Drop hints that you're interested. You can put out some subtle signals that you're angling for a kiss without coming right out and saying it. Here's how to communicate it romantically:
Break the touch barrier and make light physical contact, you might start by massaging her hand.
Get caught looking (briefly) at the other person's lips.
Don't purse your lips. Keep them softly parted — not so much that you could breathe comfortably through the opening, but enough that you could bite your bottom lip easily.
Make your mouth appealing. Use chapstick or lipgloss to smooth over flaky lips, and keep your breath fresh with mints or spray. Avoid gum, which you might have to spit out awkwardly if the other person goes in for a kiss.
Break the kiss barrier (optional). If you're feeling brave, test the waters with a small kiss on the hand or the cheek. If the other person seems interested, it's probably safe to proceed with a kiss on the mouth.
If you're kissing a girl: Take her hand and slowly lift it to your mouth. Gently press your lips into the back of your hand for 2 or 3 seconds before breaking away.
If you're kissing a guy: Lean in and plant a 2- or 3-second kiss on his cheek. Keep your lips soft, and avoid puckering like you would if you were kissing a family member. If you want your intentions to be extra clear, aim for the part of his cheek just to the side of his lips.
Set the mood with a romantic compliment. Go big and pay the other person the sincerest compliment you can think of. If you get it right, the other person might take the lead and lean in to kiss you.
Say it in an intimate way. Lower the volume and tone of your voice slightly, and lock eyes. Not only does this communicate that you have deep feelings for this person, it entices him or her to come closer to hear you.
Focus on an alluring quality. Even if you truly think that your date is an amazing basketball player, now might not be the best time to bring it up. Instead, base your compliment on how you see your date as a romantic partner. Try these lines:
“You are SO beautiful.”
“Your eyes drive me crazy.”
“I love to see you smile.”
“I am so lucky to be with you right now.”
Consider asking for a kiss directly. If all else fails, go for broke and state your intentions. If your date hasn't picked up on any of your hints and you're dying to lock lips, you might as well be straightforward and just ask if you can kiss him or her. Don't worry, though — you can be direct while still being romantic and compelling. Try these phrases if you're at a loss for words:
“I'd love nothing more than to kiss you right now.”
“I'm sorry if this is too forward, but I'd really like to kiss you.”
“I want to kiss you so much that it is just about killing me.”
Go in for the kiss. Don't waste any time once you have the go-ahead — close your eyes, lean in and smooch! The next sections will discuss some kissing techniques, as well as how to handle kissing in different dating situations such as a first kiss or kissing after a date.
Keep your lips soft. Tense puckers are for family members or people you're obligated to kiss, but keeping your mouth slightly parted and soft communicates a sense of openness.
Do a few soft kisses. Start slow with soft, gentle kisses and skip the tongue and the teeth — for now. If your partner seems receptive, you can move forward to French kissing.
Try to avoid letting your lips smack. The noise can be distracting, and might break your immersion in the moment. If you do find yourself smacking, slow down and part your lips a bit more.
Stay light at first. Avoid smashing your lips against your date's mouth — for now. Kissing softly and gently gives the other person the chance to stop if it's uncomfortable, as well as allowing you to gauge his or her interest.
Stay at a manageable level of saliva. Slobbery puppies are the last thing you want your date thinking of while you kiss him or her. Avoid this fate by swallowing excess saliva occasionally. If you notice that your lips are a bit too wet, pull away and discreetly purse them to bring the extra spit back into your mouth.
“Lock” lips. If your initial kisses have gone well, try a lip lock, which can lead to closer kisses (and is a nice gateway for French kissing). Basically, you'll “stack” your lips so that (for instance) it looks like this:
Your lower lip
Your partner's lower lip
Your upper lip
Your partner's upper lip
At first, putting your partner's lower lip between yours is the safest bet. Most people have larger lower lips, making them easier to grab gently with your lips.
Make sure to breathe. Ideally, you'll be able to breathe softly through your nose while you're kissing. If that's not possible, though, break away for a second to take a breath.
Don't feel self-conscious about being out of breath or needing to take a break for a second. Breathing hard is an indication that you're nervous and excited, which your partner will probably find flattering.
Use your hands. Don't just let your hands hang at your sides like two limp fettuccini noodles — put them to good use!
Place your hands lightly on your partner's shoulders or around his or her waist. (In Western culture, girls generally put their hands on a boys shoulders while he puts his hands around her waist.)
Take the intimacy up a notch by pulling your partner in closer.
Put your hands on the sides of his or her face, using your thumb to sweep across the cheekbone, or put one hand under his or her chin and tilt it upward.
Another seriously sensual move is to put both hands around the back of your partner's head and tangle them in his or her hair, gently pulling.
Test using tongue. Once you're in a lip lock with your partner's lower lip between both of yours, lightly run the tip of your tongue over it. If you can move it slowly, even better.
See how your partner responds. If he or she presses in closer or returns the gesture, you're probably clear to keep increasing the intensity of the kiss. If your date pulls away, maybe it's best to pull back the tongue for now and stick to lips-only kisses.
Try French kissing (optional). Using your tongue during a kiss is, in Western culture, referred to as a French kiss. Why do the French get the credit? Who knows! Here's how to get started:
Sweep your tongue along the inside of your partner's lower lip. Try to move slowly and lightly at first, increasing speed and pressure only if your partner seems to respond well.
Slide the tip of your tongue inside your partner's mouth and gently move it against the tip of his or her tongue. Use light, darting motions and keep your tongue moving — letting it sit limply in your partner's mouth isn't appealing and will bring a quick end to the kissing.
Try deeper and harder strokes if your partner seems responsive.
Mix it up. Don't feel obligated to keep the intensive tongue activity going forever. Alternate soft and hard, slow and fast, deep and shallow. You can even go back to using only your lips for a few minutes.
Alternating your technique will keep your partner from being able to predict what's coming next. Maintaining this sense of surprise and spontaneity helps your kisses avoid becoming stale.
Gently nibble your partner's lips (optional). Teeth aren't a necessary element of kissing, but a grazing them over your partner's lip can introduce another unexpected element. Here are some quick pointers:
Keep the pressure as light as possible. Remember that you're aiming to nibble, not bite.
Move slowly. Again, keeping your pace gentle will help prevent accidentally chomping on your partner's lip.
When your lips are locked, place your teeth over your partner's lower lip and slowly pull back until your teeth are almost at the end of the lip. Pause for a moment, then resume kissing as usual.
Don't break out the biters too much. They should be an occasional perk, not the main attraction.
Be prepared for rejection. Not everyone likes a side of teeth with their kisses. If your partner doesn't respond well, try not to be too offended — it's probably a matter of personal taste, not a lapse in your technique.
Increase the intensity with occasional breaks. Pull away for a moment to look into your partner's eyes, whisper something in his or her ear, or simply catch your breath and marvel at your good fortune.
Instead of putting a damper on the action, these small moments can actually make kissing more intimate. It gives your partner the sense that you see him or her as a complete person, and not simply something to kiss.
Try to pick a trustworthy partner. Smooching someone you trust can ease a lot of the anxiety of your first kiss. If you knew you were giving someone his or her first kiss you'd try to be patient and understanding, so expect the same of your partner.
Keep in mind that an awkward first kiss isn't the end of the relationship (or the world). Actually, it can build intimacy through having a shared experience. As long as you can laugh it off, you'll be fine.
Remember, everyone has gone through having their first kiss. Odds are that most people are more awkward about it than you'll be, even if you don't know it.
Prepare your mouth. Use chapstick or lipgloss to smooth over chapped lips, and brush your teeth and tongue well. If your mouth feels a little stale, use breath mints or spray to freshen up.
Knowing that your mouth is clean and appealing can help you feel more confident about kissing.
That being said, though, don't feel like you need to obsess over cleanliness. Most mouths just “taste” warm, unless you've recently eaten something pungent (like onions or garlic) or you've just woken up in the morning.
Don’t rush. You only get one first kiss! Unless you’re both so overwhelmed with desire that you have to kiss right now or the world will end, draw it out. It can be tremendously exciting and sensual to tease the kiss before it happens, keeping eye contact the whole time.
Let the other person take the lead (optional). If you're nervous about not knowing the right techniques, let your partner initiate what happens during the kiss. Imitate what he or she does until you're comfortable trying your own moves.
Take a few calculated risks. As you become more comfortable with kissing, try to take the lead on initiating kisses or working on new techniques. If your partner doesn't respond well, simply write it off as personal preference and try something else.
Get close. Since the possibility of a goodbye kiss always beckons—and assuming it’s your desire—it’s best to start getting close sooner than later. Otherwise, you will find yourself saying your goodbyes with what feels like a chasm between you, making the swoop in for the kiss very conspicuous and awkward.
Guys, this is when you get the dreaded last-minute-turn-and-kiss-on-the-cheek routine, which is second only to the phrase, “You remind me of my brother,” for most-deflating date ending. As you walk your date to the car, the door, etc., put your hand (or a jacket) on your date’s shoulder or back. This breaks the touch barrier, gently lets your date know your intentions, and gives you an excuse to stand very close all at the same time.
Watch your date’s reaction. If your date angles his or her body away from you or speeds up to create distance, don’t try to complete the goodnight kiss—and don’t let your ego make a fool of you. Simply flash a big smile, thank them for the lovely time, and go about your business. It could simply be that your date isn’t ready to kiss yet.
Maintain eye contact. Making eye contact while standing close is a universally acknowledged indicator that a post-date kiss is about to take place.
If the eye contact becomes too long, break and reestablish it as necessary; it’s better to let your eyes dart around than subject your date to an interrogation-style stare down. One good way to break eye contact while maintaining the romance is to glance down at your date’s lips
It may feel awkward to make your desires so clear, just remember that by giving your date a heads-up, you will make the kiss go much more smoothly and improve the odds that it will turn into a glorious make out session. Trying to plant a kiss by surprise, on the other hand, may result in bumped noses and teeth, a startled pullback, and much awkwardness.
Stop the conversation. When people get nervous, they often compensate by finding anything to talk about, killing the kissing opportunities.
While you shouldn’t try to end the conversation abruptly, which might come across as trying to get over with your goodbyes, you shouldn’t encourage your date to ramble, either.
Let the chatter die down by keeping your responses friendly but minimal.
Consider breaking the kiss barrier. If everything is going well but you’re not quite ready to dive into full-blown romantic kissing, lean in for a hug and kiss the person on the cheek.
Don’t confuse this with a friendly peck smack in the middle the cheek; make your feelings clear by placing the kiss close to the ear or mouth and letting your lips linger for a second, or whisper something flirty in their ear with lips touching. This will help the other person know that the kiss isn't meant in a platonic context.
Keep it simple. If this is a first kiss with this person—or, more importantly still, a first date—don’t overdo it. Keep your lips softly parted and either plant a straightforward kiss on your partner’s lips or up the ante by gently locking lips.
Resist the temptation to kiss hard or with tongue, unless you've been chasing this person for quite some time. It might seem too forward and shut down future opportunities.
Follow your date’s lead. Pay attention to how your date responds and moves during the kiss. If they lean closer or linger, you may be able to transition into more romantic kissing; otherwise, end the kiss by pulling slowly back, reopening your eyes to make eye contact, and smiling.
Pucker your lips. Having your lips puckered keeps them tight and somewhat closed, indicating that you're unwilling to open your mouth for more intimacy. Most people will read a pucker as strictly platonic.
To know if you're puckering your lips correctly, kiss in the air. How loud is the kissing noise? It should be a clearly audible “pop” of your lips as you part them while sucking air in. A romantic kiss will barely make this noise because your lips are much more relaxed.
Make your intentions clear. If you want to kiss someone on the cheek and that someone is at risk of misinterpreting your intentions, make it clear that you're not going for the mouth by turning your head off to the side before you lean in. Try to plant the kiss squarely in the middle of the cheek so that it's not veering for more romantic areas such as the ear or mouth.
If you're uncomfortable actually kissing the other person's skin, try air kissing. Lean in so that your cheek is touching the side of the other person's cheek, and kiss the air with a few quick and audible puckers. For extra effect, pull back, switch sides, and do it again.
Keep it brief. The amount of time your lips spend on the other person's cheek or lips should be limited to whatever it takes to make that kissing noise described in the previous step—nothing more. If your lips linger, it won't seem so platonic.
Kiss out of respect or worship. Bow or kneel before the other person. Look up in respect. Remain in this position during the kiss. Take the person's hand gently and bring it close to your lips.