Table of Contents
- Why Is It Called "French Kissing"
- Preparing for a French Kiss
- Initiating a French Kiss
- Techniques for French Kissing
- What Do I Do With My Hands
- French Kissing on the First Date
- What If I'm Nervous
- What If Either Party Doesn't Like It
If you've ever watched a romantic movie or listened to a love song, you know how important kissing can be when you're getting intimate with a partner. Whether you're on a first date, looking for something more casual, or exploring new territory with a long-term flame, kissing can tell you a lot about your partner — including how much physical chemistry you might have together.
Even if you've had your first kiss, regular pecking or closed-mouth kissing may seem like a piece of cake compared to French kissing. But we promise that learning how to French kiss someone for the first time is easier than you think! And, you know...it's super hot.
Why Is It Called "French Kissing?"
Open-mouthed kissing and/or kissing with tongue has been around for thousands of years, but the association with the French occurred just about 100 years ago. It most likely gained traction when American and British troops in France during World War I were enamored by the passionate way French women kissed — with their tongues! When they returned from the war, they brought “French kissing” home with them.
The slang in actual French just came about in the 21st century when the 2014 edition of the Petit Robert dictionary included a new verb: "galocher," meaning "to kiss with tongues."
How Do I Prepare For a French Kiss?
Everyone should know the cardinal rule of kissing: you never go in for the kiss without a breath check, or at least the knowledge that your oral hygiene is on point. If you're out and about, popping a mint is a perfect substitute for brushing, flossing, or rinsing with mouthwash. Just don't start chewing gum right before a kiss — no one wants to swap gum with you!
Chapstick or lip balm also are must-haves. Chapped, flaky lips aren't exactly appealing...and you'll probably experience some discomfort when kissing if your mouth is dry and irritated. Especially if your partner has any facial stubble.
How Do I Initiate a French Kiss?
Remember: consent is sexy! It's absolutely fine to ask permission. In fact, we encourage it. It shows your partner that you respect them and their feelings — and it also ensures that you're both comfortable with the intimacy about to occur. Apart from explicit consent, you can also use your body language to initiate the kiss. How? Try these tips:
- Lock eyes. Eye contact is one of the most intimate things you can do with your partner. Some studies show that intense eye contact can not only make people feel seen and understood, but it may actually stimulate sexual arousal.
- Gently caress them. Brush their cheek, lightly clutch their waist, tuck their hair behind their ear — and if they inch a little closer, you'll know you're on the same page.
- Lean in. If they move toward you and close their eyes, it's a green light!
- Initiate the kiss. Start with a closed-mouth kiss — don't go in guns blazin' with your jaw unhinged, please. Start slow.
Before you know it, your lips are locked and your tongues are making magic. Then you can start to get into the "technique."
Is There a Technique to French Kissing?
Yes and no. Like many acts of intimacy, French kissing is subjective. Everyone likes kissing a certain way, and we all wonder if we're "good" or "bad" kissers from time to time — but if there's chemistry between you and your partner, they'll love kissing you as much as you love kissing them. Of course, there are things to strive for and things to avoid like:
- Do start slow. Open your mouth and gently touch your tongue to your partner’s tongue, moving it delicately.
- Don't just stick your tongue in their mouth and lazily flop around...or worse, just leave it hanging while you move your lips around.
- Do go with the flow. Read your partner's cues while you're kissing, and pull back if they start to clench up their jaw.
- Don't push your face into theirs so hard that your teeth smash together. Ouch!
- Do be gentle and soft. You can get more intense as the heat rises — whatever that means for you!
- Don't thrust or jam your tongue into your partner's mouth. Try to keep your muscles relaxed rather than tightening up...tongues are quite strong muscles, so with too much tension, they can feel like a jackhammer.
What Do I Do With My Hands?
Have you ever been out dancing when you suddenly realize you had no idea what to do with your hands? Kissing can feel that way, too. We've got two words for you: use them!
Some ideas for incorporating touch while you kiss include playing with your partner's hair, caressing their face, or even wrapping your arms around them. Do whatever feels comfortable for both partners in the heat of the moment.
Should I French Kiss on The First Date?
Ah, an age-old question: should I go in for the French on the first date? Great question. Our answer: Well...maybe.
If you and your date are both consenting adults that are feeling a connection (remember, body language and consent), there's nothing more exciting than a kiss to cap off the night. Whether or not to use tongue is a different story. French kissing is a lot steamier than a closed-mouth kiss, so some people might feel like it's jumping the gun to rush into open-mouthed kissing. The best way to find out if your date wants a steamy kiss? Ask them!
What If I'm Nervous?
First kisses of any kind can be awkward and intimidating, especially if you're trying something new. But whether your first French kiss is with someone you just started dating or someone you love deeply, there's no reason to be nervous. Remind yourself that you're a wonderful, beautiful human with so much to offer — so much more than your lips (and tongue). Still on edge? We understand. Try these tips:
- Loosen up. Put some smooth tunes on to set the mood, pour a glass of wine, or just get comfy on the couch.
- Remember to breathe. When we're nervous, we tend to alter our breathing (usually, this is unconscious). Try taking some deep, mindful breaths before returning to your normal breathing pattern.
- Laugh. Don't forget to be yourself and have fun. Nothing is more fun than sharing a laugh with a special someone, which can set the mood even more.
- Talk about it. Though it isn't easy for all of us, being open and honest about our anxiety can help to quell it. It can also be a great way to see if your partner is empathetic and kind when you're feeling unsure.
Something to note: if you feel nervous because someone is pressuring you to get intimate before you're ready, say so. If they're a kind and understanding person, they won't make you feel bad or uncomfortable. And if they react poorly? Red flag. Consent is crucial!
What If They — Or I — Don't Like It?
Kissing can be sweet, romantic, and sexy...but some people simply don't like kissing. So what do you do if you find your partner — or you yourself — isn't a fan of locking lips?
First of all, don't panic. It's completely normal to not like kissing. In fact, it's normal to not kiss at all. Seriously, science says. A 2015 study published by the American Anthropological Association found that fewer than half of all cultures surveyed — 46% — engage in romantic/sexual kissing. All this to say: if kissing isn't your bag, you're not alone.
But if you just have one bad kiss among many? That's okay, too. While kisses can be really special, they can sometimes be crappy. That goes for first kisses, kisses with your longtime partner, even passionate kisses with a hot stranger in the back of the club can be "meh." It doesn't mean you're a bad kisser or that you're undesirable — not every moment is like the movies. Just try to go with the flow, feel things out, and try to make it enjoyable for you and the lucky person on the receiving end of your kiss. We promise you'll hit your stride.
A Kiss Is But A Kiss, But To French Kiss Is 'Galocher'. (May 2013). NPR.
Why Do We Call It 'French Kissing'?. (August 2019). The Huffington Post.
The Power of Eye Contact During Intimate Moments. (November 2020). Relish.
Is Kissing on the First Date a Good or Bad Sign?. (January 2019). Cosmopolitan.
Romantic kissing is not the norm in most cultures. (August 2015). Science Daily.