How to kiss like a pro

Tips for nailing that perfect cinematic snog

A couple kisses in a park
(Image credit: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

Whether it's Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster snogging in the surf in From Here to Eternity or Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst's upside-down smooch in Spiderman, pop culture has taught us that nothing beats the perfect kiss.

"Some people think that sex is so full of pleasure on its own that kissing isn't important," clinical sexologist Krista Bloom told Cosmopolitan, but the truth is that it can be an intensely erotic experience in itself. There are "tons of nerve endings in your lips that stimulate desire", she says, so "smooching before, during, and after intercourse can be extremely arousing and satisfying".

How can you make the most of all that erotic potential?

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Close your eyes

Lingering stares and fluttering lashes are venerable tools in the seduction repertoire, but when it's time to start locking lips, keep them shut, says Marie Claire's Rich Santos.

Not only is a wide-eyed kisser "creepy", but "just as a blind person's other four senses are enhanced, temporary blindness during a kiss can intensify the way it feels," he writes.

Start out simple

Building up the intensity gently gives both parties a chance to get comfortable and relaxed - and only makes the process more tantalising.

Men's Health gives this suggested warm-up before progressing to any frenzied snogging: "Start by planting a small tender kiss on each lip before placing soft, dry, relaxed kisses over the entire mouth. Trace her lips with your fingertips as you gaze into her eyes."

Shake it up

Remember that variety is the spice of life, says Bustle's Sara Altschule. "You don't want to engage in the same old boring kiss, over and over," she writes. "Change up the speed and the motion, and you'll have one happy kissing customer." Try moving the action to your kissing partner's neck or ears before returning to the lips.

Take the initiative

The Daily Mail's Tom Mitchelson agrees that taking the lead is a winning formula. Fundamentally, a thrilling kiss should be "bold, decisive and providing an element of surprise" although he acknowledges that there are limits - "making a move on the object of your affection mid-way through their grandmother's funeral is probably ill-advised".

But don't come on too strong

"Kissing is a team effort," says Santos. "Don't squelch someone's spirit by going on the offensive." No one likes having their face eaten, so escalate with care - make sure your kissing partner is receptive to a soupcon of tongue before you go straight in for tonsil tennis, for instance.

The wisdom of crowds

Expert advice is all well and good, but surely kissing is one area of life in which the majority opinion deserves consideration. So what do the people think?

A 2015 survey of more than 9,000 dating site users in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore found that, despite regional differences on the specifics, there appears to be some global consensus on what makes a perfect first kiss.

The number one turn-off is not bad technique but bad breath - 38 per cent of respondents named halitosis as the biggest impediment to a make-out session.

When it comes to the act itself, the majority of those surveyed wanted to keep it short and sweet, with 61 per cent saying the ideal length of the average end-of-date kiss was between two and five seconds.

The good news for insecure smoochers is that even bad technique isn't necessarily a dealbreaker. In fact, 32 per cent of men and 38 per cent of women said they would be willing to look past bad kissing for the right person.

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