Pucker up! Saturday, July 6, is International Kissing Day. First established in 2006, International Kissing Day is a full 24 hours dedicated to celebrating the all-powerful kiss, be it a romantic exchange, a friendly greeting, or a peck on your dog’s forehead. Of course, we certainly don’t need a holiday to appreciate the beauty of a kiss, but International Kissing Day gives us a great excuse to smooch our partners, friends, family, and pets (all consensually, of course).
Although the jury is still out on whether or not kissing is instinctual behavior, the British Council reports that scientists do know that when we kiss someone, we’re subconsciously investigating if the person we’re kissing would be a suitable genetic match. Whether we realize it or not, we’re actually attracted to a person’s natural scent, which indicates if they have compatible genes — those being genes that are different enough to potentially procreate with.
But biology aside, the act of smooching someone can also cause a natural high when the brain releases dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin, which work together to light up the “pleasure center” in our brains. No wonder kissing is such a fun and memorable experience.
If you’re looking for pointers to improve your kissing game, we scanned Reddit and found the best kissing advice in honor of International Kissing Day. Take a few notes, check your breath, and get your smooch on.
1. Let the chemicals lead the way.
“The [serotonin] and dopamine flood caused by mutually assured physical that works for both sides.” -multia-z
Once you get the okay from the other person that they want this kiss to happen, the pleasure centers in both of your brains will boot up and give you that warm and fuzzy feeling. As long as there is “mutual assurance” throughout the whole kiss, dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin will continue to put in the work.
2. Be chill when it comes to tongue.
“Don't use too much tongue. Not everyone likes that.” -Omega117921
Unless the person you’re kissing has expressed they like a lot of tongue action during a kiss, it’s best to be frugal with how much tongue you include. One Reddit user (thejennadaisy) suggested pretending to say the word “olive” to ensure you’re supplying enough, but not too much. Hey, whatever works, right?
3. But if you’re going to use your tongue, actually use it.
“My first make out session. We were in his attic and, in mid-conversation, he just lunged straight at me and began to kiss me. I was surprised, but went with it. It was going okay for a while. We were both new to kissing, so it wasn't great, but it was fine. Then he stuck as much of his tongue as he could fit in my mouth and then didn't move it. At all. It just lay there like a beached whale.” -nnmrlvs
One’s tongue should never be described as a “beached whale” when referring to a makeout session, unless the person you’re kissing is into that. Tongue can add a lot of heat to a kiss if it’s efficiently put to work. Keep the tongue moving in an organic way to avoid “beached whale” syndrome.
4. You can use kissing to express yourself.
“My boyfriend always gives me a couple quick kisses before he leaves, but it's more like ‘I love you, but I gotta go" so it's cute but not exciting. When he actually takes my face in his hands and kisses me for a long time, or presses me into him... Sploosh. I get these warm tingles running all down my head, neck, and back and am immediately dtf. But on a more emotional level, just the other day he kissed me and then pulled away slightly and just pressed his forehead to mine. It was just so cute and affectionate, like saying "I love you so much" without the need for words.” -Jordilini
A great kiss can involve more touching than just lips to lips. Get your hands and body involved in the event.
5. When in doubt, be gentle.
“She sucked on my tongue really hard. Like to the point where I had to ask her to stop because it hurt. The next morning when I couldn't taste my Kix I looked at my tongue in the mirror and it was black and blue.” -oddlythebird
Again, unless someone has specifically told you that they like a lot of suction, then feel free to go full vacuum cleaner. But when in doubt, err on the side of caution and be gentle with your partner to avoid mouth bruises. Ouch.
6. Remember to move your lips.
“My favorite make-out story ever is from my fiancé. When he was a kid, he had no idea how to kiss [a girl]. Got his first girlfriend, they went to kiss and he went full-on “fish.” Like lips gasping for air, no tongue at all, just smooshing their gasping-for-air lips together for ages!!! I like to imagine this any time I get down. Poor soul.” -Taylor-Kittenface
This Reddit user’s story about their partner’s “fish” lips is pretty hilarious. Keeping your lips soft during a kiss will make the experience much more enjoyable for both people involved — and there’s no need to gasp for air. Take a breather, if needed.
7. Take a break.
“Just after you stop, pull back, and open your eyes when your faces are still so close to [each other]. To me, it’s crazy-intimate and always [gives] me butterflies.”-MajorMustard
Taking a moment to pull away from a kiss doesn’t always mean the making out is going to stop. This Reddit user loves when the person they’re kissing takes a moment to stop, regroup with some eye contact, and then continue once the butterflies have returned.
8. Keep it light.
“I like how giddy it can be. When you’re making out and every now and then, someone cracks a joke or does something funny.” -X1010101101011X
A makeout session can be made even better when both parties involved have great senses of humor. One Reddit user responded to this comment, “I like to be able to laugh if something funny happens, then get back into it. If you're not going to have fun with me, we're not gonna work.”
9. A kiss can be “just a kiss,” or so much more.
“It was THE greatest thing I've ever felt...Before I was 21, I had no self esteem, I didn't like ANY part of my body and I just didn't valued myself as relationship worthy.
But I worked with that girl, totally out of my league. She kept smiling at me even though I was very timid but I smiled back all the time. Then we talked, went on dates, study together and things escalated. I was ready for a life of loneliness, I was sure I was going to die without even kissing a girl, not even on a dare. I was prepared for that but then it happened. We were in my car, she had to go work so I dropped her off but before she left my car she just stared at me for a solid 10 seconds. I was like...I am kissing her and I did and she kissed back. I felt like I could achieve anything. That kiss meant a lot to me. It was my first kiss, with the one I wanted but most importantly (and a lot of you might think it's selfish) but most importantly, it gave me confidence.”-karnikaz
To some, kissing someone new is simply fun and may carry no emotional value or meaning. But to others, a first-time kiss can boost their confidence and change their outlook for the week ahead — even their life. Whatever a kiss means to you, embrace it.
10. Nibble, but maybe not snack on the other person.
“The guy just kept like munching on my face as though he hadn't eaten in a week and it was wet and sloppy. His glasses kept falling down and hitting me in the face too. I went through about three tubes of lip balm afterwards trying to heal my severely chapped lips.” -xandaria
A sweet bite of the lip can be much-appreciated. However, when the person you kiss has to go through “about three tubes of lip balm” afterwards, there may have been too much nibbling involved. And if you’re the one being snacked on, feel free to tell the person you’re kissing to go easy on the lips.
11. Let the buildup happen.
“When you think it's about to happen. You know you both feel it. But you don't know for sure. You stare into each other's eyes, knowing you should look away. Your heart beats just a little bit faster. And you wonder if he (or she) is feeling it, too, wanting it as much as you do. Deep down you know what's about to happen. But still you're not sure. You don't know and the doubt, the not knowing, the buildup of suspense, makes you want it even more. And you go in slowly, maybe biting your lip slightly because you're nervous and because you want to draw attention to your lips. You look down at his (her) lips, and you move in closer. Slowly getting closer and closer...tl;dr I like the build up.” -slowsunslumber
Will they? Won’t they? The buildup to a kiss can kind of feel like game, which turns a lot of people on. Letting the tension build is also a great way to feel out the situation and ensure that both people involved want this sexual tension to pay off in a kiss.
“If you run your tongue along the inside of the other person's upper gums (between their upper teeth and their upper lip), they are either going to love it or they are going to hate it. Nobody is neutral on having a tongue rubbing against their gums.” -kennybossum
Whether this is true or not is up to you. This tongue-on-gums method is one way to experiment with your style. You can also try teasing the other person now and again by pulling away. Or simply brush your lips against theirs in between kissing. The only way to find your kissing style is to try out different things, and if you’re brave, ask for feedback!
13. It’s crucial to read the room.
“She saw me coming in, then she turned her cheek to me.” -[deleted]
If you’ve been denied — someone has verbally said no, they’ve given you the cheek, or they’re actively avoiding you — then absolutely back off. Kissing is a consensual sport, and if the other person doesn’t want to play, then the game is over.
14. The aftermath can be just as good as the kiss itself.
“Immediately after, when you're still all over each other and that dopey smiley comes out and both people can't help but laugh a little bit.” -[deleted]
With your brain still wired from the dopamine and oxytocin, you’re often left in a state of euphoria after a great kiss. This is when you can take a deep breath, smile about what just happened, and watch the sparks around you two fly.
15. If your first kiss hasn’t happened yet…
“When everyone here says they had their first kiss at 15 and I'm here scratching my head thinking "what the hell did I do wrong?" -Bigoteroj
And if you haven’t kissed anyone, that’s absolutely okay. You can’t and shouldn’t force these kinds of things to happen — if you even want them to happen, that is.
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to kissing, so don’t feel ashamed or bad if you disagree with some of the above advice. Talk to your partner about your likes and dislikes before locking lips if you want to get the most out of your International Kissing Day.