21 Ways Anyone Can Be A Better Kisser

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Because kissing is important in love and sex, especially since it’s usually your first initial physical contact with a new partner, a bad kiss can end things before they even start. A 2012 survey by the State University of New York at Albany found that the majority of people will end a relationship because of a bad kisser, with 59% of men and 66% of women, saying adieu to someone who just can’t kiss very well.

I do think that bad kissing is subjective. While you may not like to have your teeth licked during a make-out session, I’m sure someone out there does, and if that makes them happy and turns them on, then good for them! I once had a guy suck on my chin, and although I thought it was horrifying, I believe he’s out there right now sucking on someone else’s chin and they’re LOVING it.

According to research, the effect a great kiss has is like a drug. As the body’s most prominent erogenous zone and packed full of 12 cranial nerves that shoot impulses to our brain, an awesome kiss can make you feel amazing. But no worries, you guys; you and anyone can be a better kisser, and here are 21 tips to prove my point.

1. Keep Your Lips Moisturized

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Breaking news: Lip balm is for everyone! Lube up on those lips! No one wants to kiss cracked and dry lips, or be kissed by cracked and dry lips. If you know you're in for a hot and heavy make-out sesh, but left your gloss, balm, or lipstick at home, then lay off the salt and load up on the H2O. Water is nature's perfect moisturizer.

Try: Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm, $7.50, Amazon

2. Avoid Stinky Foods Before A Kiss

If you know that your chance to get your kiss on are very good, then skip the garlic, raw onions, cabbage, broccoli, and excessive coffee and liquor — whiskey especially. These items, although delicious, can do a number on not just our mouths, but our stomachs. Bad breath isn't always found on our tongue, but can make its way up our throat from the pits of our bowels and wreck havoc that way, too. Granted, sometimes a hot kiss isn’t planned, but if you can prep for it, do so. No wants a cringing kissing partner.

3. Have Mints On Hand

You never know when a kiss could happen, so having mints or some sort of minty candy or gum on hand is a great idea. But, let's say for the sake of argument, your roommate stole the last of your minty freshness from your bag, then a lemon is a pretty decent second choice. No, I'm not suggesting you carry around lemons with you (unless you really want to), but I am suggesting you ask for a sliced lemon from your waiter and drop it in your water.

Try: Altoids Sugarfree Smalls Mints, $2.50, Amazon

4. Follow Your Partner’s Lead

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When it comes to kissing, it’s about compromise — especially if you and your partner don’t have the same technique. Not everyone kisses the same way so sometimes it's a matter of meeting in the middle. You know, a proper give and take. So, if you notice you have different techniques, try letting your partner lead the way...

5. Or, If Need Be, Lead The Way

Or, if things are going in a territory that isn’t your kissing scene, then take the reins and YOU lead the way. There's nothing wrong with taking over a bit when it comes to kissing. Some people are timid with their kisses, while others have never really learned how to kiss. Think of it this way: you're helping your kissing partner and bringing to their life the joy of the perfect kiss.

6. Remember There’s More To Kissing Than Just Lips

A really awesome make-out session is about the neck, the earlobes, the collarbone, the cheeks, the chin, and maybe a bit of play-biting, too. It's also about occasionally stopping and looking at each other, or maybe even telling them how much you love to kiss them. Don't be afraid to move past the lips! This is an important tip that will do wonders!

7. Educate Yourself About Other Erogenous Zones

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While, yes, those lips are packed full of nerves, they're not the only erogenous zones in that general area. Like the neck and earlobes, as I mentioned above, but the shoulders and fingertips, too. Erogenous zones love as much attention as they can get, and in touching and stimulating them, you're making your kiss even that much better. You're actually taking your kiss to a surefire level 10.

Try: Erogenous Zone: A Sexual Voyage, $14, Amazon

8. Don’t Be Scared To Be Honest

If the kiss isn’t going well, then don’t be afraid to say something about it and suggest trying it again. If your partner values your input, they definitely want to hear what you have to say. In turn, open your mind (and ears) to their input on your kissing too. Sometimes your lips and tongues can only haggle so much before you just need to stop and talk about it. It will be a learning experience for both of you.

9. Have The Tongue Versus Lips Chat

True story: Some people are more into lippy kisses, while others prefer more tongue. The reason why people kiss this way is either because that's all they know or what they ultimately prefer. Either way, it's definitely something to discuss so you can get on the same page. Although, I think a lot of us can agree that tonsil hockey is never fun.

10. Give Positive Feedback To Each Other

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

Nothing seals a great kiss like telling each other, “You’re a great kisser.” If you can't say that without feeling like a liar because your partner needs some work with their kissing, then sandwich the positive feedback. In other words, give them honest feedback that might not be exactly what they want to hear in the middle of two pieces of positive feedback. People love to hear when they’re doing something right.

11. Get Passionate

Passionate kisses aren’t something that comes from giving only 60%. Because there are more than just lips, put your back into it — literally. Give your partner the craving to want more and more of your kisses. So, either give it 120%, or go home. Both you and your partner deserve the most passionate kisses you can get (and give).

12. Don’t See It As A Necessary Step To Sex

Although I know that kissing, for some, is something you do to work your way up to sex, you don't have to see it like that. Kissing is something that should be able to exist on its own and not be viewed as a base you need to touch before you can score your home run. Kissing, in itself is really satisfying, but if you’re thinking of it as a step, then you’ll miss out on the satisfaction.

13. Be In The Moment

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Similar to having great sex, you need to be in the moment when you’re kissing. Try not to think about anyone or anything else. While that's obviously easier said than done, making an effort to tune out the stress of your day, the bills you have to pay, or the family drama that's been going on while immersing yourself in the moment is possible. You won’t get the most out of the moment if you let your mind wander to places that have nothing to do with the kiss. Try grounding yourself by focusing on the sensation of your partner's lips on yours, or other physical stimuli happening around you.

14. Don’t Compare Your Partner’s Kissing Techniques To Past Partners'

Never, ever compare partners’ kissing or sexing techniques! While doing so doesn’t make you a bad person at all, it is an unfair way to approach physical intimacies, because we all do things differently and we all enjoy those differences in other ways. Although it's more than OK to note the differences, try not to compare and contrast. It's just a waste of time.

15. Don't Be Afraid Of PDA

As Americans, we’re not as open when it comes to PDA as our counterparts across the pond or down south. (Have you ever walked the streets of Paris on a nice spring day? Tongues everywhere!) But maybe we should be a bit more open to the idea of PDA, because why should you put off the urge to kiss someone you’re really into just because you’re out in public? Something to think about.

16. Kiss With Your Whole Body

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Pull your partner close to you, put your hands on their face, lower back, the base of their neck, or in their hair… you know, really go for it. Let yourself moan a bit if it feels good and don't be afraid to stray and let your lips lead you to other spots, you know, those aforementioned erogenous zones. If you're going to kiss, you shouldn't half-ass it.

17. Don’t Fear Being The Initiator

If you want to kiss someone and you know that they want to kiss you, but they’re shy, then ask them if you can go ahead and do it. If you misread their signs and they politely tell you "no, thanks," then apologize. It may bruise your ego a bit to be told that someone doesn't want to kiss you, but in the grand scheme, it's much better to respect their boundaries. If someone wants to be kissed by you but they're too shy, you can probably (hopefully) pick up those signs and read them well enough to make an appropriate decision.

18. Have Regular Make-out Sessions

Yes! Kiss often. Kiss every chance you get. Let your kisses linger and turn them into proper make-out sessions. Practice makes perfect, and kissing is healthy AF (and fun to boot)!

19. Pay Attention To Your Partner

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This isn’t just about following your partner’s lead, but being cognizant of how they react to a playful lip bite, an ear nibble, a neck kiss, or a gentle slip of the tongue. When someone is really enjoying something, they let you know with signs and signals, so pay attention to that. On the flip side, those same signs and signals will let you know what they're not into, so you can adjust what you're doing.

20. Close Your Eyes

Fun fact: When you block out one sense, the other senses become heightened. If you don't believe me, the next time you eat pizza, cover your eyes and wear noise-cancelling headphones; you'll see that it works. Because of this, closing your eyes while kissing will make it even that much better. Also, it’s weird to have your eyes open when you’re THAT close to someone else’s faces.

21. Give A Bad Kisser A Second Chance

If you want to be the best kisser around, then if you come across a bad kiss, consider giving that person another chance. I mean, wouldn't you want to be given a second chance if your kisses weren't up to par, too? I’m not saying you should expect miracles, but being open is what makes someone a great kisser. And you, after all, are a great kisser.

This post was originally published on March 21, 2016. It was updated on August 27, 2019.

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