Drooling. Slobbery lips. Doritos breath.
Clumsy groping. The old toilet-plunger-tongue. Anyone of these gaffes can drain the romance from a kiss faster than spilling bongwater in your date’s lap. For most of us, the do’s and don’t’s of making out are as clear as our own spit, but some people just don’t get it. We’ve all kissed a self-styled stud or two who, unbeknownst to them, sucks face like a sloppy dog. On the other hand, no one I know is ready to admit that they’re not the virtuoso make-out artist they think they are, and should maybe brush up on the basics (and brush that tongue while they’re at it).
For a fresh take on the hottest sex to be had without crossing first base, Red Hot grilled four self-proclaimed make-out experts on the ins and outs of moshing lips. For those of you insecure about going mouth to mouth with the objects of your desire, here’s a crash course in kissy-kissy. Despite their different styles, preferences and pecking orders, our smoochers agree that it all comes down to one basic rule of tongue: finding a mutual groove and running with it. Slurp.
Kitty, 25, Actress
The best kiss of ’95: After weeks of sexual tension and lingering eye contact with a guy from her stage combat class. “It was all out on the table, but he didn’t actually touch me until we kissed, under a lamplight at 3 am. It started out in slow motion. He had a full mouth and I’m a sucker for big, pillow-y lips. I could feel his pulse on his lips.”
The worst: lt’s always confusing when a guy has all the right moves but has disgustingly wet, overpowering technique. One guy I smooched was especially smooth. He confidentially put his big hands on my waist right before we kissed. It was really hot. But when he kissed me, I might as well have been at the bottom of an ice cream cone. His tongue went shooting down my throat. I was pressed up against a wall and couldn’t move my mouth, let alone the rest of my body.”
Caveats: “Guys who set themselves up as great kissers often aren’t. For them, it’s all about performance. They’re overzealous. I hate guys who kiss you like they haven’t eaten in months.”
Likes: “I’m a big advocate of BO. I like guys who smell like they’ve just played basketball.”
Lingo: “I once made out with an older, worldly guy, whom I refer to as the suckler. He kissed me like he was drinking out of a baby bottle.”
Zoe, 16, Student
The best kiss ever: Her first, which happened behind the bleachers at a school dance in sixth grade. “Despite the fact that ‘Ice, Ice Baby’ was playing, he was really smooth. He touched my neck, he smelled good and his lips were soft. It went on for 20 seconds.”
The worst: “When a boy with braces tried to kiss me. I was paralyzed with fear. There’s this boy in my class with braces who was kissing someone when a wire snapped and pierced his tongue. I didn’t open my mouth.”
Faux pas: “Fuzzy teeth” (if someone hasn’t brushed in a while). And greasy skin. “I mean, take the time to think, ‘I don’t want to give Zoe any pimples.’”
Kenny, 28, Masseuse
Steamiest kiss: “A really sweaty one that happened a few summers ago on a park bench. It was right near her house, but we’d just met and I didn’t want to pressure her to invite me in. It was a full body affair, even on the bench (she put my hands on her breasts). After a few minutes we went inside.”
The double make out: “I was at this pretty saucy, relatively small party with a bunch of old friends. Everyone was dancing, lubricated with liquor. I had been wanting to make out with this girl Ali for years. But just make out, nothing more. (In fact there was this one time we should have gotten it on 5 years before). Suddenly, everyone in the room was kissing, just grabbing each other. So we joined in. It was very high school. After a while Ali left. But I still had kissing on my mind so I started making out with someone else.”
Last Licks: “Kissing is like a conversation. People have to be sensitive and take their cues from each other. And don’t just shove that tongue in at the wrong time. Remember, for your partner, that’s like choking on a huge, day-old bagel:’
Hank, 30, Trompe L’oeil Painter
Most memorable kiss: In college, during a summer film program, with a guy who was “sexually on the fence.” We were laying on a bed in his dorm. It was a hot night so the windows were open. We could hear the crickets. I climbed on top of him and kissed him, which led to more. He had to be physically convinced. At some point I peeled his shirt off, so we were chest to chest. But when I went for his pants, he’d stiffen up. So I decided to take his socks off, slowly. Suddenly I realized how sexy it is to remove someone’s socks. Feet are really intimate, innocent and perverse at the same time. They’re usually encased in shoes and socks. So seeing them for the first time is very revealing.”
Disastrous kiss: “The downside of being barefoot is long, sharp toenails. And ugly feet. One guy had the nerve to tell me my toes are really long and ugly. I asked him if he’d ever seen any Renaissance art and he said no. Hello? I told him I had long, Renaissance toes and he had stubby trailer park toes.”
Moral of the tale: “Making out doesn’t have to be a prelude to having sex. It’s not just an appetizer. It’s its own meal.”