The best way to guarantee you’re going to kiss like a pro? Try Kissing someone you actually want to kiss. If you’re locking lips with someone just because you feel like you “should” or because you feel pressure, then step away from the face. You don’t owe anyone—I repeat, anyone—a kiss because kissing can actually make you fall in love.

Respect consent–always

A well-timed “Can I kiss you?” is a swoon-worthy move every single time. Why? Because it shows that you care about your partner’s boundaries and don’t want to do anything they’re not ready for. You have to make sure that you and bae are on the same page before you get down to a passionate make out.

Understand the importance of setting

Like your English teacher says: setting = time + place. Is the right spot for a first kiss at your grandma’s house or in the middle of an argument? Probably not. Wait until the moment feels perfect, until you can feel the electricity crackling between you to make your move. It’ll be way better that way.

Always wear a breath fresh

Another important tip for how to kiss a guy or girl is as simple as these two words: fresh breath. You don’t want to be up close and personal to someone’s face space only to find that their mouth smells, you know, not great. If you’re anticipating a trip to Makeout Town, avoid any and stank-inducing foods like garlic, onions, processed cheese (like Cheetos), etc. It’s basic manners.

Ask your partner what they want

Listen, nobody has time for bleh make outs. Good kissers skip to the best parts by taking control and mentioning the things they do like (“So, that tongue move you just did—I like that”) as well as providing alternatives for the things they don’t. Play show and tell by performing the move on your partner and then asking them to do it back to you. Trust me, teaching can be really fun.

Pay attention to what your partner does

Your current kissing partner might be trying to show you what they want, so pay attention to their moves. Slow down, take note of the things bae does, and then gently do it back. If they respond with enthusiasm, you’ll know you got their message. Remember that the show isn’t all about you: you’re both in control.

Keep the kisses simple

Thinking too hard about going for some sexy trick you read about online is a quick way to turn a make out session into something that feels a lot like a dental cleaning. Want to know how to be a good kisser? Start off small and slow, then try out your moves when it feels natural and you feel most comfortable. You’ll know when.

Step away from the hickey

Question: Who thought it would be sexy to literally be a mouth vacuum and leave mouth-related bruises on someone’s skin? As far as I’m concerned, no one. So, let’s officially retire the hickey.

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Be nice to your bae’s neck! Small kisses along the neck or even a gentle nibble (not suck) can be a major turn on. Do that instead, and save you both the embarrassment of a spotted neck or a turtleneck in the middle of August.

Kiss boo all over the place

Getting tired of the same pecks on the lips? Go for some more unique spots that will drive your significant other wild. Here are some fun spots to try.

  • The neck
  • Under the jawbone
  • Soft spot behind the earlobe
  • The little dip in the collarbone
  • Tip of the nose
  • Forehead
  • Shoulder

Taking a break to explore will give both of you a second to breathe and enjoy yourselves.

Always carry your lip balm

Yes, a thick coat of shiny gloss will make your lips look deliciously kissable, but when it comes time for actually kissing, you might want to wipe it off beforehand.

Your partner wants to get down on your actual lips. Stick to good old fashioned lip balm to keep your pout supple, hydrated, and perfect for kissing.

Keep your eyes closed

This is a super common kissing mistake. There’s no reason to have your eyes open while you’re making out. It just makes things super awkward and kind of kills the mood.

Show affection in other ways

Kissing is amazing, but there are so many other ways to show affection. Hold your bae’s hand and kiss it. Say something unexpected and sweet in your crush’s ear. Get them a little surprise gift for no reason at all. Kissing helps to build romance, but there are so many things that keep that fire alive.