Memorable First Kisses

Learn the skills that will make all of your smooches absolutely unforgettable

By Phineas Mollod and Jason Tesauro

ven before Tina Turner boasted, “I betcha can't kiss me just one time baby… without asking me… for just a bit more,” kissing was the ultimate leaping-off point into romance, love and the rest of it. Lips possess the body’s thinnest layer of skin and are jam-packed with sensory neurons, making what scientists call “osculation” a veritable sensation. Indeed, Gordon G. Gallup of the University at Albany, State University of New York, posited that the sensory information exchanged during kissing may unconsciously project whether you are a suitable, genetically compatible mate. Spin-the-Bottle just got more interesting.

We all preserve certain kisses in the memory banks, whether hall of
We all preserve certain kisses in the memory banks.
fame moments with your long-term love or forbidden smooches with someone else’s. But how do you end up penciled into another’s greatest-hits list? We interviewed some sources and distilled their insights to learn the best time, place and way to plant one on. First, however, a refresher on the five elements of sexy kissing.

1. Embraceable You. Most hugs are innocent, but they don’t have to be. When two people are fully wrapped around one another, multiple points of contact (arms, chests, thighs) set the pulse rate aflutter, further preparing lips to surrender.

2. Pre-Lips Prelude. Raise body temperatures by engaging in alternate affections before the lip kiss: hair stroking, shoulder bites, neck whispers, ear nibbling, etc.

3. Smooch in Silverware Order. At the dinner table, flatware is used from the outside in. Kiss in similar fashion: Start at the appetizing jaw line and pause at the corners of her lips before savoring the main course of her mouth.

4. Hands-Free Operation. No woman wants to spend half the kiss defending herself against an octopussian enemy invasion. Instead of clumsy groping, let your hands gently caress her spine, neck and arms to maintain additional contact points beyond locked lips.

5. Kiss & Tell. Afterward, a fond vocal admission shows what the kiss meant to you – even, “Mmm, you still taste like crème brulee” can work. Advanced sorts might experiment with mid-kiss confessions that get the heart pumping: “I’ve wanted to do this for so long.”

Make-Out Matters

Now that you’ve got the basics down, listen to these women’s true tales of what makes a first kiss totally memorable and steal the secrets revealed:

One Saucy Move
“We’re eating at a table in an old restaurant downtown. Mike’s having barbecue chicken wings and I’m having a salad. There's a
The incremental changes of pressure were amazing, like a musical solo.
long silence as we look into each other's eyes, and then Mike says “I like you.” “I like you too,” I said. He responds, “I would kiss you but my mouth tastes like barbecue sauce.” Me, newly into this country from Spain, answer: ‘I don't know what barbecue sauce tastes like… (pause) … but I'm here to learn.’ Lucky me, we’ve been married 5 years.”
— Maricela

The Takeaway: When chemistry is obvious, no great seduction is needed and “waiting for the right moment” is unnecessary. Even if you just ate a fistful of garlic, when mutual desire surges, don’t wait for a breath mint.

Sealed With A… Sneeze
“I met a guy—sweet, adorable, and twenty-two. He walked me back to the apartment where I was pet sitting. He came in briefly, but was soon overwhelmed by cat allergies. We exchanged numbers and he left; I sent a text message saying I was sorry he couldn't have stayed longer. No response… but ten minutes later there was a heavy pounding on the door. I opened it and my puffy-faced young suitor grabbed me and kissed me, just like in a John Hughes movie, innocently, intensely. I soon had to decide between the kitties and him. Guess which I picked?”
— Rebecca

The Takeaway: Without any affirming body language (e.g. a smile, a wink) or signs of interest (e.g., a text message, flirtatious line), a bold move could end in a slap or handcuffs. The element of unexpected delight is key, says Rebecca, “If someone is gentlemanly all night, they are expected to be timid, but the minute he acts dashingly (like the mild-mannered librarian who ditches her glasses and lets down her hair), surprise equals unforgettable.”

Opposites Attract
“He was a rough and tough biker (not my type, I thought) who’d flirt a lot, but I already had a boyfriend. One night, I was studying his beautiful blue eyes as he talked about his favorite bass players and physics (that got me). I asked him to come outside. As he stood there, I got closer and said, “The thing is…” I moved closer still, “I've always wanted…” At this point my lips slowly nibbled at his bottom lip, “to kiss you.” His hand slid around my waist. Very delicately, we melted into each other. I was shocked at how passionate and gentle he was. And I broke up with my boyfriend the next day.”
— Lisa

The Takeaway: Rejection fades eventually, but regret due to inaction gnaws at the soul (for proof, visit Craigslist’s ‘Missed Connections’ section). Sometimes you just have to know how a beautiful bonbon tastes.

Take Your Time
“A memorable kiss is not a means to an end, or a toll payment, nor a contest or game, rather a work of art. A pursuit unto its own. Time should stand still. That’s what my first kiss with my guy was like… It started in that split-second before we were to part after an otherwise chaste date. The incremental changes of pressure were amazing, like a musical solo. I let him lead. He placed a few fingertips onto my bare back, but he looked in my eyes the whole time. And by the way, he still kisses like that and makes me feel dizzy.”
— Jackie

The Takeaway: There is often a small window to kiss someone, particularly when you feel a mutual frisson and notice that for five seconds there is suddenly nothing to say. Don’t let those fleeting moments escape your pucker, particularly since it’s only a kiss, not a marriage proposal, and more often than you‘d think, it will be reciprocated, even if briefly. So now that you know what women like… we wish you good luck!

Phineas Mollod traded his J.D. for the editorial life and is often found riding the congested E train with his wife and daughter in New York. Jason Tesauro pushes pen and ink by day and leads the lifestyle seminar series by night, ne'er far from his sweetheart and a Brady Bunch houseful 'o tots in Virginia. Together they are the authors of The Modern Gentleman: A Guide to Essential Manners, Savvy and Vice and The Modern Lover: A Playbook for Suitors, Spouses, and Ringless Carousers.
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