Here’s an all-too-common scenario:
You’re on a date with someone you really like, and the anticipation of the magical first kiss builds and builds until your lips finally touch … and then their tongue kinda lays there in your mouth (“clam-mouth,” according to SATC), or it feels like they’re trying to eat your face, or it’s slobbery, or there’s simply no spark.
A bad kiss is a real boner-killer.
In general, it’s pretty easy to determine what constitutes a bad kiss (see above for examples). But what about the kisses that seem to stop time? The kisses that make your foot pop and your heart flutter?
What is it that makes a kiss amazing?
There’s some science to it. We break it down below.
First of all, kissing is an important part of many relationships. A 2020 study of people in long-term relationships found that couples who kissed more frequently had more positive sex experiences and were more satisfied in their relationships.
And whether or not a relationship moves forward may all hinge on a kiss.
In another study from 2020, around 44% of participants reported that they lost interest in someone after a bad kiss, and around 14% reported that they became significantly more attracted to someone after a great kiss.
Those researchers also found that there were four major aspects of a great kiss:
- How it feels physically
- Who the person is
- When and where it takes place
- The emotions invoked
Interestingly, when describing their best kiss, many participants didn’t really talk about the mechanics. Ofc, that’s important too, but what really made these kisses great were the strong positive emotions they brought on—love, passion, desire—as well as the person they were kissing.
But when they talked about worst kisses? Yeah, bad technique came up a lot. The physical aspect of the kiss played a major role in it being described as the worst.
(This study had a relatively small sample size and only looked at people in the U.S., so it’s by no means representative of everyone, but it does offer some insights into how we remember good and bad kisses.)
Some research also indicates that kissing might also be a way of assessing compatibility. Getting up close and personal allows us to tap into cues like smell and taste that we may unconsciously use to judge if someone is a suitable mate. It’s even been suggested that kissing can clue us into the genetic traits of the other person, influencing attraction.
So, although there are still good kissers and bad kissers, an amazing kiss is less about the technique than we previously assumed. Who knows? A person you thought was a bad kisser may be considered an amazing kisser by someone else.
Up next, be the first to know our weekly content and sign up for our Poosh newsletter.