting or a lip-lock of erotic attraction, rather it's a non-sexual gesture that communicates something deeper.
Here, find the six reasons why your partner could be smooching toward that sexy forehead of yours.
You share a meaningful connection.A forehead kiss from your romantic partner says something very different than tonguing in the bedroom. “While the lip kiss indicates sexual attraction, the forehead kiss tells a more meaningful story about the emotional closeness of the relationship,” explains Steinberg.
That’s why a small forehead kiss can appropriately come from a parent or grandparent as well—the gesture is one of emotional fondness.
Your partner is legit kissing your soul.There’s actually, for-reals biological reasoning why forehead kisses make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The warmth and pressure from someone’s lips on your forehead stimulates the pineal gland, which releases chemicals that trigger joy and mental wellness. With this gesture, your partner is kissing your thoughts, ideas you’ve shared, and you as a being—not just a physical body.
You’re liked for way more than your body.Whether it’s your significant other of five years or your new interest kissing your forehead, rest assured that you’re not being used for your hot body (all those squat gains aside). “A forehead kiss indicates that you aren’t just seen as a sex object,” says Steinberg. It’s a compassionate, non-sexual way for your partner to communicate their adoration and respect towards you.
Your partner wants to feel the love, too.“Partners often model good behaviors that they want to receive,” says Steinberg. TL;DR if your boo is feeling sweet and kisses your forehead, they're hoping you’ll respond with some lovin' in return too.
Sexual attraction could be on the decline.If bae is only giving you kisses on the forehead, they could be sending a message that their sexual interest in the relationship is dwindling. That said, this has a lot more to do with what else is going on between the two of you, rather than a tallied number of exchanged forehead kisses. “If you're ever unsure of what's going on in your relationship, lean in for a lip kiss and see what happens next,” says Steinberg.
If your partner pulls away or seems hesitant, it’s time for a conversation about what’s up. And if you receive a goodbye forehead kiss from a hookup buddy, this may signify that he/she had a great time, but doesn’t want more from the relationship. Sry, boo.
Or your partner is celebrating the win of finding you!The dating scene RN kind of sucks. I mean, most of it is spent online swiping left and right. This is what makes an IRL connection feel that much more rare, and so much better too! Finding a partner with the same feels as you is like the ultimate win.
Perhaps that’s why photos and memes of #foreheadkisses have been tagged over 33.8k times on Instagram. “Getting to the point of having someone find you and your relationship precious is a great accomplishment, and people are proud of to show it off,” says Steinberg. Hashtag, #humblebrag.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.