Being a good kisser is not just good for getting a second (or third) date, but is part of what scores you a partner. If you’re a bad kisser, chances are you’re not going to hear from this person you like again. Your kissing skills play a role in your overall relationship’s health.
“The first kiss is a deal-breaker in terms of determining how the relationship will play out. A woman feels a kiss can predict how good of a lover a guy will be. A bad kiss will deter her from getting involved with him,” Susan M. Hughes, Ph.D, author of a Prolific 2013 kissing study, tells Men’s Health.
Kissing tip 1: Take care of your breath
Take your breath into consideration. Bad breath or scummy teeth will always be a turnoff for a potential partner. It might seem trivial, but science says there are legitimate reasons we trip over someone’s breath. So, make sure you pop a mint to increase chances of success.
Lips are important too. “Kissing requires good breath and moist, non-crusty or chapped lips,” says Whitney, 27, of Philadelphia. “These things show a guy takes care of himself, a crucial sign he can care for others. Good breath and moist lips may also indicate that he was considerate enough to freshen up after the garlic-bread appetizer.”
Kissing tip 2: Be gentle
Kristina says overeager kisses are always bad. “Sometimes it seems like he’s eating your face off. A good kiss would be relaxed and natural,” she says. Does that mean no tongue? Not necessarily. Start with slow kisses, move to opening your mouth a little, and if it feels right—try a little tongue.
“A good kiss combines spontaneity, tongue but not too much force, light nibbling to my lower lip, and using your hands to touch other parts of my body,” says Kristy, 24, of New York. “That combo equals euphoria for me.”
“Be present in the kiss- touch their hair, touch their face, go at the same pace and take the time to connect. Major turn offs are when someone cannot recognize they are too fast, too firm, or too tongue-y,” says Liz, 28. Use the tip of your tongue to play with hers. Maybe even a lit lip nibble could be nice.
Kissing tip 3: Kissing doesn’t always mean sex is on the table
Don’t think that a kiss guarantees sex. Just because someone makes out with you, doesn’t’ mean they want to sleep with you. Women in the study said kissing was important before, during, and after sex—and we’re talking about her mouth here.
Before you kiss someone, be sure they’re into it. “First and foremost, make sure the person in front of you is consenting,” says Anne, Laure, 28. “It doesn’t happen that often for people to just assume and go for it.”
“Kissing is the starting line for sex,” says Whitney. “It heightens my senses and sends me into overdrive. Kissing brings you face to face and forces you to look into the eyes of the person with whom you’re about to share this incredible experience.”
Kissing tip 4: Kissing and cuddling never stop being important
For many of us, we need intimacy to be reminded we’re valued and appreciated. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been together three months or ten years, kissing is always needed.
“I like to go slow and let my lips, tongue and hands wander until I find a good groove with my partner. There’s a fine line between being too aggressive and simply being greedy because you can’t get enough.”
“Long-term relationships need lots of rekindling on a regular basis, and a simple kiss is a great way to do this,” Jen explains.
“A kiss can mean anything from ‘I know you’re working hard on a big project right now, but I want to remind you I love and support you’ to ‘Turn off the TV and come to bed with me,’” she says.