A Teenager's Guide to Kissing

What makes for a great kiss?

How do you become a skillful kisser?

This guide provides simple tips, tricks, and pointers to kissing that will make all the difference and keep your partner coming back for more. Moreover, it touches on and addresses common myths about kissing.




Cultural connotations of kissing vary widely throughout the world; as a result, a kiss can express many different kinds of sentiments. This guide focuses on kissing to express the sentiments of love, passion, romance, sexual attraction, sexual activity, and sexual arousal.




-The Five Big Myths-

1. “Kissing always leads to sex.”

False. Although kissing is a form of foreplay, it doesn’t always lead to sex. Communicate with your partner and, if you have any, express your worries about moving too fast. Make sure your partner understands why it is important to you to stop at kissing (also known as “1st base”). Set some boundaries you can both agree on. It is very likely your partner will respect your concerns and support your wishes; if not, chances are he/she is not the right one for you.


2. “The awkward first kiss is inevitable.”

False. Having little kissing experience will not make your first kiss awkward. In other words, your first kiss is not destined to be awkward. Awkward moments happen when you rush into something you are not familiar with and goof up. Accepting the fact that your kissing skills are not yet honed will get you through your first kiss without embarrassment. Remember, you’re in new territory; take your time exploring it. Rushing at any point will likely lead to an uncomfortable moment that might feel a little awkward. Take it slow, keep it simple, and follow your partner’s advances with some of your own.


3. “Some people are just naturally good kissers.”

False. Kissing is a learned skill that improves with experience. Therefore, “naturally good kissers” are not inherently talented. Like any other skill, kissing is improved through practice and experience. “Natural” kissers are commended for their approach—not skill.  Approaching the act of kissing with a cool attitude can make a kiss look and feel natural even when little to no skill is involved. Anyone can be a “naturally good kisser” if they embrace the right attitude. Relax! Avoid worrying about under-performing or over-performing, and just enjoy the moment.


4. “Do it like in the movies.”

False. Movies often misrepresent how individuals kiss in real life. Do not feel compelled to imitate what you see on screen. While most kisses are generally gentle, sensible, and ordinary, movies often depict the polar opposite. Movie kisses are more intense, excessive, and momentous than everyday kisses for a narrative purpose. Focus on finding a style of kissing that feels right, one both you and your partner can enjoy.


5. “Conquered by the perfect kiss.”

False. A good kiss doesn’t make a relationship; likewise, a bad kiss doesn’t break a relationship, so don’t worry about flubbing a kiss after a great first date. Similarly, don’t expect a great kiss to make up for a terrible date. The notion of a kiss itself winning someone over is unfounded. Individuals don’t choose a partner based on their kissing ability alone. More important factors—like individuality, a sense of humor, cleanliness, manners—carry weight during the process of choosing, so don’t stress about having to end a date with a perfect kiss. Instead, focus on making a strong connection with your date and building a strong basis for a relationship.




-Prepping for the Kiss-


Forget Your Insecurities

What To Do:  Take a moment to remind yourself—you are a great catch. Think of all the positive qualities you have to offer, focus on them, and have confidence. Don’t let insecurities decrease your self-worth! Forget trying to cover up your insecurities; instead, make them a part of who you are until they stop bothering you. Recognize your shortcomings, and demonstrate that these minor setbacks do not define who you are as a person. A good approach to showing this is with a sense of humor. Make a light and funny joke at your expense, and get the uncomfortable moment out of the way.


Trying to cover up your insecurities can make them appear more obvious. Maintain a healthy dose of confidence, in spite of your shortcomings. Look at your insecurities with a positive attitude and keep in mind that you are no less capable of achieving happiness because of them.

Fresh Breath

What To Do:  Brush your teeth, and use mouthwash before going out. Additionally, carry around some mints or gum (cinnamon, peppermint, spearmint, and green or black tea flavors) to freshen your breath when necessary. If you find yourself in a smelly breath situation, an alternate to kissing is a peck on the lips or cheek.


If you’re going to kiss someone, make sure you have fresh breath! Not only will following this rule help you avoid grossing out your partner, but also it is good for oral hygiene. Bad breath is a sure way to undercut a great kiss, so avoid it at all costs.


Moisturize Lips

What To Do:  Carry around a lip moisturizer. Non-petroleum based lip moisturizers will help you avoid unnecessary lip grease. Take advantage of the wide variety of flavors available. Communicate with your partner, and find out which flavors he or she likes. Get yourself a flavor of lip moisturizer that your partner really likes. Cherry, vanilla, spearmint, and candy cane—the possibilities are virtually endless.


Chapped and/or cracked lips can take away from the pleasure of the kissing experience. Not only are dry, chapped lips unappealing and rough, but more severely chapped lips can also crack open and cause you pain. This pain can distract you from kissing, but can be easily avoided with lip moisturizer. Avoid using petroleum based lip moisturizers when kissing your partner. Although they are great for healing dry, chapped, and cracked lips, petroleum based lip moisturizers leave behind an oily residue that can transfer onto your partner’s lips and feel very unpleasant.





-Honing the Kiss-


Loosen Up & Feel the Moment

What To Do:  Don’t be so serious. Unlike movie kisses where the level of intensity is high, real-life kisses are much lighter and less serious. Forget the depictions of the “perfect kiss” in movies—they’re a myth. Approach the act of kissing with an open mind, and do what feels natural. Keep in mind that the idea of the perfect kiss varies form person to person, and you are not required to put on a Hollywood-style performance for your partner. Forget all your performance expectations, and let the kiss develop organically. Laugh through the uncomfortable moments, instead of worrying about them. A kiss is not a public performance, so don’t try to make it one. Remain calm and relaxed, feel the moment, and let your kisses fall into place.    

Kissing is an intimate act between two (or more) people. The amount of pleasure you will draw from kissing strongly depends on the attitude with which you approach it. In other words, the physical act of kissing itself is not the primary source of its pleasure; rather, the feelings driving the kiss—your attitude—determine how you experience it. Approach it cool and collected, and your kiss will feel pleasant and unforced. Avoid trying to live up to some standard because it can make the kiss feel stiff and unpleasant. Do not dwell on an awkward moment if one occurs. It can make you anxious and nervous and make your next kisses even more uncomfortable. Allow the kiss to naturally develop into something both individuals can enjoy.


Don’t Rush

What To Do:  Get a feel for your partner’s preferred style of kissing before escalating into more intense kissing. Start off with smooth, light, gentle kisses, and build into more passionate kissing. Don’t rush it! Follow your partner’s advances, and your partner will likely follow yours. Think of kissing like a game of chess; one person’s move on the board elicits an appropriate counter-move from his or her opponent. Your partner’s forward advance on your upper lip, for example, invites you to make an equal or more forward advance on the lower lip.

Build up to into more passionate kissing. Rushing puts a limit on your understanding of your partner’s likes and dislikes. Slow down, and get to know your partner’s preferred style of kissing. Then, stick with a style both enjoy. Be willing to compromise! Holding back and building into a passionate kiss also keeps your partner interested. Self-restraint builds suspense, creates anticipation, and arouses your partner’s curiosity. Make your partner wonder, Can this get any better?


Head Turning

What To Do:  Be flexible, and adjust your head turning-preference to be compatible with your partner’s. If your partner leans to the right, you should lean to the right (and vice versa). A common way to avoid the awkward “My side or yours?” situation is by simply keeping your head centered as you move in for a kiss, allowing your partner to choose a side. At that point, adjust slightly in the opposite direction. Don’t hesitate to switch it up, but make your adjustments slowly to allow your partner to adjust with you.

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Observations from several studies in which participants kissed a doll’s head have reported head-turning biases. That is, individuals have a preference for leaning right or left when kissing their partner. We emphasize flexibility­. Be open to leaning towards whichever side allows both of your faces to naturally fall into place.



Pull Away and Smile

What To Do: Be sure to pull back from kissing every now and then. Smile at your partner as you do so, and look into their eyes.

Stopping a kiss in this manner does not ruin the moment; on the other hand, techniques like this can actually help you make a deeper emotional connection. This will make your encounter more personal and lead to an increasing sense of emotional connection. For some people, extended periods of kissing are not pleasant. Make sure to take breaks. Give yourself and your partner a moment to breathe, and use that time to take in the beauty of the person you are kissing.




What To Do:  Split the workload equally between you and your partner. Kisses should be a joint effort, and both partners should play equal parts. Play off of your partner’s advances—like a game of chess—and respond with moves of your own. Mirror your partner’s emotion and effort to reinforce the fact that you are equally committed to the relationship as they are.

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Kisses are more satisfying when both parties are equally involved. It prevents one partner from dominating a kiss and forcing a particular style of kissing on the other. In a 50/50 situation, both partners compromise on a style they equally enjoy. Moreover, actively kissing your partner reinforces your commitment to your partner.



Lips vs. Mouth

What To Do:  Focus on individual parts of the mouth, and move between them. Kiss the upper lip, move to the lower lip, and then massage the tongue. Shift the order and repeat; better yet, forgo the order and do what feels right in the moment—your lips will naturally fall into place.

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People kiss on the lips, not the mouth. Kissing the entire mouth is uncomfortable and somewhat bizarre. Focusing on a single part of the mouth allows you to stimulate one specific area more efficiently. Narrow in on the upper or lower lip—never aim for the whole mouth itself.



The Teaser

What To Do:  Move between kisses and pecks. Kiss around your partner’s mouth, face, neck, or body (not just their lips), and make it slow and gentle. Start by moving away from their lips and towards the corner of their mouth, go down to their jaw, and then down to their neck or up to their forehead. You can kiss your partner’s ear, and use the moment as an opportunity to whisper something romantic or passionate to them. Make an effort to not kiss just your partner’s lips, and move elsewhere on his or her body every so often.


Variety is key to keeping a relationship alive and interesting. Kiss your partner in unexpected ways, and keep your kisses fresh and exciting. Prevent your kisses from becoming monotonous and boring. Changing up your kisses restores their novelty and can bring back the pleasure of kissing.

Gentle Bites 

What To Do:  Gently bite your partner’s bottom or upper lip. Avoid biting too hard, as the lips can easily bruise. Biting is not for everyone, and it is very possible that it is not for your partner. Be attentive of how he or she responds to it. If your partner reacts negatively, do not do it again. Instead, wait until both of you have some free time and ask “What did you think about me gently biting your lip?” Attend to the reason they give you for their feelings, and support your partner’s wishes. If your partner responds positively, incorporate gentle bites into your kisses. Or make gentle bites a part of role-play, particularly when the theme is centered on being naughty in bed.

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A gentle bite to the lips can stimulate this very sensitive area without injury. This light form of sadomasochism can be arousing to a partner looking to spice things up a little, but can be vulgar and distasteful to a partner who finds sadomasochism unappealing.



Tongue Kissing

What To Do:  Massage your partner’s tongue using your own during deep kissing. Have your partner meet your tongue halfway; do not just shove your tongue into their mouth. Use the tip of your tongue to caress and stimulate your partner’s tongue while he or she is doing it to you. Use your tongue with moderation! If you begin to feel as if you are trying to reach the back of his or her throat with your tongue, it is most likely too much.


Tongue kissing (also known as “French” kissing) is a sexually arousing and more intimate style of kissing that adds an extra layer of stimulation—via the tongue—to the simplest form of kissing. French kissing can take the of pleasure of kissing to another level. In addition, this popular style of kissing adds variety and makes kissing interesting and easy to enjoy. This is because having a range of kissing styles to pull from makes it possible to switch between styles in unexpected ways.



Last Updated: 29 February 2016