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Bad Kisser: Are you one and what should you do about it?  

by eharmony Editorial Team - November 22, 2023

It’s not a comfortable discovery but sometimes the truth can’t be avoided: you’re a bad kisser. Or maybe you’re dating someone whose kissing skills are less than stellar. Whether it’s something physically off-putting like bad breath, poor technical skills, or simply using too much tongue, there are many ways a kiss can go wrong – and take the relationship with it.  

In fact, a study1 showed that 60% of respondents would end a relationship over bad kissing. Luckily, unlike a lot of other dealbreakers, it’s possible to get better at kissing. In this article, we’ll look at signs you might be a bad kisser, then move on to some ways you can improve and how to fix a bad kisser.  

Signs you might be a bad kisser 

Kissing might seem simple, but it’s a skill like any other. Some signs of a bad kisser:  

You’re going too hard or too fast 

Kissing is a conversation and nobody enjoys being yelled at. Unless your partner has indicated they like being kissed a certain way, it’s best to start slow and build up, especially if it’s a first kiss. Regardless of where you are in the relationship, though, always make sure you and your partner are on the same page.  

You’re not being enthusiastic enough 

While we’re all in favor of acting politely, there is such a thing as being too restrained. Presumably you’re kissing someone because you’re attracted to them and vice versa; if it doesn’t show in your kiss, that’s a problem.  

Your technique needs work 

Maybe you’re using too much tongue, or your head is tilted at the wrong angle, or you’re biting too hard… kissing is a skill, one that takes time and practice. You should also be aware of the rest of your body, especially your hands – where you put them and how you use them is important. 

You have bad breath or poor personal hygiene  

We don’t really have to explain this one. While you don’t have to be 100% on point all the time, there’s little that can kill a romance quicker than a lack of attention to such basics as showers and brushing your teeth.  

How not to be a bad kisser 

Despair not, however. Kissing is like any other skill – it can be picked up. Some ways to improve your smooching skills:  

Focus on your partner 

There’s a reason why more people are practising mindfulness – focusing on the moment you’re in vastly improves how much you enjoy it. The same applies to kissing. A common mistake is reducing kissing to just foreplay – learn to appreciate it in and of itself, and it’ll become much more fun.  

Build up to it 

Just as it’s a bad idea to learn swimming by jumping into the deep end, nor should you go hot and heavy the moment your lips touch. Keep it gentle to start and watch your partner’s reactions, moving forward only if they’re into it. 

Use your entire body 

Kissing isn’t just about your mouth. Use your hands wisely – to brace your partner, to tease them with light touches, or pull them close – it’ll add a whole extra dimension.  

Ask for feedback! 

The idea of asking a partner for help can be intimidating, especially if you’re already insecure about your kissing skills. But don’t let that stop you – not only will feedback help your kissing game, demonstrating vulnerability will also help deepen your relationship.  

Some more tips on how to kiss

No matter how much you think you know about how to kiss, there’s always room for improvement. Let’s explore what a good kiss is and how to be a good kisser.  

How to help a bad kisser 

In the book the Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us, author Sheril Kirshenbaum references a study that says over half of all respondents broke up with their partners because they were bad kissers. While that’s certainly one option, here are some ways to gently nudge your partner away from being a bad kisser.  

Show them what you like 

Sometimes, a bad kisser just doesn’t know any better and it’s important to show them how it’s done. Take the lead, kiss them the way you want to be kissed – whether that’s harder or gentler, with more tongue or less – and hope that they get the hint.  

Mirror, mirror 

If being subtle doesn’t work, try a more direct approach. Rather than bluntly tell them they’re a bad kisser, suggest you take turns kissing each other the way each of you likes. Hopefully, after a few rounds of being kissed how you like, they’ll catch on. 

Use your words 

Sometimes, actions just aren’t enough – you have to actually talk about it. If you choose to take this route, remember that it’s always better to focus on the positive – talk about the things you do like, and what you would like them to do more, rather than focusing on what they get wrong. The important thing is to be clear but gentle.  

Don’t fret; there’s hope even for the worst of kissers 

Being a bad kisser isn’t a death knell for a relationship – there’s always room for improvement if you’re willing to put in the work. If, on the other hand, you’re stuck with a bad kisser… there’s no shame in breaking things off because your kissing styles just aren’t compatible. In fact, if compatibility in a relationship is what you’re looking for, there’s no better dating site for you than eharmony. We pride ourselves on helping our users find real love with people who share the same values they do. Even kissing-based ones. Sign up for eharmony and get started on your path to a serious relationship today.  

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