Allow me to a paint a ~sexy~ picture for you. You and your partner are kissing and it's starting to get more intense, like, serious tonsil hockey. Things are steaming up and your partner suddenly starts making their way down to your neck. Sounds pretty standard, right?
I mean, neck kisses have been a pretty widely accepted part of hooking up since we got our first hickeys back in high school. But what are they, really? Why do they feel so fucking good? Of all the body parts available, why are we drawn towards each other’s necks?!
Do. Not. Worry. I come bearing the answers to pretty much any and all neck kiss-related questions you may have ever had with some guidance from our experts. Without further ado, let the learning begin!
What is a neck kiss?
It's pretty self-explanatory. "A neck kiss is exactly what it sounds like, a kiss on the neck—usually near the nape where the neck meets the shoulder, but anywhere on the neck can feel amazing," says Emily Morse, PhD, host of the SiriusXM radio show and podcast of the same name, Sex With Emily.
Why is your partner kissing you there?
"The neck is a sensitive area. So kissing in the neck is a way for someone to get really intimate really quickly, and to build anticipation for more to come later," says Traci Brown, body language expert and author of Persuasion Point: Body Language and Speech for Influence. "Lengthening and exposing the side of your neck is also a sign of attraction."
No wonder why people are so horny for necks. "It's sexy! The nape of the neck is a beautiful curve of the body, and it can be a huge turn-on to see your partner's reaction," says Morse. "Nibbling, licking, and blowing on the neck is a great way to tease what’s coming."
Why does it feel so good?
Anyone who's ever had the pleasure of being kissed on the neck knows that it feels almost surprisingly wonderful. But why? "For one, there [are] a lot of nerve endings on the neck, so it's super pleasurable," says Morse.
Plus, it's a super sexy extension of a make out. I mean, think about it: Your partner loves your body so much, they want to kiss every inch of it. It's like your upper body's clitoris!
How do you execute the perfect neck kiss?
"Start low and slow—right above the shoulder, kissing gently, and make sure you have wet lips," instructs Morse. "Switch between light kisses and a little bit of tongue, then blow on that area to stimulate all those nerve endings. Do this same process right under the ear as well."
And definitely don't travel back to your middle school hookups in a horny daze—light sucking is fine, but hickeys are a no-no.
And remember, no matter where you're kissing your partner, the key is to pay attention. "Are they moving closer to you or pulling away? Is their breath quickening or are they trying not to laugh because they're ticklish? Tailor your approach to your partner and you can't miss," advises Morse.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.