Chances are, you’ve thought about whether or not you’re a good kisser but have never been bold enough to ask it out loud.
As a result, for years, perhaps you’ve just assumed you know how to make out and, by default, are a pro when it comes to how to make out with a guy.
But here’s the thing: according to a survey conducted by YourTango, only 52 percent of people think their partner is a good kisser. That means almost half of us assume we’re awesome at making out, when, in reality, we’re really, really not.
Kind of embarrassing, eh?
All couples need make-out sessions because it is one of the surest ways to form attachments because kissing causes a chemical reaction in your brain that releases the hormone oxytocin.
Often referred to as the “love hormone,” oxytocin stirs up feelings of affection and attachment. According to a 2013 study, oxytocin is particularly important in helping men bond with a partner and stay monogamous. (i.e. super important, people!!)
So, knowing that, how do we make the most out of our kissable lips? How do we make sure we fall into that 52 percent of great kissers? And when it comes to making out, is there any good way to tell if we’re doing it right?
It’s a hard thing to judge because no one ever actually asks their partner, “Hey, can you teach me how to make out?” Observing people making out makes you look like a creep, and kissing passionately isn’t something you can really practice on your own, so you can only really learn by experience.
But how can you tell if your partner likes what you’re doing? What signs should you be paying attention to in order to assess your kissing pros and cons?
If you want to bring making out to a whole new level, here are 10 game-changing tips for how to make out!
1. Follow your partner’s cues.
“Making out,” says love coach and author of “Dating, Mating, and Manhandling: The Ornithological Guide to Men” Lauren Frances, “is like following the leader.”
In other words, don’t worry about having your own style — or even doing the opposite of your partner. You want to be in sync and on the same page because the better your lips work together, the better the lip lock.
“Before you’re kissing,” she adds, “you want to mirror the body language of the person you’re with because it really allows men to feel connected to you. You mimic their body language. Are they leaning toward you? If so, lean toward them because it creates symmetry between the two of you and makes you feel like you’re literally connected, even though you’re not.”
Frances also adds that people making out tend to touch and be touched the way that they enjoy those feelings, so if someone is being really gentle and subtle with you, take that as a cue that these types of feelings and expressions are things they want in return.
2. Know the difference between kissing and making out.
When does kissing become full-on making out? Frances says, “Making out is the most intimate thing you can do with your clothes intact,” and adds that “a make-out is more physical than just a kiss or smooch or a peck.
“You’re feeling a sexual experience — it’s almost as satisfying as having sex — but a make-out really is when both people are settling into each other and taking the time to connect in a deeply intimate way.”
The only difference she adds is that “You don’t have to take your clothes off. It’s kind of like this: a really good makeout feels just like that moment before sex when your guy takes your panties off.
3. Receive and respond.
Making out is a lot like having a conversation — only, in this instance, you’re not really talking, you’re kissing. So, like in any conversation, you want to take in what’s happening and then respond to it.
“You let your guy do his thing, you know, taking the first step,” Frances says, “and you’re there to respond to what he’s doing.” That response can be anything from passionately kissing him back to biting your lip to let him know you like what he’s doing.
“Some people need to find their own style,” she adds, “like, the way that your last partner kissed you will probably not be the same way your new suitor kisses you.”
Don’t expect that just because you know how to kiss (news flash: everyone knows how to kiss), you know how to make out with a guy.
Everyone has a different kissing style. When he leans in for the kiss, accept it without any preconceptions; it won’t be like the last guy that kissed you or the way your first love kissed you.
You’re walking into a totally new situation. The best way to navigate is to receive and to respond, naturally. Pay attention to how your partner is kissing you. If he makes it an open mouth kiss, follow suit. If he wants to go drenching, dive in! If it’s closed mouth, go with the flow.
Frances also adds, “You want the person you’re kissing to feel like they can express themselves and, in part, women want to receive what they’re doing and try to almost mirror that.
If you like what they’re doing (and believe me, they’re going to be taking cues from you), the best way to express that you’re enjoying it is to give them back something that lets them know that you’re enjoying yourself.”
If the kissing is off, or they’re kissing you with too much tongue (or not enough), when you “respond,” it’s your chance to say, without speaking, what you want them to do. Expression is really important.
4. Show interest.
You want your partner to know that you like what he’s doing and the easiest way to do that is without talking.
Frances says there are ways to let your person know that you’re into it. “Try the ‘happy giggle,’ where you actually giggle, but just let out small, sweet, little sounds. You’d be surprised how encouraging that is for either sex.”
And if you’re feeling animalistic, you can definitely convey feel-good emotions by gently “mmm-ing” in delight or even purring, like a cat does when you pet her. Though they seem basic, it sounds like these that absolutely let your guy or girl know you’re into what they’re doing and that you want them to keep going.
“One of the other things I love to do is to put my hands on a man’s chest and at first, it kind of seems like I’m pushing him away, but if you push just lightly it lets him know that you’re really enjoying where things are going.”
And if you want to play it up, “You can dig your nails in (gently!) on their chest and just put pressure — you don’t want to actually push him away. Doing so creates this really sexy playfulness that makes both sexes go really wild.”
5. Let your hands be involved.
When making out don’t just sit there. No one wants to kiss a statue. So, run your fingers through their hair, do some heavy petting, or cup their face. Let your hands roam around your partner’s body. Feel every inch of them.
If you’re comfortable and it’s consensual, have your hands go under your partner’s shirt to feel their skin. As you make out you’ll feel their body temperature rise which will add to the steamy make-out session.
6. Be in a comfortable spot.
This is so, so, so important, especially if you’re a beginner. You can’t really let your guard down or honestly let loose if you don’t feel comfortable where you are.
Find a nice private place so you won’t have to worry about anyone walking in on you while you’re getting it on with your partner.
7. Control your tongue and teeth.
Most, if not all, make-out sessions will use the french kiss. Fair warning though, no one likes an over-kisser.
Kissing is like a dance you feel what the other is doing and you follow suit. If the session is heading towards passionate kissing, do a tango of tongues. If the kiss is heading to a slow and steamy session, create a samba with your lips and teeth
Don’t force the kiss to go one way or the other, but let it go where you both take it. If that means lots of tongue, then don’t hold back. But if the kiss isn’t into that, then reel it back in folks!
Same goes with teeth! Never bite so hard you break the skin and make your partner bleed. That’s no good and a quick way to end your make-out session. Instead, gently nibble on your partner’s bottom lip and maybe pull it a little in a teasing way.
8. Prep your lips beforehand.
Lip preparation is crucial when it comes to making out. No one wants to kiss crusty chapped, dry lips. Ick! To keep your lips plump, juicy, and absolutely kissable you can do several things.
The first is to make sure you keep yourself hydrated. Drink plenty of water — this way, your lips won’t be prone to dryness.
Other things you can do are use lip balm liberally, stop biting your lips, and try to stay out of the cold.
9. Go exploring!
Once you’ve gotten into the rhythm of your make-out session, switch things up. Do something different and see if you both enjoy it. Start experimenting with different make-out techniques.
Or kiss certain body parts other than your partner’s lips.
I don’t mean to go right to the private areas, but branch out and kiss their arms, their stomachs, their necks, their hands, their wrists. Bite their earlobes.
Soon you’ll know what your partner enjoys like the back of your hand.
10. Know when to stop.
If making out is all that is on the table for the night, make it clear up front that you are not interested in going for the home run. Make eye contact when saying this so your partner knows and understands that you are firm and serious on the matter.
Keep going until both of you are satisfied with the session, otherwise, it might turn a bit awkward. The average make-out time is roughly 4 to 10 minutes.
At the end of it all just remember to have fun with it! This isn’t a test; there’s no letter grade you get when you’re done. Making out should be fun so don’t put so much pressure on yourself to be the best kisser in the world.
Kylie McConville is a writer who covers sex, love, and self topics.