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Make-outs are one of those things that we all can’t help but love. No matter if you’re the most experienced person at your school or you’ve never been kissed, you can benefit from a few no-fail kissing tips. Try one — or all eight — of these the next time you’re with your partner or just hooking up with your crush down the hall. Get your lip balm ready, you’re going to need it.

1. Slow and passionate wins the race.

Sometimes things get heated quickly when your libido is really high but try to slow it down once in a while. Kylie, a sophomore at LaSalle University, says, “If you think about making it matter and making out slowly and passionately, it will leave the person remembering you and how you weren’t like other girls. Think of it as being classy and gentle and slowly increasing the intimacy, rather than moving too quickly.” Be intentional with every move you make — it’ll pay off.

2. Try biting their lip.

I’m not talking about chomping down, just a little nibble on their lower lip is all it takes — but not too frequently. You want it to come as a fun, aggressive-yet-passionate surprise while you’re kissing. Tiara, a sophomore at Montgomery County Community College, says, “Lip nibbling and biting is a must … it’s the sexiest thing ever.” But don’t bite down too hard. Autumn, a senior at Emmanuel College, knows this from experience: “I once had a guy bite my bottom lip so hard I woke up with a fat lip. It was funny, but not so sexy.” Try it out next time you’re looking to add some excitement to your make-out.

3. Be mindful when it comes to tongue.

This is an important one! Many of us have had bad French kiss experiences that we try so hard to repress from memory. Tiara warns all of us: “If the boy shoves his tongue down your throat, just run for the hills — no girl likes washer tongue syndrome!” Some people choose to steer clear of using tongue altogether because it can go bad quickly.

Katie, a graduate student at Temple University, says, “Don’t use a ton of tongue. I feel like this is a no-brainer, but go slow with the amount of tongue. Also, flick and glide your tongue against theirs and don’t shove it down their throat.” When French kissing, try and get a vibe from the person you’re hooking up with. “If you use your tongue, you have to work together with the person you’re making out with. You don’t want to be doing all the work and you don’t want them to either,” says Kylie.

Without tongue, it seems like you can’t find a rhythm, like you’re little kids giving a peck on the playground. But with too much tongue, things get slobbery and weird. “Finding that happy medium is the key to make out success,” says Alexa, a junior at Temple University. Yes, using tongue is complicated, but without it, making out wouldn’t be nearly as fun!

4. Use your hands.

There are plenty of things to do with your hands while you’re making out. Play with your S.O.’s fingers, grab their butt, place your hand on their heart, or run your hands across their back and hips. Playing with or pulling their hair while you’re kissing is also super sexy.

Stacy, a senior at James Madison University, says, “I love to pull my boyfriend’s hair a little bit. It keeps things exciting and I know he likes it!” Also, keep in mind that even little things can turn an average make-out into a passionate one. Emily, a freshman at Ithaca College, says, “I totally love it when my boyfriend grabs me and pulls in my face with both hands; it makes all the difference!” As long as your hands are active and aren’t just at your sides, it should be smooth sailing.

5. Don’t knock neck kisses.

If there’s one thing that’s often forgotten about during a make-out session, it’s your neck. It’s one of the more sensitive areas of your body, and it’s pivotal in taking your make-out to the next level. Once you’ve had enough of your partner’s lips, slowly kiss down their cheek, chin, and neck. Kiss it slowly and sensually, and move around. You can suck a little bit, but be cautious, because hickeys are easy to create and hard to conceal. You can stop kissing at the base of the collarbone, or just keep going … if you know what I’m sayin’.

“Licking your partner’s neck drives them crazy,” says Autumn. “Nice and slow from the base up, and then look in their eyes after — the reaction is always priceless.” This tip is an absolutely fool-proof way to turn up the heat during a hookup.

6. Take a breather.

We all need to catch our breath for a moment or two, and sometimes the breaks between kissing are the most meaningful part of the make-out. Use this time to make eye contact and smile. Don’t be afraid to vocalize how good you’re feeling.

“Moaning and talking during split-second breaks for air … that’s a turn-on,” says Emma, a freshman at Eastern Mennonite University. Whisper something loving, sexy or even something absolutely raunchy in your partner’s ear as you prepare to lock lips again. Lightly brush your lips against theirs, without actually kissing them, to make the moment even more sensual.

7. Change your location.

Many women have fantasies of having sex in weird places, and you can also have fantasies about make-out sessions. At school? Fuel your fantasies by making out in the library book stacks or in a quiet hallway. By being in a place that’s new and/or uncertain, your adrenaline will be pumping, increasing your chances for a seriously passionate make-out. At home? Try the shower or the kitchen.

Jane, a sophomore at Temple University, says, “I love when my boyfriend pulls me into other rooms and pushes me up against the wall to kiss me. Even better when he picks me up and sits me on a counter so I can straddle him. Such a turn-on.” For future reference, leave your squeaky dorm bed behind and find somewhere new to fool around.

8. Confidence is everything.

The number one rule when it comes to making out: Be confident in every move you make! Even if you’re unsure about any of the tips above, or kissing in general, pretend like you know what you’re doing. Fake it ’til ya make it! Even if you think you mess up, if you mess up with confidence, chances are your make-out partner will just go along with it.

Making out shouldn’t be intimidating or nerve-racking. It should be a fun way to express your affection for another person … and a fun alternative to exercising, in my opinion.

Temple University, 2019. Magazine journalist and editor, fitness instructor, health and wellness enthusiast. Proponent of lists, Jesus, and the Oxford comma. Will do anything for an iced oatmilk latte. Follow my journey: Twitter + Instagram: @sarah_madaus