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The Mechanics of Kissing: Thoughts on Sucking, Nuzzling, Frenching and other forms of Osculation

The topic of kissing has been coming up a lot over the past week or so, and seeing as it’s going to be V-Day soon, I thought now would be a good time to compile some thoughts on the matter. Let me preface the rest of this piece by saying that this is all highly opinionated, and thus should not be construed to be the end-all, be-all on this subject. (Because I’m sure some of you have a tendency to read obscure blogs on the Internet and assume that they’re gospel.)

Kissing can be a heavily subjective act, and what may be great for one person may be really dull for another. On the other hand, adhering to some rough guidelines never hurts, even if it is from some complete stranger online. Also please note that this article is going to be raunchier than most of my usual stuff. If you cringe at words like “lick,” “suck,” “swallow” or “masticate,” you may want to steer clear.


The main secret to kissing is understanding the fundamental difference between men and women. I don’t profess to understand all of our myriad gender differences, but I think I get it when it comes to osculation (the scientific term for kissing, in case you didn’t pick up on that earlier). For guys, kissing is generally the first step towards sex, hence the use of “bases” to denote how far you’ve gone with a girl. (We’d lose track otherwise.) Droll sports analogies aside, this is an important consideration if you’re a female because it’s usually rare that a guy will just sit there and kiss you for hours without expecting to hit a home run at some point.

It’s different for girls though. Instead of being merely a stepping stone, kissing is symbolic of the act of sex itself. If you’re kissing a girl and the only thing going through your mind is, “Can I put my hand on her boob yet” then it’s possible that you’re disconnecting with your partner a little bit. Generally speaking, although a guy will still sleep a girl who happens to really suck at kissing, the reverse is not true.

Gustav Klimt's The Kiss

So what does it actually mean, to be symbolic of sex? Well, a couple of things. Firstly, it usually means “Don’t lead with your tongue.” Or your open mouth, either. Starting off small and slow allows you to gauge your partner’s movements without committing the epic blunder of sticking your tongue up her nostril. Just doing a couple of evaluative kisses where your mouths are both mostly closed can be really helpful in the long run. Unfortunately, there’s no “conventional wisdom” as to how long these initial, exploratory kisses are supposed to last. My own rule of thumb is usually about 3-5 seconds, or about the length of time it takes to figure out whether her bra unclasps on the front or the back. (I kid, I kid.)

Seriously though, 5 seconds should be enough, unless you’re both really new at this. Any longer and you’ll end up slowing down instead of speeding up. So after the first 5 seconds, you’re usually faced with a great deal of possible strategies. If this is your first time to kiss this person, and they haven’t broken it off after 5-10 seconds, you’re usually good for the next 30-60 at least. It’d be smart to have a general idea of how to fill all that airtime.

A lot of guys forget that kissing isn’t just about what’s going on between your respective mouths; it’s your entire bodies. And by bodies, I really mean hair. Girls seem to love having their hair stroked while kissing, something that I will never totally get. (I personally don’t prefer it, coz my hair gets tangled up easily.) Of course, don’t stroke her hair the entire time you’re kissing; you’re not her stylist. Also, don’t mess it up too much either.

Unfortunately, there’s no guy-version of the above advice for the ladies. I suppose that if you were a girl, and you wanted to signal the transition to a more serious kiss after the 5-second mark, you could mash your boobs against the guy’s chest. Or you could throw your arms around his neck. Or you could squeeze his ass. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you don’t stop. Guys are simple that way.

Moving your hands or shifting your weight is usually a good way to signal that the kiss is about to get deeper. You want to maneuver both yourself and your partner into a position where you can do some serious liplocking. The most common strategy is to shift both your faces and your bodies slightly to your right so you don’t knock each other’s noses out of alignment with your coupling.


    One of the reasons I am opposed to left-hand-drive cars is because of the shifting-to-the-right kissing strategy. This is a lot more difficult to do when you’re seated to the left of your partner. You have to contend with seatbelts and headrests and the fact that your right arm is encumbered by your own weight, and it’s all very inconvenient. For some reason, shifting to the left while kissing just isn’t natural, as observed in this Nature article. Couple that with the fact that the first kiss very commonly occurs on the drive home, and you can see how this little engineering goof can present problems.


The most ideal scenario is when you can accomplish three things either simultaneously or in quick succession. Shift your respective head/body positions, stroke her hair/neck, then move in for a deeper kiss. (Obviously, it has to happen smoothly in order for this transition to have any kind of impact. Also, perhaps not as obviously, if you have to think first before doing this, it’s going to appear a little weird.) Either partner can take control of the situation in order to accomplish this; usually, the hornier one often does.

Now that you’ve got your noses out of the way, the question of whether to french will inevitably pop up. I guess it’s self-evident why guys are naturally fans of frenching, but hell I’ll spell it out anyway: it’s coz they’re imagining their penises in their partners’ vaginas.

With that in mind, my answer to the frenching question is usually, “No, not until you feel the girl’s tongue moving first.” This isn’t just to be polite either; it signals that you’ve got some measure of self-control, and are thus, cool. Of course, if your partner isn’t budging then you might want to take a stab, in case they’re shy. An alternative strategy to frenching, if you’re wondering what to do while you wait for that female member (haha), is to do a lower-lip nibble. That is, you nibble on their lower lip. I’m not sure why lots of girls turn out to be fans of this kind of kiss. My theory is that it feels like you’re trying to eat them up, them being so delicious and all. (Again, don’t spend all your time doing just this; you’ll look hungry.)

Now when you finally get to the french (or the “soul kiss,” in some circles), it’s important to remember that what makes it hot is the reciprocity. The idea is to take turns exploring each other’s cavities. Think bi-directional, not uni-. Also, don’t just leave your mouth open like you’re going to the dentist. When your partner’s tongue is in there, you should be working it. Precisely how you work it depends on a variety of factors, the primary one being how long her tongue is. You could suck a long tongue, nibble a medium one, or touch a really short tongue with the tip of yours.

Another thing that you might consider doing is opening your eyes while you kiss. I usually do this out of necessity anyway (to make sure our stuff hasn’t been stolen, to spot cops or gawkers, or to check the status of my downloads), but I think you will find that it makes for a more intimate experience when you can stare into each others’ eyes as you connect. (Granted, a lot of people find this weird, so YMMV.)

After a few minutes of this, one of you should be ready to either make a move or wind it down. I’m not going to cover “making a move” in this piece because it’s outside of scope, but I will share some thoughts on winding it down.

The tricky thing about ending a kiss is that it usually means disappointing someone. If you’ve made it to the french, then chances are this will happen again, and the idea is to convey to the disappointed party that there will be a next time. (If you’re sure there won’t be, then you can skip the rest of this paragraph.) A decent way to do this would be to first loosen your stranglehold around the other person’s neck or waist, retract your tongue, and just slow down the whole pace of the kiss. Now here’s the tricky part: you want to speed it up again, but not so much that you’re back in the french. Just enough to impart that you enjoyed yourself, and would love to do it again sometime. Then ratchet it down, and break it off the same way you started, with some slow, small, closed-mouth kisses.

If you do it right, you’ll be frenching again in no time. (And ideally, more, but that’s a subject for another day. Or a different blog altogether.)

Although I’m analyzing osculation rather clinically in this piece, the most important thing you need to take away is that it needs to come off as natural. I’ve broken or done the opposite of every bit of advice on this page, and barring inexperience, it was usually during times when I was so into it that I forgot myself. This is a good thing, like being In The Zone. More often than not though, keeping some rough guidelines in mind allow you to avoid becoming an embarrassing aside on someone’s private LJ.

So that’s it. Good luck with your V-Day dates everyone!

I’m single, btw.

Reader Comments (10)

The "Soul Kiss"? What the ef?

February 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLizz

[...] Blog Link - Guttervomit: The Mechanics of Kissing Jump to Comments There has not been much activity going on in this blog, so I’m sure this comes as a shock. Heck, even I’m a little dazed. But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share Luis’ take on osculation, or what us common folk refer to as Kissing. [...]

is it just me or does this blog post turn you on, too? LOL. single here, too! :p

February 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterheidelicious

Lizz, apparently, the "soul kiss" is when you kiss the man (or woman) and feel not just the kiss but the emotion and the ~person~ behind the kiss (or lips).

I used the word "kiss" four times in one sentence. Wow.

February 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHelga

This is the strangest personal ad I've ever seen :P

February 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLuna

3 more posts where luis talks about kisses and soulmates, i'll officially call him, dr. love.

February 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbenhur

[...] Guttervomit [...]

February 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHow To Tongue Kiss

effin loser.

March 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdavidrice

single here, too!

August 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEast

Wonderful points altogether, you simply gained a new reader. What might you recommend about your submit that you simply made some days ago? Any positive?

November 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterverizon cell phones

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