Why Do People Give Hickeys and What Do They Mean?

Hickeys are a common physical manifestation of love, passion, and intimacy. Many people have experienced them, either as the giver or receiver, yet there remains a certain level of confusion around what they signify. In this article, we will explore why people give hickeys and what they mean in different contexts.

What is a Hickey?

Before we dive into why people give hickeys and what they mean, let’s first define what a hickey is. A hickey, also known as a love bite, is a bruise-like mark on the skin caused by suction and biting. The suction ruptures small blood vessels beneath the skin’s surface, leading to blood leakage and the appearance of a red or purple bruise.

Why Do People Give Hickeys?

There are various reasons why people give hickeys. Here are some of the most common:

  1. Marking territory – Hickeys can be a way for someone to show that they have claimed their partner. The visible mark on the neck or other areas can be a subtle or not-so-subtle way to say, “This person is mine.”
  2. Displaying affection – Hickeys are often seen as a sign of affection and intimacy. For some people, giving or receiving a hickey can be a way to show love and closeness.
  3. Sexual arousal – Hickeys can be a way to express sexual desire and arousal. Suction and biting on sensitive areas of the body can be a turn-on for some people.
  4. Peer pressure – Sometimes people give hickeys because their friends or partners are doing it, and they want to fit in.

What Do Hickeys Mean?

The meaning of a hickey can vary depending on the context in which it was given. Here are some possible interpretations:

  1. Passion – For many people, a hickey is a sign of passion and desire. It can signify that the giver is deeply attracted to the receiver and that they have a strong physical connection.
  2. Ownership – As mentioned earlier, a hickey can be a way for someone to mark their territory and show that they have claimed their partner.
  3. Embarrassment – Hickeys can also be a source of embarrassment for some people, especially if the mark is visible and they have to explain it to others.
  4. Disrespect – In some cases, giving someone a hickey without their consent can be seen as disrespectful or even abusive. It is important to always obtain consent before engaging in any physical acts with someone.

How to Get Rid of a Hickey?

If you’ve received a hickey and want to get rid of it, here are some tips:

  1. Apply a cold compress – A cold compress can help reduce swelling and inflammation. You can use a bag of frozen peas or a cold, damp towel.
  2. Use Arnica cream – Arnica cream is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help reduce bruising.
  3. Apply makeup – If the hickey is visible, you can use makeup to cover it up. Use a green-tinted concealer to cancel out the redness, then apply foundation on top.
  4. Give it time – Hickeys will eventually fade on their own, so if you’re not in a rush, you can just wait it out.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hickeys

Q: Are hickeys dangerous?

A: Hickeys are generally not dangerous, but they can be painful and embarrassing. If you have a medical condition that affects blood clotting, such as hemophilia, or if the hickey is causing severe pain or swelling, you should seek medical attention.

Q: Can anyone give or receive a hickey?

A: Anyone who is comfortable giving or receiving a hickey can do so, as long as it is done with consent and respect for boundaries. It’s important to communicate with your partner about what you’re comfortable with and to obtain consent before engaging in any physical acts.

Q: Are hickeys only given on the neck?

A: While the neck is a common area for hickeys, they can be given on other parts of the body as well, such as the chest, thighs, or arms.

The Cultural Significance of Hickeys

The cultural significance of hickeys varies across different regions and communities. In some cultures, hickeys are seen as a taboo or inappropriate display of affection, while in others, they are embraced and even celebrated. For example, in some parts of Latin America, hickeys are called “chupones” and are seen as a badge of honor among young couples.

The Risks of Giving or Receiving Hickeys

While hickeys are generally harmless, there are some risks associated with giving or receiving them. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Infection – If the skin is broken during the hickey, there is a risk of infection. Make sure to clean the area thoroughly and watch for any signs of infection, such as redness or swelling.
  2. Blood clots – Hickeys can cause blood clots if the suction is too strong or if the area is repeatedly bitten. This can be dangerous, especially if you have a medical condition that affects blood clotting.
  3. Scarring – In some cases, hickeys can leave scars or permanent marks on the skin. If you’re prone to scarring, it’s best to avoid giving or receiving hickeys.


In conclusion, hickeys are a physical manifestation of love and intimacy, but their meaning and cultural significance can vary depending on the context in which they are given. While they are generally harmless, it’s important to obtain consent before engaging in any physical acts and to be aware of the risks associated with giving or receiving hickeys. Whether you love or hate them, one thing is certain – hickeys are likely here to stay as a symbol of passion and desire.

Written by Steven

Steven is a young student from San Francisco who is obsessed with computers.

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