Kissing is vital in any relationship. While a gentle squeeze on the arm or the arse can remind your partner you care, a kiss on the lips - even if it's a quick peck in the supermarket - is the internationally understood shorthand for intimacy. And you have to really mean it, or your lacklustre kiss gives you away.
You may think that relationships live and die on sex, but for me, the real test comes much sooner. If a guy is a bad kisser, it doesn't matter how he measures up elsewhere. Slobbering like a St. Bernard or being presented with a tongue like a draught excluder does not a long and happy love affair make. But can a bad kisser be cured? And just what makes a bad kisser anyway?
Tackling a bad kisser can be tricky, but if you really like them and think it's worth pursuing, see if you can show them the way.
We have all locked lips with someone like this in our lifetime. Usually 'dribbling mess' is a genre of kiss that dies out once you exit your teenage years. A slobbery snog is a sign your kissing partner hasn't had enough practice. If they're still doing it as a fully formed grown-up, they need to be taken in hand.
If they're a really wet kisser - which is the worst thing on Earth, no question - then make sure you pause between slobbers to exaggeratedly wipe your mouth. I'm afraid there isn't really a more subtle way than that. I bet they won't carry on doing it for long.
So there you are, in 'the moment'. How upsetting it is, then, to be on the receiving end of a tongue that isn't doing anything at all. It just sits there. You move your own tongue around it, hoping to revive it. Nothing happens.
A lazy kisser can be an indicator of a selfish or vain person. Seriously. Why aren't they trying? Why do they think you should do all the work? With a laidback kisser, give it three or four goes at getting the dead tongue to move, and if it doesn't, lean back and look your date straight in the eye with a look of mock-concern. Like Jerry Springer used to do in his final thought segment. "Are you OK?" you should ask. "Are you not enjoying this?"
They will probably splutter: "Yes, I'm fine, why?" whereupon you can explain that as they weren't kissing you back, you assumed they weren't quite ready. They will protest otherwise, desperate not to see this moment of passion slip away from them. Make them work for it by saying: "Maybe you're right. Let's save this for another night - we don't want to rush. Let's wait until you're ready." That tongue of theirs will be back out and primed for action before you can say 'Listerine'. And this time, it will move.
Some kissers like to do things the old-fashioned way. And when I say old-fashioned, I mean like you would have done it as a six-year-old with your first sweetheart. A kiss on the hand can be quite continental, as Marilyn Monroe once sang, but a peck on the lips and nothing more is an affront to the senses, to romance. There are songs about French kissing, for goodness sake - it's a thing of wonder.
If you're getting a closed mouth in response to your ardent advances, the worst thing to do is just ram your tongue in and hope for the best. Instead, take the kissing elsewhere - above the neck, you deviants - to see if that can get them in the mood. Show them just how good it could be. Kiss around the mouth, ears, neck, wherever - anywhere but actually on the lips themselves. Hopefully, they'll be so, erm, 'into' what you're doing that they'll want to experience it lip-to-lip and, eventually, tongue-to-tongue. Allons-y!
What you need to remember, especially when you get to 'our' age, is that the person you're kissing has probably been taught a bad habit or two by whoever got there before you.
Whether it's purposefully biting your tongue, grinding their teeth against yours, exhaling deeply into your mouth or flicking their tongue up your nostrils (these have all happened to me), a kissing quirk can be a massive turn-off and needs nipping in the bud.
Once they start doing something you don't like, turn your head away, or pause, and then go back in, doing it the way you like. If they keep doing it, just carry on taking your head away until they get the message. If they don't seem to be getting the clue, you might have to consider more drastic options. Like never seeing them again.
Telling a bad kisser face-to-face is actually poor form. Once one criticism is unleashed, expect others to follow. And maybe it's *you* who has the problem - do you really want to be told the issue is with your very own technique? Well of course not.
The key to a good kisser is enthusiasm. Actions speak louder than words. Don't talk, just kiss.