But there are good sweep-’em-off-their-feet kisses and unfortunately, a fair amount of horrible sweep-’em-under-the-table misfires.
And if you’re worried about falling into the latter category, you’re not alone, says Vancouver-based relationship expert and author Sheila Lee.
Lee receives hundreds of emails a year from panicked men and women of all ages concerned that the first set of lip prints they leave on their potential partners will end up being their last.
Why The First Kiss is Scary
“People are worried that they’re not going to do it right,” says Lee. “Especially teenagers. They like somebody. They want to make a good impression. They’re dating the person, but they haven’t kissed yet and they’re really worried that their kissing isn’t going to be good enough and it’s going to ruin the relationship.”
For those in their 20s, “It’s about doing it properly,” states Lee, who estimates five emails arrive daily in her inbox from inquisitive kissing virgins.
Lee says there are some simple pointers to follow to avoid disaster.
Prep Your Pucker Beforehand
Good oral hygiene goes without saying, but Lee recommends watching what you eat before planting the big one.
“You don’t want to eat certain types of food before your first kiss — you don’t want to have something with a lot of garlic or onion,” she says.
You might also think about carrying some ChapStick or lip balm.
“There’s nothing worse than kissing somebody with dry, cracked lips,” Lee notes.
She also says your first time should be distraction-free, so try to pick a suitable environment. If you’re out with a group of friends, try to take the pressure off by steering your date towards a more private space.
“For your first-time kiss, you shouldn’t have a lot of people around you,” she advises. “You don’t want to be worried that other people are looking at you or judging you.
“And you’ll usually get a much longer, more lingering kiss if you’re alone together.”
Timing is also important. Wait until the perfect moment, and don’t press the issue.
“If somebody is in a bad mood or you’re getting the vibe that the date’s not going well, don’t try to force it, because it’s not going to work.”
Go Easy on the Gloss, Ladies!
Other no-nos: Women should avoid coating their lips with heavy cosmetics.
“You don’t want a lot of lipstick or lip gloss,” advises Lee, “because you’re going to leave it on and it’s going to be really gooey. Just wet your lips with your tongue or just some lip balm. It doesn’t have to be anything exotic.”
Lee also recommends putting aside major expectations.
“If it doesn’t work out the way you that you think it will, especially if you’ve never kissed before, then you’re more than likely to be disappointed,” she explains.
But how can you tell when the time is right?
According to Lee, men get just as nervous about the moment as women.
“It’s funny, because men usually want to know how you can tell if the girl is ready to be kissed,” she chuckles. “And women want to know if it’s OK for them to make the first move.
“Men, I think, want it to be romantic for the women. They don’t want to ask first — they wonder, ‘How can I approach her and make it romantic and more spontaneous?”
Don’t Ignore Body Language or Facial Expressions
If you’re getting along famously and there’s constant and lingering eye contact; if they sit or stand beside you in very close proximity; if they express physical intimacy through an unconscious touch of the arm or the shoulder; if they’re laughing at your jokes, no matter how lame, then the time is ripe for pursing your lips.
“Check how the person is reacting to you,” says Lee. “For the most part, their body language should be able to tell you how things are shaping up.” Facial expressions are also huge tells.
When the hormonal surge is finally too powerful to overcome, and the sparks finally fly as your mouths connect, prepare thyself: You’re probably in for a whopper.
“I would say that if the kiss was a long, lingering one — then it’s a good kiss,” Lee surmises. “If two people connect really well that way, then sure, it’s going to be nice.
“That’s not to say, though, that a short kiss isn’t a good one, either.”
And once you finally are face-to-face, acting on the most intimate expression of mutual attraction, only one question remains: will tonsil-exploration be the order of the day?
Apparently, women are the more apprehensive of the species when tongue comes to shove.
“I hear mostly from the girls on this topic,” says Lee. “I would say 50 per cent of them have had a first kiss, but never a French kiss.
“These women have usually been the ones to pull away first, so it doesn’t go any further, because they’re afraid they’re not going to use their tongues properly.
“Some of them have had their first French kiss and it wasn’t what they thought it would be, so they want to know if it’s normal.”
Proceed with caution here. Don’t just shove your tongue into the other person’s mouth and start rolling it around. Test the waters slowly to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Whether you’re Frenching or simply applying a butterfly peck to make your partner swoon, the best advice Sheila Lee offers consists of those three little words we most often forget….
“Take your time.”
By Nick Krewen