International Kissing Day 2022: Experts Share What Makes the Perfect Kiss

Wednesday, July 6, marks International Kissing Day, so Newsweek has spoken to four experts who weighed in on what makes the perfect kiss.

Marissa Nelson, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in Washington, D.C., says there are no hard and fast rules to locking lips and everyone has their own preferences and kissing styles, but there are certain principles that if followed, can assure it's a pleasurable experience.

The first, she says, is exploration and communication.

"Kissing should always aim to be fun, connecting and a great base for exploration. It is important to share how you would like to be kissed, and what your turn-ons and turn-offs are about kissing for you," she tells Newsweek.

Couple kissing in the rain
A file photo of a couple kissing in the rain. Four experts have shared their tips for the perfect kiss to mark International Kissing Day on July 6. Getty

"In my experience partners value the excitement of a great kiss, so with good communication and practice you can elevate your kissing skills."

Having a strong sense of kissing style also helps. Techniques can include soft and slow kissing on the pillows of the lips, or tongue play.

"One can hold the back of their partner's head and draw them in close for kissing, or hold their lover's face for a more passionate and loving kiss. Kissing and snuggling noses can be a sweet and romantic touch," Nelson adds.

Some prefer wetter kisses with more saliva, while others like them as dry as the Sahara.

"Sensation play can also be part of kissing, as some incorporate biting, licking and sucking one another's lips, which can create an added level of excitement," Nelson says.

Good kissing, if of a sexual nature, should be used to cultivate desire and yearning for more, Nelson says, because "the energy and eroticism of a kiss can feel like magic, electric between partners that carries over into the bedroom".

She said that lingering during a kiss can ignite passion, love and interest that can make partners feel desired and wanted. It is also important to be present in the moment, to respond to your partner's pacing and cues, to be able to find a rhythm.

Nelson says that it is essential to keep your lips hydrated and moisturized to ensure the kiss feels smooth.

Dr Jess O'Reilly, Sexologist (Phd) and host of the Sex With Dr. Jess podcast, agrees with Nelson that there is not a hard-and-fast rule for kissing.

"There is no right way to kiss—like all forms of connection, expression and pleasure, kissing preferences are highly individual," she says.

"Some people like a soft-lipped kiss with heavy breath and others like deep tongue-kissing. Some like to build with gentle pecks leading to a crescendo of French-kissing and others like to dive right from the onset."

Andréa Demirjian, author and founder of The Kissing Expert website, says: "Kissing is a very subjective and intimate experience that can be more meaningful than sex (which can be perfunctory and even impersonal)."

She says a perfect kiss comes down to the intangible—including chemistry and synchronicity, which are paramount to the sublime kiss.

"The way two people "mesh"—how their pheromones percolate to create their own, intoxicating "house" cocktail serves as the primal undercurrent that can't be explained but crackles in the air…And that kind of soul connection comes when the cosmos syncs inexplicably, making for that perfect moment," she says.

But equally, tangible aspects matter, such as fresh breath and soft lips.

"You cannot underestimate the importance of a clean, welcoming mouth," she says. "Flossing and brushing daily and keeping lips moist with some sort of emollient are critical maintenance, essential for keeping your kiss from getting dinged on a technicality."

Dr. Claudia Six, clinical sexologist & relationship coach, who authored the book Erotic Integrity: How to be True to YourselfSexually, told Newsweek that a perfect kiss requires presence, breath and chemistry.

"A poly friend of mine told me once that one of his lovers said he was a wonderful kisser, while his other lover complained that he wasn't a good kisser. He kissed them both the same way. You can be a great kisser for one person and not for another. Great kissing takes two," Six says.