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You've seen it done in the movies and probably even in public—the French kiss, a timeless and passionate gesture of romantic affection, aka “kissing with tongue.” But what takes a French kiss from good to great? It doesn’t matter whether you’re a first-time kisser or a makeout expert. We’re going to let you in on all the best French kissing tips, tongue techniques, and secrets to take your next kissing partner’s breath away.
Part 1Part 1 of 3:Making a Move
- 1Keep your lips soft. A soft, smooth, and slightly moist mouth is ideal for kissing. Before you move in, you should make sure your lips aren't chapped or dry so your partner isn't distracted or put off by the state of your lips.XResearch source If you want to soften your lips before you go in for the kiss, you should try these quick fixes:
- Use chapstick. Swipe some over your lips and press them together.XResearch source (If you're a girl and you have flavored chapstick, all the better!) The only caveat is that you should apply lip balm or gloss an hour or more before you kiss, so your kissing partner feels your soft lips, not the thick layer of gloss over them.
- Drink water. Dry lips are a sign of dehydration, so throw back a tall glass of water (or two).XResearch source You should notice your lips starting to smooth out within 20 to 30 minutes.
- Lick your lips. If you're really in a pinch and have no time to spare, quickly run your tongue over your lips and press them together. This should moisten them slightly without making them slobbery or slick.XResearch source You can even lick your lips a bit subtly while making eye contact with your kissing partner.
- 2Freshen your breath. You never want to have bad breath when you are about to kiss someone, whether the kiss is a French kiss or not. Because your mouth will be open in a French kiss, fresh breath is especially important. Practice good dental hygiene. If you know you are about to kiss someone, take a second to brush your teeth or at least rinse out your mouth with water.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- Always have breath mints or mint-flavored gum with you if you think there is a chance you might kiss someone while you are out. If you want to be subtle, you can quickly suck on a breath mint or chew gum for a minute in the bathroom, so you don't make it too obvious that you're ready to kiss.
- Avoid foods that leave an unpleasant aftertaste or residue, particularly garlic, coffee, onions, milk, and corn. If you're on a dinner date before the big kiss, try to eat strategically.XResearch source
- 3Find the right moment. A good kiss—especially a first kiss or first French kiss—is the culmination of building tension and growing intimacy. Choose your moment right to make sure you and your partner are both in a mindset to really lose yourselves in the kiss. You should have privacy and should both be feeling romantic instead of stressed or distracted, for one thing. When is the moment right? It depends on your individual situation, but here are a few signs to keep in mind:
- You have complete privacy. Whether you're alone on your balcony or sitting on a secluded bench in a park, you're not worried that someone will interrupt you.
- The other person keeps dropping hints, like locking eyes and looking at your lips, or standing or sitting progressively closer to you. Regardless of your partner's gender, their body language should give you a clue about whether now is the right time to make your move.XResearch source
- You're ending a date that went really well. In the car or on the porch are both good semi-private locations for a goodnight kiss.
- It just seems right. If you feel overwhelmingly compelled to kiss someone, don't be too afraid to just go for it. (Just be prepared for an awkward or even troubling situation if you discover your intended didn't feel the same way.)
- Ask. If you aren't sure whether the other person is feeling it, bring up the topic. Better to get permission semi-awkwardly and go ahead with confidence than risk missing out on your chance to kiss that special someone (accidentally kiss someone who isn't interested).
- 4Make eye contact. Gaze deeply into the other person's eyes. If you want to make your intentions extra clear, slowly move your gaze to their lips, then back up to the eyes. You can even make intense eye contact, break it for a few seconds, and then look back at the person.XResearch source This is a way of showing the person you want to kiss that you're pleasantly overwhelmed at the sight of them.
- Girls can even look at a guy, look down, and then look up through their lashes to be extra flirtatious.
- 5Smile. If you're really excited about the prospect of kissing the other person, show it! A smile keeps the situation light and fun, while helping them feel safe and relaxed. Make sure your smile is soft and genuine, however, and not a forced, too-wide, or overly intense smile. Just slowly and languidly ease your lips into a smile. Show your future kissing partner how happy you are to be in their company. Continue to make eye contact as you do this, or break it for a few seconds before you return it.
- You can opt for a close-lipped smile instead of smiling while showing your teeth, which might come off more as friendly than alluring or romantic.
- 6Break the touch barrier. Once you're alone with the person you like and you're smiling and making eye contact, you can decide if you want to go in for the kiss without touching, or if you want to break the touch barrier first. This can mean sitting with your legs touching, holding hands, putting your hand on the person's knee, stroking the person's arm, or just giving a sign of affection. If you've kissed the person on the lips before, then breaking the touch barrier may feel more natural for you, and you should make an effort to touch the person before you touch lips so both of you feel more at ease.
- You can also break the touch barrier as you're moving in to kiss the person. If you're standing, you can touch the person's arms, neck, or shoulders as you move in for the kiss. If you're sitting, you can put a hand on the person's back.
- 7Move in. When the moment seems right, go in for the approach. In general, you should be moving slowly enough that the other person has time to say no, but not so slow that the moment loses its spark.XResearch source When you start to get the feeling that your kissing partner is ready for the next step, you shouldn't dilly-dally. Move your body toward their body until your heads are just a few inches apart. That's when you'll have to start angling your head for the best kissing position.
- Take it slow. The slow approach builds tension and anticipation. Move in at a pace that gives the other person a chance to consent (or not).XResearch source When they see you coming in, they may move to meet you, so going slow will prevent you from accidentally bumping heads.
- 8Tilt your head slightly to one side. Meeting head-on will result in bumping noses. Instead, just tilt your head slightly to the left or right. If you notice the other person going in one direction, pick the opposite.XResearch source Don't put too much pressure on yourself to do this perfectly. If you and your partner end up kissing each other head-on and bumping noses a bit, then you'll naturally adjust your heads into a more comfortable position, where your noses aren't in the way.
- Unlike what you may think from the movies, this doesn't have to happen in slow motion. You'll tilt your head as you move closer to the person, not at a snail's pace, so you don't have to worry about having the time to get it perfect.
- 9Close your eyes. Just before you make contact, close your eyes. Kissing with your eyes open is generally associated with dishonesty and insincerity, and keeping your eyes closed will help you focus on and enjoy what's happening on your lips.XResearch source Also, while you may be tempted to open your eyes to see what your kissing partner looks like in the throes of passion, this could actually unexpectedly make you crack up or not feel in the mood to kiss anymore. Closing your eyes can also help you focus on your mouth and to live in the moment, instead of trying to observe everything that's happening at close range.
- You can slowly open your eyes later, when you pull apart after the kiss.
- 10Keep your mouth in a kissable position. Don't present a stiff pucker, like you would if you went in to kiss your grandma — not only does it communicate non-romantic feelings, but it makes it physically difficult for your partner to initiate a French kiss. On the other hand, keeping your mouth completely loose and still also says that you're not interested. Here's how to hit a happy medium:
- Pucker just a little. Push your lips forward slightly, so that you feel the slightest hint of muscle tension around them.
- Open your mouth slightly. Instead of aggressively going in for a fully open-mouthed kiss at first, keep your lips just barely parted enough that a tongue could slip between them.
Part 2Part 2 of 3:French Kissing Like a Pro
- 1Lightly brush your lips over the other person's. Use feather-light pressure at first, so that your lips are just barely grazing over your partner's. This builds more anticipation and excitement than diving straight into a full-on French kiss.XResearch source This also signals to your partner that you may be wanting more without being too forward about it.
- Keep your movements slow. A lot of quick, light kisses don't have the same level of sexiness as a barely-restrained build in tension. Act like you have all the time in the world—the kiss will speed up soon enough.
- 2Test the waters. Once you've built a solid foundation for a French kiss with some tongueless kissing, you can give the other person some subtle hints that you're ready to kick it up a notch. In general, if it's your first time kissing the person, you should be a bit cautious before initiating a French kiss, because this may come off as too much too soon. But beyond that, here are some things to keep in mind as you test the waters to signal that you're ready to kiss with your tongue:
- Open your mouth more widely. Offering unrestricted access invites the other person to make the first tentative tongue contact.
- Lock lips, so that the other person's lower lip is between your two lips. Then, lightly sweep the tip of your tongue over the lower lip. Do one smooth, swift motion so that the contact lasts for less than a second. If they are interested, they'll reciprocate.XResearch source
- Know when to pull back. If you've tried both of the above techniques and your partner hasn't responded, simply leave it alone until next time and focus on regular kissing. Avoid making a big deal of it, or guilting them.
- 3Explore with your tongue. If the other person seems interested, go ahead and start French kissing for real. Remember to keep your tongue in motion and your touches light. First, just slowly slide your tongue into your partner's mouth. You can either begin by placing it above or below your partner's tongue, or even move it around the tongue a bit if you're feeling bold. Just make sure your partner's tongue is reciprocating your actions so you're not just kissing a limp tongue, or the romance will dissipate pretty quick. Here are some things to keep in mind as you explore the French kiss:
- Stay playful. "Tag" the other person's tongue lightly and retreat back, inviting them to make the next move.
- Tongues are loaded with nerve endings, and the mere act of touching your partner's tongue with your own will be very pleasant.XResearch source
- Don't go too deep — jamming your tongue down the other person's throat is a big turn-off. Stay shallow and light at first. See how far your partner wants to go, and follow suit.
- 4Breathe. If you’re kissing for an extended period, it’s easy to forget to breathe. Believe it or not, gasping and turning blue isn't very romantic. You may think that a truly passionate kiss involves many minutes of non-stop kisses, but if you really want to up the romance factor, then you have to stay alert and conscious. Once you fall into a rhythm, you should be able to find a suitable pattern for breathing without interrupting the flow of your kisses. Here's what you need to know:
- Take small breaths through your nose as you kiss.
- Don't be afraid to take a break. If you do it right, it can still be an intimate and sexy moment. Pull back slightly so that your foreheads are still touching, make eye contact, and smile.
- As you and your partner grow comfortable with the kiss, you can try breathing through your mouth a little: sharing breaths as well can be romantic (but not everybody likes it).
Part 3Part 3 of 3:Mastering Advanced Techniques
- 1Mix it up. Kisses are like snowflakes: no two are exactly the same. Once you feel comfortable French kissing someone, it is tempting to try to do the same thing every time, but you should resist if you want to keep things interesting. You should be able to fall into a nice, comfortable rhythm while adding enough variety from time to time to keep things interesting. Here's what you can vary:
- Speed: Varying the speed of your kisses is a good way to try something different without potentially intimidating your partner. Once you've got the slow kiss mastered, try going a little faster for a few seconds — it should leave you both a little breathless!
- Depth: Once you're comfortable with someone, try kissing a little more deeply. The key to pulling this off is keeping your speed under control. Or, if you want things to be a little more flirty and playful, return to shallow kisses.
- Pressure: Like a deep kiss, a hard kiss should be reserved for a situation in which you already know both you and your partner are comfortable. Be a little bit more forceful with your tongue, but be sure to keep it in motion.XResearch source
- Teeth: You may want to try rubbing the backs or front of the other person's teeth with your tongue. This can create a ticklish feeling that might enhance your kiss. You could also try lightly catching the other person's lower lip with your teeth. Be aware, though, that not everyone likes their kisses with a side of teeth — be prepared to put your chompers away.
- 2Use your hands. While you should keep your hands polite, especially on a first kiss, you don’t necessarily want them just dangling at your sides. Using your hands and touching your partner's body (while keeping it respectful) can enhance the romantic feeling of the kiss and can make you and your kissing partner feel more connected.XResearch source Once you make contact with your partner's body, you can move your hands around gently from time to time without being frantic about it. Here's what you need to know about using your hands while you French kiss:
- As a general rule, start with your hands on your partner's hips and then slowly move them around their back or up to the face and hair.
- Another turn-on for the first kiss is to gently caress the other person's shoulder. It shows you are comfortable with them.
- Cradle your partner's face with your hands on their cheeks and their neck.XResearch source
- Or, go for an old standby: simply wrap your arms around your partner in an embrace.
- 3Read your partner's body language. Everybody kisses a little differently, and each person enjoys different things in a kiss — there is no "right" way to kiss. Good kissing requires give-and-take, so read your partner’s body language and pay attention to clues that tell you you’re doing something they like. The most important thing is to make sure that your kissing partner is comfortable with the pace of your kissing and affectionate gestures.XResearch source
- Not everybody likes to be kissed the same way, so while your former partner might have enjoyed one method of kissing, your new love might not. You need to learn to read signals and adapt to a style that's comfortable for each of you.
- If your partner pulls away or seems uncomfortable at any time, understand that you have to slow it down.
- Let your partner kiss you back and move with them as long as you’re comfortable with what they are doing.
- Listen for clues that tell how much your partner is enjoying a particular maneuver. If you hear a sigh or moan, or they begin kissing you back with increased intensity, you're on the right track.
- 4Practice. Good French kissing, like good kissing of any kind, requires practice. You will get better as you do it more. In addition, the more practice you have with one person, the more comfortable you will feel kissing them and developing a style that suits both of you.XResearch source Just because you may not have had a stellar first kiss doesn't mean that you and your kissing partner are romantically doomed; have patience and keep kissing slowly and gently until you fall into a rhythm that works for you.
- Don't take yourselves too seriously, either. If you tried something that just plain failed, it's okay to laugh, to lightly apologize, and to try again. If you act devastated after a disappointing kiss, you'll only be making things weird for your partner, and there's no need for that.
- Most first kisses, like most first attempts at love-making, aren't anything to write home about. Part of the fun is getting better at it — together.
- 5Communicate. If you really like the way your partner kisses you, let them know. If you don't like something, also let your partner know that, but approach it delicately and compliment them at the same time on something they did that you liked. If your partner is being honest and open with you, try not to overreact or get hurt, or this may make your partner feel hesitant to communicate with you in the future.
- Even if the kiss goes all wrong, it can still be an intimate affair if you can both laugh about it together! The important thing is that you're both honest about how you're feeling and what you want to do to improve.
- You should also communicate by telling your partner how attractive they look, and how much you like them. Make it clear how happy you are to be with the person you're with and the French kissing will come all the more naturally.
- QuestionHow long should a French kiss last?wikiHow Staff EditorStaff AnswerThat’s totally up to you and your kissing partner! If you’re both really into it, you might want to keep it going as long as possible. Stop if you start to feel uncomfortable or your partner starts to pull away.
- QuestionCan I practice French kissing without a partner?wikiHow Staff EditorStaff AnswerIt’s hard to get a feel for French kissing without trying the real deal, but there are things you can do to practice. For example, you can try gently biting or licking your own lip to get a sense of how it would feel to your partner. You can also try curling your thumb and fingers into an “O” shape to simulate lips and practice gently kissing your own hand and exploring the space inside your hand with your tongue.
- QuestionWhy do you use your tongue during a French kiss?wikiHow Staff EditorStaff AnswerYour tongue and mouth are full of nerve endings, which means they’re very sensitive. Many people enjoy the sensation of feeling their tongue touch their partner’s tongue. Scientists also think that exchanging saliva helps introduce sex hormones into your partner’s mouth, which makes the experience more arousing.
- QuestionWhat happens when the partner breathes hard during the kiss?Community AnswerPull away for a second once in a while to come up for air.
- QuestionHow do I back away during the kiss?Community AnswerPush back gently on the other person's shoulders. Smile as you pull away to show that nothing's wrong.
- QuestionIs there a specific age for kissing?Community AnswerNot really, but younger than 12-13 is usually considered too early by societal norms. That said, everyone grows and develops differently.
- QuestionWhat if someone wants to kiss me even though I don't want to?Community AnswerTell them in a gentle but firm voice that you don't want to kiss them. Do not let them sway you. If you need to leave, then leave the room.
- QuestionWhat if they don't like the way I kiss?Community AnswerDon't worry about it too much. Just start with a little tongue on their lip and see how they respond.
- QuestionI'm scared that I'm going to get herpes from kissing, any advice?Community AnswerHerpes is most contagious when there are visible sores or blisters on the lower face. Itching or tingling in that area is also a warning sign, but it can be hard to quiz someone on that right before a kiss. Be aware that oral herpes can spread to genitals during oral sex if you don't use a condom or dental dam.
- Be an active partner. If someone is French kissing you and you want them to do so, do not just sit there but get into the kiss. Reciprocate their actions, and alternate taking the lead on the movements of your tongues and lips. If you are uncomfortable with any part of the kiss, do not be afraid to pull away or gently close your lips. This will give your partner the hint.
- There are no rules for how long you should hold a kiss. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, break the kiss; otherwise, just enjoy it until one or both of you slowly pull apart, usually together. Some find it extremely romantic if you lightly suck your partner's upper or bottom lip as you part. You might find yourselves returning to kissing after each of you takes a breath.
- Excessive saliva can build up during a French kiss, and that can interfere with the romantic moment. Swallow periodically without breaking the kiss. If you have trouble doing that, do not be afraid to pull away for a moment. Smiling when you pull away can reassure your partner that you're just taking a small break, not rejecting their affection. This is the sign of a good kisser.
- If you ever feel uncomfortable or do not want to move forward with any move that your partner is attempting, pull away and let your partner know that you want to stop. Be firm. It's okay to say no.
- You can still French kiss if one or both of you has braces, but you should be careful to prevent the braces from touching each other. Also, avoid touching the braces with your tongue (you might accidentally cut yourself). Check out How to Kiss with Braces.
- Be aware that French kissing may transmit infectious diseases such as herpes and infectious mononucleosis (also known as mono).XResearch source
- Videos provided by The Wing Girls
About This Article
To French kiss someone, first move in closer and tilt your head to the side a little bit so you're ready to kiss them. Close your eyes and start with some gentle kisses. Then, open your mouth a little to invite your partner to start using their tongue. If they do, kiss them back using your tongue lightly too. Go slow and don’t force anything. As you're kissing, place your hands on their hips, gently cradle their face, or wrap your arms around them in an embrace. Don’t worry if you don’t feel like a pro at first. Even if things don’t go perfectly your first time, you’ll get better at French kissing the more you practice. Try sucking on a mint and putting on some lip balm if you know you're going to be kissing someone so your breath is fresh and your lips feel soft and kissable. If you want to learn about other techniques, such as using your hands while you kiss or how to mix things up, keep reading!