When you really think about it, kissing can be kind of complicated. Sure, for many people it is highly enjoyable, but that doesn't change the fact that everybody has their own personal preferences when it comes to puckering up.
Kissing also has a lot of benefits that often get overlooked. "Physical contact and touch is an emotional and physical need and can release oxytocin, reduce stress, and calm our nervous system," explains Jesse Kahn, LCSW-R, CST.
Maybe you have a partner you can or would like to test some of these benefits out with but aren't sure how to initiate. "Consent at all stages of intimacy is important," says Kahn. "Some great ways to ask for consent can be as simple as 'Can I kiss you?' or 'I want to kiss you—is that okay?'"
Kahn also recommends starting a conversation by asking how someone likes to be kissed, so you can feel things out before straight up asking.And if you're nervous about being a "good kisser," Meleza S Morris, an intimacy coach and coordinator for TV and film, is here to remind you that a technique that one person hates “may be someone else’s weight dream.” So just relax and lean into the moment.
Still, there are a few things you can do to make sure you have a strong foundation for a good kiss. Read on for 15 tips on how to feel your best when locking lips.
1. Ask for consent.
Asking for consent should always be a top priority before getting physical with anyone. And if you're interested in taking the kiss to other levels of intimacy, make sure you're clear on that as well.
2. Start with a closed mouth.
Unless you and your partner have established that you prefer going straight for tongue on the first kiss, it's better to start with a closed mouth. "Everyone's mouths' are different [and] some have a wider range than others," explains Morris. "It can feel overwhelming to try and match someone else's mouth and then feel consumed or connected with the areas around their mouth instead of their lips."
3. Check your breath
This one goes without saying, but keeping your breath fresh or opting not to kiss after eating something particularly pungent won't hurt you in any way. "We all know that there are moments when we wish the other person (or people) would have let us know if something was, "off." Sometimes there are certain flavors that taste really yummy on someone's palette, but I would not assume," says Morris.
4. Slow down
The buildup is important even if you only plan on kissing and nothing more. Taking it slow will allow you to stay present. Besides, it's not a competition
5. Smell the person first.
Also in the spirit of taking things slow is indulging in your partner's scent. Spending extra time around the nape of the neck or back of the ear to take in their smell can be incredibly sensual.
6. Monitor your saliva.
As mentioned before, everyone approaches kissing differently, and how much saliva you use can make or break the kiss. "Spitting is a particular kink, and not everyone is into it. Receiving a mouthful of someone else's spit could be a complete turn-off, and it could also massively turn someone else on. Rule of thumb: start slow, and then build up," says Morris.
7. Speak up!
When you're in the heat of things, you might forget to check back in with your partner or vice versa. "As much as we would like to read each other's minds, it's a tricky space to assume that we know what we want all of the time," explains Morris. "Don't be afraid to ask for what you want...it can totally change from moment to moment
8. Explore other parts of their face before kissing their lips.
Your lips have tons of nerve endings, but that doesn't mean you can't bring your attention elsewhere. Morris suggests planting kisses on the cheek, forehead, or corner of their mouth.
9. Make eye contact before kissing them.
Eye contact can be intense or gentle, making it a great way to connect with your partner. Morris also adds that you can use it as an indicator to see how someone is feeling while kissing.
10. Use your hands.
If you're given the green light after talking over your boundaries, use your hands to deepen the kiss. Maybe you want to caress their face or give a gentle pull on their hair. You can also guide their head to the side for neck kisses.
11. Try tease and denial.
If you identify as a kinky person, then you might know that tease and denial can be a great way to build your partner up. "Allow yourself to lean into a kiss and then pull away ever so gently from the other person and tease them," says Morris. "Smile at them, whisper to them how excited you are to touch them with your lips, and keep them on their toes. "
12. Gently suck on their lips and tongue.
Emphasis on gently! While this trick is one that Morris considers to be a "pro" move that can be super arousing, she notes that you should never assume someone wants their lips to be sucked or bit into.
13. Get creative!
If you have a good flow going on, don't be afraid to play around a little. Morris suggests trying out little pecks and switching to slow and sustained motions and add a flick of the tongue.
14. Make sounds.
There's a long-running joke on the internet about being too quiet in the bedroom, but this can also apply to kissing. "Making sounds is one of the best ways to activate our parasympathetic system and turn on our kundalini energy," explains Morris. "Moaning, growling, little whimpers—these are all very yummy and totally stimulating."
15. Rub delicious or sweet food on your lips.
Yes, you read that right. Finding out what kind of treats turns your partner on and using it (if possible) during your kiss can give you the opportunity to embrace your primal side, according to Morris.
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