A kiss is a movie cliche for a reason. All great love affairs begin with a kiss. So do reckless summer flings, torrid one night stands, and spontaneous cloakroom hookups. A great kisser is a great lover. Whether you’re trying to seduce a sexy stranger or get closer to your long-term squeeze, excellent kissing technique is essential. What makes a kiss great and the kisser irresistible? So glad you asked …
Step 1: The Approach
Whether you’re hoping to have a sublime first kiss with your new crush or transition from weeknight tv on the couch to getting busy in the bedroom, you need to communicate your desire to kiss your partner. If you can do this in a way that makes them want to be kissed, all the better.
Begin with a moment of silence. Not the kind reserved for dead people but just a half second hush. Make eye contact. Smile. And say, “I’d like to kiss you.” Watch their face. Do they seem receptive? Listen to their breathing. Are they excited?
If you’ve never kissed this person before, you absolutely must ask first because a good kiss requires consent. Certainly you can read body language and non-verbal cues. But there is an undeniable erotic charge to being asked if you’d like a kiss from someone you’d like to kiss.
A century of cinema liplocks have a lot of people convinced that it’s sexy to just go for it. But asking someone’s permission to get closer is much sexier than assuming you may. Also, putting your mouth on someone who hasn’t invited you to is technically assault, which is never sexy.
Established couples can also join the fun. “May I kiss you?” is a hot question, particularly from someone whose socks you fold.
Step 2: The Initiation
Once you’ve established that a kiss is welcome, place a hand somewhere familiar but not overtly sexual. The face is ideal. The shoulder also works. Multiple studies, including one by DePauw University psychologist Matthew Hertenstein, have found that humans can communicate emotions through touch. A caress is worth a thousand words. Feel the warmth passing between you. Are they leaning into your touch? Are they relaxing? If not, ask “Is this ok?” and listen to their answer. If yes, lean in slowly.
Step 3: Contact
Wet your lips a little if you like. Part them slightly. Touch them to your lover’s lips. Enjoy the sensation of their lips on yours. Communicate your enjoyment with a sigh, a moan, whatever feels right. Focus on what you’re feeling. Read their cues. If they pull back, let them. If they lean in, meet them. A kiss is a dance. Dance with your partner. Take turns leading and following. There are so many different perfect kisses but they all involve two people paying close attention to the other’s signals.
You can cement a perfect romantic memory if you stop here and say something you’d say when first meeting a person, like “Hi.” Or you can move on to …
Step 4: Escalate (This step is always optional.)
Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss. (Those are often great times.) Other times, a kiss is an introduction to greater intimacy. If you want to take your movie moment all the way to Sexy Town, you’ll need to up the lust factor.
Acts 1 and 2: The Tender and Sensual Kiss
A great kiss has three acts: Tender, Sensual, and Sexual. The Tender Act is the first contact, when you’re most emotionally vulnerable. The Sensual Act begins when your hands start to wander, while staying in the PG zone. If you’re touching your love’s face, caress their neck or the back of their head. If you’re touching them with one hand, add a second. Breathe in their smell, listen to their moans, and enjoy the feel of their skin or hair. Confine your Stage 2 caresses to face, head, neck, shoulders, back or arms. This is your Sensual Zone.
This is also a good time to add the merest suggestion of tongue. A microscopic flutter of your tongue against their lips can be like a bolt of lightning, particularly if you’re cupping their face in your hands. Sigh. L’amore.
Act 3: The Sexual Kiss
If your partner is receptive to your Sensual moves, you can start leaning into a Sexual Kiss. This involves more tongue and more adventurous touching. The chest becomes available once you’ve entered Act III. So does allowing your tongue to gently pass your partner’s lips. It is never a mistake to open your lips a bit and invite them to do the same.
Do not underestimate the power of the tongue. Many people have intensely sexual reactions to the feel of a tongue on or in our mouths. Use this knowledge wisely and sparingly. A full open mouth kiss should be the height of foreplay, if it happens at all. Some people prefer less tongue in their kissing. If you’re kissing one of these people, they will communicate this by not sticking their tongue in your mouth.
A proper kiss will take you far. So never pass up an opportunity to practice with an enthusiastic partner. Kissing is often an appetizer to sex but can also be a spectacular main course on all its own. Bon appetit!
For more new relationship advice, read our article on New Relationship Texting Etiquette or How to Protect Your New Relationship from the Six Month Hump.