Kisses tell a story: sometimes it’s a tale of tender longing, sometimes it’s one of raw lust, and sometimes it’s one of . . . well . . . sheer indifference. Maybe that’s part of why kissing has such power to escalate passion . . . or deflate it. There’s nothing in the world like the right kind of kissing to make a woman just about lose her mind. And there’s nothing like the wrong kind to make her lose interest.

Is it in his eyes?
Oh no! You’ll be deceived!
Is it in his size?
Oh no! He’ll make believe!
If you wanna know
If he loves you so
It’s in his kiss!
(Thats where it is!)

Whether in the 60’s or the 90’s, in renditions by Betty Everett or Cher, “It’s in His Kiss” immortalizes a truth that few of us are likely to dispute. All the heart and the heat of a relationship is in every kiss. (Yeah, that’s where it is . . . shoop shoop shoop!)

Most of us (women and men alike) have had the experience of meeting someone who seemed like a promising candidate for a relationship, only to be turned off by sloppy, throat-pillaging, or just plain uninspired kissing. Even serious relationships have been known to crumble under the weight of irredeemably tortured kisses. What is it, exactly, about the meeting of mouths that affects us so?


post_sealedBiologically, the lips are more sensitive, and have a greater number of receptors for transmitting messages to the brain than most other areas of the body, including other erogenous zones. The messages our lips transmit reach an array of brain sites, causing numerous emotional and neurochemical effects. Stimulation of the lips can produce a rush of dopamine and norepinephrine – neurotransmitters associated with the pleasurable high of novel or exciting situations. Plus, kissing raises levels of oxytocin, the hormone that induces bonding. A friend of mine used to live by the theory, “be careful who you kiss . . . you can fall in love over a kiss,” because of the attachments that kissing promotes. In fact, this may be one of the reasons sex workers often instinctively refuse to kiss their clients. They regard kissing as a far more intimate act than sexual or even oral intercourse.

It follows that only “good” kisses are likely to have all of these biological effects, while bad kisses, which can produce a reflex that comes close to revulsion, would shut down these potential chain reactions. Even dull but tolerable kisses would lack the firepower required to kick off an all-out chemical cascade. It’s no coincidence, then, that in long-term relationships kissing often becomes perfunctory around the same time that sex gets routine or dutiful. Often the first step to rekindling a couple’s sex life is rediscovering the magic of artful kissing. Great kissing can be like a meditation that focuses your attention to a pinpoint, quieting the buzz in your mind. As the outside world dissolves, you’re whisked into a dimension filled with extraordinary sensation, emotion, and responsiveness. For women, especially, piquant kisses are often the doorway to breathless arousal, and then to sexual desire itself.

Given that great kissing means so much, what distinguishes luscious kisses from crummy ones? Even though we all have certain preferences, common attributes of sensational smooches (and smoochers) emerge. If you want better lip locks from your sweetie, print this page and prop it on his or her pillow:

  • Keep lips slightly parted, relaxed but not slack, applying soft, sweet lip caresses. No tongue for starters. Kissing is like a little drama, and it has to build slowly.
  • When you use your tongue, keep it relaxed, sensually exploring, not firing forward like a dart – at first (of course, there’s a time and a place for everything!). Don’t go for the throat or open your mouth wide, like you’re trying to swallow a face. The term “sucking face” sounds icky and feels even worse!
  • Swallow your own saliva so kisses don’t get sloppy. Great kissing can get moist, but it’s never slobbery.
  • Use your fingers and your teeth as kissing “accessories.” Touch and nip gently at her lips, or softly touch your partner’s cheek or the curve of his neck. Try holding her face in your hands and kissing her eyelids, her forehead, her throat, keeping your own eyes open.
  • Vary your kisses. Some gentle, some rough; some soft, some hard. Change up the pacing, duration, tempo, rhythm.
  • Kiss just for the sake of kissing; lose yourself in the splendor of it. Don’t even think about getting to the next base.
  • Save wild and passionate kisses for truly wild and passionate moments. Don’t charge forward with a blockbuster kiss unless it reflects the spirit within.
  • Be responsive. Kissing is a dance. Sometimes you lead, sometimes your partner does. Stay tuned in to the music and follow the beat.
  • Finally . . . practice a lot. The more you kiss, the more expert you get.