First Kisses - The New Rules

Go for it on the first date or wait? Rough or sweet? For anyone who’s ever wondered how to deliver an amazing first smooch, our expert tells all.

By Sari Locker, Ph.D.

our lips touch for the first time: The earth moves. The angels sing...or, at least, that’s what you hope will happen, right? The reality is, anticipating that first smooch can be one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking moments in your dating life. So much hangs in the balance: Will your date like how you kiss? Will there be chemistry? Does this person even want to lock lips with you in the first place?

As a sexuality educator, I’ve helped thousands of singles and couples navigate this tricky first-kiss terrain. And don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to pull it off with ease while letting your date know there’s plenty more where that came from. Here’s how:

Secret #1: Time it right
The most common question I get about first kisses is this: When should I do the deed? An understandable concern. No one wants to make the move too soon and get the dreaded
“A first kiss has to have something that’s dynamic to it. Surprise me, catch me off-guard.
That’s passion.”
cheek turn, and yet, wait too long and it sends the vibe you’re not interested or that you lack confidence. So when should you dive in? Most women I’ve spoken to say it should happen on the first or second date—provided you don’t wait until that very end when you’re standing in their doorway. That’s too predictable, awkward and likely to be framed by those “Umm, I had a really good time…” comments. Instead, go for something sexier and more spontaneous. Says Missy Barcic, of New Vernon, NJ: “A first kiss has to have something that’s dynamic to it. Surprise me, catch me off guard. That’s passion.” And creativity earns bonus points, too. Women have told me about incredible kisses happening on the way into a restaurant (getting it out of the way early), across a dinner table, in a movie theater (during the opening credits), and just walking down the street, when the guy “noticed” that there was a romantic full moon overhead.

Secret #2: Guys and girls can take the lead
Some people think that it’s a guy’s responsibility to initiate a first kiss. But what I’ve heard over and over again from men is this: They love, love, love it when a woman makes the first move. “My best first kiss was when my now girlfriend just went for it. We were standing in the kitchen, getting ready to go out, and all of a sudden she just pushed me against the wall, and we sort of melted into each other,” recalls Tao Nguyen, of Washington, D.C. Guys love knowing that they’re wanted, so I say, go ahead, girls, give him a break and go for it. One woman I interviewed did this with fabulous results. “After our third date, we stayed up talking until 4 a.m., and still no kiss!” she says. “So at the very beginning of our fourth date, I walked into his apartment, and instead of saying, ‘Hello,’ I kissed him and we wound up making out for hours. Sometimes I wonder if I hadn’t given him that first kiss if we’d even be together today. He assures me that he would have gotten around to it, but I am glad that I took charge. It gave me kind of a rush.”

Secret #3: Leave ’em wanting more
Sure, you want your first kiss to be passionate...but that doesn’t mean rough or messy. As one woman put it, “The worst first kiss is
“The worst first kiss is an aggressive, overly wet kiss. If he plunges his tongue into my mouth, I cut
things short.”
an aggressive, overly wet kiss. If a guy plunges his tongue in my mouth and spreads saliva all around my mouth, I tell him that I have to be at work early in the morning to cut things short.” Super-deep kissing communicates that you’re overeager, which can convince someone to put on the brakes. Give the recipient some air—that way, your sweetie will be raring for more. “The one time I kissed a guy for the first time I made sure to pull away after a few seconds,” recalls one woman. “It was great, since it gave me a second to look into his eyes and silently ask, ‘Is this okay? You liking this?’ before we dove back in. If we hadn’t hit pause, I would never have known whether he was just kissing me to not be rude.”

Secret #4: You’ll win points for sensuality...
While a standard first kiss can be great, the men and women I’ve spoken with always remember — longingly — the ones that had an extra maneuver that heightened the romance factor. Usually, these are little moves that ramp up the kiss’s sensuality. For instance, Samara O’Shea of New York, NY, recalls a great first kiss in which her guy “put his index finger gently on my chin to guide my mouth toward his—it was so sexy.” And Lori Conte, of Providence, RI, shares this moment: “My boyfriend first kissed me softly on my neck, worked his way up to my ear, and finally found my mouth—that pretty much blew me away.” Guys also love this kind of thing: Dan Allen, of San Antonio, TX, says, “One of my best-ever first kisses was when my date gently raked her nails through my hair—that get my nerve endings revved in an unexpected way.” So feel free to add a little fillip like these.

Secret #5: You won’t win points for weirdness.
While playing with your date’s hair or ear may be great, please—don’t go out on a limb in the name of originality. A 38-year-old married woman put it this way: “The first time my now-husband kissed me, he licked my face, kind of like a dog. I thought, What the heck is this? Believe me, I thought twice about ever seeing this guy again… I still tease him about it today by calling him ‘puppy lips.’”

So there are two lessons to this story: Originality isn’t always a good thing when it comes to first kisses, but—if there’s enough of a connection there—even the worst of first kisses can be forgiven.

Sari Locker is a sex educator, TV commentator and author of the bestseller, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amazing Sex. She was the host of Late Date with Sari on Lifetime Television; she has an M.S. in Sexuality Education and an M.A. in Developmental Psychology. Her website is
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