As cliché as it sounds, a kiss can feel like a Michael Bay-level explosion, or it can make you feel absolutely nothing at all. And if a common goal of the kiss is helping determine your attaction to someone, lip-locking can also establish a budding relationship: it's the great divide between friend and lover.
But there's more nuance to a simple kiss than just an equation of lips and tongues, and there are easy ways to set the pace even if you're not the most experienced kisser. Below, 10 tips on how to make the most out of a make-out session (sorry, I had to) like you're a seasoned pro.
1. Freshen Up
It goes without saying that you're a better candidate for a smooch session when you're not giving off whiffs of coffee breath or garlic as you gaze deeply into someone's eyes. A little self-awareness goes a long way and packing a tiny pack of mints or gum on your next date is key to prepping yourself for a kiss.
2. Time the Moment Right
Whether it's the end of a first date, or after a few follow-ups, you just have to read the signs and follow their body language cues to know when it's the right time to initiate a kiss. Don't insist on kissing someone at the end of the date if it doesn't feel right, but also make sure you're not waiting so long that the other person questions whether you're interested in them.
3. Work Your Eyes
When you're leaning in for a kiss, you can't use your mouth to speak, so why not say something with eye contact? When you're actually mid-kiss, though, dial it back a bit since it can be unnerving if one of you has your eyes open on a date (see: Bruno Mars' "Grenade"). Temporary blindness during a kiss can intensify the way it feels—the sound of another person's breathing or the gentle touch of their hand.
4. Stay in the Moment
As with anything even remotely sensual, you're guaranteed to feel more connected to the other person if you stop feeling anxious about your breath or something you said 10 minutes earlier or if you're a bad kisser by simply tuning out any extra mental chatter and giving into the moment.
5. Take Your Time
Kissing is a team effort. Don't squelch someone's spirit by going on the offensive (AKA getting too heavy-handed with tongue) or trying too hard to control the situation or lead the way. Feel out each other's tendencies and kissing styles, and go from there.
6. Mind Your Tongue
Tongue use can be great, or horrible. Remember, it's a kiss, not a facial wash. No one likes to be attacked by a tongue, or have their entire mouth filled by someone's tongue. But a tongue used well can make a kiss magical.
7. Pay Attention to Surroundings
Whether it's candlelight, a tent under the stars, in the ocean, or in a sudden rain storm, special new surroundings make a kiss interesting. Because your eyes are closed most of the time during a kiss, you'll hear and even feel the things that are happening around you more clearly.
8. Be Spontaneous
Catching someone off guard with a kiss can be a wonderful thing. Give them a little gift when they least expect it.
9. Control Your Saliva
Make sure, like your tongue, you control your saliva. No one craves a river of slobber down their chin.
10. Make it a Full Body Experience
Don't get fixated on someone's face. Touching their neck or sides, or just holding them close during a kiss can add a new level of intimacy to an already special moment.
11. Learn Your Erogenous Zones
On that note, even integrating the ear lobes and the neck—consider all those nerve endings—into a make-out session can electrify all the senses.
12. Give Each Other Positive Feedback
To kill the anticipation and nerve-wracking vibes of a kiss, give the other person positive feedback so that your partner feels good after a kiss. If they're not the best kisser in the world, gently guide them in another direction by slowing down and demonstrating a different technique.