If I had to pinpoint the most enjoyable thing that’s happened to the world of sex since the internet came on the scene, it’s that folks these days are always cooking up fresh ways to talk about the things we get up to when we’re getting down. If you browse Reddit or Twitter, it seems as if sexuality is nothing but a revolving door of new acts, toys, and terms cresting on the horizon day in and day out.
Among those phrases making waves in recent weeks? The rainbow kiss. The term may have gotten its first (problematic) Urban Dictionary entry over a decade ago, but in 2021, the rainbow kiss has reared its head to take the internet by storm. Curious as to what all the fuss is about? Here’s just about everything you need to know about a rainbow kiss – and how to instigate one with your beau tonight.
What is a rainbow kiss?
If you’re like me, your first thought when you heard “rainbow kiss” was that it had to do Pride. And if you’re like me, you’d be wrong. It’s also not to be confused with the mid-2000s Scottish play by the same name. Here, the kind of rainbow kiss we’re talking about is a consenting act between two people who want to explore their intimacy in a whole new light.
Like many names we throw around for sex acts, the definition of a rainbow kiss varies depending on who you’re talking to. It usually refers to one of two different things that are pretty similar – but with one key twist.
To some people, a rainbow kiss is simply when someone goes down on their partner while they’re on their period. Then, with their face all nice and bloody they come up for the kiss. By eating someone out while they’re on their period before making out, both parties get that signature red smear. For some, this au naturale smooch is where the definition of a rainbow kiss ends.
For others, however, the rainbow kiss goes one step further. On top of oral during someone’s period, the person on their period the returns the favor by giving their partner a blowjob until they orgasm. The two parties then kiss, mingling the two fluids in one sticky makeout sesh.
Supposedly, it’s the color of those two fluids mixing together that gives the kiss its colorful name.
What’s so appealing about a rainbow kiss?
The problem with most “sex articles” about kinks is that they’re chock full of judgment and negativity about particular kinks or fetishes – especially if it involves anything deviating from vanilla missionary between two straight folks. If the Twitter world’s reaction to the words “rainbow kiss” tells you anything, it’s that a lot of folks struggle to see the appeal of this kind of makeout.
But the thing is, kinks and unique ways of lovin’ are everywhere – and humans have experimented sexually since the dawn of time. When you peel back that initial reaction, there are actually a lot of reasons folks may jump to try this unique shared experience.
Intimate portraits of couples who celebrate period sex together might help you understand the temptation of a rainbow kiss better. Photographer Nolwen Cifuentes has a particularly beautiful photo essay in Salty World that uncovers the joys and normalcy of sex while bleeding. Our society tells people that they should be ashamed of themselves for having sex in general. People who have periods are given twice the amount of flak, especially because of the misconception that periods are somehow dirty or gross. The truth, though, is that period sex can serve as a springboard for honoring the body in all its iterations.
And like all kinds of sex, sex on your period comes in many shapes and sizes. And for some, that means not just being okay with sex while bleeding, but full-on embracing it and sharing your bodily fluids with another partner.
Taking it one step further with semen, the joy of a rainbow kiss lies in the intimacy of the act. Typically, it’s not something folks do with a rando from Tinder (although it’s totally fine if they do). Trusting your partner enough to swap fluids orally is a highly personal experience; that level of trust adds another layer to their connection.
Don’t get me wrong, though. Not all people have sentimental reasons for craving a rainbow kiss. Sometimes, blood is sexy. If you have a blood fetish, rainbow kisses are a prime chance to play around with blood without having to break skin or whip out blades in the bedroom. All blood play comes with risks, but menstrual blood is something that won’t send you to the hospital if you’re too clumsy for knife play.
Likewise, some folks don’t just have a blood fetish, but a bodily fluids fetish – and that’s where the semen comes into play. If you’re all about the sweet and slick parts of getting sexy, then you might love taking the exchange beyond swallowing alone and letting the semen linger in your mouth before passing it back to your partner while they give you some of your own blood.
Another thing that might draw people to the concept of a rainbow kiss is the thrill that comes from taking risks. The appeal might be especially true if folks are engaging in rainbow kisses with casual partners. To some, risk-aware consensual kink (RACK for short) can really get the blood flowing (literally and metaphorically). And although it may not seem like it at first glance, a rainbow kiss fits the RACK bill. That’s because swapping fluids comes with its own set of warning labels.
What are the risks?
There are many sex acts out there that are both a rush and relatively low-risk for transmitting diseases; a rainbow kiss is not one of those things.
Because you’re not only sharing semen, but also sharing blood, it isn’t just STIs or HIV to worry about; hepatitis is also a possibility you need to consider. Over at “The Body”, an HIV/AIDS resource page, MSPH Rick Sowadsky specifically addresses the risks of blood exchanges, saying that “if you drink the blood of a person who is infected with HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and other bloodborne diseases (whether they are showing symptoms or not), you would… be at a significant risk for these diseases.” The bit about whether they’re showing symptoms or not is important: someone may seem healthy while still having these diseases in their blood. That’s why discussing past testing history and risk factors is a pivotal part of the rainbow kiss equation. Sowadsky goes on to stress that “the more blood you drink, and the more times you drink another person’s blood, the greater the risk of infection.”
Translation: it’s much, much better to be safe than sorry. Any risks you take are yours to take, and there’s no shame in that, but it’s crucial to give your partners the same honesty you’d expect from them. Be up front with your partners about your own history with HIV and Hepatitis before you engage in a rainbow kiss. Keeping that information from partners means that you aren’t giving them space to give informed consent – which is something that no GGG, exploratory kinkster should ever do.
That being said, there are precautions you can take, even in casual settings, to mitigate that risk and let all parties have the best time. To cover all your bases, get tested with your partners before trying a rainbow kiss out. Because it’s a sure-fire way to contract a bloodborne disease, get tested for the things that a standard STD clinic might not check for as well, like HIV and Hepatitis B (HBV) or Hepatitis C (HCV).
How do I ask my partner to try it?
With any new kink or curiosity, imagining it in your private moments is one thing; inviting your partner to give it a whirl is a whole other ballgame. Most folks will agree that, well beyond logistics or coordinating schedules, asking is the hardest part of engaging in something new in the sack.
Taking something out of the fantasy realm in our minds and foisting it into the realm of the actual? Sometimes it feels easier to keep our desires tucked away in fantasy land.
But here’s the thing: you never know what sexy thoughts are spinning in your partner’s head – and writing them off before you ask about a new kink is just as unfair as them writing you off. For all you know, your partner stumbled across this exact same article and found themselves likewise shockingly intrigued. And you’ll never know – unless you ask.
No matter how much we may want something like a rainbow kiss, telepathically transmitting that fact to your partner in a series of eyebrow waggles won’t accomplish much. The only thing that will introduce you to your finest sex life is a good old fashioned chat.
If you and your partner routinely talk about sex and fantasies, then bridging the topic is as easy as snuggling up in bed and bringing up trying something new. But if you’re not used to talking about sex with your lovers, then having these tender conversations might feel a little harder to come by. Even so, it’s well within your reach.
To have a good sex talk about your fantasies, set the mood first. Get nice and relaxed. Make sure you’re both wrapped up in each other and focusing only on the two of you – no dinner you’re cooking or television show in the background allowed. And, very importantly, make sure you and your partner are both sober and not in the middle of having sex already. A good way to broach the subject is to ask them about their own fantasies. Even if they’re shy, getting the ball rolling by opening the door will help you both start talking. Listen to their fantasies first and let the conversation flow. As you get comfortable, mention this new act you read about.
One of the best things to do is to tell them that they can think about the sex act for a while before deciding whether they’re open to it. Giving space helps your lovers get past their knee-jerk response. To help them feel more comfortable with the idea, try building up to the event in doses. There are several moving pieces at play here (oral while on a period, kissing with a bloody mouth, swallowing cum, kissing after a blowjob and before swallowing), so consider starting out with one of these four factors first. Adding one facet at a time across several sexy sessions may help you both get comfortable with the idea before diving all in.
Under no circumstances is it okay to spring something like this on a partner mid-coitus. Because you’re exchanging fluid, a surprise rainbow kiss (even if you give them just one half of the equation) violates their boundaries.
So speak up! Tell your partner about your fantasy, and keep an open mind throughout your talk. Remember that there’s no shame in how you get sexy, regardless of how niche it is or how many vanilla folks on Twitter turn their noses up at it. So long as you and your partner communicate about sex from beginning to end, you’re going about it in exactly the right way.
Don’t be shy!
Rainbow kisses may not be something everyone talks about, but if the thought of it appeals to you, then life is short and you deserve to get sexy in the ways that make your body hum. Set up the mood, introduce your partner to the idea, and let the magic begin. Remember: you can always start slow and work up to the big event to get the most out of this latest kink.
Have you tried a rainbow kiss? Give us your best tips in the comments!