The Art of Kissing

by Kristin T.

July 5, 2022

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Wednesday, July 6th is International Kissing Day, and what better way to celebrate than with some tips for elevating the romantic liplock to an art form? Kissing is an important romantic & intimate gesture that all too often falls by the wayside in some long-term relationships, or sometimes just flat-out isn’t good. It’s time to fix that!

Kissing is a universal way for humans to express their love, affection, and sexual desire with their romantic partners, and it’s an important one, too. So important, in fact, that a 2012 study by the State University of New York at Albany found that 59% of men and 66% of women would end a relationship just because they feel their partner is a bad kisser! While communication & compatibility have big roles in how a couple kisses, you really can learn to be a better kisser! We’re not talking about the scary lab equipment, kissing exercises, and experimental kiss improvement training George Michael had to be subjected to in Arrested Development; it’s really just a matter of being open to trying new things, taking it slow, and feeling comfortable enough to talk with your lover about what techniques do and don’t work for you. Even if you think you’ve got kissing down to a science, try these tips and tricks to elevate your kissing to an art form!

Follow the leader:

There’s no need to practice in a mirror or on a pillow…just do what comes naturally, and communicate about it silently and organically. Usually in a steamy makeout session, there will be one person who “takes the lead” with their movements, tongue positions, and position changes. Determine who seems to be leading (it may be different every time) and sort of mirror what they do to you during a lengthy french kissing session. Allow their tongue to wander where it may, then gently slide yours over theirs in a similar motion. Rinse and repeat with every action. You’ll find yourselves in a sort of silent tongue ballet, with your natural body language being the conductor. If you’re the leader, remember to start slowly and build up to a more sensual climax; too much, too soon can feel overwhelming. Oh, and don’t forget to breathe!

Involve your hands:

Remember that great kissing can (and should) use more than just your lips. Get your hands involved while you kiss. Pull your partner in close with your hands and arms, run your fingers through their hair, hold their hands near your sides, or lovingly stroke their cheek as you go in for a romantic liplock. Better yet, get somewhere private and get horizontal and get your whole body involved!

Close your eyes:

It’s not just a trope from TV and movies because it looks sexier…it actually is sexier. Taking away the use of one of your senses enhances your other senses, so when you close your eyes and remove your sense of sight from the equation, your body will respond with a heightened sense of touch, so you can truly enjoy all those intimate sensations. Eye contact during kissing can also make people feel shy (it gets WEIRD to look someone in the eyes when you’re that close!), so closing your eyes can serve double duty by keeping everyone comfortable and not creeped out.

Peck different points:

The lips are not the only great place to plant a kiss. Switch things up by puckering up and smooching different points on your lover’s body. Many different kisses mean different things, too, so you can choose what fits the mood and the message you want to convey.

  • A kiss on the top of the head conveys protection and encourages a sense of safety and security.
  • A kiss on the cheek can be familiar and platonic, but when given to a lover, is sweet and reconnects you to memories of when you were younger and your relationship was new.
  • A kiss on the nose shows comfort and familiarity.
  • A hand kiss shows respect and admiration, and can be a gesture of wanting to pursue a deeper romantic relationship with someone.
  • A forehead kiss is purely affectionate and says you would do anything in your power to protect and take care of them.
  • An “angel kiss”, or gentle kiss on the eyelid, is sweet and romantic, especially if the person has been crying.
  • A kiss on their sensitive neck shows that you are comfortable being intimate and romantic with a person, and may be flirting or asking for things to start going further than just kissing.
  • An earlobe kiss can be sensually stimulating and invite more erotic play to follow. Breathing or blowing on the neck or earlobes can take this sensation over the top!
  • Kissing your lover’s shoulders, especially from behind, can be an invitation to a sultry make out session, or at least make you cuddle closer.
  • A kiss on the nipples or genitals, through underwear or right on their sensitive skin, is a sure way to jumpstart an intimate session between the sheets.

Maintain your mouth:

A healthy mouth and fresh, clean breath are key to truly great kissing. Do your best to keep your lips moisturized, your teeth clean, and your breath fresh. Don’t be held hostage by it, though; if you’ve been together awhile, it’s perfectly fine and normal to kiss good morning with your pure unadulterated morning breath. Or if you’re going to be eating pungent foods, just make sure you BOTH eat them…matching garlic breath is undetectable! Whenever you can, though, especially if you’re hoping for making out to lead to more, have freshly brushed teeth, use mouthwash, or suck a breath mint immediately before making out. See your dentist twice a year to clean your teeth thoroughly and keep any bigger mouth health issues from getting out of hand. Staying hydrated is also important for smooth smooching. Drink plenty of water so you’re not trying to kiss with a dry mouth or chapped lips.

Remember why we kiss:

Humans are one of the few species of animals that kiss, and we probably don’t often think about why we kiss, but it’s important. Most studies on the subject point to kissing either as a mating ritual, as the thin & sensitive skin of the lips allows for easy stimulation of many nerve endings that may help arouse us sexually, or at the very least, a way we connect as human couples. A study from The Archive of Sexual Behavior reveals that kissing helps to increase pair bonding and enhance feelings of intimacy between couples. Deep kissing during sex can even feel so sensual and erotic, it can increase the likelihood of a woman reaching orgasm. Keep these purposes for kissing in the back of your mind as you pucker up, and let your body language naturally communicate the affection, romance, lustiness, or eroticism you are feeling for your partner in the moment.

Stay in the moment:

Amazing kisses can produce a high sensation in your body, similar to drugs, because of all the dopamine kissing causes your brain to release. Deeper, more intimate kissing can also release oxytocin, the love hormone, which gives you those warm fuzzy feelings and decreases anxiety. You’ll get the best effect from this hit of neurotransmitters if you’re truly focused on the kiss. Don’t allow your mind to wander. Don’t think about your to-do list or what you’re making for dinner tomorrow night. Instead, ground yourself by focusing on the sensations produced by your partner’s lips on yours, or really tune in to the other physical stimuli happening around you at that moment. Allow other thoughts to fade to static and truly focus all your senses on the kiss and the person kissing you. If you just can’t get your mind to stop wandering, it may be worth considering if you really want to be kissing this person right now, and if not, why?

Don’t forget!:

The most important takeaway here is to remember that kissing is an important gesture of love, romance, and physical & emotional intimacy. Kisses can be a sweet and simple reminder of your feelings or even a form of foreplay in their own rite! If things with your sex life or relationship have been feeling stale, part of it might stem from not remembering to kiss often enough! We get busy and stressed with work, parenting, and life, and sometimes kissing just falls by the wayside. Don’t let it! Set reminders on your phone if you must…just remember to get those frequent kisses in! Don’t take your lover, or their lips, for granted. Demonstrate your affection for them spontaneously and regularly with some sweet or sexy smooching, and let the reconnecting begin!