When's the last time you and your partner have… just kissed? Like, without expecting it to lead to something further? Admit it, when you're having sex regularly, it's easy to breeze over the foreplay and kissing when you know pound-town is right around the corner.
But smooching speaks a different sensibility than intercourse, explains Holly Richmond, PhD, psychologist and certified sex therapist.
"Kissing says, 'I want to play with you and spend time with you. We're taking our time and not just moving towards the goal of having an orgasm.' It tells your partner you're into them," says Richmond.
So, why not pucker up and get back to the basics? Try out these 12 types of kisses to prove that making out is le best for showing affection, communicating intimacy, and being hot AF foreplay.
Royal Hand Kiss
A person kissing the top of another's offered hand is the most formal of kisses. The traditional ritual doesn't imply affection—it's more a polite and respectful greeting among strangers meeting for the first time.
Air-kissing is a social gesture that involves pursing your lips and leaning in as if you're kissing, but without actually touching the other person's cheek (the little "mwah" sound is optional). It can be a hello or a goodbye and communicates endearment—like, something you may do with a friend or family member when you're saying goodbye.
Very popular in Europe, one or two light kisses on the cheek is a friendly greeting that says "happy to see you" between friends, family, partners, and sometimes, strangers. But say it happens with a romantic partner post-date, assume it's their respectful way of telling you they had a great time, but want to take things slow.
"The forehead kiss is atypical, which makes it more memorable," explains Richmond. Perhaps this is the reason #foreheadkisses have been tagged 33.8k times on Instagram. Not only is it compassionate and warm, but it communicates love in a non-sexual way. The gesture is typically reserved for someone special, like someone you're really feeling.
Some think it's corny, but some couples love to rub noses because it's "their thing" and unique to the relationship. There's no lip-touching in an Eskimo kiss, but it's intimate without being sexual. "You have to be very close to someone, whether you're looking into their eyes or closing your eyes and feeling their breath," says Richmond.
Single Lip Kiss
This seductive, warm-up move involves kissing the person’s bottom lip while they kiss your top lip (or vice-versa). The single lip kiss is a playful tease; an offer that maybe there's more to come...
Oui, oui! The open-mouth kiss with tongue is all types of erotic—there's almost no other kiss that connects two people more. But keep it for the bedroom, mmk? It's probably not supes appropriate when you're tonguing at a funeral or a Starbucks.
Kissing and playful biting on the lips, cheeks, jawline, collarbone, or neck can be really tantalizing (but no hickies, please!). How hard you nibble is of personal preference, so make sure to tell your boo what really drives you crazy. And while it makes for a seductive first-time hookup, introduce the idea slowly. "Go easy to start and you'll know if it's well-received," says Richmond. "If the person pulls back, it's off the table."
Just tongues, and that's it. The lizard kiss is an unconventional type of foreplay that two people really have to find sexy… but, hey, don't knock it 'til you try it!
Neck kisses are highly depicted in movies and most often referenced in romance novels starring Fabio-esque male leads, but they're even more sensual IRL. The neck is an underrated erogenous zone full of delicate, sensitive nerve endings, making for very fiery foreplay—especially for women.
Besides the neck, there are tons of other areas on the body worth kissing, including the chest, stomach, torso, feet, and booty. All this depends on an individual's sexual preferences and ticklish meter. Remember, what feels good to one person might not feel good to another. "If you really pay attention to your partner's body language, you're going to get a lot of information," says Richmond.
Kissing, licking, and sucking a partner's nipples is a body kiss deserving of its own category—and let's be honest, it feels pretty effing amazing for both women and men. But again, everyone's sexual proclivity is different and this is an area that requires staying attuned with intimate communication advises Richmond. If your partner is moaning and moving towards you, that's a green light. If his or her body recoils or tenses, take that as a no-go.
It's a sultry tease to kiss your bae through their underwear, using only your lips for epic foreplay at the spot where they really enjoy it. With your partner begging for more, remove the barrier, introduce tongue... and enjoy the grand finale. Are you seeing sparks yet?
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.