There are plenty of ways to be a bad kisser, from sloppy puppy dog slurping, to creepily constant eye contact, to the pokey lizard tongue. Maybe your lips are too hard, or too soft, or too chapped. Maybe your saliva flow could end a drought. Maybe your breath could give the stench of a dive bar bathroom a run for its putrid money. Frankly, with so many opportunities for it to go wrong, it’s a miracle it ever goes right.
Fortunately, if you suffer from slobbery washing machine mouth, science is here to save the day. The study of kissing is known as philematology and researchers in the field have identified a number of study-backed tips for mashing lips together like a pro.
Don’t Skip The Dentist
Research highlighted in The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us found that women are far more focused on oral hygiene than men. They rated a man’s breath and the taste of his kiss as highly significant in determining whether they want to kiss him again. Women also demonstrated a much greater interest in healthy-looking teeth. Who can blame them, when The American Journal of Medicine estimates as many as 10 million to 1 billion bacteria can be swapped while locking lips? Brush, floss and gargle your way to A+ snogging game, unless you want your kiss to leave a literal bad taste in her mouth.
Timing Is Everything
Environment can play an important role in the reception of your kiss. A stressful, upsetting or off-putting situation can cause the hormone cortisol to be released in the body, which inhibits the ability to enjoy a kiss. For the greatest chance of success, The Science of Kissing suggests planting one on your partner under calm and happy circumstances.
Nose jousting: never a smooth move. If you’ve ever leaned the wrong way when going in for the kiss, you know how mortifying the moment can be. A study found that two-thirds of people tilt their heads to the right when they kiss. Theories suggest our predilection for the right side may be connected to the direction a fetus tilts its head in the womb or the direction an infant turns to nurse.
Mirror Your Partner’s Motions
It pays to pay attention. Scientists believe kissing evolved to help us determine whether or not someone is a compatible partner, and studies show that women are far more likely to see kissing as a way to assess a mate’s potential. An easy way to ensure you’re giving the kind of kiss your partner likes is to mirror their technique. Try to match their tempo, pressure and style (in other words, don’t go full tongue if they’re barely giving you the tip). Showing you’re an attentive kissing partner indicates that you may be a conscientious and compatible partner in other ways.
Get It Right The First Time
The first kiss gets all the hype, and deservedly so. According to The Science of Kissing, 59 percent of men and 66 percent of women reported breaking things off with a prospective partner because of a bad first kiss. In fact, the first kiss is so important that people remember it more vividly than the first time they had sex.
Kiss As Much As Possible
Couples who kiss more often are happier and healthier. Not only does regular smooching lower stress hormones and strengthen your relationship, it might even extend your life. A study from the 1980s found that men who kiss their wives before leaving for work tend to live longer, have fewer car accidents and earn a higher income than married men who skip the pre-work pash.
Right, so now we know kissing is far more important in wooing a lady (and staying in her good graces) than we ever would have imagined, here are some helpful hints via William Cane’s The Art Of Kissing:
- Don’t limit yourself to the mouth. 96% of women reported that they like neck kisses. The ears are another winning alternative to the mouth.
- Don’t jam your tongue down her throat. This is women’s most frequent complaint. Nothing will be gained the further you go.
- 53% of women prefer to kiss a clean-shaven man. Maybe it’s a worth a shave pre-makeout session.
- Keep it fresh. Women complain men can be too machine-like or repetitive in their kissing technique. Inject some variation into your game and get creative.
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