Sensual, sexy lip-to-lip is a lost art for many of us who find ourselves face-to-face with a new amour. And I'd put money on it that jaded pros of French kissing could stand to refine their technique. So let's get right down to the essentials of what will add a French flavor to your lips:
The best lovers of the world (who, by the way, are rarely French) are masters of timing. They know how to milk the yearning by barely brushing their lips against yours, and they know precisely when to go in, full-throttled, for the kill. While sense of timing may be a genetically inherited trait shared among musicians, comedians and successful stockbrokers, one can learn the basics by paying close attention your partner's breathing. If he is panting and breathless, experiment with Exhibit A below. If your date has calm and predictable inhalations, give Exhibit B a shot. If your date isn't breathing, call 911. But first, let's review the basics:
The first rule of French kissing is that every woman has her own style. This style evolves out of a combination of your mouth's unique anatomy, including the length of your tongue and how far your jaw will open, as well as your level of sexual aggression and personal tastes. Regardless, the mechanics are all the same: Tilt your head to one side, part your lips, slip your tongue into your mate's parting lips, then explore what's inside. Breathe through your nose (or your mouth if your nose is stuffy). Once you've got the basic mechanics down, it's time to experiment with technique. Here are two worthy of experimentation:
Exhibit A (The Lusty French Kiss)
This kiss needs no warm-up. You want your partner and your partner wants you, as evidenced by your collective, animal-like panting. Your tongue is already in his mouth before you realize that you're kissing. But now what? Slowly—and I mean slowly—roll your tongue in circles around your partner's. Thrust shallow, thrust deep. Then circle again. Tilt your head to the other side, and repeat. Playfully bite his lower lip, then lick his lips. Try different variations of the above. The combinations are endless.
Exhibit B (The Coy French Kiss)
This kiss needs coaxing, as evident by your partner's mellow breathing. Start with his lips. With the tip of your tongue lick his top lip, then kiss him softly, no tongue. Next, taste his lower lip, then brush both your lips back and forth, and up and down his. Gaze seductively into your partner's eyes—eye contact usually helps rev up the respiratory system. Next, add a little panting and moaning to your efforts. Finally, ease your tongue between his lips, slipping in and out. Continue in this coy manner until you reach the point where the lusty French kiss takes over (see above). Then alternate between the coy and lusty kisses. You see, variety and surprise are what ultimately make a French kiss more than just a kiss.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.