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I'm a divorced midlife woman once again cohabiting, and I don't want to repeat old mistakes. My ex and I never kissed enough. How can I keep kissing sexy and hot with my new guy?

Dear Kisser,

Happily, the grievous mistakes of the past, like insufficient kissing, are not dragged into the present - unless, of course, by your own doing. In other words, leave your baggage at the door. Your "new guy" is all promise. Perhaps he too has come from a kissing desert and worries that the drought could repeat itself.

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The first step: Tell your N.G. about your proclivity for locking lips; that kissing, for you, is not a pit stop to more illicit destinations, but a hot thrill unto itself. Your next step is more of a challenge: Long-term monogamy has a bad habit of dulling your sex life by substituting routine for novelty. Kisser, beware. You have lived through this once, with kissing as your casualty. Do not let a sex-by-rote approach emerge again.

How to keep it "sexy and hot"? Through what the sexperts call "the make-out session." In a throwback to Grade 10, put on your favourite record (as per the wisdom of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, I suggest Led Zeppelin IV). Find a couch. Allow the kiss to build slowly - a gradual and sultry evolution. The kink: Stay on first base. Yes, it may be counterintuitive not to move south from the mouth, but the charge here is to linger in this, your first carnal act.

Sure, you can get fancy with honey and champagne à la 9½ Weeks, but, dear Kisser, I would urge you instead to take it outside (tastefully, of course) into a rainstorm, an alley, a movie theatre. Incorporate an element of furtiveness. And most important, do not skimp; kissing is our preview to congress. As you have gleaned from your past, it is not simply the stuff of teenagers. After all, it tells you just what kind of lover your N.G. will be.

Claudia Dey is the author of How to Be a Bush Pilot: A Field Guide to Getting Luckier

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