Writing Tip Time–Why, Lip Bite?

lip biting
Photo by Shiny Diamond on Pexels.com

Are you familiar with the whole “lip biting=flirting, wants to kiss” idea?

Well. It’s ruining my writing.

When I bite my lip in real life, I do it because I’m nervous. Not because I’m flirting with someone.

Body language experts and science back this up too. I mean, check out American Psychological Association, saying lip biting is a “nervous habit” (or, a symptom of a disorder, but that’s irrelevant to this conversation).

Or MedicineNet says that “when people are nervous, it is normal for many to bite their lower lips.”

How is this ruining my writing?

When I write, I try to use body language to convey emotion. For example, I’ll include “her eyebrows shot up” instead of “she was surprised,” or “they rolled their eyes” instead of “they were exasperated.”

So I sometimes use “nibbling my lip” or “biting his lip” to convey nervousness, anxiety, and fear–but, a tiny voice in my head ask me every single time I do, if readers will interpret that as some flirty, romantic signal, when in truth it’s totally not.

I hope, when I’m writing, that readers will interpret what I’m creating the correct way–and that’s not easy in this instance against the prevailing belief that lip biting=flirting.

And can I just say, that whoever came up with/perpetuated the idea that lip biting is a sign of flirting, when it is in fact a sign of nerves and anxiety, is a lousy person who probably needs to learn about consent. (if someone is visibly anxious, they are not asking you to kiss them!)


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