10 Ways to Be a Better Kisser

Just in time for mistletoe season.

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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.

After all, a kiss can be just as intimate as sex, and just as important. (I, for one, remember certain smooches more than most of my sexual encounters.) 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.

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1. Freshen Up

It's common sense, but too many people are guilty of going without correcting bad breath. Practice self-awareness and make sure you keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh. It doesn't matter how good a kisser you are, since a fresh whiff of garlic can really kill the mood, especially if you're just getting to know each other.

2. Build the Moment

Whether it's the end of a first date, or after a few weeks of dating, the anticipation you build creates tension which can only be broken by...a kiss (just kidding, but really). It's just like any moment of conflict in any good developing story! Just make sure you don't wait so long that the other person questions whether you're interested in them.

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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 a little creepy when one of you has your eyes open, and it can be distracting. Just as a blind person's other four senses are enhanced, 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. Kiss People You Like

We're all guilty of kissing people we could care less about: maybe on the dance floor, or during a moment of weakness late night in the bar. If you only kiss people you really want to kiss, those kisses will feel a lot better and you'll naturally be more invested in them. Kissing too many people might lead to numbness. But on the other hand, there's always the manta "practice makes perfect."

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. 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 needs a river of slobber down their chin.

10. Explore

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.

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