Your first kiss is an experience you’ll never forget—even if that first awkward fumbling may make you wish you could.
A good kiss feels amazing in all of its forms: short kisses, long kisses, passionate kisses, soft kisses, sexy kisses, birthday kisses, good morning kisses—the possibilities are pleasantly endless. But a bad kiss can make you want to sew your lips shut. Think sloppy kisses, wet kisses, bad-breath kisses, drunk kisses.
But there’s a lot more to a kiss than how it makes you feel. Kissing says a lot about who you are, your body, and your relationship with another person. Here, seven things you probably didn’t know about kissing—keep them in mind before your next make out session.
THERE’S A REASON YOU ALWAYS LEAN TO THE RIGHT DURING A KISS
Which direction does your head turn when you go in for a kiss? Chances are, you tilt to the right, a study published in Scientific Reports suggests.
A team of researchers from Bangladesh and the U.K. had 48 married couples kiss in their homes as they normally would. The researchers found up to 74 percent of people turn their heads to the right when they smooched. What’s more, men were about 15 times more likely than women to initiate a kiss.
Why? The hand you write with tends to predict which way you’ll turn your head, the researchers say, which is ultimately rooted in how your brain splits up tasks within its two hemispheres, specifically in the areas that control emotions and decisions.
But even if you’re left handed, there’s a good chance your partner isn’t—and you tend to mirror the direction your partner leans, the study found.
KISSING IN PUBLIC ISN’T REALLY ABOUT SHOWING AFFECTION AT ALL
Publicly displaying your affection isn’t entirely about affection at all, one study in the Journal of Sex Research found.
After surveying 349 men and women aged 17 to 35 about their thoughts on seeing and engaging in PDA, University of Kansas researchers found that one third of the study participants made out with someone in public because they wanted other people to see it.
But the motivation to do so was different between men and women. When guys engaged in PDA, it’s because they thought it made them look good and helped them show off to their guy friends (AKA, their competition). Basically, men like to prove that they can gain—and keep—the attention of an attractive woman because it enhances they way other guys perceive them.
As for women? Over 50 percent of women in the study said they made out with in public to make their ex—and even other women—jealous.
YOUR TEETH CAN MAKE OR BREAK A KISS
Your lips aren’t the only thing she notices before puckering up, a study published in Evolutionary Psychology suggests. In one of several experiments, researchers surveyed nearly 200 women aged 18 to 24 about which physical features they notice the most when deciding to kiss someone. They asked the women to rate a list of traits on a scale of 1 to 4, from not important to extremely important.
The best thing you can do if you’re looking to lock lips? Brush your teeth. Women rated healthy-looking teeth as more important than the attractiveness of your face, body, or lips, the study found.
HER MOUTH ISN’T THE ONLY PLACE YOU SHOULD KISS
She has all sorts of erogenous zones that are begging to be kissed.
Take the small of her back, for example. “This is where all the nerves for the genitals originate, so stimulation of the lower back with massage and kissing and nibbling is a great way to stimulate the area,” says Jennifer Landa, M.D., and author of The Sex Drive Solution for Women.
You can even try her fingertips, since they’re packed with nerves.
“When you suck and lick her fingers, she gets an idea of your oral skills and pictures what it might be like when you lick and suck her more intimate areas,” says Dr. Landa. (That’s just the beginning. Here are five more places she wants you to kiss besides her mouth.)