The term “French kissing” probably brings up memories of some hormonally-charged experiences that you pretty much abandoned once you learned other ways to spend sexy time. And you probably haven’t thought much about how to French kiss since. But a classic make out session can be an intimate and passionate way to connect with your partner.
You’re older, you’re wiser, you’ve upgraded from Lunchables to charcuterie boards — you can upgrade your kissing technique, too. Let’s start from scratch. Here’s our guide on how to French kiss (or get better at it).
How to French Kiss: Step By Step
1. Make a move
Make eye contact and slowly move your head towards your partner. Check that your partner is also moving towards you or communicating consent with body language. If you’re not sure, say “I really want to kiss you right now” or “Can I kiss you?” to get verbal consent. Gently touch their back, their shoulder, or the back of their head to guide them towards you.
2. Make contact
Tilt your head to one side so your lips will meet instead of nose-bumping. Most people close their eyes at this point, but if your partner’s eyes are closed, they’ll never know. If their eyes are open, then you both will know the other is an eye-open-kissing-weirdo so you’re still good.
3. Start slow
Start with light pressure and a closed, slightly puckered lip. Don’t go in with your jaw unhinged like you’re going to swallow them. Keep your lips slightly parted to allow the kiss to escalate.
4. Intensify the kiss
Start opening your mouth more widely as you kiss to give your partner access to your tongue. Gently sweep the lip of your tongue over their lips or insert your tongue slightly between their lips to signal you want to add tongue to the kiss. If they respond with an open mouth, use your tongue lightly and gently to explore their lips, tongue, and mouth.
How Do You Practice French Kissing?
When you want to practice French kissing, there’s really no way to do this gracefully. Time to embrace the weirdness. (It needs hugs too!)
To practice French kissing, use one hand to make a circle with your thumb and index finger, and insert your opposite thumb into the circle and wrap your hands together. Your thumbs will form “lips” that you can use to practice. The benefit of this is you can feel with your tongue and your fingers, so you get some sense of how it feels from both ends.
You can also use a piece of soft fruit, like a mango or apricot. Bite a hole in the fruit and then practice on the hole. Just don’t tell anyone you’re “kissing the fruit hole” because that probably has a horrifying definition on UrbanDictionary.
You could find a friend or romantic partner who is willing to practice with you. It’s ok to be honest about wanting to improve your skills or not being experienced in some areas. Humans are also generally much better at giving feedback than apricots.
French Kissing Dos and Don’ts
Do: Pick the right location
French kissing is generally a private affair, so pick a kissing location that’s private and romantic. We’re all adults here; you don’t need to worry about your parents walking in while you make out on the couch instead of watching Napoleon Dynamite on DVD. Pick a spot you’ll feel comfortable.
Don’t: Have Stinky Breath
The garlic fries seemed like a good idea during dinner, but it’s not a great idea if you plan to make out after. Plus, on the off chance you’re making out with a sexy vampire, you don’t want to scare them away.
You want your pie to be flaky and crusty, not your lips. Keep your lips moisturized. If you know a make out session is approaching, put on an unscented chapstick.
Don’t: Forget to Breathe
You want a kiss to take your breath away, but this isn’t a free-diving contest. Take small breaths through your nose to avoid heavy breathing through your mouth. Ooh, look, coral!
Do: Use your hands
Don’t stand frozen like Han Solo in carbonite. Put your hands on their face, in their hair, or around their waist.
Don’t: Use too much tongue
As much as some might love a slobbery kiss from a cute puppy, you’ll want to keep your tongue and saliva mostly inside your mouth if you plan on kissing a human. (Or that vampire.)
Do: Move Beyond the Mouth
Mix up kissing on the mouth with passionate kisses on the neck or collar bone, or even a sweet closed-mouth kiss on the cheek or forehead. And if that eventually leads farther south, all the better.
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