When Sex Styles Don't Match: Leigh and Jill

Leigh and Jill both say they've found their soul mate, except for one small problem. "Jill and I have kissed maybe a dozen times," says Leigh. "I like a long, romantic kiss. She doesn't want to kiss."

Jill prefers to bite. "Kissing produces anxiety for me," she says. "I would say about 75 percent of the time, it turns into a bite. To me, biting is affection. My Maltese dog, Reggie, likes to bite my ankles to show affection. I'll bite Leigh and call him my other doggy."

"When Jill bites me, it can really hurt," says Leigh, showing off a bite mark on his arm. "Sometimes, she bites my face," which led Leigh to establish some "no bite zones," such as his stomach and chest.  

"Leigh would definitely like more hugging and kissing. He'll say, 'Why can't we just kiss?' Kissing would mean 100 percent trust," says Jill. "When I'm finally able to really kiss him, my anxiety will be gone. I would like to give Leigh a good, romantic kiss, especially on our wedding day." 

"To me, kissing means reaching a level of intimacy. I really miss slow, romantic kissing. I hope that the biting will stop," says Leigh, especially before their wedding day. He asks Dr. Phil, "How can I be sure that Jill will kiss me and not bite me when we step up to the altar?"


"So you just like biting. And you've got some choppers on you," observes Dr. Phil.

"I sure do," says Jill.

"Do you hurt him?"

"I think I give him kind of little love bites," she says.

"I saw some bruises up there," says Dr. Phil, as a picture of Leigh's bitten arm appears on the screen. "Are you proud of those?"

"I think it's a good thing," says Jill. "It gives him something to remember me by."

"Now, you say you do have some rules. You have some 'no bite zones,' like your chest and stomach?" Dr. Phil asks Leigh. "That would not be at the top of my short list," he jokes. He turns to Jill, "Why?"

"It just feels like little bits of affection. I guess I just kind of get a little anxious when I kiss. But it's just kind of fun. I mean, my dog bites my ankles."

"She kisses every so often," says Leigh.

Dr. Phil wants to see proof. Jill leans in and kisses Leigh, following it with a bite.


"OK, here's an issue. This is your first marriage. Have you ever been in a really serious committed relationship before?" he asks Jill.

"Not anything like this," she says.

"So, this is the first time for you, which is, statistically, kind of late in the game," says Dr. Phil. "But is it possible that you just really have anxiety with intimacy?"

"Yes, yes, that's very possible," says Jill.

"Is this something you need to deal with?"

"Well, I would like to deal with it, yes."

Jill doesn't bite other people, and she has kissed her mom and her sister. She reflects, "I guess I already have that level of intimacy, I don't need to."


"OK, so you are actually doing this as a control thing, it's a power thing, it's a distancing thing. You say, 'I don't bite them because I trust them, I know them, I'm intimate with them, I'm close with them, so I don't bite them. Him I bite," says Dr. Phil. "If you guys like to nibble around, to each his own. But you need to understand that you'd probably want to deal with the issue of intimacy, where you have the trust, so you can be vulnerable. Because lips are soft; teeth are not, and so you're maintaining control that way. Do you agree?"

"I agree. Yes, I do," says Jill.


Dr. Phil offers to give Jill something to read and listen to, to help her learn trust and intimacy. A series of relaxation CDs could help her conquer her anxiety. "Then you can desensitize, and then you could kiss him," he says.

Jill agrees to try it. "Is it going to work, like, within six months? Because that's when the wedding is," she says.

"Will you bite me if it doesn't?" jokes Dr. Phil. "Yes, it will work. I think you guys obviously have a very great and loving relationship, but you have to get past that intimacy barrier, and I'll give you something that will help you do that. It's all about trust."