18 Simple Rules for Becoming a Better Kisser

Em & Lo

Want to leave him breathless with your kisses alone? In Nerve's Guide to Sex Etiquette for Ladies and Gentlemen by Em and Lo, you'll discover all sorts of suggestions for minding your manners in the bedroom, starting with old-fashioned kissing. By following simple etiquette rules, you can guarantee sweeter smooches that are sure to please your partner.

Most unfortunately, there are coxcombs among us who refer to making a move as "going in for the kill." However, leaning in for that first kiss should not be considered some kind of predatory attack, a forceful champing at the bit with excessive salivation. Instead, it should be thought of as an intimate moment shared between two people that can run the gamut from sweet and romantic to hot and heavy. Unfortunately, too many people mistake "hot and heavy" for "wet and messy." These people are the bad kissers among us. Do not hate them, for they know not what they do (usually because no one has the heart or presence of mind to set them straight). Hence, everyone believes they alone have turned lip-locking into an art form. But someone has got to be inspiring the countless tales told round water coolers about the "spin cyclist." Who knows, perhaps it is you, dear reader. Follow the rules below to make certain it is not.

* Ladies and gentlemen, do not lick your lips as you go in for the kiss. This is the equivalent of a renowned opera singer hacking up a loogie on stage in order to clear his throat before an aria.

* Your mouth is not a jack-in-the-box. Ergo, every time you open it, your tongue should not automatically pop out. Work up to this most precocious of French maneuvers. When in doubt, follow this order of operations during any given kissing session: 1.) Closed mouth, 2.) Opened mouth, no tongue, 3.) Opened mouth, just the hint of tongue, 4.) Full-on tongue probing. Whether that four-step process takes a half hour or 30 seconds to complete, the buildup is infinitely preferable to sticking out one's tongue and saying "Ahhh" as one's patented opening move.

o Do not open your mouth so much wider than your partner's that it appears as if you are trying to eat their head. Kissing is not a Mick Jagger impersonation contest.

o Tongue-flicking your partner's uvula as if it were a boxing bag must never be attempted by anyone wishing to float high above the depths of vulgarity, not to mention stupidity.

o Do not make a beeline for the boobs, the ass or the crotch the instant the lips have locked, especially during a first kiss or during kisses early on in the dating process. It is one thing if you are both living out the elevator scene from Fatal Attraction. It is quite another if you are strolling along the promenade under the moonlit sky, having done nothing but hand-holding up until this point. In most cases, romance should take priority over unadulterated lasciviousness; you will both wish to savor the moment, so focus on the kissing. Do not denigrate it or distract yourselves from its beauty by rushing to the naughty bits. True ladies and gentlemen, for the most part, take their sweet time.

o Only the most hopeless of souls employs the sucker punch. Sneaking up on someone (especially someone you have never kissed before) and planting one on them by surprise so they cannot act quickly enough not to kiss you is the epitome of rudeness, to say nothing of desperation. You may, however, grab your date by the hand, push them up against a wall and plant one on them passionately, so long as there is not even the slightest hint of hesitation in their constitution. That three-step process should give you enough time to accurately assess your date's response and abort the kiss if need be.

o Likewise, grabbing someone's face is romantic so long as you are not holding their head to keep them from pulling away. Putting someone in a headlock so they cannot escape your kisser is not only rude, it is criminal.

o If the kissee pulls away, the ladylike or gentlemanly kisser refrains from getting mad or pouty. Even if you are dying of humiliation or crying on the inside, maintain a cool and calm exterior. You can kill yourself later.
o When you come up for air and find your mouth poised on the precipice of their earlobe, proceed with caution and restraint. Many persons despise ear play altogether, on principle, as it reminds them of the wet willies of yesteryear. So go slowly, breathe softly, blow ever so gently, use your tongue sparingly -- it should just delicately graze the outside of the earlobe, not dig for waxen gold like a Q-tip. If your partner pulls away, do not keep revisiting the area in an effort to convert them.

o True ladies and gentlemen are diligent about freshening their breath. Brush your teeth (and your tongue) often, carry mints with you at all times and keep a small tube of toothpaste in your nightstand drawer for morning touch-ups so you -- or your partner -- will not have to leave the warm comforts of bed prematurely.

o A lady or gentleman never goes in for a kiss (or accepts an incoming one) during an outbreak of oral herpes. A true gentleman or lady with oral herpes (GoLwOH) explains their situation pre-kiss even between outbreaks. 'Tis true, almost a quarter of the kissers in this country suffer from oral herpes (most of them unknowingly), and yes, the chance of spreading oral herpes between outbreaks is very, very low (especially if you take suppressive medicine). But a true GoLwOH would -- and should -- tell. It is only polite to let your date make their own decision about the risk they are willing to incur. That said, many a measured gentleman and lady have been more than understanding when a GoLwOH waited until the second or third kiss to inform them of the condition. It is out of our jurisdiction to endorse lies of omission; however, many modern doctors will tell you it is fair play not to tell between outbreaks. A note of caution: This rule does not apply to genital herpes.

o A lady or gentleman never expects a make-out session, or even a good-bye kiss on the lips, at the end of a date. We would do well to remember that kissing is so intimate an act that not even Julia Roberts's hooker character in Pretty Woman would allow her johns to osculate her. The same thing goes for holding hands in public on a first date, especially before the drinking has commenced. Civilized people find it extremely odd and out of fashion that so many young couples on the show Blind Date begin holding hands within the first few minutes of meeting -- even when they are not particularly fond of one another. Barbarians, all of them!

Herein you will find polite excuses that may be employed to help keep a lover's wild tongue in its cage and your relationship on track:

o The Public Nuisance: "Whoa there, Nellie, we don't want to frighten the horses. I'm all for PDA, but please let's keep it G-rated for the kids' sake."

o The Bored Game: "I know this really cool game. You have to kiss each other without touching anything except lips, and that includes tongue and all other body parts. Wanna play?"

o Foreplay for Fools: "Honey, I just want you to lie back, relax and let me do all the work. You don't have to move an inch. No, I mean it, don't move!"

o The Doctor's Note: "My dentist said that due to my root canal, no foreign objects may enter my mouth, except through a straw."

o The Barry White: "Aaaaw yeah, baby, I just love your beautiful supple lips, ooooh, they're so round and red, oh oh oh, I wanna love them all night long, reeeeeal soft and reeeeeal slow, baby."

o The Blunt Instrument: "I enjoy the wet one every now and again, but people are starting to wonder about the teeth marks. Please be gentle with me from time to time. Now kiss me, you fool!"

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