How To Kiss Well So They'll Never Forget You

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man and woman kissing
Love

I am an aficionado of the kiss. No other act is so simple and so intimate.

The light suction, the flick of the lip, the playful nibble, the deep advance and retreat of the tongue — a good kiss is like jazz, an improvisation of melodies, flirtatious staccatos, and passionate brassy crescendos.

Knowing how to kiss well is a matter of serious importance in any kind of romantic relationship.

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I've been surprised by how many people treat kissing like it really is first base — just a step toward something better. When I meet such women in my own life, I face a dilemma, like a music lover who discovers their new friend has bad taste.

Fortunately, it is possible to learn how be a better kisser if you're open to following a few tips and kissing techniques you may not have considered.

12 Kissing Tips and Tricks

1. Think of a kiss as a conversation, and be sure you have consent.

My first encounter with someone who was a less-than-good kisser ended badly.

Julie and I were 14. At the conclusion of our second date, she tilted her head, put her open lips to mine, and, using a combination of wetness and suction, established airlock. Then, her tongue invaded.

I imagined an eel or a water-dwelling snake, or perhaps a tapeworm, darting towards my throat, slithering around, and then withdrawing, only to strike again immediately.

I tried to block her with my tongue, but she swirled and pushed me back. I could not breathe. Then, I began to gag reflexively.

Being 14 has its disadvantages. Julie had not learned the cardinal rule of kissing: it's a conversation.

There's nothing inherently wrong with this type of kiss, but if your partner hasn't asked for it, it's more likely to scare them away then turn them on. Always remember that consent is sexy!

I didn't even call Julie to break up with her, figuring that if a girl had literally made me gag, she would probably get the message.

2. Make the other person feel like a great kisser.

My first girlfriend, Christine, became my gold standard when it comes to kissing. Our first kiss was, to a boy on a first date, a small miracle.

I had been terribly nervous as we approached her front door.

My hands had begun to sweat. (How could I touch her with sweaty hands?) I became aware of my gangly height. (Could I reach her without bending awkwardly?)

I began to doubt that I should kiss her at all.

But she made it very simple. She took my wrists, clasped my hands behind her back, rose onto her toes, and pressed her bottom lip between mine, drawing my top lip between hers until I returned the gesture. Then, it was over, punctuated with a little smack of suction as we parted.

For several days after, this perfect kiss ran through my mind. What stood out in my replay, even more than her malleable lips and that hint of her tongue, was my own feeling of pride.

Despite my adolescent fumbling, she made me feel good by allowed me to think I'd somehow felt that I had acted — there's no other word — smooth.

A great kisser makes you feel like you are a great kisser.

The lesson here for any would-be kissing instructor is that you have to teach someone how to kiss without suggesting something is wrong. Your unsuspecting students should feel as if they are teaching you. To make this happen, you first have to understand what makes people kiss poorly.

3. Avoid using your tongue too much.

The most common mistake bad kissers make is excessive french kissing; that is, keeping their tongue moving just for the sake of moving it. They're not sure what else to do, and confuse passion with penetration.

So, to be a good kisser, keep in mind that your tongue isn't the star of the show; in fact, it can be a big turn-off. An aggressive tongue is a rookie mistake, so keep yours in your mouth if you can't hold back.

RELATED: How To French Kiss Better Than Anyone Else (Yes, Really!)

4. Get creative with their lips.

In response to someone using too much tongue, at first you should to French back. If you make bad kissers feel self-conscious, they'll never improve.

Indulge them, switching the direction of the tongue-swirl periodically to keep the semblance of spontaneity. Then, right before the monotony becomes a turn-off, go for a lip. Choose top or bottom; the more thickly fleshed is probably the best one.

Once you've focused on just one lip, you create so many options: simple suction; switching from top to bottom or bottom to top; slyly adding your tongue as you gently nibble and then teasingly retreat.

The wonderful thing about a lip lock is that once it's established, any kissing partner with a modicum of creativity will discover the possibilities and try the combinations. All you have to do is reward them by returning the favors.

More important than any single technique, though, is a general principle: you have to awaken your bad kisser's creativity.

Note: you might want to get into the habit of using lip balm to ensure your own lips stay smooth and kissable.

5. Take your time.

When I first met my current girlfriend, Sarah, she didn't like to kiss. She thought it felt phony. If you were feeling so passionate, she reasoned, then why weren't your clothes off? Being the lucky object of her passion,

I didn't much argue the point... at first. Instead, I just tried to understand how on earth someone could dislike kissing. To my surprise, I found that Sarah had much in common with the overly enthusiastic tongues of my youth. For all of them, kissing was nothing more than an intimation of sex.

For the over-kissers, like Julie the tongue-invader, kissing was good to the extent it mimicked intercourse. For Sarah the under-kisser, it was just a step toward what would happen next. As a result, she, like other kissing dilettantes, could not see the range of kissing possibilities.

In its fully realized form, kissing is an alternate language in which lovers conduct a parallel courtship — they tease, they connect, they discover an accord. Don't be in a hurry. It will only get you nowhere faster.

6. Keep it playful.

In my relationship with Sarah, I found that she had no problem with playful kissing. She would always return a peck and bite back if I nibbled her lip. She could enjoy a kiss that did nothing more than flirt.

For a couple who had initially sprinted past first base without touching the bag, this tentativeness might seem odd. But the body can be a blunt instrument, easy to use as an outlet for the passion of new love.

On the more emotional terrain of the mouth, Sarah was a modest girl, wary of committing herself too readily.

But after a time, her kisses started to last longer. A gifted, if infrequent poet, Sarah began to appreciate how a good kiss, like a poem, suggests more than it says outright, expressing those feelings that lovers can share only indirectly.

Her creativity was stirred. Now, she, too, has become an aficionado.

RELATED: If You Want Her To Kiss You Again, Do Not Do These 20 Things

7. Use your hands.

When you kiss someone, you don’t want your hands stuck to your sides or in your pockets. No way! To immerse yourself and your kissing partner fully into the experience, make your hands part of the equation.

There are a few ways to use your hands when kissing. You can hold their hand in yours, paying attention to the way they hold it back or if they pull away; if it’s the latter, be mindful of consent and that you must both be on the same wavelength.

If you want to go further, make your way down their body, holding their waist, face, thighs and butt, boosting the level of intimacy.

Caress their body, gently stroking their erogenous zones. Touch their head and run your fingers through their hair (and don't be afraid to try some light hair pulling).

8. Gradually increase intensity.

The best way to make a kiss memorable is to work up to that passionate moment. Begin a makeout session with light kisses before jumping all the way in, adding tongues and hands.

While you don’t want to immediately add intensity, you also don’t want to drag it out for a long period of time. Who wants to make out when all you’re getting is light pecks?

Part of increasing the intensity is communicating with your kissing partner about what you want. Let them know, either verbally or with eye contact and body language, that you want more passion.

9. Stay in the moment.

It’s easy to get lost in your thoughts while locking lips, but to stay fully present means focusing on what is currently happening.

If your partner is running their hands down your body, lean into that feeling. The same goes for them adding tongue to kissing, or even kissing other places, like your neck or chest.

Hone into the sensations that kissing brings you. Do you get goosebumps? Does your breathing increase? Are you experiencing tingles in your body and lips?

Pay attention to it all, and block out thoughts of the past and future.

10. Choose the right time and place.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a little PDA while you’re out together, but be aware that the entire world doesn’t need to see you swapping spit!

If you want to keep a kiss romantic, choose a setting that’s more intimate. For example, away from family and strangers, sitting next to each other, or after a warm embrace when you return from work.

Also be mindful of timing. You wouldn’t try to kiss someone who is expressing grief, anger, or heartbreak, right? While you can offer a kiss on the cheek for comfort, don’t push the envelope in situations like this.

11. Work on your breathing.

Kissing can leave you short of breath, both from the passion you feel and from focusing all your energy on technique. But you have to remember to breathe while smooching!

Now, that doesn’t mean you let out your breath through your mouth into theirs, but it does mean being aware of your inhales and exhales, as well as those of your partner. After all, breathing in each other’s exhales adds to the sensuality of a kiss and helps the energy flow through both of your bodies.

So, don’t hold your breath, but also don’t exhale through a wide-open mouth. Instead, breathe through your nose. It’s as simple as that.

12. Offer positive feedback.

After you’ve finished kissing or making out, there may be room for improvement on their end. And while you might be tempted to flat-out criticize them, that’s the last thing you want to do!

Instead, talk to them and be vocal about what you liked and what you didn’t like. Ask them what parts of the kissing they liked and didn’t like. Doing this makes it clear that you care about their preferences and having an overall pleasurable experience.

Always remain positive when offering feedback about what you did like. For example, rather than saying, “Your kissing sucked. You used too much tongue,” try, “I liked when you passionately embraced me, and I loved when you bit my lip.”

You want to boost their confidence while teaching them what you like, right?

How to Make Every Kiss Special

No matter what stage of the relationship you’re in, kissing each other can bring you closer and increase the intimacy.

After you finish locking lips, take a moment to think about the sensations and overall experience. Enjoy the oxytocin coursing through your brain. Hold each other if your relationship is more than casual.

Above all, remember that even though kissing, especially if it’s with someone new, can be nerve-wracking, the anxiety you feel will eventually dissipate, so don’t dwell on it. Not every kiss will be spectacular or memorable, but the more you practice with someone you trust, the better the smooches will become over time.

It’s all about knowing what you want, what your partner wants, and making it work through action.

RELATED: 5 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Kiss Someone (According To Science)

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Ben Van Heuvelen is a writer and journalist who lives and works in both New York City and Washington, DC.