Kissing is one of those things you really hope everyone would make the effort to be at least halfway decent at. But for people stuck with partners who can't fathom that they have room for improvement, a lip lock can feel just like that: actual mouth prison. Here are some things that make a tender first kiss slowly morph into a grotesque horror film:
1. Forcefully pushing your tongue in immediately.
Just because the tongue is one of the strongest muscles in the human body doesn't mean it needs to push my mouth open like Superman spreading apart two elevator doors, especially within the first 30 seconds of a kiss. It's clumsy, it's rude, and it makes me assume you'll jump right into sex without a lick of foreplay, in which case, bye.
2. Just leaving your tongue in my mouth like a sandy pancake.
This is a weird in-between where you're bold enough to really get in there with the tongue in the first place, but too self-conscious to actually move it around. It's basically a heavy tongue blanket for my own tongue: impractical, confusing, and a lose-lose for everyone involved.
3. Using your tongue a defunct windmill.
You know you're supposed to do something with it but have no idea what, so you wiggle it around without a sense of direction or purpose, darting from one side of my mouth to the other like the world's saddest game of tennis. The only upside is that it feels enough like my annual tooth cleaning that I can justify skipping my dentist appointment.
4. Keeping your lips sealed shut.
The flip side is pursing your lips so tightly that I'm left to assume that (1) the mint I just chewed is not masking the French onion soup I just ate; (2) I'm a bad kisser and you're trying to physically protect yourself instead of just, you know, talking to me about it; or (3) you believe there is an eel-like, sharp-toothed creature inside me waiting for you to crack your mouth open even a tiny bit, so it can immediately slither down your throat. (I will always assume it's no. 3.)
5. Covering my entire mouth with your mouth.
This has happened to me exactly once, where a guy I was seeing would always greet me by giving me a peck on the lips, except said peck completely enveloped my mouth and left a generous layer of saliva that I then had to discreetly wipe off. I hope this is as rare a phenomenon as I think it is.
6. Biting my lower lip and reaaaaally stretching it.
Yes, if you're going for more advanced kissing techniques, an extremely light tug on your partner's lower lip is sexy, for sure. But it's meant to be a tasteful garnish, not the main course. During said move, I'll be wondering how big an icepack I'll need after I make an excuse to bolt out of there (which 100 percent will happen because I am not testing that technique on any other part of my body.)
7. Light burps!!!
You have to burp, but don't want to "ruin the moment," so you let out a suppressed belch mid-kiss thinking I won't notice. Except, you know, the ever-so-tiny chunks of food and fresh cloud of garlicky gas, that ~I~ now have to politely pretend isn't happening. Literally no judgment if you're a fellow acid refluxer, but just pull away, sneak in a Tums, and move to cuddling and delicate Amelie-style face-kissing.
Nope. One, by accident, is forgivable as human error in a moment of passion. Seventeen of them scattered on my neck and forcing me to Google things like "turtleneck extra fabric"and "light scarves I can believably wear in April" are just a sign that you care more about subconsciously branding me than the fact that this also just doesn't feel good. And if your reaction is proposing a "spoon trick" or "toothbrush trick" over apologizing, you should get your kissing rights revoked for life, sir.
9. Not listening to women (with your mouth or your ears.)
If you just dive in and do whatever you think is hot, the only bed your partner will secretly think about is their own, without you, as they binge-watch Netflix and never text you back. Ideally, you should talk to your partner about what turns them on kissing-wise, but if this is one of your first experiences with the person, try mirroring them and working in tongue s l o w l y, and pulling back if they don't seem too into it or close their mouth. "Women like it if you just go for it" is about as true a statement as "my roommate left all four burners on and I have to go now, soooooo sorry!"
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.