There are many different ways to kiss your lover, and all of them can communicate something different about what or how you’re feeling. Here’s a field guide to the major types of kisses, and what you’re saying with each of them.
1. Peck. Sounds innocent, doesn’t it? But this quick lip-on-lip contact still sends a message. The primary one? “I want to kiss you and — hopefully, sometime soon — make out, but it’s early and we’re not there yet, so this peck on the lips is a suggestion that there is to be much more smooching in our future.”
2. A long peck. A lingering, closed-mouth kiss on the lips. Very sensual, yet still somewhat chaste and restrained. This is how grown-ups say, “We are so about to make out big-time.” This extended peck is usually followed by a knowing smirk and, sometimes, an audible “mmmm.”
3. Woodpecker. Rapid-fire pecks. Playful and cute, these say, “I really like you, a lot, but I don’t want to get myself all randy right now.” These convey a lot of affection without allowing things to get too hot and heavy. It’s also a good option when it comes to PDA. No one wants to watch you swallow each other’s faces while they’re having their morning coffee. Pop Reference Point: Adam Sandler woodpecker-ing Veronica Vaughn in Billy Madison.
4. French. The French Kiss is the king of kisses, and involves open mouths and some form of tongue interaction. It’s too complex and nuanced for one description, so we’ve broken it down even further:
a) Standard. Moving your open lips against each other with some tongue interplay can be very sweet, very hot, very passionate, or all of the above. This kiss really gets the hormones racing and says, “I would like to sleep with you.”
b) Tongue Tango. Ideally an elegant ballet of tongue play, the Tongue Tango occurs when the tips of the tongues push off of each other and twist around. This kiss says “I think outside the box in and out of bed” This kiss, however, is a close relative of the dreaded Lizard Kiss, where tongues dart in a stabbing, lizard-like motion. What’s the lizard’s saying? “I am a creep.” So be careful.
c) He’s Eating My Mouth. This kiss leaves the kissee with what we call a saliva beard. Basically, the kisser opens his or her mouth as wide as possible, rolls their tongue all around and down their partner’s throat and then, inexplicably, slides it all over their poor partner’s face. Pop Culture Reference Point: An episode of Sex And The City, wherein Charlotte was forced to deal with a date literally licking her face. This kiss says, “I want you to think I’m really sexual and passionate but in reality, I am totally oblivious to your vibe and will probably stink in bed. Big time.”
5. Love Bite. Getting in a little nip of the lip or neck means “I’m playful,” and might also reveal that you’re not totally opposed to a little bit of pain with your pleasure. Try not to draw blood, though.
6. I Love You/I Hate You. This one involves a sudden, passionate embrace after bickering. This kiss is unchoreographed mayhem at its best. It says, “You make me so mad and I can’t stand you but I must have you and that makes me even more mad which makes me want you even more, DAMN YOU!!!” Pop Culture Reference Point: Check out Han Solo and Princess Leia’s first kiss in The Empire Strikes Back for a textbook example of the adversary-lover dance.
7. Hard-mouth-closed. This one is featured in many classic films. It occurs when the leading man finally pins down his female nemesis/love interest and plants one on her. It’s often accompanied by a wrist grab, so that you don’t push him away, you firebrand! It says, “I’m going to teach you not to sass me and give me guff, by gum!”
8. Against The Wall. “I want you so bad.” Although this kiss usually happens spontaneously and in a semi-public setting (e.g. alleyway, bar bathroom, book reading, etc.), you always wish there was a bed nearby that you could collapse into, because — damn it! — this is hot!
9. The Bend Back. Old-fashioned and romantic, he leans in to you and bends you backward, often with one hand holding the small of your back, and the other placed gently against the side of your face. Swoony. This is generally for people who are uber-comfortable with each other, have a sense of humor and are absolutely crazy about each other. Pop Culture Case in Point: Carrie and Berger on SATC or, better yet, Rhett and Scarlett in Gone With The Wind. This kiss says, “Darling, I am yours. Hold onto your petticoats as my white steed approaches to whisk us away to fairy-land.” Yeah, it’s a fun one.