You could fill a library with all of the books offering sex advice – everything from the Kama Sutra to How To Make Love Like A Porn Star. But there are few kissing instruction books, and if your kisses fall short, you may never even make it as far as the bedroom.
According to psychologist/sex therapist and radio host Dr. Laurie Betito, the most important thing to remember is to kiss like you mean it.
What does kissing like you mean it … well, mean? “When you kiss like you mean it, you’re communicating, ‘I’m interested, I like you, I want to get close to you,’” she says. If you kiss someone halfheartedly or as though your kisses are only a means to an end, the recipient of your smooching is likely to be disappointed.
"You have to be careful,” Betito cautions, “because sometimes, people go in with the kiss thinking this is the first step to having sex, and that’s a trap. That’s what happens for a lot of couples – the only time they kiss is when they’re initiating sex.” She suggests focusing only on the kissing for a while, whether you’re just starting a relationship or you’ve been together for years.
“Kissing is intimate. It’s why prostitutes don’t kiss,” Betito says. “It’s a form of communication at the romantic level that builds the chemistry between two people.”
In fact, if you’re really kissing like you mean it, your “kissee” should interpret your meaning as, “I’m enjoying this so much, I could kiss you all night.”
What kind of kisser are you?
Of course, you can mean your kisses with all your heart, but if your technique is off, you will still run into trouble. Do you recognize any of these kinds of kissers? If you spot yourself on the list, take heart, we have advice for you to improve your smooch-ability.
The Hound Dog. This is the sloppy, overzealous, all-tongue type who leaves you drenched as though you have just stepped under a waterfall. You get the feeling that this person would lick your face all over if you allowed it. Keep tissues handy to catch the drippings, and perhaps grab a leash.
Dr. Aline Zoldbrod, author of Sex Smart and Sex Talk, says, “While on a lizard brain level, we do make decisions about mate suitability based on moderate exchanges of fluid. Don’t slobber! It’s rare for a new date to relish a tsunami of saliva.”
If you tend to produce a gusher when in a lip-lock, try using your tongue a little less and closing your mouth a bit more.
The Lock Jaw. This is the opposite of the Hound Dog – all lips with a mouth that stays shut tight as a drum. If it weren’t for this kisser’s filthy bathroom, you’d swear you have a germophobe on your hands. Trying to pry open those lips could give your tongue muscle spasms. Got a crowbar handy?
Extremes are a no-no in kissing. Too much tongue, not enough tongue, all lips, or not enough lips are all recipes for disappointment. “A good kisser is someone who uses variety,” Betito stresses. If you’re accustomed to keeping your mouth closed while kissing, experiment with opening it more and allowing for some subtle tongue action.
The Abductee. Joshua, a man in his early 40s, complains that a woman he dated acted as though her hands had been tied behind her back. While she was a decent kisser, she was all mouth, leading with the lips and tongue, while the rest of her body lay dormant and sleeping, as if waiting for the ransom demands.
Melanie Votaw is a freelance writer and photographer in New York City and the author of 12 non-fiction books, including "52 Weeks of Passionate Sex."