This story was updated in January 2019.
‘Leave your mark, just leave your mark on me.’
If you’ve got a dirty mind, you’ll know exactly which mark Jessie Baylin was referring to in this song. Have you ever had a heated night of lovemaking after which you woke up with love bites all over? There is just something so intimate and primal about marking your partner and letting him mark you.
Hickeys, like most things in life, divide people into two groups with opposing views. However, if you happen to love giving hickeys or if you’ve recently found out that your partner loves the little marks you leave around their body, we’re here to help you out. From how to give a hickey to things you didn’t know about it, we’ve got it all covered for you. So before you jump into bed, read this to better your skills!
No matter what you choose to call it, at the end of the day, a hickey is a bruise caused by biting, sucking or aggressively kissing the skin, usually around the neck or shoulders. It happens because the sucking of the skin can cause superficial blood vessels, called capillaries, to rupture, which makes the blood flow into the surrounding tissue. The size of the bruise actually depends on the trauma on the capillaries, how many were affected and the time it took for the blood to clot. Sounds painful, doesn’t it?
Anyone who has ever gotten a hickey knows that their biggest concern is how long it’ll last, and God knows, it’s there long enough to draw everyone’s attention! *Wink*
Hickeys are temporary and they rarely leave a permanent scar. Since it’s a bruise, it takes its own time to heal, which can range anywhere from 5 to 10 days, depending on its size. Initially, the mark is glaringly red but as it heals, it turns blue or purple.
Some hickeys, however, may take longer to heal. This happens because of two factors. First, if the hickey is too severe and a lot of damage is done to the blood vessels, it’ll take some time for it to completely fade away. Your personal health is the second factor that determines how long the hickey lasts. The healthier you are, the faster it’ll fade since a lack of certain vitamins and iron makes it easier for you to bruise.
Hickeys have always been a controversial subject. Some people enjoy giving and receiving hickeys, while others are completely against the idea of being marked as if they were somebody else’s property. Like we always say, it's about what you like in bed, so you should make the choice of hickey or not a hickey. If you'd like to know why people love these 'love bites', we have listed down some reasons.
Giving a hickey is actually pretty simple if you know what you’re doing. In fact, it can be quite fun to give or receive one, if you’re down for it. But if you’re still confused, let us help you nail the technicalities of it. For best results, be spontaneous, at the moment and don't plan everything. You need to perfect the technique, but don't be relentless in your pursuit. Always make sure that you're a partner is up for it. If they don't want you to leave a mark for any reason, don't force them. It's their choice and consent is important.
Don’t Be Too Direct
It’s not a battle and you don’t need to attack your partner. Start by setting the mood and kissing your partner. More often than not, hickeys are unplanned and happen in the heat of the moment. Most people don’t even realise that they’ve gotten one. So, start by trailing kisses around your partner’s sensitive areas like the neck or the shoulder before you plan to get down and dirty.
Choose Where You Want It To Be
It’s easier to bruise sensitive areas like the neck, collarbone or around the breasts than it is to give a mark to the other areas. So if you’re a first timer who wants to master the art of leaving a love mark, start with these areas. Also, check with your partner where they’re okay with because they might not want a hickey that’s visible to others.
Use Your Lips Well
Imagine making the letter ‘O’ with your lips and then place it on your intended area. Make sure you press your lips firmly on the area and create a suction to create a good seal so that no air can escape or enter. But instead of being too hard on the skin, go soft. It will create the same effect and you won’t break any skin. Pro Tip: Use chapstick for softer lips. Having dry and chapped lips is not only a huge turn-off, but it can also be quite uncomfortable too.
The key to giving a good hickey is to suck hard enough to break the blood vessels, but not hard enough to hurt your partner. Sucking for around 20-30 seconds will achieve what you’ve set out to do pretty effectively. You can also break it into sessions if you feel 30 seconds is too long. Two sessions of 15 seconds each with a break will also do the job well.
Don’t Use Your Teeth
You don't need to bite your partner, so keep your teeth well out of the way. You’re a human after all, not a vampire. Also, biting down too hard can break the skin and hurt your partner a lot, so avoid that at all costs. Even if you decide to use your teeth, nibble lightly instead of a full-blown bite.
Mix Things Up A Little
Experiment with a few different things to actually see what your partner likes. Start by sucking gently while moving your tongue around on the area and then escalate to sucking a little harder. Keep track of your partner’s reaction to see if they’re actually enjoying it or not.
Don’t Be Sloppy
Don’t slobber over your partner, please. You want to leave them with a mark of your passion, not one dripping in saliva!
End It Smoothly
When you’ve done the job well, in your mind, end it smoothly. Since the area is already a little sensitive, kiss the mark a few times and continue making out. For instance, if you gave them a hickey on the neck, then kiss the mark once and slowly move your lips up or down the body as you’d like and continue the hot love making sesh! Another great tip is to blow lightly on the sensitive area, it’s so sensual and such a turn-on!
You Can Always Make It Darker
The mark takes a few minutes to show up just like any other bruise would. So, don’t keep at it for a long time. Wait for some time, about five to seven minutes, for the mark to show up and once it does, you can choose to make it darker or let it be. Depending on the bruise, it could be anywhere from light pink to purple. If you do wish to make it darker, just repeat the 30-second process all over again
Stop As Soon As You Are Asked To
Remember, it is your partner’s body you are marking, so you need to be extra respectful of their wishes. If they are uncomfortable and ask you to stop, do so immediately. It is their way or highway!
The best way to get rid of a hickey is by not getting one, but we all get carried away in the heat of the moment. But you can’t turn up at your place with a huge bruise on your neck, obviously. Your mother, who misses nothing, is going to spot it and then all hell will break loose. In another scenario, imagine turning up to work with a huge love mark on your neck completely visible. Embarrassing, right?
Don’t worry, we’ve got the best ways you can hide that mark of passion you got night before.
Using A Cold Compress
Applying something cold to the area while the bruise is developing is actually one of the most effective ways to prevent it. You can use ice, a frozen spoon or a cold press. It will prevent redness and swelling and rubbing something cold on the bruise can also help break up any of the congealed blood. This method is best for the first 48 hours of getting the mark.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera gel is an answer to most of our beauty problems and it is a damn good answer to this one as well. Since it is a natural moisturiser, apply it over the bruise in a thick layer for about 10 minutes and then wipe it off. If you do this twice a day, you’ll see results very quickly.
Hold A Banana Peel To It
We were surprised by this solution too, but turns out it is a pretty effective one. The inside of a ripe banana peel helps to cool the area around the hickey. Apply it for 10 to 30 minutes and repeat this two to three times a day.
Use Some Vitamin C & K
A lack of vitamin C and K can actually make you more prone to bruising, so it is advisable to up your intake of them. Vitamin K, especially, helps the body absorb clots of pooled blood including the one around the hickey. So eat your greens, including kale, spinach and broccoli. If you’d known as a child that spinach helped get rid of hickeys, you wouldn’t have given your mom any trouble!
Brush It Out With A Toothbrush
With a super soft bristled brush, go over the bruise lightly to promote blood circulation around the mark. Use very little pressure, working the bristles in different directions to spread the clotted blood.
Apply Some Heat
If the hickey is still prominent and showing after 48 hours, then you should use some heat on it. Use a warm tissue or compress on the area. The heat will increase the blood flow to the area, helping the healing process. But an important thing to remember is to never to apply the heat to the area for more than 20 minutes and between two sessions, you need to give your skin time to cool down so that it doesn’t burn.
If you aren’t big on home remedies and don’t want to go through the hassle, a little concealer will sort you out. A yellow colour correcting concealer will work the best since it will help cancel out the bluish-purple bruise. Just blend it around the edges and you’re good to go.
Use A Scarf
If nothing else works, just use the most effective way of hiding it - scarves, turtlenecks or a collared shirt. Use them wisely because everyone will know what’s up if you turn up in the middle of June with a scarf around your neck.
It may seem like a harmless bruise, but it’ll surprise you to know that hickeys can, in reality, be more dangerous than you expected. Here are some lesser-known dangers of this ultimate mark of passion.
Hickeys Can Pass You The Oral Herpes Virus
One of the most important things to remember about sex is to practice it safely. If your partner has an open sore, the virus could actually be passed to you. In fact, if your partner is having an oral herpes break out, you might as well avoid sexual contact until it has healed.
Some Hickeys Do Leave A Scar
Haha! So you thought it was temporary! In some cases, depending on the depth of the bruise and lightness of your skin, the hickey can leave behind a permanent mark. You’ll make it all worse if you constantly touch and pick at the hickey.
Hickeys Have Been Known To Cause Strokes
In two separate cases, a boy from Mexico and a woman from Australia actually died due to hickey-induced strokes. It happened because the love bite was too deep, causing serious damage. In such cases, the blood flow to the brain, then gets blocked causing something like a fatal stroke. While these cases are extremely rare, it is important to remember this fact when you think your partner is being too sucky! *Mentally cringing so hard*
It may seem to cool to you to give, or receive, a hickey, your partner needs to be on the same page as you. Some people are not comfortable with a semi-permanent mark on their body. A lot of people see love bites as one partner marking his/her territory and they aren’t on-board with the idea of claiming your partner with something like ‘a mark of love’. This is why it is important to talk to your partner and find out exactly where they stand when it comes to a love bite that THEY will have on THEIR bodies for days to come. Just like any other sexual act, mutual consent is of utmost importance.
People With Iron Deficiency Get Hickeys Quickly
Just like with Vitamin K, if your body has lower levels of iron, you’ll bruise easier than normal. It’ll also be harder for you to get rid of the mark and it’ll be darker than usual. All the more reason to finish up those greens, isn’t it?
Dreaming About Hickeys Have No Sexual Connotations
Surprising, but yes. If you dream about hickeys, it has nothing to do with your desire to have sex or go down and dirty. It usually means that either you’re stuck in a toxic relationship you can’t find an escape from, or your head and heart are in conflict over a decision you made.
Hickeys Were Mentioned In Kama Sutra
It feels like Kama Sutra has already covered everything you’d ever want to experiment with when it comes to sex. So, it's no surprise that Kama Sutra mentions love bites, too! In fact, the book referred to love bites as ‘coral and jewel’ where the lips are the coral and the teeth are the jewels.
Scientific Evidence Proves Hickeys Began In The Animal Kingdom
A psychologist born in the 1800s, Havelock Ellis, studied mammals for the academic journal Studies In Psychology Of Sex. He noted that the male ones nibbled the neck of the females before mating. This was usually done instinctively and was a sign of male domination. While his study was based on heteronormativity, we now know that hickeys aren’t a gendered thing!
here Is No Instant Cure For Hickeys
You know all the cures for hickeys we suggested? Well, they only help to speed up the healing process or make the bruise a little lighter. There is no known cure for hickeys that’ll get rid of it immediately. In this case, like most others, prevention is better than cure.
While we may be scared to turn up to our workplaces with hickeys, imagine turning up in front of all of the media supporting a hickey and being completely unaffected by that. Yes, a lot of celebrities have stepped out and been photographed with love bites and they looked cool as cucumbers doing it.
Once, a leading daily photographed Saif with a tell-tale mark of a night of lovemaking when he was changing for a dance reality show. It was when he was dating Kareena and the mark was pretty obvious while Saif did nothing to hide it.
Image: Giphy, Shutterstock
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