1. Don't put thy tongue before thy mouth. Some people lead with the tongue and I truly don't understand why. The tongue is a garnish: If things are going well with the tongue then cool, use more tongue. Otherwise, keep the training wheels on for a while, lest you scare her.
2. Stop thinking so much about your next move. This is not chess. It's kissing. And while it's tempting to want to overanalyze what the other person will probably do next so you can be #prepared, all it really does is take you out of the moment, which the opposite of where you want to be.
3. You can only take teasing so far before you become a diiiick. So when you keep pulling away like you're trying to tease your girl, eventually she's going to feel like you're screwing with her, which honestly? You are.
4. Definitely try to control your saliva so it does not become a river that runs through you both. When guys don't seem to understand this and you only discover that fact because you are drowning in a sea of their spit and you feel like you need a cup to spit some of it into? Yeah. That.
5. If you don't know for a fact that they like hard biting, don't lead with hard biting. A lip bite can be cool but some people don't like it or they like varied levels of pressure. If you're not sure which one they're into, do not sink your teeth into their lips like you're eating steak.
6. Passion is good. Punching their face with your face is not good at all. Pressure can be a great thing but if you feel like they're leaning away from you to alleviate some of that pressure, ease up. That said...
7. Lean in, man! Again, this is about balance, but I've definitely had more guys who were too gentle and almost felt like they were on sedatives while kissing me. Gentle is a great starting place but there's a reason why movie kisses are hard and passionate and not passive and sleepy.
8. Listen to what their mouth is trying to tell you. A lot of the time, the way your partner is kissing you is the way your partner wants to be kissed. So in the beginning especially, pay attention to how they're kissing you and where they're kissing you because in all likelihood, that's what they're hoping for on your end as well.
9. For christ's sake, don't just stick to the lips. Yes, that's a great place to start but may I also present to you: the neck, the ears, the cheeks, the nose, all very kissable places for very different reasons.
10. Never go from 0 (kissing) to 60 (crazy sex action) unless they explicitly tell you they want that. One time I had a guy go from kissing me to his hand down my pants in record time and I'd never, ever told him I had any interest in that. It was horrifying, neither felt good, and honestly, it made me want to smack him and never kiss anyone again. Move slowly, observe your partner, and ask if they don't specifically tell you, but good god, do not be that shit slice.
11. Keep your mind from drifting off into your to-do list. You're kissing someone you genuinely like. Think about how often that happens. Not that often! Remembering all the reasons you wanted to kiss them in the first place will make the kissing better for you and for them. (Plus, let's be honest, you're not going to organize your closet by color. You live in a pile of clothes and probably always will. It's fine.)
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.