Kissing is a beautiful, magical experience, but it can also be overwhelming and downright confusing, especially if you're kissing someone new for the first time. So what are some signs you're great at kissing? "What makes a makeout session great is the willingness to be present in the moment without an agenda for getting to a particular destination," Zoë Kors, a sex and intimacy coach, tells Bustle. "Kissing is a destination in and of itself. When we view kissing as a necessary prelude to sex, we are missing the beauty and the value of an exquisite way to connect with lover and cultivate intimacy."
If you're on a first (or second or even third) date, it's normal to feel queasy when you're going in for the kiss. But try not to show your anxiety if you can help it. "Confidence is a turn-on for all genders," according to Heather M. Claus, founder of DatingKinky."Many people rate it as high or higher than physical appearance in what they are drawn to. If you are not confident, fake it by relaxing your body."
Confidence is all about your body language, your tone of voice, and — interestingly — your scent, says Claus. Your partner will notice, for instance, if your body feels tense. Also, oftentimes when we're nervous, our voices will rise by an octave, which isn't that big of a deal but still worth keeping in mind. Finally, you'll sweat if you're nervous and that releases pheromones, which your partner will smell unless you're wearing some sort of deodorant or perfume.
So, how do you boost your confidence?
Feeling connected to each other will make things easier in the heat of the moment, Kors says. When you're just getting to know someone, simple things like cracking jokes and swapping stories will naturally make someone feel closer to you. "Luckily, if you spend time really connecting and you feel that tingle growing all night (and not just in your pants), you've got a great chance to have chemistry when you kiss," she says.
And, of course, it's totally possible to have a great makeout sesh without going through the motions. Even if you're in the middle of a hookup and you're not sure how or when to start smooching, Kors suggests taking things slow to create a buildup of excitement. "Wait for a long time to put your tongue in each other’s mouth," Kors says. "If you were engaging in intercourse, you wouldn’t just stick it in, you’d engage in foreplay until you were both ready for penetration. Use the same ideology for kissing. Prime the canvas prior to penetration. Whenever we engage in physical intimacy, we need to feel ready to accept someone into our bodies. Honor that process and each other by building up slowly."
Of course, a good kiss isn't guaranteed. Some people just don't have good sexual chemistry with each other (due to biological stuff like hormone and immune system compatibility), and that's OK. Here are signs things are going in the right direction:
1. You've Got A Rhythm Going
A big part of making out is just going with the flow and seeing where things head to. Obviously, if it seems like your partner keeps pulling away, that's probably a sign to end the kiss. But if you've gotten used to each other's lips and are both moving passionately against one other, you're probably doing a good job.
"Kissing is like a dance," Kors says. "Start by allowing your partner to take the lead. See where they take you. Follow, allow, receive. When you see an opportunity, take control, kiss them back, twirl them around, and dip them. Then lay back and create a space for them to step into again and lead. If you approach a makeout session this way, it establishes a rhythm which can last for hours."
2. Your Partner Can't Seem To Get Enough
Is your partner moving closer to you, running their fingers in your hair, or brushing against your cheek? Congratulations, they're into you. If you've been kissing for a while and you both start to get a little hands-y, that's a good sign things are progressing. (Again, of course, you should never feel like you have to take things to the next level if you don't want to.)
"I have a favorite trick that has always worked for me," Claus says. "Pull back the tiniest bit. Not even a half inch. If your partner follows you, or pounces, they are having a good time. You can try this a few times throughout the evening, but don't make it a game of chasing you down."
3. Your Heart Is Beating Faster
Consider doing something exciting and fun before getting physical. The delay in satisfaction will make the imminent kisses so much better. You'll be able to tell if the kiss is good if your heart rate starts to increase. "Seriously, going for a hike on a date, to an amusement park, or even to a movie with strong emotions or kickass scenes (horror works as well) will get those heart rates up," Claus says. "When you kiss and your hearts are beating hard, it actually makes your bodies think that your heart rates are due to the excitement of the kiss, and it feels that much better.
To maximize that anticipation, Kors suggests only going in for the kiss "when it's impossible to resist." Start by making eye contact, which will up the desire level for both of you. "Move in for a kiss, but stop short of contact," Kors says. "With your lips just a hair’s breadth apart, pause and feel each other’s breath. Notice the excitement build. Move your face side-to-side slightly so that your lips barely brush each other’s. Spending time in this way cranks up the heat. By the time you are actually going in for the kiss, you’ll be craving each other."
4. You've Forgotten Everything Else Around You
The moment when you'll be able to tell you're a great kisser will, ideally, come after the kiss is over. Get too hung up on little details and you'll come across as trying way too hard. "If you are questioning whether or not your partner is having fun while kissing, you are not fully present in the moment," Kors says.
5. You're Both Smiling
What do people do when they're having fun and, well, actually enjoying themselves? They smile. "People love happy people, especially happy people that make them happy as well," Claus says. "Share your happiness, so that your kisses feel more loving, joyful, and well, downright sexy." If you can feel your partner's teeth because he or she is grinning from ear to ear, you're doing something right.
6. It Just ~Feels~ Right
Trust your body's response to a kiss. Maybe there are butterflies in your stomach or you're moving in sync with the other person or you straight up just can't stop thinking about the kiss long after it's over. If you're feeling this way, chances are your partner probably is, too.
7. You Feel Increasingly More Confident About It
The more you kiss someone, the more comfortable you'll get with the way their body moves (including those luscious lips). "Once you've got the first kiss out of the way, and you feel relatively confident that your partner loves it, then be unpredictable with your kisses," Claus says. "Kiss their shoulder as you walk down the street. Kiss their hand when sitting next to each other. Push them against a wall and kiss them, just because."
Even once you grow accustomed to kissing each other, spontaneity will keep things fresh and ensure that your kisses are still desirable.