How to turn a bad kiss into a great one

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There are many types of bad kissers. The overzealous teeth-gnasher. The sloppy face smoocher. The darting tongue bandit. Bad breath, wrong atmosphere, stiff body language … it’s a miracle there’s such a thing as a good kiss.

In her book The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us, Sheril Kirshenbaum notes that 59 per cent of men and 66 per cent of women say they have ended a promising relationship because the kissing was bad.

Fortunately, there’s more than one way to deal with a bad kiss.

Read the signs

If your date doesn’t smell right or you don’t really fancy him/her, chances are the kiss is doomed from the start. A goodbye peck on the cheek is probably your best option. If you’re backing away from a kiss, it probably means your date is coming on too strong (the number one complaint from women about kissing: men trying to jam their tongues down their throats). Slow the pace down, maybe by starting with closed-mouth kissing. But if the kissing is just plain bad? Try to gently guide your date towards what you prefer. If that doesn’t work, you may have to bite the bullet, and either tell them that it’s not working for you … or call an Uber.

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Atmosphere is everything

Researchers at Lafayette College in the US found that mood – not just your skills – can have a powerful effect on how you rate the smooch and, subsequently, your partner. The study found that kissing in a sterile environment reduced the level of intimacy women felt with their partner. So make sure the setting is right. A noisy bar might not be the best place for a lingering kiss; strolling by the water at night might be.

Tips on technique

It’s easy to name what makes a bad kiss, but what makes a really good kiss? The experts agree that there are several key elements, including: being full present to the moment; paying attention to your date’s body language; starting slow and building momentum; and gently touching other parts of your date’s body – arm, shoulder, waist. But the most essential thing, according to William Cane, author of The Art of Kissing? Fresh, clean breath.

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