Whether you’re about to share your first kiss with the guy you’ve been diggin’ since third grade, or you’ve been locking lips with bae for months, you’ve got to keep a few smooch standards in mind. Want to feel confident, romantic, and in control in those tender moments? Brush up on these 10 kissing rules. Muah!
1. Thou shall de-funk the breath. The last thing anyone wants to taste is a burrito bowl during a spicy smooch session. To avoid foul-mouthing your honey, don’t pucker up before you’ve freshened up: Chew on your favorite spearmint gum or mints well ahead of meeting up with your boo — and spit out your sweets when you’re ready for action. Just take it easy on the exotic varieties because mango-flavored onion breath isn’t hot.
2. Thou shall properly prime the smackers. You know how your skin feels tight and clammy after a dip in the pool? That’s how dry kisses feel. The best lip service is buttery smooth and soft, so prep your lips for lovin’ with a soothing balm in a light flavor like vanilla or cherry. Sticky gloss and messy red lipstick will have your guy giving you the side-eye.
3. Thou shall keep the lids sealed. Making kissy faces with open eyes is so weird that Bruno Mars had to sing about it. It’s not a crime to sneak a peek at your babe; he might sneak one, too. But generally speaking, when you’re close enough to graze noses, keep your pretty eyes closed to really soak up the experience. Open-eyed kissing is just awkward.
4. Thou shall not rush the flow. You had a great date at the neighborhood sushi spot. Sitting on your favorite bench at the park, you both lean in. The next thing you know, you’ve got a crick in your neck and you’re gasping for oxygen. What happened? An overzealous kissing match, that’s what. To really savor the moment — and avoid a trip to the ER — take your time, slow down, and enjoy yourself. When you need air, it’s perfectly fine to stop for a second, breathe, and pick up where you left off. The phrase, “take my breath away” should not be taken literally.
5. Thou shall not go all Twilight on a brotha. Glittery vampires bite. You, a cool brown girl, should probably just stick to the mortal basics: Never draw blood from your boo’s lips, neck, nose, cheek … you get the point. Now, a gentle, brief lower-lip nibble is not necessarily bad taste (no pun intended) — it mostly depends on how comfortable your guy is with it. But for the most part, the fangs can stay put, especially if you’ve got braces. Lip-only kisses aren’t going out of style anytime soon.
6. Thou shall not kiss and tell. Nowadays everyone’s life is on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, et al. It’s not always wise, though, to post every detail of your personal life on the Web for all your friends, family, and even associates to see. So, if you and your guy have just begun dating or aren’t super serious, resist the urge to Twitpic your kisses. Doing so saves you the trouble of deleting all those shots if things change.
7. Thou shall exercise the right to remain on first base. Locking lips is one of the quickest ways to generate a lot of steam in a relationship. But remember that a kiss is just a kiss, not a groping invitation. Never, ever feel pressured to go beyond first base. Not comfortable with his touchy-feely hands? Say so. If he’s a good guy, he’ll respect your wishes to slow down. If he starts trippin’, blow him a kiss good-bye. And his number? Delete, delete, delete!
8. Thou shall “get a room.” A smiley-faced smooch after he wins you a teddy bear at the fall carnival? Cute. A full-on slobberfest while you wait in the checkout line at the mall? Appalling. Please, for the sake of everyone around you, don’t make out in public. Even if you’re dangerously in love, it’s bad manners to expose others (especially children) to heavy spit swapping. Which leads us to our next point…
9. Thou shall tame the tongue. The tongue is powerful. It can make you laugh, cry, smile, and shout — and it can also be really slimy. So, think twice before you let it out the bag. If you’re curious about Frenching, but nervous to go there, talk about it first. Once you’ve determined you two are ready, gently, slowly part your lips and let your tongue do the talking. Resist the urge to open your mouth like a dolphin waiting for fish, though. And speaking of animals…
10. Thou shall not kiss frogs. He whistles at you when you’re in your gym shorts. He tells you how much he’s feeling you on the regular, but he also flirts with your best friend, your ex-friend, and the girl who sits two rows behind you in algebra. Don’t be fooled by this smooth talker. Any dude who tries to spit game at a friend’s list of girls isn’t worth your affection. Remember: Only in fairy tales do kissed frogs become princes.
This article originally appeared in Sesi’s Fall 2013 issue. Subscribe here to get the current issue, on sale now.