Dr. NerdLove offers a primer on how to ace one of the most important moments in a new relationship.
A lot of men’s anxiety when it comes to women is performance based.
Men tend to be worried – especially when they’re relatively inexperienced with respect to dating – that they’re not going to measure up. It’s the fear that they’ll have come so far and worked on so much just to get in the game in the first place… but no matter how much heart or hustle they have they simply don’t have the skills to actually perform when it counts.
This is never more clear than with kissing. More men fear being a bad kisser than they do being a bad lay – and with good reason. Kissing is an incredibly important skill. In a study at Butler University, almost all of the participants remembered their first kiss more vividly than when they lost their virginity. Many women – up to 2/3rds according to some studies – will end a relationship because their partner was a bad kisser.
It’s really not exaggerating to say that your kissing technique can make or break you in the dating world. No pressure!
But don’t worry. With these tips, whether it’s your first kiss with your sweetie or the hundredth, you’ll understand how to give the kiss that she’ll always remember… and be dying for the next one.
It’s In His Kiss (That’s Where It Is)
It’s actually rather astounding how something as simple as putting your lips together can be so incredibly important. Kissing, after all, is that moment when the chemistry takes over. Literally.A great deal of scientific literature on the meaning and evolution of kissing suggests that kissing among humans developed as a way of checking for genetic compatibility. While thatinitial attraction is based on things like external signs of health, social cues and emotional compatibility, kissing is often what seals the deal… or wrecks it. The physical proximity allows us to sample our partner’s health in myriad ways, including posture, scent and taste. Meanwhile, other scientists suggest that kissing helps compare immune systems, the theory being that the greater the differing genes for the immune system that person has, more desirable he is as a mate. The more robust the potential offspring’s immune system is, the better the odds that the child will survive and have children of its own..
But beyond the genetic and hormonal components, kissing is too important to blow off. Studies have found that women – especially women who are more interested in and open to having casual sex – rate kissing as being a critical part of attraction and increases sexual arousal. But kissing is also incredibly important to relationship maintenance – couples who kiss more report greater levels of relationship satisfaction. This is due in no small part to the way that kissing boosts the production of oxytocin – the hormone that promotes emotional bonding and inspires feelings of love and affection.
To put it bluntly: kissing matters to women, across pretty much every cultural divide. For many men, kissing is simply foreplay, a prelude to getting to “the good stuff”. Women, on the other hand, see it as an important event in and of itself – a good kiss is seen as a way of evaluating a potential relationship or even assessing the current state of the relationship and its potential future. The better you kiss now, the more likely you’re going to be kissing in the future. Which is why it’s important to get it right.
Have A Mind-Blowing First Kiss
Since a great kiss is a critical part of future kissing – and other activities – then you want to make sure to ace that first kiss and blow her socks off.
The first rule of a great first kiss is to pick your moment. This doesn’t mean “waiting until everything is perfect”, because when you do it right then that will have been the perfect moment to do so. You want to kiss her when she’s showing signs of wanting to be kissed – for example: she’s moving from “personal space” (2-4 feet) to “intimate” space (18 inches), she’s giving you the triangle gaze, her eyes are dilated and she’s drawing attention to her lips. Don’t just look for one signal and assume it’s all systems go; you want to follow the Rule of Four and look for signs in clusters.
Once you’re getting those signals, it’s time to make the magic happen. But no matter how excited you – and she – may be, you don’t want to just dive in and maul her face. The best thing you can do is start slowly, leaning in and letting the moment build to a crescendo before your lips touch. And when they do, savor the moment. This is the first time you’ve kissed… even if you’re both only looking for something that night, it’s a moment that should be savored. The most memorable kisses aren’t the ones where you just attack one another, but ones where the moment builds, like a roller coaster reaching the top of the first hill and pausing just before you go over the edge.
Start the kiss off softly and gently, with your lips closed. Let one hand gently touch or cup her face, while another rests on her hip (her hip, not her butt. Do not give an ass grab during the first kiss) and hold her close but don’t clutch or pull her against you. As the passion grows, let your mouth open a little bit and let the kiss be a little harder but not forceful. Don’t use your tongue; it makes you look like you’re an over-eager adolescent who doesn’t understand the meaning of the word restraint. There will be time for that later.
Now here’s the killer move: as the passion builds to a crescendo and you feel the kiss starting to become more intense, pull back gently and look her in the eyes. Take a moment to breathe – perhaps with a whispered “Wow,” as though this were the most amazing kiss you’ve had (don’t worry, it will be). Not only is it a cinema moment that will cement the kiss as incredible, but deliberately breaking contact at a high-point will leave her feeling breathless… and wanting more.
Perfect Your Technique
So your first kiss was amazing… now it’s time to solidify your reputation as an incredible kisser.
To start with: don’t be too forceful. Too many men mistake “pressure” for “passion” and kiss their partner as though they were trying to smash their faces together like some sort of twisted Play-Doh Fun Factory experiment. Others don’t kiss their lover so much as seemingly attempt to eat their face, covering as much of their partner’s mouth and jaw with their own. You’re not trying to gum her into submission, you’re trying to kiss and that requires finesse. You want to vary the intensity of your kisses to keep them fun and arousing – sometimes kissing very gently and slowly, other times hungry and passionate, as though you can’t get enough of her.
Similarly, you want to do more than just kiss her lips. One of the most common complaints that women have about the way their man kisses is that it gets too repetitive and mechanical; no matter how much they may like kissing you, doing the same thing over and over again gets boring. You want to use a number of different kisses. Alternate between her upper or lower lip. Gently suck on her lower lip or even catch it softly1 between your teeth. And don’t just kiss her lips. According to studies, over 90% of women reported loving being kissed on the neck. But don’t just stop there; kiss her cheek, her earlobe, even her collar-bone. Kissing and making out isn’t just about the lips; it’s a whole body activity.
Speaking of: use your hands properly, too. Holding her against you (but not too tightly) can increase the intensity. Cup her face or run your fingers through her hair as you kiss. Many women like a gentle tug on their hair as you kiss; if you’re going to do this (and you know if your honey is one of those women who likes it) then run your fingers through her hair and grasp it gently near the scalp. You’re not trying to hurt her, you’re just adding a level of passion and intensity.
If you’re going to use your tongue, then you want to use it right. Don’t jackhammer it in her mouth – or leave it there limp like a dead fish for that matter. Enthusiasm is good, but you aren’t trying to cram it down her throat. Caress your tongue against hers, suck on hers gently. It can be passionate, but passion disappears quickly when it seems like you’re more interested in using her uvula like a punching bag or you’re trying to ram your ovipositor down her throat and lay your eggs in her chest.2
And don’t forget to come up for air every once in a while. Passion is all well and good, but you still need to breathe.
Factors That Make Or Break A Kiss
The greatest kissing technique in the world isn’t going to do you any good if you have any other factors that’re going to ruin your kisses. Part of being an amazing kisser is understanding the things that make you un-kissable.
This means your breath, genius. If your breath could kill a yak at 50 paces, there’s no way in hell that she’s going to want to get within kissing distance with you.
Beyond avoiding the garlic knots and brushing and flossing, you want to make sure you stay hydrated to keep bad smells at bay. A dry mouth is a stinky mouth. And don’t forget to keep mints, gum or breath strips on you at all times. Hell, I keep a small bottle of mouthwash in my car for bad breath emergencies. Consider getting cinnamon flavored gum or Altoids; the cinnamon oil has antibiotic qualities that kills the bacteria that cause mouth odors.
Your breath is one thing to concern yourself about, but you also want to consider how the restof you smells. Beyond your basic BO issues, other smells like cigarette smoke or excess cologne can kill the mood. Obviously showering and using a good deodorant are important, but you want to consider the other scents you douse yourself with on a daily basis. Too many men are covered in conflicting and overpowering scents. If you’re bathing in cologne, then you’re doing it wrong; ideally she should only be able to smell you when she’s close enough to kiss. If her eyes are watering every time she gets close, it doesn’t matter if you’re using Yves St. Laurent Pour Homme instead of Drakkar Noir, it’s still going to turn her off. One tip: consider forgoing the usual cologne and using an essential oil. A dab of Nemat Amber at the base of your throat and on your wrists is a subtle but incredibly pleasing scent that only people in close proximity will notice. Every time I’ve worn it, I’ve gotten compliments from women over how I smell.
This should also be obvious. You want to keep your lips soft, subtle and moist. If they’re chapped and dry… well, even Ryan Gosling won’t be getting kissed if his lips look like Death Valley. Stay hydrated in general and avoid consuming excess salt to keep your lips in good shape. If you have issues with chapped lips, then look into a medicated lip balm. Do not use Carmex; it dries your lips out even more.
Your Facial Hair
Hey, beard rash is totally a thing. No woman wants to feel like she’s just run an industrial sander on her face after an intense make-out session, and the bacteria on your beard can lead to break-outs. Not sexy. Women tend to prefer kissing a clean-shaven man, but if you’re going to be rocking facial hair, you need to take care of it. Shampoo and condition your mustache and beard daily, especially if it’s short. The shorter the hair, the pricklier it’s going to be to her. If you’re rocking the artfully cultivated stubble then you’re going to have to be extra gentle during make-outs.
When In Doubt, Listen To Her Lips
Now that you’ve got these points down, want to make her think you’re the most incredible kisser ever? Listen to her lips.
Everyone has their own favorite way of being kissed. Some people like it long and slow, others like fast and intense. Some like lots of tongue, others prefer more focus on their lips. If you’re not sure where your honey falls, then pay attention to how she kisses you. We tend to kiss other people the way we want to be kissed. Following her lead and matching her tempo without needing to be told will make it seem like you’ve read her mind… and leave her breathless.
It helps to remember that kissing is like a dance. It has a rhythm and cadence of its own and when the two of you are in synch, it ceases to be a kiss and turns into something magical. And believe me: a man who can make that magic happen is a man who is going to forever be in demand.
Originally appeared at Paging Dr. NerdLove
Lead photo: Flickr/Thomas Leuthard