Pucker Up! The Ultimate Guide To Be A Good Kisser

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couple kissing
Whether it's a light peck or full-on Frencher, come to your next smooching session prepared.

Kissing — you do it all the time. You kiss partners, potential partners, the guy you're on a date with, even the occasional three-way kiss after one too many margaritas on girls' night out. But the real question is, are you doing it right? Seriously, how do you screw a simple up a thing like kissing? You just put your lips together and ... pucker up. What could possibly be so complicated about that?

You already know the don'ts, like using too much tongue, excessive biting and being too aggressive, but what are the do's that make kissing so much more meaningful and seductive than just a peck on the lips? Here are a few tips to consider before you lean in for the kill.

Know what you want – and be ready for it.
Before you even make it to the potential kiss, you've got to look the part, says Lauren Frances, relationship coach, author of Dating, Mating And Manhandling: The Ornithological Guide To Men, and founder of LaurenFrances.com. That means grooming. "I always tell my clients to be ready for romance," she says. "In terms of grooming, you definitely want to brush and floss. Plus, you want to kiss someone with soft, kissable lips, right? Which means yours should be the same. Try rubbing an exfoliator on your lips or using a moisturizing balm that keeps them soft and hydrated."

When it comes to women, Frances recommends steering clear of glosses and lipstick, because ironically, they're not kiss-friendly accessories. "If you're wearing a red lip or gloopy lip gloss, guys sometimes shy away from making the first move," she says, adding that a "yummy tinted lip balm gives off the same effect" without all the mess.

For guys, it's definitely important to trim and tame your hair. Longer beards or mustaches distract from the lip — which makes your juicy lips harder to see and appreciate. That doesn't mean you've got trim 'em bare, but just make sure that the manscape (above the belt) is clean and orderly.

Be aware of smell and taste.
Here's a tidbit you probably didn't know: Frances says that when you kiss, your salvia actually contains testosterone (yep, the male hormone) — which makes you want to get it on. According to our expert, kissing arouses you by releasing endorphins. So if you're planning on an after-dinner lip-lock, come ready. No one wants to kiss someone with bad breath, so pack some mints in your bag just in case. Frances recommends dissolvable mints over chewable mints (since it takes time to actually chew them and you might not have time), and mouth sprays are much more invasive.

If you're out to dinner, Frances adds that it's safe to stay away from dishes that are heavy on garlic and onions. And though you don't have to forgo them entirely, watch out for salads and spinach dishes, because those kinds of plates are more likely to come with ingredients that'll end up stuck in your teeth. The same goes for dishes heavy on spices. "The best piece of advice I ever got was when someone told me, 'Don't order a salad; no one looks cool eating a salad.' So keep in mind how you'll need to eat something because it's just as important as what you're eating," says Frances. A good way to tell? Look around the restaurant at other diners. See the guy craning his neck and mouth to fit that long piece of iceberg into his mouth? Or the woman sucking up the spaghetti a la Lady and the Tramp? Avoid being that person.

Frances also adds that how you smell can help — or hurt — your chances. According to Frances, 75 percent of guys prefer vanilla-based scents, adding that "most guys don't really go for floral or musky scents." Need another way to think about it? Guys want to taste you like you're dessert, so a food-based scent (not that we're recommending you wear bacon-scented perfume), will literally make him want a sweet treat.

Make all the right moves.
"If you're with somebody, let them know you're ready to be kissed," says Frances. "Signal your ability to be kissed."

But how do you do that? "Look him (or her) in the eyes and smile; having that connected eye gaze creates intimacy and by letting them know you want to be intimate, you're giving them the go-ahead to be intimate with you."

So don't shy away from those traditional icebreakers, either. "Physically breaking the ice with men is important," Frances says, "because it lets him know that you're willing to be touched — and if you're touching them, they know it's okay to touch you.

She also suggests trying to compliment your date on something they're wearing or doing, which makes them feel like you approve of them. "You want this person to know that you like what they're doing — you can't just assume that they know," she says, adding that people are harder to read than you think. Guys and girls get nervous before making a move, so the more assurance you can give them, the better. "Lean in," says Frances, "rest your head in your hands and look up at them. There's something about touching yourself, innocently, that makes a person go crazy."

And if you want something a little bit more daring, try moistening your lips with your tongue — but not licking your lips (this isn't the 90s). "I tell the women that I work with, 'This is the most feminine 'kiss me' tip that I have, because most generally, most women want to feel feminine and delicate leading up to a kiss."

It doesn't mean that you're playing into these socialized stereotypes by being feminine, either. "The women that I've worked with want to inspire that inner-masculine kind of hero-self to come out of a guy. And kissing is just this really beautiful 'dance of surrender' that comes when you put yourself out there."

Know how the kiss will end.
One of the most important traits of a good kisser is knowing what you want before you ever get to the kiss. "If you want a kiss to just be a kiss, leave it at the door," says Frances. "Don't invite them inside." Sure, it sounds totally retro, but let's be honest here: How many times have you turned a guy away on the first night when he's got his hands halfway down your pants? Probably not many, so while Frances advice may seem dated, trust that it works. "Stop before you have a deeper kind of intimacy than you're ready for," which means if its your first night out with the guy you met off OKCupid.com, it's okay to turn him away after a lip lock on the front steps of your apartment (just hope the neighbors aren't watching.)

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