French kissing sounds super spicy, but to be honest, it can be confusing to know the difference between this and other kinds of kisses. Locking lips is an art, and just like any other intimate act, it takes a bit of practice to perfect (and that’s okay!). French kissing is a little trickier than a peck on the lips and involves tongue. It might sound intimidating, but with these tried-and-true make-out tips, you and your boo will be pros at the French kiss in no time.

French KissingKeep in mind that there’s no right way to kiss — it’s all about what feels good for you and your partner. And chances are, your crush is just as nervous as you are. Still, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared (and know how to keep the slobber to a manageable level), so here’s everything you need to know about French kissing: what it means, why it’s called that, and, of course, how to do it.

What is French kissing?
A kiss can be anything from a peck to a full-blown make-out session depending on your definition, which varies from person to person. But what specifically makes a kiss “French” is the tongue. It happens when you’re kissing someone with your mouth open and your tongues are involved in the action, usually in a circular pattern.

What is the history of French kissing?
It is believed that the term “French kiss” originated at the start of the 20th century by the American and English. In her book The Science of Kissing, journalist Sheril Kirshenbaum writes that the term first emerged in 1923, according to CNN.

The journalist explains that it’s not clear exactly how the act earned its name. However, it’s believed that Americans probably coined it after traveling to France and kissing French women “who were more comfortable with a bit of tongue action,” Kirshenbaum pens, per CNN. She writes that after World War II, servicemen likely brought the sensual smooch — and its nickname — stateside. So, when you kissed with tongue and did so passionately, you were said to be doing it like the French.

How do you French kiss?
The thought of touching someone’s tongue with your own tongue — and doing it with minimal drool — can sound weird or tricky. What if you thrust it in too hard? What do you do with it once it’s in there? Don’t sweat it because with a bit of practice, French kissing will come naturally. Sure, it may take a few go-arounds to get the hang of it, but you’ll be a pro before you know it. Here are some steps that you should take.

First, go in for a kiss and close your eyes. Part your lips slightly, and maybe start off by placing your lips so they are almost stacked on top of your partner’s.

Then, enjoy some light kissing and sucking for a moment. When you’re ready to introduce the tongue, do it slowly and gently. Maybe try touching their tongue, then wiggle it around a little in a circular motion. Have a little fun with it. Some people say that tracing the letters of their name with their tongue helps get the movement right. There’s nothing specific that you have to do with your tongue, just do whatever feels good and right. Keep it gentle and subtle and try not to jab your tongue in your partner’s mouth.

Once you start French kissing more, you will get more comfortable and will realize there are certain things you like and don’t like. Maybe you like to tease your tongue a little before going full swing. Or, you like to trace your tongue across their lips. Like dancing, you can also follow your partner’s lead. See what they’re doing and try it out. That being said, if they ever do anything you don’t like or are uncomfortable with, let them know. You can French kiss however you want, but the number one factor is that you’ve both consented and it feels good for both of you.

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