We asked victims of bad kissers at Marie Claire Ask & Answer — Marie Claire's online Q&A community for dating, sex, and relationship advice — for their bad kiss horror stories, and they're generously spilling the details on what ruins a smooch. Before you pucker up, study up on these four makeout mistakes to avoid:
KISS KILLER: Attack of the Mouth
"A kiss should be soft and gentle, not like being mauled by an animal," says Answerology kisser snowbear08.
When in doubt, proceed with caution. Start slow and let kissing momentum build naturally. Forcing a passionate liplock might catch your partner off-guard, so avoid coming off like an overzealous puppy and show some restraint — pay attention to your partner's signals. Kissing is a team sport, and if your significant other has to play defense all night, you're being too aggressive. Suppress your alpha urges and let your partner take the lead. You might learn a trick or two!
KISS KILLER: The Grandma Peck
"No tongue is the worst. A kiss doesn't have to be wet and sloppy, but it shouldn't chafe either," shell1130 said.
If you have your date reaching for the Chapstick and wondering if there was indeed a kiss, get back in there with a little more enthusiasm. A closed mouth and tiny pecks have never in the history of kissing rocked anyone's world. Kiss like you mean it — engage your entire mouth, not just tightly pursed lips.
KISS KILLER: Bad Breath
Questionable breath makes Answerology user notsohawt run the other way. "It's not so hard to pop a mint," she says. "Even better, BRUSH YOUR TEETH. Finding food in the guy's mouth wouldn't be much of a turn on."
Better safe (and minty-fresh) than sorry. All the kissing technique in the world won't save you if you're entering a room breath-first. Make it a habit to carry mints or gum with you, and offer some to your date without waiting for them to ask.
KISS KILLER: Going Off-Target
"One guy slobbered all over my face, and was actually licking my chin and cheeks," notsohawt told us.
A mid-makeout kiss on the cheek or forehead? Sweet. A wandering tongue that leaves a trail of drool on your date's face? Scary. Enthusiasm is key for a killer kiss, but keep the saliva in check — a mid-kiss towel wipedown is a mood-kill. If your kissing partner keeps needing breathers to wipe off their face, take the hint. Or at least bring some tissues next time.