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5 tips for kissing on a first date: how to know when it’s time to lock lips

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Nov 22, 2023

5 tips for kissing on a first date: how to know when it’s time to lock lips

A first kiss with someone can tell you a lot. Kisses convey important information about ourselves to each other about compatibility, intimacy, and attraction. 

Kissing causes a chemical reaction in our brains, including a burst of the hormone oxytocin, or the ‘love hormone.’ Our lips have more nerve endings than any other part of the human body, which is one reason why kissing and making out (with the right person) feels so damn good. 

So you’re finally going to meet up with that girl you’ve been talking to on HER. Should you kiss on a first date? How soon after dating should you be making out? And how do you know when the right time to kiss someone is? If you are new to the LGBTQIA+ community or this will be your first time kissing another woman, trans or nonbinary person, you might be especially nervous!

Don’t worry, babe! We’ve got everything you need to know about navigating physical intimacy while dating, including the 5 tips you need to know to nail that perfect first kiss.

Should you kiss on a first date?

According to Wale Okerayi LMHC LPC, a licensed mental health counselor, kissing on the first date is okay if that is something you want to do!

“I think society has made us feel like everything is on a specific timeline. If mutual respect and consent exist, I say go for it.”

Wale Okerayi

If the chemistry is obvious between you two, you shouldn’t hesitate to kiss for the first time. This will help you determine if your kissing styles are compatible in the long run.

Whether or not to kiss on a first date is a deeply personal choice. If the moment feels right, go for it! But if you feel at all nervous or apprehensive about kissing someone for the first time, it’s okay to wait. Everyone’s journey with physical intimacy is unique, so take things at your own pace.

You should kiss on a first date if you feel a romantic spark and want to explore the physical side of your connection before seeing them for a second time. If you want to take things further, kissing is a great way to see if you are sexually attracted to them. Sometimes, kissing on a first date comes with the expectation that the two of you will meet again, so if you have no intention of ever seeing this person again, maybe hold off on the kiss. 

That being said, it’s also totally okay to wait after going on a few more dates to get physically intimate with someone new! Especially if you are recovering from sexual trauma or have felt pressured in the past, it might make sense to slow down and wait until you’ve built more emotional intimacy between you. 

Is it normal to kiss while dating?

If you are dating someone you are attracted to, it’s very normal to want always to kiss them! However, if you are asexual or demisexual, then you might relate to physical and sexual intimacy differently. You might need to take more time getting to know someone before experiencing romantic or sexual attraction.

Reddit user Chikizey explains that demisexuality is special since you can “unlock features” with time.

“All in all, take your time to discover yourself, and don’t rush into conclusions. Just communicate with your partner about what makes you comfortable and when something disturbs you. You don’t need to 100% explain [everything]; just be honest about your sensations, and that should be enough.”

Reddit user Chikizey

Another Reddit user, Amendus, argues, “The best time [to kiss someone you are dating] is when you are comfortable and really want to. If you don’t feel comfortable kissing on the first date you shouldn’t do that, even if that’s normal for others.”

A Reddit user, Amendus

At the end of the day, make sure you communicate about your boundaries and needs with the people you are dating. Some people might expect to share a kiss after a good first date and could feel rejected or wonder if they misread the signals. If you need to take things slow, let them know where your head is at and how you feel so that you are both on the same page when it comes to expectations around physical intimacy.

An image of a lesbian couple romantically kissing on a date. They both have long brown hair, one is in a ripped up white t-shirt and the other is wearing a beige dress.

5 tips for kissing on the first date 

1. Work with any nervousness you might be feeling

If you’re nervous on a first date, join the club! I find first dates more nerve-racking than job interviews! It’s impossible for me not to get my stomach in knots before meeting up with any new crush for the first time. But believe it or not, it’s actually a good sign if someone makes you feel a little out of your comfort zone on a first date.

You might be nervous because there is something special about this person, or maybe you might find all first dates excruciatingly painful.

“Some people are more anxious by nature. Situations [like first dates] tend to make them feel unusually challenged or uncomfortable.”

Psychotherapist Dr. Aman Bhonsle

Sometimes, asking yourself where the nervousness is coming from can help you can help you figure out how to work with it. 

Getting over the first date jitters takes practice, so don’t expect it to disappear overnight magically. Don’t be afraid to tell your date that they make you nervous. This can be a cute way to name the dynamic and flirtatiously segway into a first kiss. You don’t have to act all calm, cool, and collected to have a successful and romantic first date! The right person will find any nervousness that you might have around them endearing.

2. Read the other person’s body language throughout the date

Learning how to read a person’s body language is key to navigating physical intimacy. We constantly communicate with the people around us with how we sit, move, and express ourselves through non-verbal cues. Notice if your date seems tense. If they are looking away, leaning back, or crossing their arms, this might be a sign that they are disinterested or not having a good time. 

Conversely, if the date is going well, you might notice the distance between you getting smaller and smaller. Your crush might show interest on a first date by leaning in, smiling, and making eye contact for extended periods of time. If your first date is headed towards a kiss, you will probably gravitate towards each other and get physically closer as the date goes on.

3. Find the right time and place

This one might go without saying, but you’d be surprised at how many of the first kiss horror stories I’ve heard all boil down to time and place. There is a time and a place for everything, including kissing. A good rule of thumb is to wait until the end of a date to go in for the first kiss. 

Make sure that you find somewhere private, whether that’s a park bench, around the block from the queer bar, or in a dimly lit booth in the back of the restaurant. Some people are shy about public displays of affection or may have had negative or homophobic reactions to kissing in public before. Make sure you find somewhere secluded where both of you will feel comfortable enough to go for the kiss.

Two queer people in school uniforms sharing a first kiss together—one with short blue hair and the other with light brown hair pulled back in a ponytail.

There’s nothing worse than leaning in for a first kiss only to have read the signals wrong and be totally rejected. Let it be known that consent is sexy! The last thing you want to do is make someone you like feel uncomfortable or pressured to kiss you at the end of a first date. It’s best practice to ask someone if it’s okay to kiss them before you go in for it. 

If you’ve never asked someone if you can kiss them before, your first few times might feel a little bit awkward. That’s okay! My personal go-to as a trans masc is never making the first move until the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife. Then, I just wait until the hot femme I met on HER asks me if I wanna kiss her before I make my move. I love to get an invitation for the first kiss.

5. Make your move and let things progress naturally 

Once you’ve gotten the verbal green light, it’s time to go in for the first kiss! If you need some kissing tips, remember to start slow and ease into it with gentle pressure. No shoving your tongue down the other person’s throat! That is, unless they have specifically asked you to. When in doubt, try to mirror the other person’s kissing style because most people often kiss how they want to be kissed.

If your first kiss went well, you can let the physical intimacy build organically from there. My friend AZ told me about their first kiss story with a girl at 19.

“We first kissed drunk on the steps of a church, and it very quickly escalated into us scissoring for about 15 minutes.” They explained, “It was so exhilarating to realize I was queer and feel all that sexual chemistry that had been missing for so many years. I don’t think we could help ourselves.”


Maybe things turn into a full-on make-out, a fifteen-minute scissor session, or maybe the date ends with a quick kiss while you let the anticipation build for the next time. “Dating is basically trial and error kind of thing… not every date has to lead to sexual activity, relationship, or marriage,” Dr. Bhonsle explains. 

Physical stuff should come easily when two people are compatible. It’s beautiful, effortless, and electrifying. Otherwise, dating and first kisses can feel like a super clunky exercise if you aren’t physically compatible with someone.

Dating is best when you can approach it like an experiment. Allow yourself to get to know others, loosen up, enjoy the process, and hopefully get some good kisses along the journey! Sometimes, you’ve got to kiss a lot of people to find what you’re looking for! Just remember that kissing should come naturally between the right two people. Have fun, don’t force it, and find the next date of your dreams on HER.

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Dusty Brandt Howard is a writer & a fighter. He is a trans masculine cultural narrator who builds worlds with words. You can follow his thirst traps on Instagram, his writing on Substack, or find him at your local queer bar in northeast LA.

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